Urban Naturalist: A tall cool one

I often feel hemlock trees around me before I look up and identify them. I’ll be hacking my way through the woods, sweating in summer heat. Then the underbrush opens, the light dims and a slow, refreshing breeze washes over me. I’m under the tight canopy of a hemlock standing alongside a stream. I love that dark, cool atmosphere on a hot day, and so do the wildlife—in particular, stream denizens such as trout that rely on cold water.
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The Law Of The Land: A recently launched initiative offers urban gardeners free legal support

Urban farmers do more than simply grow food, explains attorney Amy Laura Cahn. “These people are building community. They are providing resources for their communities in terms of food, but also in terms of value of property,” she says. “They’re creating community spaces and creating opportunities for education and cross-culture, cross-generational communication.” Urban farmers are investing in their neighborhoods.
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The Rule of Three

During our very happy, almost 15-year marriage, my wife Sheila and I have given each other every possible gift. Some, like my drum kit and handsomely battered briefcase, are revered. Others have been loved for a time or shelved and then, kindly dispatched to Goodwill. To avoid ending up on the TV show “Hoarders,” a new “rule of three” regarding presents to each other will go into effect this Christmas.
We think it’s pretty straightforward: Three presents, one of which can be expensive. Congress should be able to write such a succinct law.
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Recipes: Snout-to-tail movement

The Simplest Pot Roast Ever

This recipe is from Long Way on a Little: An Earth Lovers’ Companion for Enjoying Meat, Pinching Pennies and Living Deliciously, by Shannon Hayes (Left to Write Press, September 2012, grassfedcooking.com).
The secret to this recipe is a good sear, followed by time in the slow cooker with very little liquid, resulting in concentrated beef flavor, and intensely flavored sauce. Serves 4-10

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Grid Gift Guide 2011: Nester

How lucky we are to live and shop in Philadelphia. We can bypass box stores and their buffet of bland and cheaply made goods and instead, we can choose thoughtful gifts, sold to us by our neighbors. When we give our gifts, we’ll know our family and friends will recognize the thought and care taken in our selections. And the best part—the whole time we will be stirring the local economy.
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Grid Gift Guide 2011: Chic Geek

Fingerless gloves? Check. Wool socks? Check. Handcrafted hat and shirt? Chic! Don’t be Scrooge-y. That PA-manufactured folding bike isn’t going to put itself under the tree. The stylin’ urbanite in your life won’t know how to thank you. Then you can tell him where to go and how to get there with help from GRID’s good friend, Julie Lorch’s Where to Bike: Philadelphia.
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Whole-y Cow: Philly cowshare makes purchasing beef snout-to-tail a cinch

If the snout-to-tail movement sounds more like an ideal than a realistic approach to cooking, Jessica Moore, founder of Philly CowShare (PCS), wants to help. PCS sells 100 percent local, grass-fed, dry-aged beef to both retail and individual customers. The cows, guaranteed free of growth hormones and antibiotics, come from local farms in Lancaster, Chester, Delaware, and Mercer counties. But it’s not just the product that makes PCS unique, it’s how you buy it—in eighth, quarter, half, or whole shares. “Our business model revolves around the concept of moving whole animals,” explains Moore. The CowShares are designed to accommodate different sized families, and provide a variety of cuts for easy incorporation into meal planning.
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The Whole Hog: Philadelphia meat farmers embrace the snout-to-tail movement

Standing next to meat hooks and the cage where bison, cows and pigs are fatally stunned in the first step of meat processing, Jay Smucker talks about his work. “We really enjoy what we do,” says the manager of the family-owned Smucker’s Meats, a slaughterhouse in Mount Joy, Pa. Smucker isn’t referring to the slaughter, but rather to the enjoyment of operating a small-scale, USDA-inspected facility that handles only seven animals per hour (big meat plants typically process around 1,000 pigs an hour). Smucker takes pride in providing a crucial service to link farmers and their consumers and, as he explains, “being good stewards of what we’ve been given.”
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