Archive for the ‘Farmland’ Category
Double Brook Farm Autumn Zinnias by Tasha O’Neill
Those of you who know me, know [-- long before my own year in Provence --] that my favorite fragrance in the entire world is lavender. A close second, –with the added benefit of that pungent evergreen flavor–, is rosemary. When I lived in Cannes, lavender honey was the key treat of weekly visits to its marche/market. Fresh herbs were a given, in that land where the mistral infused the very air with rosemary. However, never did I expect to taste rosemary ice cream.
[As a food stylist in Manhattan, there was nothing trickier than photographing ice cream --Robin McConaughy's masterful image of their unforgettable new specialty: ]
Robin McConaughy’s Rosemary-Caramel Ice Cream!
I tasted this remarkable creation, –rich as Devonshire cream, darkly complex with caramel, redolent of rosemary–, in next-door Hopewell, at Double Brook farm. There is no better flavoring for lamb — but ice cream? Splendid, never-to-be-forgotten, and probably unequaled. Even Shakespeare insists, “rosemary — that’s for remembrance.”
Double Brook Farm Fresh Bean Array by Tasha O’Neill
Those of you who read D&R Greenway newsletters and the local media, know well that sustainable farming is alive and well in Hopewell, thanks to Robin and Jon McConaughy. This past Friday, friend and fine-art-photographer Tasha O’Neill attended Jon and Robin’s Friday farm produce sale, our first visit to the farm for that purpose.
Double Brook Farm Hot Peppers by Tasha O’Neill
(This energetic young couple had hosted D&R Greenway’s Down-to-Earth Ball a year ago. Their handsome cattle are carefully moved a prescribed number of times per day, from grass field to grass field, on D&R Greenway’s St. Michaels Farm Preserve off Aunt Molly Road in Hopewell.)
Double Brook Farm Tomatilloes, Tasha O’Neill
THIS day, Tasha and I encountered Double Brook Farm’s raison d’etre, FRESH LOCAL PRODUCE and salumi (exotic meats from their own tenderly animals — Tasha bought lardo and I soppresata) cameras in hand. She was kind enough to send her images this morning, so I’m sharing them with you.
Double Brook Farm Salumi, Slow-Food-Snail-Seal-of-Approval Tasha O’Neill
As we insist, over and over in these virtual pages, New Jersey is beautiful. She produces such spectacular produce, ‘right in our own back yards.’
Garden State Bounty, Double Brook Farm by Tasha O’Neill
Here is Double Brooks web-site — Robin herself could be a fine art photographer: http://www.doublebrookfarm.com/
Double Brook Okra by Tasha O’Neill
Put yourself on Robin’s e-mail list, so you’ll know when the farmstand is open again. When the store on #518 is fully restored and providing this sort of bounty year-round. When the restaurant, on #518, that exquisite red brick home, is brought back to life and its brick-lined paths trimmed and ready for visitors. Tasha and I and I had been invited to explore the flower paths, the herb gardens behind the soon-to-be restaurants. But we “had promises to keep…”, in another dear old NJ Town, Kingston. So we don’t have herb pictures for you.
Robin’s and Jon’s Rubies - Red Onions of Double Brook Farm by Tasha O’Neill
But we do have some of the essence of Double Brook Farm in these new scenes.
Succulent, Tender, Subtly Irresistible Shiitakes of Double Brook by Tasha O’Neill
I am awash in gratitude, as you know, to those who KEEP THE meaning of GARDEN in the Garden State.
Preserved Farm, Salem County, New Jersey cfe
I thank you for reading NJ WILD so often and so studiously. Last month’s statistics included 3500 viewers, most of you staying on for a page and a half, from virtually every country/continent. How can that be? Because New Jersey is beautiful and bountiful, and we’re lucky enough to live and farm-shop here!
SALEM COUNTY’S BUCOLIC HISTORY - ALLOWAY CREEK cfe
NJ WILD readers know my favorite places to travel are the wild ones of New Jersey, –especially central and southern–, particularly near water, salt and fresh.
