hot links: earliest look at snowflakes; try oregano, not antibiotics; fresh as a frog's skin

Alwyn Bentley snowflake photo from SmithsonianIT WAS A 20-YEAR-OLD, IN 1885, who first photographed a snowflake. In “aha’s” of a more-recent nature, a chicken farmer, in 2012, is finally incorporating herbal medicine into the health of a large-scale commercial flock. These and other oddball links from my online reading the last week:

the snowflake man

THE FIRST PERSON to photograph snowflakes did so in 1885, harnessing the combined power of a camera and also a microscope given to him as gifts by his parents. Then 20-year-old Alwyn Bentley of Jericho, Vermont, came to be known as the Snowflake Man for his lifetime of work, which also included years of close examination of raindrops. A fascinating tale of Bentley’s life, and more photos, via DomainReview [dot] org. Image above from the Smithsonian Institution collection. And yes: Bentley is responsible for the “no two are alike” lowdown on snowflakes.

fresh as a frog’s skin

A BIT OF RUSSIAN folk-wisdom that calls for keeping milk fresh by putting a live frog in the milk bucket has led to the examination of chemicals secreted from the frog’s skin. Apparently they are powerfully antifungal and antibacterial…but will they have implications for new drugs for us? Details via NPR Science.

herbal medicine in the henhouse

SPEAKING OF NATURAL SUBSTANCES, today’s “New York Times” includes news that some poultry farmers are experimenting with oregano and oregano oil to fight bacterial diseases–hoping to avoid the widespread use of antibiotics. Herbal medicine meets the modern farmer! The story.

hawaii says a ‘no’ to monsanto

I DON’T GRASP the entire impact of this decision, admittedly, but I was interested to note last week that the Monsanto corporation was denied a request for an additional 2.636 million gallons a day of potable water to irrigate fields of seed corn and other crops in Hawaii—fields that are used to grow transgenic hybrids, or GMOs. In a time when there seem to be so few “no” answers given to the biotech giant in the U.S., it is at least worth noting this pushback by the state water commission.

  1. luise h. says:

    I am so impressed with the Farmer trying oregano oil as a better alternative to antibiotics! That farm is only about 1/2hr drive from where I live, had no idea about this. I know that I will look for that in our local grocery stores.
    Thank you for your always informative and interesting posts Margaret.

  2. Doris says:

    The picture above of the snowflake is really Frosty’s baby picture!!
    Happy and Healthy New Year to All.
    Here on Long Island, they say there will be ‘slush’ today!

  3. Laura says:

    It’s good to see states taking water use seriously. It seems that several companies take more than their “share” of available clean water – water that takes years to get back to the aquifer and even longer to clean up once a well is tainted.

  4. Daisy Marshall says:

    The wonder of you! Where do you find the time???? To say thank you feels so small. I feel so lucky to be included in this banquet!!!! Counting down the days for your new book and enjoying all the comments I’ve received, I wish you the most wonderful New Year Margaret and of course Mr Buster wishes the same to Jack.
    (gave a couple of “And I Shall Have some Peace”as Christmas presents to friends cosidering the big step) Selfish me, I want company when I jump……..

  5. Mary Jane says:

    Warm wishes to you, Margaret, and to Jack, all your family human and animal. Best wishes to all the frogs and fish who are snug on your land, if not warm (but they don’t mind), for winter.
    I’m adding my appreciation along with other acolytes of the garden. To your garden wisdom and intriguing and world-expanding links, I add appreciation for wonderful recipes. And the biggest gift, sharing your bravery and resilience in living life new, season by season.

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Laurie. Hilarious, isn’t it? I’m right near Ken Druse (whom I have known even longer than I have known Dan Hinkley and Martha and Tony (also not far away on the illustration).

  6. Karen Budnick says:

    Hi Margaret,

    Just wanted to say thanks for all the entertaining and informative podcasts this year that I’ve enjoyed so much. Have a Happy & Healthy New Year!

  7. Beth Robinson says:

    Happy New Year’s Eve, Margaret! So many thanks for this wonderful place to visit and rest in … if only for a few moments! Looking forward to the new book and to sharing in everyone’s conversation in 2013.

  8. Martha in Austin TX says:

    Ditto to Daisy Miller (above)
    Bestest good wishes to Margaret and Jack and all of us savvy folks who know that AWTG is the “cats top hat.”
    Thank you, Margaret and Jack, for all the good you bring into our Virtual Worlds, quickening us to Mysteries and Surprises. May all of our individual 2013s be abundant in good health and good cheer, good food and grand adventures, with some joyful surprises, and, especially, the TIME to enjoy them with near and dear.
    A new broom for your house and a welcome friend at your door!

    1. margaret says:

      Thanks, Martha, and all of that to you, too (and to Daisy!). So nice to hear from readers at this “fresh start” moment of the year.Lots of goodness ahead.

  9. Allison says:

    Thank you for the William Bentley post. I had a great book growing up called “Water Works Every Child Should Know” by Jean M. Thompson, illustrated from photographs by William Bentley. The book was published in 1907 and is probably only available except in an antique book store. (It was already old when I got it in the 1950s.) It is a beautiful and interesting book if you can get your hands on it.

  10. rachelle says:

    oh my – I get excited again whenever Mr Bentley’s work on snow crystals happens to catch my interest – his work inspired a successful science project my sister and I had done back in the late 70’s! We followed Mr Bentley’s methods to preserve dozens of individual crystals on microscope slides & photograph them. This unique science fair project to top ribbons at the State level – we were so proud! I still have our slides, photos and the report. Mr Bentley’s books are beautiful and yes – each crystal is a one-of-a-kind work of art! Thank you for bringing back a fond memory – Happy Winter!

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