Archive for July, 2008

Mountain Soldanella

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

The delicate and inconspicuous Mountain Soldanella is an important species of mountain spruce forests. From here, together with Purple Coltsfoot (flomogyne alpine) and Hard Fern (Blechnum spicant), it sometimes spreads to adjoining mountain beech woods.

Most species in the undergrowth of a scree forest are herbs that are nitrogen-loving, and of these Lunaria is the most common. Common Moonwort occurs in greatest numbers at submontane and mountain elevations, but also grows in ash groves alongside streams and in ash/alder riverine stands. In Britain, however, it is only known as a garden escapee.

Cultivated in gardens is another species of Moonwort called Honesty (L. annua), said to have been bred from L. pachyrrhiza of southeastern Europe. In some places Honesty beComes naturalized in the wild.

However, it is the Mountain Soldanella which is most widely grown in gardens, but is not known in Britain. In places where the various species come into contact with each other the populations contain many transitional forms which are the result of spontaneous hybridization.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Chicken Stock

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

When the leaves begin to fall, comfort food is what we all crave. Soup is a popular form of comfort food the world over. Each culture has their own version of soup as comfort food, and most use chicken stock as their base.

Every cook should familiar with chicken stock. It does not matter if you use homemade or store-bought stock, both are very versatile. Many cooks use stock and broth interchangeably, but actually stock is made from the bones of an animal, while broth is made from the meat. Parts of the chicken without a lot of meat like the wingtips, necks, and backbones are the best for making stock.

You really notice the difference between broth and stock when you cook with them. Since stock is made from bones, it contains natural gelatin, also called gelee that makes foods taste richer. When stock is used in deglazing a pan, for instance, it helps bind the drippings better than broth. Stock that has been reduced has more gelatin than stock that has not.

Very Simple

Planting Your own Garden

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Climate changes affect almost everyone in the world. Water shortages are common and in some regions, your water usage may even be restricted. It’s becoming more difficult to have that lush tropical garden in drought areas. There are many excellent and comprehensive plant guides which include most plants, but which may not readily survive in your garden. Maybe it’s time to rethink your garden plans, with an eye to beautiful beds filled with native plants. Regional native plant guides are limited to flowers, grasses and other ornamentals and wildflowers which are adapted to your garden’s environment and seasonal changes.

Although it’s lovely, that fussy perennial, which you nurse along in your hot desert climate year after year, may not survive much longer, due to insufficient available water or increasing temperatures. Native plant guides hold hundreds of entries from which you may choose to create a new display of flowers which will thrive and hang tough in harsh conditions you may experience in your area on a yearly basis. Not only these native plants thrive, but they’ll require less maintenance. After all, native plants flourished in the area before there were any gardeners to water them!

The Role of Empanadas in Mexican Food Culture

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Empanada is a word, which means “wrapped in bread” in Spanish and these delicious little pastries are made by wrapping a round dough pastry in half over a filling to make a semicircle. Empanadas make tasty snacks at any time of the day and are popular throughout Latin America as well as in Spain.

Empanadas through History

Mexican empanadas are thought to derive from Galicia in Spain and they arrived in Latin America when the Galician colonists did. A Galician empanada is a large round or square pie, which is served in slices, making it a hearty and portable lunch for workers. Variations of this kind of portable snack include Italian calzone, Indian samosas, and Cornish pasties. Actually most cultures have a kind of “pocket” or meat pie type dish because they are handy to carry around.

Galician empanadas are often made with chicken, pork loin, or cod. Empanadas are considered a national dish in both Uruguay and Argentina and Galician empanadas are very popular in Latin America because of the high number of Galician immigrants who have made Latin America their home.

Spice up the Bedroom With These Bed Decorating Ideas

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

The best way to spice up your bedroom is to implement great bed decorating ideas. I know it sounds obvious, but you have to start with the basics first and that’s having the proven bed decorating ideas and strategies. Most homes have 2 to 6 rooms and out of all those rooms, the bedroom is one of the most private. It is your most personal rooms, so don’t hesitate you let your imagination take charge.

When you first enter a bedroom, what is the first thing you notice? In most cases, it would be the bed. Typically, the bed has a huge influence on the presentation the bedroom. So if a bed is boring, uneventful and stale, then it would be safe to assume that the room is the same. If a bed is fun, exciting and a pleasure to be in, then most likely the bed the biggest reason why.

The are limitless bed decorating ideas that you can use for your bed. You can take your bed as far as your imagination will take you. Lets start with the a comforter set. The comforter is the center piece of a bed. It is one of the most noticeable pieces on a bed. You can easily find a cozy, warm comforter to grace your bed and finding duvet sets for it can help you change the overall look for your bed and your bedroom in an instant.

Chickweed Wintergreen

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

Many members of the buttercup family – groundsels, for instance, and aconites – have flowers which are interesting and unusual in shape. One of the most complex, perhaps, is that of the Columbine.