Often in quest of birds, rare yet plentiful.
You also know that the places I choose are havens on many levels.
However, I may not have emphasized enough that one can visit NJ WILD sites, even on major ‘Holidays’, without crowds.
Hancock House Historic Outbuilding - Revolutionary Site — cfe
If you pull up NJ WILD, it has a search feature. Write in ‘Brigantine’ or ‘Pine Barrens’; ‘Sourlands’ or Sandy Hook; Bull’s Island, the Delaware River, Island Beach, etc. You’ll be given a string of posts on their wild beauty, and directions are often part of the saga. For deepest solitude, plan birders’ hours — first light and last light.
In general, Take The Pretty Way, the back roads.
Salem Preserves — cfe
Tomorrow, a friend and I will launch her new Prius into Salem and Cumberland Counties. We’ll be treated to golden stretches of marshland; to shimmering rivers with splendid Indian names, such as the Manumuskin. We’ll ride on and laugh at the sound of Buckshutem Road. We’ll wonder, as you always must down there, where on earth will we eat? Of course, there’ll be the freshest of Jersey Fresh produce on weathered stands in front of farmhouses of other centuries. Of course, we’ll slide coins into Trust Boxes, as we settle agricultural jewels into our sustainability bags to take home.
We’ll see rare birds, especially eagles. Salem County held our only productive eagle nest during the grim DDT years, which my county (Somerset) is about to reinstitute, as it ‘adulticizes’ mosquitoes in the week ahead. Now, I am not kidding, in Salem and Cumberland Counties, we could see more eagles than we can count.
American Bald Eagle Floating - Brenda Jones
Osprey Claiming Nest, Brenda Jones
Cabbage Whites Nectaring — Brenda Jones
Especially ditto purple martins, but they had all left the Brigantine the last time I was there, weeks ahead of schedule. Theory is that our drought hinders the insect population to such a degree that martin migration is over. I’ll know tomorrow. If not, there could be hundreds of thousands of them, bending the marsh grasses, then darkening skies, along the Maurice River.
Alloway Creek, site of British Massacre of Colonial Soldiers, Salem County — cfe
Look up these sites, and find them for yourselves. There won’t be anyone else on most of the roads to the unknown, actually usually forgotten, Delaware Bay.
Salem County, Tranquillity Base cfe
When both branches of the Millstone River, at #518 and Canal Road, show more pebbles than water
When you can see white rocks, like rip-rap, ringing islands and fringing land along the Delaware River
When the Mississippi River, in an aerial view, is more beige than blue - with surf-like curves of blonde sand like corn-row haircuts and her barges cannot carry full loads, and their pilots describe “the new river”, “the unknown” river when the Mississippi has turned from “The Big Muddy” to “The Big Sandy”
When a meteorologist shows you a pie chart that is 90% hot red, 10% blue - (pie chart representing the year 2012; blue sliver cold extremes; all-conquering red being heat extremes) and she terms this a mere “anomaly”
It’s time to face the C-words: CATASTROPHIC CLIMATE CHANGE.
When Terhune Orchards reports most fruit crops coming in one month early at least
When any farm stand showed you that our strawberries not only began early, but finished bearing early
When corn was head-high by the Fourth of July, some even tasseling out, now browning, then blackening with ceaseless drought
It’s time to admit “the times are out of joint” weather-wise, as we have been warned for decades, re our ceaseless unremediated carbon emissions
When there is no more soft rain, but only monsoon-blinding-downpours on the heels of waterless weeks
Pollan and Hansen and Gore have alerted us for decades that extremes are the toll we pay for carbon excesses
When hours of thunder and lightning don’t even dampen paving stones out my study window
When trees along local highways, in July, sp0urt yellow brighter than highway stripes and it’s not flowers
It’s time to FACE IT
Not only is the weather severely out of balance in our time — it may well be past the famous tipping point.
What we are experiencing on all fronts is the logical outcome of runaway consumption, ice-cap melt, glacial melt, and so forth and so on, ad infinitum the sky IS falling and nobody’s drawing correct conclusions, let alone turning excess around
As your NJ WILD reporter, I cannot rhapsodize about nature, today, let alone insert pretty pictures.
