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Turkey Tracks: Hope’s Edge: First Pick-up of Season

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Turkey Tracks:  June 25, 2012

Hope’s Edge:  First Pick-up of Season

Last Friday was our first pick-up of the season at our Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) farm, Hope’s Edge–where we have been members for at least 7 years.

The first day of visiting the farm is always such a pleasure.  We get to say hello to old friends and get and give lots of  hugs.  We get to savor what is one of my favorite places on this earth.

Here’s a picture from the road–of the growing herd of milk cows and sheep being moved into a new pasture area.  Hope’s Edge is down a road running along the right side of this field of buttercups.  You can see that the cows have grazed the right side of this field and are now being moved onto the buttercups.  Their milk will be absolutely delicious after this treat–and the butter will be a deep yellow color.

This year we are also doing a cheese CSA from Appleton Creamery, and we pick up at Hope’s Edge.  Our first week’s cheeses are beyond delicious!  So, with Cheryl Wixson’s Kitchens CSA (products she cooks using organic foods, like great tomato sauces, jams, pickles, sauces), we are up to THREE CSAs now.

Written by louisaenright

June 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Turkey Tracks: No No Penny’s Skull

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Turkey Tracks:  June 23, 2012

No No Penny’s Skull

The Maine woods are now summer dark–closed in, dense with ferns, mysterious.  Sometimes, as trees blow in a breeze, the sun penetrates along paths, dappling them, beckoning one to enter…

I’ve been out in the yard weeding, weeding, planting, seeding, watering, enjoying.  I have not been hiking once this summer.

No No Penny divides her time between staying near me, fruitlessly trapping chipmunks in the rocks, and patrolling our woods.  She’s the only thing that stands between the chickens and racoon, skunk, coyote, fox, and, yes, a bear has been sighted near our house.

A few days ago, she dragged in this skull:

Here’s the inside:

The teeth are VERY sharp.  Here’s a close-up shot:

I’m thinking it’s a deer skull.  Deers, I think, would need grinding teeth this sharp to eat evergreen branches in the winter…  And, it’s the right size.

What do you think?

In any case, the grandchildren will have fun bleaching it out when they come.  I’m sure it will find its way to Isle of Palms, like the deer antlers we found in the yard…

Written by louisaenright

June 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Turkey Tracks: I Finished It!!!

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Turkey Tracks:  June 21, 2012

I Finished It!!!

And I already miss making it and watching the diamonds shape…

To recap earlier entries on this sweater (click on knitting on the right sidebar or search for Romney Ridge Farm), I met Kelly Corbett of Romney Ridge Farm and Aloisia Pollack at the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association “Common Ground” Fair last fall.  Aloisia had made a sweater out of Kelly’s beautiful yarns, and I was instantly captivated.   Aloisia taught me and Giovanna McCarthy how to do the pattern and showed me how to make a cardigan from the pullover pattern.  I added the big collar, as I thought the sweater needed to be really grounded what with all that pattern and color.  And, Helen of Heavenly Socks in Belfast suggested these buttons, which I also really like and would not have found on my own.

The greyish yarn of the collar, front bands, etc., is the natural color of one of Kelly’s sheep.  The rest she dyes herself, and the colors are shaded and glow in the sweater.   You can see the shading in the dark purple yarn really well…

Here’s a close-up of the bottom of the sweater–and yes, the color lines do match up as the body was knit on round needles.

Giovanna used the narrower, two-color bands Aloisia’s pattern employed, and I think they make the sweater lighter–as you will see when she finished hers.

I have so enjoyed this project and working with these beautiful yarns.

Written by louisaenright

June 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Turkey Tracks: Bug Mystery Solved–a Spittle Bug

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Turkey Tracks:  June 19, 2012

Bug Mystery Solved–A Spittle Bug

When we were in Charleston, Kelly and Talula were deep into observing local bugs–which if you know me at all, you know their interest delighted me totally.

“Have you seen a Love Bug, Lovey?” they asked.

