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Archive for November, 2013

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Pretty as a picture, these 5 day old alfalfa sprouts are ready to enjoy in a stir fry, a salad or a sandwich. By sprouting seeds, anyone can grow and harvest fresh, nutritious food on the kitchen bench. My own tiny indoor garden is never at the mercy of pests or the elements, and its harvest contains many essential vitamins and enzymes to enrich our family diet. All that is needed is a glass container for growing the sprouts and access to a sink.

Sprouting is true ‘bench top organic vegetable gardening.’ Many varieties of seeds and grains are commercially available, with each producing a different flavour together with naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. While sprouts can be grown during most of the year, keep in mind that temperatures between 20 to 25 degrees centigrade (60 – 80 degrees farenheit) will produce the best results.

To make your own sprouting jar, choose a fairly large glass jar with an open mouth. A piece of gauze or cheese cloth and a rubber band provide the lid. The cloth cover must allow water to be poured through it while keeping the seeds back. Commercial sprouters are also inexpensive and readily available.

How to Grow Sprouts

  1. Wash a rounded tablespoon of seeds in fresh water. Drain this, then soak the seeds for 3 to 6 hours. Pour off the first soak and transfer seeds to the sprouting container.
  2. Rinse and drain the seeds at least three times daily. Rinsing is important as water provides the moisture needed to activate growth. The seeds need to be drained as leaving sprouts in water will cause them to rot.
  3. After several days when the sprouts are ready I place them outside in full sunlight for an hour or two to ‘fatten up’ the small green leaves. I gently wash them by separating the sprouts with my fingers to de-hull them, shaking loose any un-sprouted seeds.
  4. Finally I drain the sprouts on a paper towel and store them in a container in the fridge.

Visit Green Harvest to learn more about obtaining organic seeds and sprouting nature’s small wonders.

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Transparent skies, an azure haze
Those tender, sweet, pellucid days that
Mask the coming summer’s heat
It’s hot and white relentless beat
Of arid wind on face and feet.
Oh, the heart-breaking beauty of springtime’s haze
In those early, soft, enchanting days.

Translucent light, a turquoise sea
My heart so open, loving free.
September – when you came my way
October – when you said you’d stay
November – when you slipped away.
Now I only remember the turquoise sea
Not that empty beach, with only me.

Early winter’s chill has come
Over Capricorn’s blazing sun.
Dark clouds racing to and fro
Shadows lengthening long and slow
Reminding me, I too must go.
Yet I’ll never forget the azure haze
Of our tender, sweet, pellucid days.

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Von Karman vortices over Alaska’s Aleutian Islands

The United States Government-owned  Landsat 7 was launched into space in April 1999, from the Vandenberg  Air Force base in California. This satellite’s basic purpose was for the study of global change, as well as for monitoring and mapping the entire surface of Planet Earth. The goal of NASA Earth Science is to develop an understanding of our Earth as an integrated system, and so to better predict trends in climate changes, weather and natural hazards.

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A wadi (dry gully) in Southeastern Jordan  after drenching seasonal rains

These and many other stunning images were sent back from Landsat 7. As the satellite also measures light outside the visible image, the photographs showed Earth as we have never seen her before. These images with their vibrant swirls, abstracted forms, and eye-popping bursts of colour, look like paintings hanging for all to view in galleries and museums of contemporary art. Amazingly they are photos of where we all live.

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Part of the Sierra Madre Mountains in Coahuela, Mexico

While the purpose of these images was intended for scientific study, everyone viewing them was deeply moved by their beauty. To celebrate four decades of Earth-gazing, NASA and the US Geographical Society selected and digitally coloured 120 images, then put them up for public vote in their Earth as Art contest.

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Gosses Bluff, The Northern Territory, Australia

By enjoying these moments of beauty, we grow in our connection to the Earth and to an awareness of our need to cherish and sustain her. To view more images visit the EROS Centre.

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The Yukon Delta on the Western coast of Alaska

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Some complain because
God put thorns on roses.
Others praise Him for
Placing roses among thorns.

 

 

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Too much time has passed—several years in fact—since I made a return visit to the dome. Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha hosts the site of a geodesic dome, with  its lattice of steel frames and glass dominating the skyline of the garden. The dome houses a splendid collection of Australian tropical plants. An expanded display of several specimens lines the forecourt near the main entrance, as if to prepare us for the wonders we will encounter within.

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Crossing the threshold, I breathe in the heavy humidity and hot temperatures that draw me into the remembrance of a jungle and rain forest climate. Come along and enjoy a stroll through the exotic landscape that has been cultivated here.

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Heliconias, the orange caterpillar plant, and a bed of red Anthuriums capture our attention.

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Tiny blooming shrubs and a flowering ginger hybrid leads us toward the exit, where a last view of the forecourt completes our taste of the tropics. What a beautiful place this is, where I can enjoy photographing the fleeting and ever changing moments of our natural world.

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