Nature is turning into a corpse before our eyes, and we’re talking about the equivalent of curls and manicure upon a corpse.
Yes, I’ve been to what’s left of her beauty, a forest here, a river there, kayaking on the canal.
I feel no better than Nero, fiddling while my beloved Nature burns, sometimes quite literally up in flames…
Who is doing WHAT to turn this around?
(to paraphrase Pogo re meeting the enemy) — There is extinction on the menu, and it is us.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT?
Winter’s Fruits from Farm Markets cfe
NJ WILD readers know I have been ‘hors de combat’ for some months now, recently remedied with hip/femur replacement. Beginning walks in nature — so glad to have feet on green growing matter and real earth after all those hospital and rehab strolls.
One of the first events I’ll be visiting, of course, will be Indoor Winter Farm Markets - always a treasure to me, as NJ WILD readers know.
Bill Flemer’s Riverside Bluegrass Band at D&R Greenway Johnson Education Center cfe
January 14, D&R Greenway, where I work, will host this constellation of foods, hand-made items, homemade music, and the like.
Brilliantly Crafted and Named Cherry Grove Cheeses at D&R Greenway cfe
Our barn is always a convivial setting for parties - usually art (new exhibit, Textures and Trails, awaits on its weathered walls.) Music reverberates among the ancient beams, most from 1900, some from the 1800’s. Horses, cows, chickens, pigs and eggs once filled the stalls where we now work and you enjoy art and science to further preservation.
Home from Indoor Winter Farm Market - Slow Food/D&R Greenway cfe
This from Jim Weaver, Founder/Chef of Tre Piani Restaurant at Forrestal as well as co-founder of Slow Food Central Jersey. Enjoy and join us! You’ll not only be happier for it, you’ll be healthier, And so will New Jersey land, farmland and her farmers.
New Jersey Farm Market Produce - grown and sold the ‘Slow’ Way… cfe
Contact: Beth Feehan, 609 577-5113, email@example.com
Stockton, NJ: Slow Food Central New Jersey presents an indoor winter farm market at the Johnson Education Center, a beautifully restored barn from 1900, on the grounds of the D&R Greenway in Princeton. D&R Greenway is located at One Preservation Place off of Rosedale Road in Princeton. This market will run from 10am-2pm. Visit www.drgreenway.org for directions.
Why NJ Farmstands, cfe
On February 19th, Tre Piani Restaurant in Forrestal Village in Princeton hosts the Market from 11am-3pm. Tre Piani is the original site where the Markets started seven years ago with Slow Food Central New Jersey. For directions to Tre Piani, visit www.trepiani.com.
Terhune Orchards at Slow Food/D&R Greenway Indoor Winter Farm Market cfe
Saturday, January 14
D&R Greenway Land Trust, Princeton
609 924-4646 www.drgreenway.org
For more information, call 609 577-5113. For up to date information on vendors, visit Slow Food Central New Jersey on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/groups/279661868722992/.
Red-winged Blackbird, Sunset, by Brenda Jones
NJ WILD readers know that the catalyst for all my nature experiences is birding. You may not know that I’ve been barred from it, increasingly, this year, by a mysteriously deteriorating hip.
On Wednesday, November 9, that hip will be replaced with something shiny, smooth and functional. My orthopedist insists, “We’re going to be very aggressive re rehab, because we want to get you back in the kayak and out on the trail.” And that means new stories for all of you — 1000 to 1200 per week - always a miracle to me, and greatly appreciated.
NJ WILD readers also know that D&R Greenway Land Trust preserved the St. Michael’s (Orphanage) land in Hopewell, 300+ acres that would by now hold 1200 houses, had we not raised what I recall as thirteen million dollars by the Ides of March that year. Bill Flemer, IV, of the legendary Princeton Nursery family, works for D&R Greenway now, managing the farm preserve.