I had no idea what a Love Bug was, so we went to view one.  After coming through the grass for a bit, they turned up this little beetle-like bug, which was black with orange stripes and about 1/4-inch long.

We searched every way I knew on the internet–under beetle.  I didn’t think of searching bug.  But, could not find an image matching this creature.

A few days later, Tami identified it while reading her Master Gardeners course book. “It’s a Spittle Bug,” she said.  And the nymph form is bright green and makes itself a ball of surrounding spit.

A flashlight went off in my head.  I have those spit balls in my garden here in Maine.  Here’s a ball of spittle bubbles on a Tickseed plant.

When you uncoat it, the little green nymph appears.

And walks around on our hand…

Don!’t you love the intricacy of bugs!

PS:  Tami says these guys don’t do much major damage and that if you have a lot in your grass, something is “off,” like too much or too little water.  I don’t really know what they mean in a flower garden–they don’t seem to get into the veggies.  But I have about a dozen spittle balls at any one time…

Now I need to see what the difference is between a bug and a beetle…

Written by louisaenright

June 19, 2012 at 11:13 am

Turkey Tracks: Black Kettle Farm Barn Dance, Essex, NY

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Turkey Tracks:  June 15, 2012

This is Part 4–and the final entry–of an ongoing entry, scroll down for the beginning…

Black Kettle Farm Barn Dance

After leaving Kristin Kimball and Essex Farm (read THE DIRTY LIFE by Kristin), we went back to the Essex Inn, regrouped, had tea on the porch, and set out for a local fundraiser for a local Waldorf School held at Black Kettle Farm–dinner and square dancing.

Wow!  Here was a whole community–people of all ages–all gathered together to have some fun and to raise some money for a good cause.

Dinner was served outside this amazing, gorgeous, wonderful barn–a barn with a wooden floor and a soaring roof–and it was all local food that people had made for this event.

Tables were set up inside the barn for eating.  Musicians were gathering at one end of the barn, and we could see at least two fiddlers–one of whom had an adoring dog with him who never left his side all night long.  A silent auction has some really amazing items–one a quilt from a local artist, another a HUGE basket of many Mason jars of homemade jams, pickles, and so forth

After eating, people rose to put away tables and chairs and the dancing began–starting with the children, who were patiently taught several dances by their parents and a square dance caller.

Then the real dancing began.  There were at least three sets of circles–and sometimes lines–depending on the dance being called–and as darkness fell, the energy in the barn reached whole new heights.  Dancers of all ages whirled and twirled and laughed and moved–sometimes so fast you could hardly see them.  Here’s a very tame picture of one dance.

A group of foreign students appeared and were immediately pulled into one of the rings.  The students caught on quickly and were soon laughing and…yes…sweating–for there is a lot of movement in this kind of dancing.

We called it a night about 9 p.m., but it was plain that the dancing would go on for some time to come.

We had breakfast with Tara on Sunday morning at the Essex Inn–before we went our separate ways.  We would drive home to Maine, and Tara would drive back to Accord, finishing packing, and on Tuesday, head to Charleston, SC, to start her own farm.  As I write, I know she and Leighton have arrived, the animals made the trip ok, the small barn is up, the fencing in place, and our son Mike’s family will take food to them tonight.

As we boarded the ferry,  here was our view:

The White Mountains beckoned, and Maine and home awaited us.

We need a year-round CSA in Maine!

Turkey Tracks: Visiting Essex Farm, Essex, NY

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Turkey Tracks:  June 13, 2012

This is part 3 of a longer story.  Scroll down for the beginning…

Visiting Essex Farm

When we arrived, we first saw a small flock of sheep in a fenced pasture alongside the farm road.

We knew that all of this farm equipment would be made for draft horses to pull.

There was a sheep mother nursing her baby just separated from this small flock–and Kristin told us later in our tour that Mark had just given her this flock for her birthday.  Someone had gifted him with them, and he knew that Kristin had been wanting some sheep for some time.  She’s now looking into animal guard dogs that are bred to live with and protect the animals in their care–as the sheep will be permanently pastured some way from the house.  Essex Farm is 500 acres, which is a lot of land.

