In seeking out a sense of belonging that can hold not just me, but all the life sustained by this same air, water, and long summer sun...
In seeking out a sense of belonging that can hold not just me, but all the life sustained by this same air, water, and long summer sun, it helps very much to recognize that humans have the capacity to tune in, observe their surroundings, work together, and act wisely toward the betterment of our collective life. This isn't idealism, it's an acknowledgement of true history, and the uncounted generations of human care that went into this land before America ever existed. This type of belonging is available even (maybe especially?) in the hardest times, because it can't be taken away any more than it can be given. We belong to the places and communities where we put our action, where we put our care.
The opening piece was written by Chris at Chicorynaturalist.com and I wanted to share it with you as it’s a thought provoking and wonderful read.
I hope you’re having a wonderful summer and that you have found time to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Since the previous newsletter, I experienced the privilege of fostering a wild baby animal, and am sharing my experience, along with why I soak rice before cooking it; why we should support Hudson Canyon; a story from Colonial times; the inspiring Good Planet Foundation and a 20 minute video of a fabulous gardener in London, UK. Enjoy!
#1- Phoebe the Possum
Phoebe was a dream come true for me. I’ve been rescuing adult possums for years, but had not experienced caring for a baby one. In my car is a ‘possum picking kit’, which consists of a box, with soft material inside inside a cloth pouch, in the event I come across a mother possum that has been hit by a car and has a litter of babies. The kit would keep them comfortable and safe until they reach a wildlife rehabilitator.
Phoebe came into my life via a local wildlife caretaker, who needed someone to help her with the young possum that wasn't ready to be released into the wild. Phoebe’s mother had been hit by a car, and was carrying a litter of babies, who were all killed, except for one. A dog found the tiny Phoebe alive, and carried her in its mouth to a woman across the road, who brought Phoebe to the wildlife caretaker.
By the time Phoebe came into my life, she was already eating kitten food and I just supplemented her diet with foods she would find foraging in the wild like snails, worms, and berries.
Phoebe shortly after I brought her home
Phoebe on my shoulder in the garden @riversedgefarmny
Sitting down in the enclosed garden, so that she can safely climb down and forage around the beds. She loved the ‘fraises des bois’ (tiny strawberries), and other things I couldn’t tell what she was eating
Phoebe has fledged and is living her best possum life under the wood shed. The wildlife camera captures her nightly forays in and around the wood shed, where her bed is always ready for her, and a bowl of fresh water.
Possums are beneficial to the environment
Did you know that Possums are the only marsupial in North America?
Since the age of dinosaurs, the possum has been grooming the earth for pests and insects. They have an extraordinarily diverse diet, and will eat almost anything in the yard: cockroaches, lizards, grubs, snails, mice, carrion, and sometimes snakes (they are resistant to snake venom). Possums feed on thousands of ticks each year, helping reduce the spread of tick-borne diseases.
Possums are nocturnal and solitary; they don’t stay in one area for long. They wander around and do not make nests. Possums in most cases live in ready-made cavities and burrows. They can live in trees, underground, and in any other place that is quiet.
If you spot a possum in your yard, let it wander around, and do its thing of cleaning carrion and eating pests. They are shy and would prefer not be approached.
Should you find an injured or visibly sick possum, never touch it. Instead, call your local wildlife rehabilitation department.
#2- Soak Rice
Soaking rice before cooking it actually assimilates its nutritional qualities, meaning it helps the gastrointestinal tract better absorb vitamins and minerals from the rice, according to renowned Indian nutritionists. Soaked rice also cooks faster and produces a beautiful bloomed texture, allowing it to retain the aromatic elements of the rice.