The New York Times recently wrote at length about our native plant seed project there, under Bill’s, as well as Jared Rosenbaum’s, of our Native Plant Nursery. We are growing hundreds of native wildflowers there for their seed. It will be taken, in partnership with New York City’s Department of Parks and Restoration, to re-seed, reclaim the direly named Fresh Kills. You may realize that World Trade Center debris was taken to that site. Because of preservation and stewardship in your own back yard, flowers will bloom there, and blow in the wind. Flowers that belong, that will seed themselves in the sea wind…
Support your local land trust wherever you are, especially D&R Greenway.
Mockingbird Singing, by Brenda Jones
And rejoice at this recent e-bird list, thanks to Jim Amon, our Director of Stewardship, for this good news, reminding me that there are birds in our world.
St.Michael’s, Mercer, US-NJ
Canada Goose 10
Why Choose Jersey Fresh: West Windsor Farm Market cfe
Cumberland County Fall Farm Bounty, CFE
NJ Wild Readers are well aware of my passion for farms, farmers, farmlands and farm markets.
The legendary Michele Byers, Executive Director of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, gives me willing, even eager permission to quote her recent column on these topics. Because, after all, she exults, “It’s all about education, spreading the word.”
Count yourselves fortunate to have read and experienced the glory of NJ farms in these posts. And support Michele anywhere, everywhere, everyhow - in her campaigns to keep our NJ Green and Garden-y.
Farm Market Central - West Windsor Farm Market, NJ cfe
by Michele S. Byers, Executive Director, New Jersey Conservation Foundation
Cumberland County Autumn, cfe
Cumberland County Harvest cfe
Gov. Chris Christie recently approved a new package of bills that reinforce
A Ripeness of Melons, West Windsor Farm Market cfe
One of the new laws requires “Jersey Fresh” and “Made with Jersey Fresh”
Cumberland County Decorative Corn cfe
New Jersey grows more than 100 different varieties of fruits, vegetables and
An Apple A Day, Trenton Farmers Market cfe
Only those growers who abide by the state’s quality grading program are
Cumberland County Bargains cfe
So if you can’t make it to your local farm market in the upcoming fall
Cumberland County, Jersey Freshest cfe
Just as New Jersey is a top national producer of fruits and vegetables, New
Symphony of Yellows, West Windsor Farm Market cfe
The farmland preservation funds approved by Governor Christie will help
Home From the Trenton Farmers Market cfe
For more information on the nation’s most popular farmers markets, go to
Peach Abundance, Trenton Farmers Market cfe
To learn more about Jersey Fresh products, including
Awaiting Vincent West Windsor Farm Market cfe
And if you’d like more information about conserving New Jersey’s precious
Farmstand Bounty, cfe
NJ WILD readers know my passion for farm markets. What you may not realize is my nearly phobic reaction to supermarkets, with a couple of exceptions (Wegmans being one). What I view with enormous horror is those Weather Channel scenes of people madly buying milk and so forth before storms. So this week’s Category 2, then 1 Hurricane tenses me in ways not shared by most.
On Friday, inadvertently, I found the ideal solution to readying for a storm. Drive over through Hunterdon County to the Delaware River, have a lovely breakfast at Miels, then head upriver and downriver on the Pennsylvania, then New Jersey sides.
Our river has never looked more tranquil - to the point that rare houses were mirror-reflected in nearly still water. Along her edges floated necklaces of rhapsodic people, in flamingo-pink, buttercup-yellow and hot blue tubes.
What does this have to do with hurricane-prep?
Along the way, stop at every roadside stand. Pick up absolutely vine-ripened solid round tomatoes, in a crooked shady lane in front of a McMansion, of all things. No one tends this roadside stand - there is an honor box. There aren’t even prices. You just decide and tuck in your money. You can also buy white eggs and ice-green squash.
At another tiny stand, gather field bouquets enriched with hardy zinnias in pinata colors.
Next to a huge bright green and yellow tractor, choose between white corn and yellow corn from a man who writes your purchase down on a piece of paper with a pencil.
