Showing posts from November, 2015

A squash, a pumpkin - more than a decoration

GOING NATURE’S WAY By Kate Crowley The definition of the word squash is quite diverse.  It can be used as a verb, or to describe a game with a ball played on a small court, or the British word for a type of drink made with fruit juice and soda, or the topic of this column, the vegetable. The word is derived from the Narragansett Indian word askutasquash, meaning "eaten raw or uncooked”.   Squash (also known as gourds) grow on various vine like, tendril-bearing plants. Summer squash are the varieties that are quick growing, thin skinned and are eaten before their seeds harden. They are also prolific, leading some to make anonymous deliveries of unwanted zucchini in neighbor’s homes. What we call ‘winter squash’ is late-growing, sometimes oddly-shaped, smooth or warty, small to medium in size, but most importantly with long-keeping qualities and hard rinds. Both kinds belong, almost without exception, to the species Cucurbita maxima or C. moschata. The one member of the family that ge…

Late migration

By Kate Crowley Looking around your yard or neighborhood, you might think that migration has been completed, but it is still in progress.  The largest birds are the last to migrate; specifically, the swans, bald eagles and hawks.  I was reminded of this last week on several different occasions.  In both Moose Lake and then in Sandstone, on two different days, I looked up to see a pair of swans flying in a southerly direction.  Even with grey skies behind them, and not able to see their blinding white plumage, their large wings and long neck were definitive.  Plus, their wingbeats are much slower than that of geese. In the past, some people have shot swans claiming that they thought they were Snow Geese.  There is no comparison in size and you cannot call yourself a waterfowl hunter if you confuse the two.  Trumpeter swans were extirpated from our state in the 1800s due to overhunting. They continued to migrate through, but they did not stay to nest.  Strong reintroduction and…