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July 9, 2010
Sign at restored prairie, Coralville Lake, Iowa - scaled.Restored prairie sign Coralville

The Coralville Reservoir is an Army Corps of Engineers lake north of Iowa City, Iowa, where I'm spending the week. This sign appears at a patch of restored prairie just below the dam. It explains the characteristics of prairies and reminds us that most of Iowa used to be prairies.

And it says: "Much of the United States' farmland was once prairies, which are now used to produce such agricultural products as diet soda pop, cooking oil, crayons, and plastics."

When I think of farm products, the first thing on my mind is diet soda pop.

July 7, 2010

Inserted in an old Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook from the 1930s, in the papers of the once teetotalling Laura Ingalls Wilder:

Pour four quarts boiling water upon six quarts of [dandelion] blossoms. Let stand three days, stirring often. Strain. To liquid add four pounds of granulated sugar and bring to boil. When cold, add one sliced lemon, one sliced orange, and one yeast cake. Cover. Let stand a full three weeks. Strain. Bottle. If bottled too soon, it will break the bottles.

Her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, wrote this out and stuck it into her three-ring cookbook....

June 16, 2010
Selling the new book at Chester Market, June 27 - scaled.Living on an Acre high res cover

My newest book is the newly updated Living on an Acre. I was still a teenager when the USDA put together the original edition, then called Living on a Few Acres. Lyons Press (of Globe Pequot Press) has just published the second edition of the 21st-century version of this classic handbook on self-reliant living.

On Sunday, June 27, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., I'll be selling Living on an Acre at the Chester Sunday Market in downtown Chester, Connecticut. The market brings together Connecticut farmers, bakers, and other food experts who sell fresh produce,...

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