Try to find water for your fellow explorer in a country store next to a brook and the Pennsylvania (pretty much abandoned) version of our canal. Have the cheery proprietress say, “Water? Of course! I had 8 delivered this morning!” It’s not even noon, and her waters are all gone. Revel in the peace of a part of the world where 8 gallons of water is a lot.
Stop beside a high wiry bridge back over the Delaware, which you hope won’t be threatened with the dire rains about to be our fate. Enjoy the hand-painted signs: CORN, PEACHES, TOMATOES, FLOWERS. Choose onions with Pennsylvania dirt still clinging to the roots. Pick up a couple of tiny, rosy, fresh garlic that will probably squirt you when you cut it, the way it does in France. Get some huge heirloom tomatoes under a hand-scrawled sign that says, “BEAUTY ISN’T EVERYTHING!” As you choose your peaches, tell the woman of the stand that, to you, all heirlooms are beautiful.
Interstate Walkway - Bull’s Island Footbridge cfe
Drove slowly south on the NJ side to Bull’s Island, and walk that dazzling footbridge over the hushed Delaware.
Think what drama is in store for your beloved river.
Stop at Maresca’s in Seargentsville, so Emil can cut you four tiny filets, three to freeze; then medium-slice his home-smoked bacon and impeccably wrap each collection of meat in real waxy brown butcher’s paper. Relish his smile and that of the woman (his daughter?) who is so helpful, who finds you their freshly gathered eggs; their fresh mozzarella; praises (so you buy it) their olive oil; and admits to having baked the biscotti and the apricot-centered tiny butter cookies.
Sergeantsville Reflection, cfe
All the way home, know that, in addition to the flavors and the vibrant health of the foods you’ve gathered pre-Irene, you will be savoring these memories.
NJ WILD readers may remember this from the ‘dog days’ of last August. As we endure triple-digit heat days in JUNE, no less (while politicians debate the reality of Catastrophic Climate Change, I find myself newly compelled to seek out dappled roadways.
We, in Princeton and near, are blessed with places where shadows caress windshields and shiny metal hoods of vehicles. Sometimes, we can even drive where trees hold hands over our cars. On Pinelands roads, we may enjoy shadowed beauty and solitude even on Fourth of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day and the like.
Come DAPPLE with me!
In this summer of drought, when enormous swathes of corn have turned the color of camels on either side of Route 518 West of Princeton, I have had to develop a new modus operandi for driving. To evade that broiler-sun, I have come deliberately to tool along, up hill and down dale, on the outskirts of towns, and through the middle of small ones, as far as possible from highways, let alone anything named ’super’. I have to go in search of dappled roads.
This searing summer, I have been taught that shade is far more important than elapsed driving time.
When I endured 1988’s Provencal August, I wrote a poem beginning, “the sun strikes its flat sword blade…” I never before knew sun as enemy. As a child, my parents would sing, “Rain, rain, go away. Little Carolyn wants to play.” And this was perennially true. Now I feel I should do penance for this wish — now I find myself singing, “Sun, sun, go away.”
Day after day, “severe thunderstorms forecast”. Night after night, I carry my too-heavy new watering can around the rudimentary garden outside my new apartment on a wooded hill. Sometimes my parched plants cry out for me to repeat this procedure in mornings before work. People near my Canal Road dwelling have been saying, “We to live in a valley, a valley where it always rains on either side of us.” The ground outside is hard as concrete. Water from the golden can skids off the soil like mercury, like a garden snake, hurrying elsewhere, not sinking into roots.
I’ve had to find ways to escape the searing sun. I drive the dappled roads.
Blue Hills Above the Delaware from Hunterdon County
One of my all-time favorite books is William Least Heat Moon’s Blue Highways. I turn to it over and over, like Thoreau and Beston, Leopold and Abbey. W.L.H.M. took off in a van on the day he lost both wife and job, traveling the blue highways of our land, the ones without ’super’. He sought out cafes, measuring them by the number of photo calendars they displayed near their cash register. He brought to life each bossy waitress, each curmudgeonly fellow traveler at a stool at his side at the counter. Moon was not on a gastronomic quest, as I often am. Rather in search of humans, real people, what we used to call Americans before a certain recent president made ME ashamed to BE one… That simple travelogue held its place on best-seller lists for months. That basic journey sustained me in many a challenging ordeal of life.