We parked and started down the driveway toward the farm buildings, and a small woman with very blue eyes and a big hat stepped from a group of people and said,  “Hi, I’m Kristin.”

And, there she was–though she looked quite different from the picture on the cover of her book, THE DIRTY LIFE.  Now there are no traces of the city.  Her hair is long and braided, her fair skin glows with health, she’s lean and fit and muscular, and she radiates a very special kind of energy and interest that welcomes her guests to the farm.

There is a hint of some tension, and we soon learned that Mark had pulled a back muscle and was flat on his back at the farmhouse and in great pain and had care of the children.  Somehow, people appear to take care of the children, to collect the eggs from the hen trailer to the north of the farmhouse, to let the horses out of the barn, to prepare a chili for the potluck lunch and for a fundraiser for the local Waldorf school later that evening–and so forth.  It’s a Saturday morning–and the farm crew works, except in high-activity times, from Monday to Friday.  (The CSA weekly food pickup is on Friday.)  Kristin excuses herself from time to time, but makes us feel as if nothing on this earth is stressful or will get in the way of our visit.  And those of us who had read her book knew that this kind of juggling is something she and Mark are well used to doing.

Kristin begins the tour by answering questions about the farm and how it works in the farm’s trailer–where work meetings and common meals take place.  Half of this trailer is a field kitchen–the other half is filled with long tables.  The walls are covered with lists, individual workers’ clip boards, maps of the farm, and so forth.  We begin to realize that the administrative side of a diversified farm that feeds 220 people everything they need all year long is quite complicated.  (This farm’s goal is to replace the grocery store with healthy, clean, nutrient-dense food.)

I love this picture of Kristin.

 

Outside the trailer is a huge refrigerated truck body and a long open building where CSA members pick up their food–it’s lined with freezer chests.  We begin, though, by walking north, toward the farmhouse and the barns.

Here’s the farmhouse–and the window Kristin writes about in the book is still broken.  The barns and other out buildings are beyond.

The fields near the farmhouse are the “home” fields and are reserved for herbs and flowers.  Here’s a group of guests with Kristin in the chamomile flower row, helping to pull the flowers.  Tara is in the blue plaid shirt on the left, in the front.

Kristin told us that chamomile tea is made with the chamomile flowers.  She dries them and adds dried mint, lavender, and lemon balm–to make their tea–an idea that really appeals to me.  I’ll be looking for some chamomile plants for this year and seed for the next.   Here are the flowers:

We stop at a hoop house dedicated to raising meat chickens.  The layers are in a tractor in a pasture beyond the barns and are moved daily.  Each small pen within the hoop house houses chickens of different ages (one week, two weeks, etc.).  When they are old enough to be ok with cool nights–which means they have grown enough feathers–they, too, are moved into tractors that allow them to free range on grass.  I think, as with Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm in Virginia, these chickens “follow” the cows as they rotate through pastures around the farm.

Here’s Tara holding a week old chick, whom she immediately wanted to take home!

These chickens are Cornish crosses, and those of you who read my blog know that I’m not a fan of them.  I tried to interest Kristin in Freedom Rangers, but they had tried them and thought they took too long to develop and didn’t get as big as the Cornish crosses.  They DO take longer, but that means, too, that their bones are really developed, can support their bodies, and have all the minerals they should have for really healthy bone broths.  Before Cornish crosses, it would take 5 months or so to grow a chicken to roasting weight.  Cornish crosses develop in SIX WEEKS!  As for size, the FRs Rose raised were huge–often 6 or 7 pounds in 12 weeks.  Rose does not have the space Kristin and Mark do, so the size/time taken may be a factor of supplemental feeding???

The farm is now powered by a bank of solar panels, which Kristin thought she would hate to see.  But, she thinks they fit in surprisingly well.  I think they got a grant to help install these panels… which, if true, is exactly the sort of help we need to be giving small, diversified farmers who are healing and using our farm lands.