Suggested amount of time to soak in different rice varieties:
*Unmilled or unhusked whole grain brown, black, red, wild or other unpolished rice: Soak 6-12 hours
*Polished brown rice: Soak 4-6 hours
*Thai sticky rice: Soak overnight
*Basmati, jasmine and sushi rice: Soak 15-30 minutes, unless the recipe specifically recommends otherwise
*Short grain starchy and glutinous rice (arborio): Don’t soak
*Ordinary polished white rice: Soak 0-15 minutes
#3- Hudson Canyon
Did you know that the Hudson Canyon is the largest sub-marine canyon on the East Coast, and is home to hundreds of species of fish and marine mammals, where whales and sea turtles swim beneath the waves and deep-sea corals provide shelter for octopuses, sea stars, bivalves and many other colorful aquatic life forms. This underwater canyon could become America’s newest marine sanctuary, a protected underwater area similar to a national park or monument.
Hudson Canyon begins roughly 100 miles southeast of New York City and extends some 350 miles into the Atlantic, per NOAA. It’s the largest submarine canyon along the East Coast, stretching up to 7.5 miles wide and measuring between 2 and 2.5 miles deep at various points.
Becoming a marine sanctuary would help Hudson Canyon conserve its rich marine wildlife and habitats, promote sustainable economic activities and create new opportunities for scientific research, ocean education and recreation.
The move also comes amid dire warnings that rising ocean temperatures could lead to a mass extinction event among marine species. With federal protection, Hudson Canyon could become a refuge for fish and marine mammals that need cooler water temperatures to survive. As John Calvelli, WSC’s tells the Washington Post’s Anna Phillips, “We want to make sure we’re protecting it for the future.”
This summer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) wants the public to weigh in on whether Hudson Canyon should become part of the national marine sanctuary system.
**The public can comment on the proposed Hudson Canyon sanctuary designation until August 8, 2022, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, www.regulations.gov. The docket number is NOAA-NOS-2022-0053.
Join me in adding a comment!
Watch this video of sea creatures that live in the Hudson Canyon ( I was amazed by the diversity and how exotic they look)
* The video has no audio.
Source: The Smithsonian Magazine
#4- Save Rags
- A Story from Colonial America -
There are aspects of how people lived decades (or sometimes, even further back) that I find inspiring, especially when it comes to reusing and repurposing. Very little was wasted, as resources were not readily available. Take for instance paper, which has been made from wood only since the mid-1800s. Up until the 1850’s and especially during Colonial America, mills recycled cotton and linen cloths to make newsprint. Publishers offered various incentives to people to donate old cloths, and men went door-to-door collecting them.
When the paper industry was established in the United States, it was a recycling industry. Rags were so valued for papermaking that one mill in Massachusetts used as its paper's watermark the words, "Save Rags."
Source: National Geographic
If you are interested in reading more about the history of paper, you’ll enjoy this article from Conservatree.org
#5- The Good Planet Foundation
The GoodPlanet Foundation is a non-governmental organization founded by Yann Arthus-Bertrand in 2005, supporting ecology and sustainable development. It is based in Paris, France.
An extension of Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s artistic work and environmental commitment, The Good Planet is a public interest foundation, that aims to make ecology and humanism a central issue in order to encourage people to take concrete action for the Earth and its inhabitants.
Created in 2005 in the form of a non-profit organisation under the French Law of 1901, Good Planet was declared a public interest foundation in 2009 and became the ‘GoodPlanet Foundation’.
Learn more about the Good Planet Foundation here
* *I’ll be visiting the foundation in Paris very soon and will let you know what it was like. I’m really forward to my visit! They are doing so many inspiring and wonderful projects.
#6- Sowing Roots | Ras Prince: Sankofa
Ras Prince is a horticulturist of Jamaican heritage and a participant of the Garden Museum in London’s recent Sowing Roots project and exhibition, which explored the gardening cultures and traditions that Caribbean people have brought with them to the UK since the Windrush generation. In this new film, enjoy the visit with Ras in his garden and learn his story – from Rock River, Jamaica to Lewisham, south London.
Film by Elijah Grant.
Film length: 21 mins
See you in August, with stories about why I drink organic loose Tea, what I’m doing with all the Zucchini from my garden and more in Newsletter #15!
Stay well in all ways,
P.S. One more thing. I recommend reading the latest piece from George Monbiot.