Friday, January 15, 2010

Help Haiti: and the B's of January Thinking

Help Haiti

The reports from Haiti are gruesome. Try to help as much as you can. But be careful who you send cash too, there are a lot of crooks who will want to make a quick dollar. There are many good religious organizations which can be trusted, many of them on the local level.

Here are two national organizations which can be trusted: there are certainly, many, many others.

Doctors Without Borders at

American Red Cross at or call 800-733-2767

If any readers have a worthwhile project related to the Haiti Relief effort, please leave a comment with verification so it can be check as being legitimate. Many people do have family and friends in Haiti who were already on the island previous to the earthquake doing missionary or social work. If this blog can help in anyway, just send a comment with proper verification. Thanks.

Some “B” Thoughts

January and the nice colorful seed catalogs always give rise to thoughts about thing to do in the spring and summer. As usual, the list can get pretty long and ambitious in the dead of winter in January.
Give heirlooms and native flowers a good thought. The heirloom veggies are tried and tested, usually more flavorful and the seed can be saved (a money saver).
Native flowers are already adapted to local climates and soil conditions and are a tremendous food source for native pollinators.
But there are exceptions.
One experiment here will be another patch of buckwheat in the early spring mixed with the herb borage. Buckwheat attracts a lot of bees and is a good soil conditioner. Borage, a hardy self seeding herb, also attracts bees by the thousands. Buckwheat has white flowers, while borage has deep blue-purple flowers. Someplace in this bed, I want to add the sunflower.
North America is not the country of origin for either buckwheat or borage, though, both are pretty much naturalized. Buckwheat appears to have originated in China and Borage in the Mediterranean.
The newcomer plant I want to try this year is the Bleeding Heart. I like the way it looks, it is native and looks similar to a fuchsia which cost too much darn money and don't do all that well without a lot of babysitting.
Buckwheat, Borage, Bleeding Hearts and Bees, not sure how the “B” thoughts happened but it did. And it does go to show that B = A sometimes.

January Outdoors

The winter snow and ice damages many trees like this apple tree which will need some attention before the weather warms.

Pruning is one of the yard work activities which can be done during January. Fruit trees, grape vines and bushes, such as blueberries can be pruned. It makes for a healthier tree or bush and the end result will be higher yields.

January Indoors

It helps to order early before supplies run out. Besides, some companies offer special discounts. Look around, many local organizations have seed swaps or sell seeds locally at reduced prices. Dan, at Urban Veggie Blog below is seed swapping.
Spending a lot of time indoors can be troublesome and Kathleen in her blog below, On Your to the Top, has an experience all should read.
Consider some herbs this year, they are healthy, attractive, flavorful and also draw many good pollinators to the veggie garden. Now is the time to plan.
Consider maybe, planting an Oak Tree, the designated national tree.


The birds, need to eat. Keep the feeders filled. Another reason to grow buckwheat, sunflowers and even a patch of oats. Bird food is expensive and these crops can be money savers plus adding to winter enjoyment.
I try to keep the feeders under some protection like bushes and trees. However, an unfortunate blue jay became a meal for a hawk sitting high in an oak tree.

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Good Blogs

Vincent di Fondi – Vincent doesn't know what he's missing while he is living in Costa Rica.

On Your Way to the Top – Kathleen has some good medical insights in this post.

Urban Veggie Garden - Seed Swapping

Simply Snickers – More fun stuff.

Travel Destination – Fun things to see and do if your travels bring you into that beautiful area.