“Where ya goin’?,” a fellow feeder asked William L.H. Moon. “Dunno,” he truthfully answered. His interrogator grinned: “Can’t get lost then.”
When I travel the dappled roads, it doesn’t matter if I get lost. On the dappled highways, still green and feathery above, the smokey wash of shadow alters both my car’s blinding finish and my own dessicated mood.
Provence didn’t have shadows. I never realized shade was essential. The most important description of any Inn was “terrace ombragee”. Until I sat at on those shaded terraces, surrounded by white linen and heavy silver and Provencal specialties beneath leather-leaved plane trees, (our sycamores) I didn’t know how priceless is shade. In Provence, I tried and failed to remember a favorite poem, “Glory be to God for Dappled Things.”
This summer, I learn the value of shadows in our own country. Without linen, without silver, sans cuisine.
When you travel ombragee’d roadways, you’ll either be pretty much alone, as in the Pine Barrens. Or you’ll be surrounded by people in a pretty good mood, soothed as shade comes and goes, as the road rises and falls, as trees create sanctuaries of silence.
Dappled roads don’t just funnel one - dappled roads lead somewhere.
As to rivers - the Wading, the Delaware. As to forests — Wharton, Brendan Byrne. As to mountains, so they say, as in Sourlands. Past a funny old road house, beloved of locals. Alongside farmstands, “cucumbers, 50 cents each”. “Our own fresh eggs.”
As you drive along dappled roads in South Jersey, you can check on the blueberry crop, the busy-ness of rented bees among tiny white cranberry blossoms. If you ‘dapple’ West, you’ll study the state of the sorghum crop, and puzzle as to whether corn tassels out later, the closer you get to the Delaware River (my theory. In this year of the drought, the later-tasseling corn is faring better.)
I’d far rather know how the sorghum’s doing, than the latest catastrophe of some celebrity of entertainment or politics (it is becoming more and more difficult to tell the difference.) I can stop thinking, for a few hours, about the perilous migratory journeys of all our New Jersey birds headed toward and over the Gulf.
When you choose dappled roads, even in town, as in Princeton, you’ll pass homes and graveyards of any number of signers of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the imposing residence of the current governor. Signs exult, “Tree City”. Oxymoronic, to be sure, but I’m grateful for every monarch of old, waving leafily, dreamily above my sheltering car.
When you drive shadowed south Jersey roadways, you course along beside pristine sugar sand. Here and there will be spurts of blinding ferns despite apparent lack of water. This year, you’ll read Smokey Bear signs with exclamation points after the single word “WILDFIRE!”, where fire danger used to be listed as low, medium or high. When you drive shadowed roadways west, you see gleaming silos like cathedrals in the distance. White horses and black-and-white cattle stand so peacefully, lessons in tranquillity. Red barns and redder farmhouses rise like exclamation points in the surrounding text of crops. You’ll clunk over a white covered bridge (as in Sergeantsville).
If I’m lucky, I can take dappled roads BOTH into and out of Sergeantsville, coming and going from my shadow-quest.
Shade will bless you as you pass any number of Washington’s Headquarters, perhaps pondering the fate of America without those stony shrines and their plain but brilliant occupant during the 1770’s and 80’s…
The edges of dappled roads could have been embroidered. This morning, bright sturdy chicory lined my path all the way to Stockton, like blue French knots embroidered by impeccable seamstresses. Here and there, a brook would keep me company, its quiet gleam no match for the bonniness of chicory. Behind the blue ‘knots’, entire fields of white lace, –yes, Queen Anne’s, short and tough yet delicate–, nodded in the half breeze.
An entire field of sunflowers, right west of here on #518, caused homesickness for France, for Arles, for Vincent, sane or mad, but no better chronicler of roadside flowers in the history of art.