The draft horses were just being let out of the barns as we drew near.  These gentle giants are magnificent creatures.  I think there are four teams here, but Kristin said on really busy days there are 5 or 6 teams in the fields as some of the workers also have teams of their own.  The white pony belongs to the girls.

I didn’t know these draft horses came in a “paint” color.  This one was really friendly.  His partner is also a “paint.”

Gentle giants:

Kristin and Mark are in the process of “tiling” some of their fields as they are too wet.  Tiling is a drainage method that puts a big pipe in a deep trench that drains the water from the field.  Kristin feels that their area is getting wetter and wetter–which is something we are seeing in Maine as well.

They planted this rye crop in the tiled field, and it’s doing beautifully.  They will harvest the grain and will bale the rye straw and use it for insulation in the home they want to build–a green building method that people are beginning to use more and more.  See, for instance, the current issue of YES! magazine, which is available online.  Straw comes from grain plants and hay is made from grass.  (Kristin’s new book will be about building this home and will have more farm stories.)  Here’s the rye field with the barns/outbuildings in the background.

The field that has the best dirt for growing produce is called  “Small Joy,” and we are walking toward it.

Here are Kristin and Tara in front of Small Joy.  You can see how long it is and how much has to be planted to feed 220 people year round.  That’s garlic behind them.  Garlic is planted in the fall, and the scapes, or flower pods, are just coming up now.  Most garlic won’t winter over beyond about now, so it’s lovely to get the scapes in June.  We cut them up and stir-fry them, put them in soups, put them into mayonnaise, and so forth.  They have a light, lovely garlic taste.

We cross Small Joy and circle back to the house–by way of the sheep.  After a fun potluck lunch–where Kristin adds in a fabulous chili with dried beans and sausage–all made on the farm–and bread with deep yellow spring raw butter–and sour cream–and lovely raw milk–I take these pictures of the shed where CSA members pick up their food.  It takes a lot of  Mason jars to put up food for the winter.

And here’s the working end of the meat chicken processing–open air, as it should be.  The cones are where the chickens are suspended to drain out blood into the funnel below them.  The table makes cleaning the chickens easy.  there are also vats for hot water, a really good plucker, and a vat for cooling off the cleaned chickens.  Everything can be washed off when the work is done.

We left Kristin and Essex Farm reluctantly.  But everyone was tired and it was time to go.  We didn’t see the highland cattle, or the pigs, or the sugar bush (maple syrup), or the borrowed dairy bull, or the dairy cows.  And I didn’t take so many pictures I should have.  I am particularly regretting not taking a shot of the buckets full of eggs from the layers–brought down from the upper pastures by a sweet young woman who stopped by to say “hi” and got drafted into helping out.

I could have stayed on that farm forever!  It’s so full of life and love and energy and good things happening.  It makes me think there is hope for healthy, nourishing, nutrient-dense food in America

Turkey Tracks: Going to Essex Farm, Essex, NY

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Turkey Tracks:  June 13, 2012

This is part 2, scroll down for part 1 of this story

Going to Essex Farm, Essex, NY

Essex Farm in Essex, NY, is due west of Camden, Maine–as I discovered when I got out our maps.  Essex is about 6 1/2 hours from Camden, which includes crossing Lake Champlain on the Charlotte-Essex ferry.

My original plan with Tara Derr Webb was to drive south to her place in Accord, NY, which is near Kingston, NY (about 90 minutes north of NY City), travel with her to Essex on Saturday morning, spend the night in Essex, travel back to Accord, and then head home.  The maps showed us both that Essex is waaaay closer to Camden than Accord.   Besides, Tara was in the midst of final packing and would be leaving Accord on Tuesday.

We agreed to meet at the Essex Inn on Saturday morning, June 9th.   I had invited John to come with me, as neither of us had ever been west in Maine, nevermind seeing northern New Hampshire and Vermont.  He and I would drive to Essex on Friday and stay at the Inn, which also had what looked like a nice restaurant.