Chickweed Wintergreen also occurs in mountain spruce woods with a high water-table and above the tree line, together with Blechnum spicant (L.) Roth, Homogyne alpina (L.) Cass., as well as in spreads of dwarf pine.

It grows from south-eastern France to Vienna, its range extending as far as southern Bohemia. In eastern Bavaria it is more common; elsewhere it is rare. The scarceness of Cyclamen is largely the fault of man. Not only have the flowers been picked and sold, but even pulled out with the AO tubers. At one time, too, these plants were rooted out by wild hogs.

Chickweed Wintergreen is a low perennial herb 5-20 cm high. Beneath the surface it forms a large mass of almost thread-like underground stems which thicken into a tuberose rhizome below the base of each stem. With the aid of this root system it multiplies and spreads vigorously, forming vast ground-covering masses.

Touch Me Not

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Helleborine is one of the less conspicuous of the orchids of European forests. The flowers are not attractive like those of its tropical relatives or the European Slipper Orchid, nor is this a plant which occurs in abundance. This is a modest orchid, sometimes occurring in the most unexpected places: it has been found, for instance, growing in the gravel bed beside railway tracks.

As a rule, however, the Broad Helleborine grows in shaded humus woodlands, from hornbeam/oak forests to mountain spruce forests. It occurs most frequently in mixed forests in the beech forest belt of Europe and Asia and also grows in open warm stands of Pubescent Oak. Its numbers decline towards the north, and the plant is rare in the north-west.

Orchidaceous plants are a large worldwide family, numbering thousands of genera and species. Whereas their’ variety is greatest in the tropics, European orchids are rapidly making their way into the lists of endangered species.

Terrestrial orchids – those which grow in the ground – are intimately linked to certain species of fungi and cannot be transplanted at will, not even with a large clump of soil.

Wild Plants and Man

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

The Milkweed Gentian, symbol of the Giant Mountains National Park in Bohemia, is a true mountain species characteristic of spruce forests.

It grows in narrow shaded valleys and ravines on weathered rock and is a typical plant of damp scree soils that have well-decomposed humus. It also grows randomly in spruce wood clearings – for example, where trees have been uprooted and blown down – but avoids acid soils or those lacking in humus.

For centuries many field plants served man as vegetables: Wood Sorrel, Smooth Sow-thistle, Chicory, Wild Mustard, Nightshade, and various nettles were cooked like spinach; the leaves of Dandelion were ‘bleached’ under a stone or tile and eaten as a salad; and the tubers of Earth-nut Pea, known as ‘underground nuts’, were eaten raw or cooked for their high starch content. Many plants were used as remedies by folkhealers and many more made some sort of contribution in the home.

Hemp-nettles are plants with medicinal properties and were once used to treat pulmonary tuberculosis, but they are still useful expectorants. The top parts contain large quantities of silicic acid, tannins, saponins, and flavones. Best known pharmacologically is Red Hemp- nettle (G. lacianum) a field weed which is, however, not native to Britain. Some pharmacopeias, however, also list other species, including Large-flowered Hemp-nettle.

How to Cultivate Soil

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

What does it mean to cultivate your garden? You are simply making the soil better. If you walked into your backyard right now, Im sure you wouldnt just throw some tomato seeds on the grass and expect plump tomatoes in a couple months by doing nothing else.

When you cultivate soil, you are getting it ready for a garden so that plants can grow. To start, if you have a grassy yard and are putting a garden in it, you will need to break up the soil. A motorized tiller will do it the easiest. You need to break up the grass and ground and pull out the rocks and roots.

A tiller is the best to use, but they aren’t cheap. If you know someone who already owns a tiller, you can borrow theirs if you’re lucky. If you are serious gardener and plan on doing a lot of gardening for years to come, you might want to buy your own.

If you don’t have a tiller, that’s okay. You can still cultivate your soil without it. If you don’t have a tiller, you need at least a shovel and preferably a pickax as well. Use whichever tool works best to trace out the plot of land you want as the garden and to start breaking up the grass.

The Wild Plants in the Forest and Human

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

In the driest and warmest regions of central Europe, the second, so-called chernozem belt with xerophilous species and communities predominating is found.

In the early Holocene, the evolutionary trend was towards forest development even in these regions, but its pace was slower and so the chernozem steppe survived.

It was in the chernozem belt that the oldest farming settlements were located, and here presumably Neolithic man first challenged the environment. It is certain that, from about the fifth century BC, man began to meddle with evolution. In the first phase of this interference – the late Stone Age – man settled in woodless regions with deep fertile soil. It was only when the soil was exhausted and he was faced with competition from his fellows that he began laboriously to clear land in the forest belt.

Furthermore, the positioning of Europe’s mountains-ranged east to west- prevented the return of ousted species to their original habitats during periods of relative warmth. However, in North America, where the principal mountain ranges run north to south, vegetation which had retreated before the ice sheet was able to return.