Blessed by leaf-flicker, I am far from matters troublous. Weaving through Washington-shrines, I either forget the nightly news, or set it firmly in perspective. Taking the shady roads, I also manage to avoid most who exhibit road rage, although there was one harsh driver at the gas station at dawn for whom the attendant apologized three times. “He is not nice, that one…”
Dappled roads are nice. Good for the soul. Gateways to the beauties of New Jersey of which so many are absolutely unaware, and even the best of us can tend to forget, in hurly burly or in drought.
On dappled roads, embroidered roadways, weekend errands don’t even feel like tasks.
Find the Photographer - Anne Zeman - at her task…
EXCURSION TO THE BARRENS
I like to watch old farms wake up
ground fog furling within the turned furrows
as dew-drenched tendrils of some new crop
lift toward dawn
three solid horses bumble
along the split-rail fence
one rusting tractor pulsing
at the field’s hem
just over the horizon
the invisible ocean
paints white wisps
all along the Pinelands’
blank blue canvas
as gulls intensely circle
this tractor driver’s
frayed straw hat
from rotund ex-school buses
long green rows suddenly peppered
by their vivid headgear
as they bend and bend again
to sever Jersey’s bright asparagus
some of which I’ll buy
just up ahead
at the unattended farm stand
slipping folded dollars
into the ‘Honor Box’
before driving so reluctantly
away from this region called ‘Barren’
where people and harvests
still move to seasons and tides
CAROLYN FOOTE EDELMANN
This old farm is Hobler Park, Great Road and 518, Blawenburg
That at the top is a Bucks County Barn
I work in Robert Wood Johnson’s working barn, D&R Greenway Land Trust off Rosedale Road in Princeton
Johnson Education Center, D&R Greenway Land Trust
Bill Rawlyk (Hunterdon County) Farm Blueberries in
D&R Greenway’s Pergola, Summer 2009
There is NO SUCH THING as TOO MANY FARMS!
SAVE GARDEN STATE FARMLAND!
Spring Tiptoes Through the Pines
Lake Oswego Invites, Pine Barrens, New Jersey, April 2011 (cfe)
Desperate for spring, yesterday, I took a friend –who’d never been in the Pinelands– to this pristine region of our beleaguered, overpopulated state.
Both of us were absolutely enchanted all the day long.
On empty roads, which I term “My Secret Roads”, into Pinelands, I have been taught and taught, “The Journey is the Destination.” My friend experienced this reality. You can, too!
True Pine Barrens Welcome, (cfe)
How to undertake this miraculous Journey: Route 563 South from Chatsworth (Heart of the Pines). First stop into Buzby’s General Store, at the corner of 563 and 532, just south of the firehouse. Go into Buzby’s for Pine Barrens books and products - local, sustainable, traditional and real.
Marilyn Schmidt at Buzby’s with her Easter Tree, by Sharon Olson
Especially buy its splendid, thorough and revelatory Pine Barrens Map, while they last. It was designed by the lady at the desk, my friend Marilyn Schmidt. This powerhouse of a woman saved Buzby’s from oblivion and worse, doing whatever it took to have it named to the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places. She also wrote and published many of the books on Pine Barrens history, lingo, graveyards and foods.
Blueberry Bread, Cranberry Bread, Cornbread Mixes from Buzby’s (cfe)
To Find Lake Oswego: South of Chatsworth, on the left, be on lookout for small thin sign, reading “Oswego”, VERY high in a tree. (Locals hammered the lake’s name to a tree so it would grow up up and away. Pineys are famous for wanting to keep their beautiful region for themselves.)
Turn left and wander along that long not winding lane, between bogs. This time of year, they are flooded lest vital vines be frozen during still chilly nights. You’ll pass a state institute of research on the Pines’ most famous crops, cranberries and blueberries. Bogs are also flooded, to assist with wet harvest.
Cranberry Harvest, Alongside 563, near Chatsworth, Autumn, 2010 (cfe)
Yesterday, I fretted, with state finances in such disarray, will berry research still be funded next time I drive to Oswego?