Western Maine is beautiful, and one gradually drives up into the mountains which host some pretty amazing ski resorts.  In New Hampshire and Vermont, we drove through the White Mountains and across the northern part of the Green Mountains.  The scenery is breathtaking–filled with dense mountains, rushing rivers, and mountain farms.  Outside of Burlington, Vermont, we went south to get on the Charlotte-Essex Ferry.  Lake Champlain is bordered by lush farms and ringed by mountains–on the New York side, it’s the Adirondacks.   Here’s what we saw at the ferry:

If you’ve never been on a car ferry, here’s what one looks like:

John had loved the whole day–going through tiny mountain towns, stopping to eat in Goram and talking to local people.  But we were both blown away by the beauty of Lake Champlain, with its ring of mountains.  Here’s John on the ferry:

The town of Essex is tiny, but is visited, in summer, by folks escaping the city who want some cool lushness.  Here’s what the Essex Inn looks like:

We settled in, had tea on this beautiful porch, had a lovely dinner inside, and slept well–anticipating seeing Tara and Kristin and Mark and the farm the next morning.

TurkeyTracks: Essex Farm in Essex, NY–THE DIRTY LIFE

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Turkey Tracks:  June 13, 2012

This is Part I of a longer story…

Essex Farm–THE DIRTY LIFE

About 10 years ago, Kristin Kimball, a Harvard graduate, was earning enough with her free-lance writing to live in New York City.  One day Kristin drove six hours (Pennsylvania, I think) to interview a first-generation farmer named Mark, a Swarthmore graduate who had cobbled together an agricultural degree since he always knew he wanted to farm.  Kristin’s life changed forever upon meeting Mark.  She left behind high heels, meeting for coffee, and all the entertainment a large city offers.

That meeting started Kristin on a journey which led to Essex Farm in Essex, NY–which is just south of Burlington, Vermont, and, of course, across the narrow end of Lake Champlain.  Essex Farm had been leant to them to see if they could make a go of it, which is, in itself, a large bit of the magic that surrounds this story and this journey.  Essex Farm, when they first saw it in the fall, was “sleeping,” as Mark expressed it.  They spent that first winter in an apartment in town (while waiting for the leases of the current tenants of the farmhouse to expire) and spending the days on the farm repairing equipment and some of the buildings.  They bought their first cow and learned to milk her.

Together, over the past nine years, Kristin and Mark have built a farm that feeds 220 people all year long with all the food they need–pork, chickens, beef, milk, eggs, various grains ground into flour, maple syrup, honey, and about 40 different kinds of vegetables, including all the root vegetables that get one through a “north country” winter.  They now have hired 12 employees  and are the largest employer in Essex.  And, they have produced two beautiful little girls and are going to build a family home just behind the major farm buildings.

Kristin’s memoir of their first year on the farm–a year culminating in their marriage–was published in 2010–THE DIRTY LIFE.  It’s a tale of great joys and great despair.  It’s a tale of learning who you really are and what’s important in life.  It’s a tale of learning a whole passel of new skills–like farming with draft horses.  It’s a tale of commitment and how they supported themselves and how a community supported and held them in their times of greatest need.  It’s a tale, now, of many lives being lived fully and, perhaps, of the raising of a new generation of farmers, for Essex Farm has spawned four farms now and two children who will, at least, grow up to know how to farm.

So, Tara Derr Webb read THE DIRTY LIFE about 18 months ago.  Tara grew up with our two sons and had recently moved from the West Coast to Charleston as she and her husband Leighton were ready to put down more permanent roots.  Both Tara and Leighton have forgotten more about food than I will probably ever know.  And now they both wanted to participate in some major way in the farm/food/restaurant matrix.

After reading THE DIRTY LIFE, Tara knew she wanted to do more, personally, with the farm end of the foodway.  So, she signed up to visit several WOOF (Worldwide Organization of Organic Farmers or, also, Willing Organization of Organic Farmers) farms.  The first was near Atlanta.  After being there almost two weeks, a goat mother died just after birthing.  Tara put the baby in her car and brought her home to Isle of Palms, SC, and raised her.   She also made what will probably be lifelong friends on that farm.

