Dandy and plenty Devotees of dandelions see food and drink options, not pesky weeds

Master gardener Roselyn Taylor , Rodman, says dandelions are more than weeds, they can be used medicinally and in recipes. Norm Johnston / NNY Living

Master gardener Roselyn Taylor , Rodman, says dandelions are more than weeds, they can be used medicinally and in recipes. Norm Johnston / NNY Living

The yellow buttons of spring sprouting on the green coats of north country lawns quickly wear out their welcome. Now, for many people, it is time to eradicate those dandelions with an arsenal of weed killers.

But hold on, says Roselyn Taylor, a master gardener for the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County.
In the latest Master Gardener newsletter published by the Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, Mrs. Taylor wrote about some edible and other alternatives for the perennial flowering weed:
“The greens are used in salads, fried up as fritters, pureed into pesto and dried for tea,” she wrote.
She added that oil made from dandelion flowers can relieve arthritis. The sap from the stem of the plants can be used on warts.
“I think it’s hysterical that people have such fits over dandelions,” Mrs. Taylor said in a phone interview from her home in Rodman late last month, where she tends to her small organic farm and five horses.
Mrs. Taylor isn’t alone in her appreciation of dandelions. [Read more...]

Educator says risk of emerald ash borer invasion this summer is high

bilde-2The likelihood of an emerald ash borer invasion has reached a new high, according to a local expert.

If the emerald ash borer is going to infest the north country, it likely will happen in June as adult insects emerge from trees and take flight, said Susan J. Gwise, horticulture educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County.

People have good reason to be on guard for the pest this summer, Mrs. Gwise said. The beetle was first detected last summer in Syracuse and Onondaga County, increasing the likelihood of it spreading north. But there is still a greater probability that it will enter the region from the north by arriving from infected regions of Canada, she said. It could easily make the trip across the St. Lawrence River into St. Lawrence County.

“It could be coming at us from both directions, basically,” Mrs. Gwise said. “More than likely it’s going to come from the north, rather than the south, because it could just hop across the river. If it arrives here, it’s likely that we won’t know where it came from.” [Read more...]

The joys of pickling, canning easy accessible

While time consuming, the art of pickling is not as complicated or challenging as it may seem. Justin Sorensen/ NNY Living

When my 3-year-old daughter took a liking to pickled cucumbers, I went from dabbling in pickling to becoming a full-fledged enthusiast. Today, there is plenty of literature on the craft of pickling and my daughter, to whom I regularly give pickled cucumbers, is nearly 22.

My interest in pickling predates its mention in the 2013 National Restaurant Association food trend forecast by a few decades. When I was visiting my daughter in Boston this summer, I noticed numerous pickled items on menus and used as garnishes. I suspect pickling has become popular along with the organic, local food trend. And, of course, there’s nothing more local than your own backyard. [Read more...]

It’s a man’s world

Clayton resident Audie Cerow’s man cave. He built the personal space, outfitted with Toronto Maple Leaf’s regalia, about 10 years ago when he finished the top story of the garage on his secluded waterfront property in the Windward Cliffs neighborhood. Photo by Amanda Morrison/ NNY Business

Some go all out when creating personal retreats

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A perfect respite for a busy family: Right at home in eclectic mix of cottage, traditional styles

Peggy DeYoung

What is the perfect house for a busy family of four plus two energetic dogs?

This new home was inspired by the Arts-and-Craft style and built in a quiet neighborhood near the St. Lawrence River in Clayton. Nicole and Eric Listemann wanted to design a home that was an eclectic mix of cottage and traditional styles — something beautiful, yet comfortable. Once inside, the spacious great room is the center of the family’s activity.

[Read more...]

Natural ways to control persistent garden pests

Brian Hallett

Nothing can take the green out of a gardener’s thumb like an insect infestation. Despite cold winters, the north country is not without its garden pests. And, controlling common garden pests like aphids can really seem like a full-time job if you do not properly plan your garden. Not only do these tiny insects suck the fluids from plant leaves and stems, leaving behind honeydew, a sticky residue that attracts ants to feed on it, but aphids also promote the spread of plant disease. Aphids are tiny, rarely exceeding an eighth of an inch, and teardrop shaped with long, slender legs. Depending on the species, aphids can be green, brown, yellow, red or black, and they are often found congregating on the underside of leaves. Luckily, there are some basic, all-natural ways that you can prevent garden insect invasions so your sowing and reaping time doesn’t just become spraying and worrying time. [Read more...]

A retirement dream comes true: Post-and-beam beauty on cherished family location

Peggy DeYoung

Overlooking Clayton’s French Bay on Bartlett’s Point, this home is a retirement dream on a stretch of St. Lawrence River waterfront treasured by six generations of owners Rob and Sharron Grant’s family. The new home was built on the site of an original small cottage. When repairs became too great to tackle, it was torn down and plans for a new river home began.

The couple wanted to build a post-and-beam home, which would allow expansive views down river. They eventually decided to build a Lindal Cedar home. Lindal is based in Seattle and provides a package of building materials that includes posts and beams and windows and doors. Other materials were customized to the owners’ tastes and design needs and could be bought separately.

One of the first challenges was to determine if a full walk-out basement with a living space for their family and guests could be built. The sloping grass hill originally had 11 steps down to the water. The process not only revealed that there was enough height to build the walk-out basement, but just below the topsoil the site had beautiful limestone bedrock that is so prevalent along the river. The family now enjoys large areas of natural limestone defining the outdoor living space. [Read more...]

Spring planting is time to let your creativity bloom

Brian Hallett

As I write this column I must mention that today — the first day of spring — I have shoveled snow away from the greenhouse twice in order to enter. As any gardener knows, there is nothing quite like the green of new plants or the smell of fresh soil. This alone is why each year I shovel my way inside, turn on the heat, clean the water system and start planting. [Read more...]

Hot — and cool — new design trends

Bold patterns, colors all the buzz for the new year

Peggy DeYoung stands outside her shop, Porch and Paddle, on James Street in Clayton. Photo by Justin Sorensen.

Every October, North Carolina is host to the largest furniture trade show in the country.

For one week, every building in the city of Highpoint’s downtown district is a showplace for the furniture and home interiors market. Here, manufacturers unveil their latest collections, new fabrics, and colors to the trade. Touring the showrooms, distinct themes emerge. This year my visit to the market found trends based on natural textiles, traditional patterns and recycled materials.

Linen is the upholstery fabric of choice on sofas and chairs. It is a natural fiber that is durable, comfortable, and easy to live with. Linen’s natural color varies in shades of beige, but it dyes well and is commonly shown in grays and blues. Linen also hangs well, making it a wonderful fabric for drapery, allowing just enough sunlight to pass through an open weave. The fabric softens and mellows with age and will always have a slightly wrinkled texture. [Read more...]

Bright palette for Sackets log home

Adirondack weaver, artist creates living room centerpiece

Living room furniture from above. Photo by Justin Sorensen

Family traditions and the owner’s deep desire to move back to the north country inspired this log home. It reflects special memories from spending summers with her family in their log cabin. To create her own special place, she first found the land: a few acres of woods along a creek. Situating the home was the most difficult task of the entire project. She spent months looking at the land off Dodge Avenue and the views from many angles. In the end, the site allowed her to keep most of the trees on the land, including a pine tree cluster for privacy and a wonderful creek view.

[Read more...]