As a farmer many folks ask me what are the best vegtables or fruit to buy. In my humble opinion, the smartest option is locally grown. Organics are nice but since the big companies have jumped into the organic market the rules have been relaxed and you have no guarantee they are being followed. There are also many organic approved sprays which have had little or no research to prove if they are harmfull or carcinogenic to humans. Don’t get me wrong I still lean towards organic foods but it not a cure all. Locally grown is probably the best option. Knowing the farm and the standards they keep is your safest alternative. One thing I will not do is buy fruit or vegetables from third world countries. I know a Cape Cod cranberry grower who goes to South America to manage cranberry bogs in the winter. He has told me they are still using pesticides and herbicides that we banned in this country twenty years ago for causing cancer. Since the workers are not certified in chemical application, as in the U.S., they do apply these poisons at the proper application rates. Hey, you want to kill bugs, the more poison the better!
Wild-crafting is the art of collecting delicious foods from uncultivated woods and fields. I have been blessed by having gained some knowledge about this from Yupik and Athabaskan elders. With our early spring weather it is time to gather fiddlehead ferns and wild leeks. There is a very short window of opportunity to harvest these culinary delights. The fiddleheads are the beginning growth of ferns in the woods. They typically grow on the the north side hills in mature forests where it is cool and damp. They are delicious sauteed in butter.
Wild leeks or ramps grow in wet low lying areas also in mature woods. These green broad leaf plants taste like a garlic onion and are great in soups or stir fried vegetables.
Wow. It hit 80 degrees today. The maple syrup season is over with 2012 going down as one of the weirdest years ever. I have a picture of us boiling sap with 3 feet of snow on the ground on May 5th. While that is not the norm this year takes the cake. March 21, eighty degrees and the trees are budding out. We should be in the mid twenties at night and in the mid forties during the day. Good news, the tractor tire is fixed and I have 16 acres plowed up already.
I started plowing some fields this past weekend on our up-state New York farm. This is the earliest we have ever gotten on the ground due to the crazy warm weather. Normally we still have tons of snow. Unfortunately my tractor tire picked up a piece of metal and got a hole in it. By the looks of it that piece of an old tractor metal has been in that field for 50 years or more. What are the chances of that! Guess what I am doing today…fixing a tractor tire.
One day when I was training dogs in Fairbanks, Ak. my wife told me not to run the dogs since we had to go to a show at the local theater. Running out the door I said I would be back in an hour. I hooked up my howling eight dog team and took off like a flaming arrow released from a 90 lb. bow. Twenty minutes later I got off the sled, set the snow hook and proceed to fix my Sorrel boot. Blam, the snow hook came loose and off went my team running like a prisoner escaping from jail! Oh boy, not only was my wife going to kill me but the dogs could could be lost, hurt or even killed. I took off running after them without even a ghost of a chance to catch them. Out of breath and miles from home my heart was heavy. Then a miracle happened! Here came the dogs running at full speed right at me. Some how they managed to get on the loop trail and kept running right back to me. I hope my wife does not read this blog as I never did tell her what happened. Check out my new book “Justice at Forty Below”to read about the life threatening circumstances Jake finds himself in a he battles the Alaskan wilderness.
Nome, Alaska – Tuesday, March 13, 2012 – Twenty-five year old musher Dallas Seavey arrived in Nome, Alaska crossing the finish line at 19:29 Alaska Time with 9 dogs on his team claiming his first Iditarod Championship. Thousands of cheering fans lined the street to greet the youngest person ever to win the toughest race on earth. Dallas was followed into Nome by Ali Zirkle, Ramey Smyth, Aaron Burmeister and Peter Kaiser.
Seavey and his dogs completed the grueling race in 9 days, 04 hours, 29 minutes, 26 seconds. The record is still held by John Baker the 2011 Champion at a time of 8 days, 18 hours, 46 minutes, 39 seconds .
Closing in on the finish of the 1,000 mile race, Ramey Smyth surprises everyone as he pulls in to third place. The battle for first has come down to Dallas Seavey and Ali Zircle. Dallas mushed into White Mountain at 12:14 Alaska Standard time with Ali mushing into White Mountain at 1:25 AST. Can Ali make up that hour to catch Dallas? This is a nail biter.
Aliy challenges Dallas for the lead position. It is still a very close race coming closer and closer to the finish line. The weather has been chilly but beautiful with the mushers escaping any violent snow storms. Dallas Seavey left out of Koyuk twenty-two minutes ahead of Ali Zirkle. Aaron Burmeister, John Baker and Peter Kaiser have arrived at the check point in Koyuk. All three are within striking distance of first place. The weather can play a big role in which team arrives in Nome first. In a blinding snow storm things can change very quickly.
In what is shaping up to be an extremely close race three mushers headed out of Unakaleet within thirty minutes of each other. Two more teams arrived in Unakaleet behind the three leaders but still within striking distance for a first place. All these teams look strong with the dogs showing plenty of spunk. Four teams have scratched and are out of the race. In a surprise move Aaron Burmeister is leading the pack followed by Dallas Seavey and Ali Zircle. John Baker beat Mike Seavey by three hours into Unakaleet . After a short break to feed the dogs and a little rest they will back on the trail to try to catch the leaders.
One moment, 9-year-old Marshall was pulling hard at Iditarod sophomore Scott Janssen’s sled, the tug line taut as a guitar string. The next, the husky was down on the snow. “I was sobbing,” said Janssen, an Anchorage mortician, who began a kind of CPR that ultimately saved Marshall. “I really love that dog.” reported the Anchorage Daily News.
Ali Zircle continues to make gains as the front runner in the 1,000 mile race. With about half the distance traveled to Nome it is still anyone’s to win. Ali’s strategy seems to be paying off as she is the first musher to leave the small Athabascan village of Nulato at 6:20. Pulling into Nulato at 7:43 was Dallas Seavey and Jeff King arrived in Nulato at 8:46. Not far behind heading out of Galena was Mitch Seavey and John Baker. The weather was 16 below zero with light winds.