Tara wanted to move further north–to the Husdon Valley area of New York–itself a farm foody place.  So she and Leighton rented land for a year to try out the northern farming experience.  They didn’t like it–didn’t like the cold, didn’t feel it was right on their skin.  So, they have just rented land north of Charleston that they will begin to farm.  (They now have three goats and plan on getting about 100 chickens.)  There will also be a restaurant, but you can let Tara herself tell you that part of the story on her Farmbar website.)

When we were in Charleston in late May, Tara was there as well–figuring out fence lines, working out details for their move back South and so forth.  She told me Kristin was having an open house June 9th and asked it I would like to come.  I slept on it, but knew I had to go.

Yes, I said, and got out maps as soon as I got home.

XXX

Interesting Information: 10 Salt Myths

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Interesting Information:  June 4, 2012

Ten Salt  Myths

This past Sunday’s New York Times ran a long piece by Gary Taubes called “Salt, We Misjudged You” (Opinion, 8-9).  Taubes traces the history of how salt became demonized in the 1970s and 1980s–without adequate scientific data to justify such a stance.  It might seem like “common sense” to relate salt intake to high blood pressure problems since salt can make one thirsty.  But that HYPOTHESIS has not proven to be true–as I related in Mainely Tipping Points Essay 38, located on this blog.

Meanwhile, Taube notes, many prominent organizations are promoting a low-salt diet, among them the USDA, the Institute of Medicine, the CDC, and the NIH.  Their view is based on a 30-day trial of salt, the 2001 DASH-Sodium study.  That study suggested that lowering salt intake “modestly lowered blood pressure,” but it “said nothing about whether this would reduce hypertension, prevent heart disease or lengthen life.”  And, I would ask, how would one know if the salt reduction was a factor or if other foods eaten or not eaten were factors?

The recommendations from these large organizations is ignoring, deliberately, recent research showing that salt reduction is dangerous to human health.  Recent research using some 100,000 people in 30 countries showed that salt consumption has been, Taubes writes, “remarkably stable among populations over time.”  Four recent studies “reported that the people eating salt at the lower limit of normal were more likely to have heart disease than those eating smack in the middle of the normal range.”  This “normal range” is considerably higher than recent recommendations by the USDA in its food guide.

In November of last year, Taubes writes, both the USDA and the FDA held hearings to “discuss how to go about getting Americans to eat less salt (as opposed to whether or not we should eat less salt).  Proponents speaking against salt consumption argued that “the latest reports suggesting damage from lower-salt diets should simply be ignored.”

OK.  That’s not scientific.  That’s BELIEF SYSTEM, and I’ve said many times on this blog, uncritical BELIEF SYSTEMS are dangerous.  They can, like this one about salt, kill you.  Taubes says the following:

“This attitude that studies that go against prevailing beliefs should be ignored on the basis that, well, they go against prevailing beliefs, has been the norm for the anti-salt campaign for decades.”

Mortin Satin, PhD, Vice President, Science and Research, The Salt Institute, writing in the Spring 2012 Wise Traditions, the journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, lists 10 myths about salt (http://www.westonaprice.org/vitamins-and-minerals/salt-and-our-health).  Some will surprise you.

Myth 1:  We eat more salt than ever before.  NOPE.  Our salt consumption today is about one half of the amount consumed between the War of 1812 and the end of World War II–which was about 3.3 teaspoons per day.  Increased refrigeration and not using salt as a preservative are factors.

Myth 2:  Our knowledge of the major sources of salt in our diet (80% from processed foods) is unquestionable.  NOPE.  This notion is based on a single paper from 1991 which involved 62 people and dietary recall–which is not reliable.  (It’s amazing to me how often dietary recall is being used in studies  The most recent I can recall is that study saying red meat was bad for you.)