The first time I took the Oswego road, a minuscule forest fire was running right along both edges. between road and sand, not yet into woods.
Fire is the friend of the Pine Barrens - clearing out pine duff and too many oaks, allowing fire-resistant pitch pines to burgeon anew (newly fertilized by ash), serotinous cones only burst by heat, seeds scattered by firewinds. Without pine duff and oak seedlings, and only without them, the Pines can thrive.
“Sure, a Little Bit of Heaven Fell…” (cfe)
On my forest fire drive, it was deep winter. Flames danced like tiny red snakes, temptation dancers – Firebird, Sheherezade. To continue to watch such a dance, would I give the dancers anything, even John the Baptist’s head?
Beyond whirling tongues of orange and copper and scarlet and gold, snow and ice ruled. Beneath white glaze were waiting Pine Barrens rarities, –carnivorous plants, spring-raucous Pine Barrens tree frogs, spotted turtles, rare corn snakes and special rattlesnakes, curly grass fern, elusive swamp pink…
Firelings writhed merrily along. Pavement ended. Auslanders are not supposed to drive on sugar sand roads. But I was drawn on and on, over the tiny bridge, to that scintillation of lake –absolutely irresistible:
“In Just Spring”, Even Though April, (cfe)
I am forever magnetized by Lake Oswego. Partly because, there, I still feel Indians to whom it used to be sacred.
Sacred Pine Barrens Peat Water of Lake Oswego on Fourth of July (cfe)
Partly because blueberries grow on all sides there, on host shrubs taller than I. The fruit of each bush holds a different flavor, texture, size and juiciness. No wonder New Jersey makes blueberry wine. Sampling those berries in June is like walking through a wine tasting. Except that these ‘grapes’ are blue and high and warm in sun.
Alongside that little bridge that I first met in fire and ice, spring will bring white bells that turn into blueberries.
A little later, air beside the bridge will be perfumed by the white cascades of sweet pepper bush. Everywhere is water, and somewheres kayakers. And sometimes happy swimmers and dabblers. Always appreciators.
Hikers Discuss Lake Oswego Trails (cfe)
This magic enclave is more than 50 and less than 75 miles from where I used to live at Canal Pointe. This magic awaits in all seasons.
Is Bright Moss Spring? (cfe)
However, yesterday, I would say that we found beauty yes but spring, no.
Small State Forest Sign, Not Identifying Lake- Will Sign Be There Next Time? (cfe)
Lake Oswego is a State Park, although the large state sign at entry has been removed. [Not sure whether this is Piney Keep-Out attitude, or State parsimony.
Such absences are ever ominous to a preservationist, but not troubling to the hikers and fishermen of yesterday. Fishermen and -woman grinned from ear to ear, even though they were reluctantly turning their backs on the lake. “What are you catching here?”, I asked, having just finished Richard Louv’s “Fly Fishing for Sharks”, therefore feeling every inch a virtual fisherman. “Pickerel,” they said, glowing. Ah, ha! I’d always wanted to hear of pickerel, this near to the sea.
I remembered that nomadic New Jersey Indians once moved from their hunting (inland) lives to their gathering lives at the Shore, after gathering at our (Hamilton/Trenton/Bordentown Marsh), creating the sand trails that became the 20th Century’s 195 over to Brielle and the sea. I remembered that they knew to move to the ocean when the leaves of pickerel weed (which grows and provides sanctuary for fish in (fake) Lake Carnegie, not only thrust to full height, but opened to full light.
I really wanted to meet a pickerel. But they had no catch - all catch and release, as is the way of fishing in American waters now.
This pine-ringed lake could be the finest Old Pawn jewelry, venerable turquoise set in the richly carved bezel of stately green-black pines.
At Lake Oswego, in all seasons, all is the silence and peace I seek.
Visitors know and respect its soothing, inspiring aura, even when spring won’t arrive.
Our Earliest Flower - the Swamp Maple — Oswego’s Only April 9 Bloom (cfe)