Myth 3:  Our salt consumption continues to rise every year.  NOPE.  See Myth 1.

Myth 4:  The thirty-year public health initiative in Finland represents a successful model of salt reduction.  NOPE.  Health benefits were marginally worse than countries that did not reduce salt consumption.

Myth 5:  Current levels of salt consumption result in premature cardiovascular disease and death.  NOPE.  Data shows that the higher the salt consumption, the longer the life expectancy.  (Mainely Tipping Points 38 discusses the connections between cutting salt consumption and heart problems.)

Myth 6:  Cutting back on salt will improve the overall diet.  NOPE.  Salt enhances foods that would be bitter without it, like the all-important greens.  (Somewhere else I read that salt helps you break down and digest meats.)

Myth 7:  Reduced salt levels are critical to the DASH diet.  NOPE.  Data shows moving to a DASH diet significantly impacts blood pressure without any changes in salt consumption.  (I am NOT a fan of the DASH diet–too many carbohydrates and fructose.  It’s useful if you’ve been eating junk food, but I believe the GAPS diet and the Paleo diet are better choices.)

Myth 8: There is a clear relationship between salt intake and blood pressure.  NOPE.  There, famously, is not a clear relationship.  Satin gives a really good example using the standard hospital saline IV drip, which gives about 4.5 teaspoons of salt per day in addition to the teaspoon of salt taken in food.  Blood pressure, checked every 4 to 6 hours, does not change.

Myth 9:  Reducing salt intake can do no harm.   NOPE.  It can seriously harm you, and Satin gives a long list of worrisome outcomes.  Mainely Tipping Points 38 does as well.

Myth 10:  The U.S. Dietary Guideline process is valid.  NOPE.  Satin notes that these guidelines have not been peer-reviewed and are based on the lowest quality of information–opinion.  Or, in my terms, on BELIEF SYSTEM.  These guidelines are not independent or objective, according to Satin, who walks through why.   I would say that the USDA guidelines about so many food issues–among them consumption of salt, saturated fat, meat, the amount of carbohydrates deemed ok, and so many of the issues I’ve been covering in my essays–are now so far off track that it’s far, far better to totally ignore them.

Let your body decide your salt intake.  But, use GOOD salts–as discussed in Mainely Tipping Points 38.  They include real salt dried from seawater–not the fake salts in the grocery store.  Real salt is full of minerals.

Written by louisaenright

June 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Turkey Tracks: Charleston Trip Highlights

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Turkey Tracks:  June 3, 2012

Charleston Trip Highlights

I am posting this entry mostly for our far-flung greater family, who will enjoy the pictures.

However, I did not take as many pictures as I might have taken.  I get caught up in the moment and forget…   I did not, for instance, take a single shot of Bryan and Corinne’s Ailey.  I was too busy drinking her in.  At 18 months, she is in constant motion, smiles and laughs all the time (except when she gets tired or when someone tries to hold her still), and takes two good naps a day.  It’s probably just as well since Bryan is not at all sure he wants her picture on the internet.

But, in no particular order, here’s the best of the pictures I came home with.

First, you know I love trees.  Bryan took me to see this beauty over on Sullivan’s Island.  Sullivan is just south of Isle of Palms island, and both are just north of the entrance to Charleston’s harbor.  This tree is an old live oak, and the only thing it’s missing is festoons of grey moss.

Here’s a close-up view of the amazing trunks:

These trees are protected, and they should be.  There’s one over on, I think, St. John’s island, which is south of Charleston and much more really a part of the low-country land system than an actual barrier island.  It is called the Angel Oak.  Some have said it’s the oldest tree on the East Coast.  We always talk about seeing it.  One of these days we will…

On Sunday 20th, the whole family went to the Riverdogs–the local baseball farm team that feeds into the Yankees.  The stadium is beautiful.  The baseball was terrific.  And there were lots of events for the children as this Sunday was a “children’s day” at the field.  Both grandsons are learning baseball, and we went to see their last game on Saturday morning.  By the end of the game, both boys were getting a bigger sense of how the plays work and why they are being taught certain skills.  Both brought gloves, and we had seats just back of the Riverdogs’ dugout, so we dodged lots of fly balls.  Someone rolled Bo a baseball over the top of the dugout sometime during the game, which thrilled all of us.

Here’s a picture of John and Mina in the stands.  Mina is an Enright–and I constantly see Maryann, Jim, Kim, and Kerry in her face.

Here’s the view behind the stadium, which you see if you go up to the restrooms or for food.  The river is the Ashley, I think.  And this view is what the “low country” rivers look like–postcard pretty.

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After the game and after Miss Ailey, who had enjoyed the outing with all her relatives, had been taken home to her bed, the players lined up and autographed whatever the children brought.  Bo got his ball autographed.  The rest of the children got hands, arms, and shirts autographed.  Here they are in line:

Here they are reaching the first player:

And, here they are, now they are in the swing of the event:

John and Michael supervised:

And here’s a picture of the four kiddos on the way out of the now-nearly empty stadium–tired, but happy, as were we all!

Bill Murray, the actor, is a part-owner of the Riverdogs.  During the game, he caught a foul ball, and when people realized it was him, he turned and bowed to all.   He’s always been a favorite actor of mine.  He does comedy, yes, but he also does serious.  If you’ve never seen him in RAZOR’S EDGE, rent it and take a look.

We also went as a family to Bee City, which is near Summerville, SC.  It has bees and honey, but the real draw is the petting zoo, which is quite good.  I saw at least three animals I’ve never seen before.  There was an interesting building housing South Carolina flora and fauna–among which are TONS of poisonous snakes and the alligators that are everywhere in the low country.  (Maine has NO poisonous snakes YET and certainly NO alligators!)  Seeing the snakes brought back Georgia childhood memories of being taught to look for snakes constantly, especially when picking blackberries.  And, of once when fishing looking down to see a coiled cottonmouth moccasin about to strike me.  We learned that the state beverage of SC is MILK!

Anyway, Mike had his wits about him–unlike his mother who was, frankly, sightseeing– and took this picture of Miss Talula Bee Honey, produced by bees in a front yard on Isle of Palms :

We went to swim team practice–here’s Mina waiting on the steps for Talula to finish a lap.  Mina spends most of this waiting time on the bottom of the pool peering at you through goggles.  Talula can swim the lap, only she does not quite know it yet and grabs the side every few feet to rest.  She’ll learn in another few weeks, I feel sure.

Here’s Kelly, all done after an hour of swimming laps.  Pretty impressive, this hour of laps…  So healthy for all the children…

Here’s John, overseeing the action:

We went to Bo’s Poetry Cafe at his school–East Cooper Montessori.  Bo had memorized and recited a fairly long Shell Silverstein poem that his classmates really liked:

We went to the girls’ graduations from their little pre-kindergarten school at the fabulous Isle of Palms recreation center.  What a gift that place is to local residents.

I saw, also, Leighton and Tara Derr Webb’s new rented digs–lovely land with a classic low-country house on enough acreage for a small farm–all of which has waterfront on the intercoastal waterway north of Charleston.  They move back to Charleston mid-June.  And, Tami and I had breakfast with Lisa Hartley and her daughter Sophie at Hominey Grill–all of which is always a real treat!

We had many nurturing, fun, very tasty meals with Bryan, Corinne, and Ailey–and they took us to dinner at one of Charleston’s many good, exciting restaurants–The Grocery.  Bryan is a really good cook, and Corinne makes the best homemade ice cream ever!  Our time with them was low-key and very pleasant.

And, we all had some really good beach times–we rode lots of waves and came home with good tans.  I, in fact, came home with a new bathing suit since chlorine has eaten out the black fiber in the center back my old one, leaving only the see-through mesh.  When I showed it to Tami, she said “oh my gosh, you’ve been x-rated on the beach, Mom!”

Written by louisaenright

June 3, 2012 at 5:42 pm