link bounty: migration madness, vole traps, more

ASEASON WITHOUT RAIN MEANS NO GOOD TIME for dividing and transplanting in the garden, so while I wait and hope, I click, and click some more. From dramatic bird-migration news and a trap that outsmarts voles, to the latest findings about Roundup and its harmful effects, here are some internet links I’ve dug up lately indoors that you might enjoy.

I MET JACK THE DEMON CAT on September 11, 2001; he was here in the driveway, a stray who’d apparently chosen me, when I arrived from Manhattan late that morning. This year, September 11 was marked by flocks and flocks and flocks of raucous birds flying overhead, a winged migration of dramatic proportion that had me sitting outside listening, and watching (and Jack going mad inside, where he belongs, watching me watch).

Imagine how frustrated Jack was when the black-throated blue warbler (below) stunned himself on the glint of the glass porch door. I gently righted him, and then we sat awhile together, talking softly, until he was ready to continue on, Jack staring in disbelief from indoors, where I hold him hostage to protect my avian friends.

But our show here was nothing compared to the one that night at the site of the World Trade Center, where the memorial beams of light proved confusing to migrants trying to navigate their way to wintering grounds. The NPR piece on it, with an expert guest from New York City Audubon—was chilling, and beautiful. A must-listen.

WOW, BIG SURPRISE. A new study in Argentina confirms that Roundup is linked to human birth defects. Enough said; you know what will happen if I get going. Have a read for yourself, thanks to GM Watch dot org.

I HAVE THE NICEST READERS (that would be you). Almost 14,000 comments into our two-and-a-half-year relationship, I never cease to be wowed (especially when I click on links you leave me to visit your worlds) by the talent and knowledge you possess. Today, all the way from Kuwait, an intimate look at making dal–the Indian lentil “soup”–came in a comment from Kulsum at Journey Kitchen. Who knew the subtleties of so many grades of tiny lentils? Not me.

Last week, I “met” the Mistress Longears (got to love all your great screen names), whose Flickr photo stream is full of handcrafted botanical expressions: quilts that define botanical terms, for instance, or her garden journal, or this story about a dog and an osage orange. She says she’s been “raising rabbits against [her] will since 1987,” so she must be a gardener. Thank you all for what you share with me.

THE TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT DEP’T: “My kid won’t eat vegetables.” You hear people say it all the time. But what if there were no other choice offered at snack time, no packaged junk or sugary temptations? This experiment with carrots-only vending machines says they’ll start loving carrots pretty fast.

BUILD A BETTER MOUSE, ER, VOLE TRAP: Leave it to Eliot Coleman to create a simple design for a garden vole trap, sparing me (once I make some) the trouble of jury-rigging any more haphazard enclosures for the snap-traps I set out all year round as well. His vole-stopping stroke of genius.

  1. Tyler Davis says:

    Margaret, I know your blog is a gardening one, and I absolutely love your garden photos, but after seeing this entry, let’s see more shots of the interior of your home – it’s gorgeous!

  2. Tor says:

    I can’t agree more with Tyler! The photo of the interior of your house is gorgeous. I just want to be sitting on that chair looking out at your garden. Beautiful. And I had to look twice to spot Jack on the wooden chair by the window!

  3. TomW says:

    So here I was reading about Eliot’s cold frame site the other day and also noticed that bit about the vole trap. Great tip since voles have been getting worse and worse where I garden. I used to work at a company that had bought similar trap boxes but they were black plastic. Something like this: http://www.pestproducts.com/rodent_baiters.htm

    Hmm, never heard the term bait station before. Sounds more like a fishing expedition term. Anyhow, they put them around the edges of their walls near the shrubbery. Think I will build some like Eliot’s.

    Love the link and art at Mistress Longears.

    Maybe there is a solution there for rabbits involving carrot vending (bait station) machines. Throw in some greyhound tickets for the rabbits and voles and we can all call it a day. ;-)

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Tor. Yes, Jack is a stealth cat, being black like the cushion on “his” chair, and all. :)

      Welcome, TerryG. You found me! Same old Margaret, still growing things. Glad we have reconnected, and thanks for spreading the word.

      Welcome, Jeanette. You have my thanks — and lots of rabbits. Do NOT send any here. I am up to my neck in every manner of beast at the moment!

  4. Terryg says:

    I love your site…I was immediately taken with the information and your writing style. I then had to figure out who this Margaret was and I scrolled up and saw your picture – I knew you – yes, I’m a Martha fan and enjoyed your work over the years. I’m excited to read your information here – I like the mix of gardening and cooking. I’ll be passing on your site to my sisters and friends. Thank you.

  5. NancyH says:

    I’ll be printing the Eliot Coleman piece and sending it to my father, who was planning to attend the Common Ground Fair this past Friday but was turned away by rain. He’s nearly 100 and can’t be as flexible about things like that as he once was. Thanks for the connection, as well as all the rest!

  6. nora says:

    Get well wishes to Jack the Demon Cat. Sebastian the Cat (who commented on the Boston Botanical prints) ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and had to endure six weeks of “cage rest ” last winter, feels his pain. Sebastian enjoys catching voles much more tha resting inside but finds they are hard to catch in the winter with snowcover, so Eliot Coleman’s idea might come in handy.

  7. Diane Williams says:

    Margaret may be too modest to mention this, but her wonderful home was featured on Apartment Therapy a few months ago. You could probably find it by searching AT’s site for “A Visit To Margaret Roach’s House”.

    1. Margaret says:

      Hi, Diane — and you are right, Apartment Therapy has shown some pix that they took here. I think the links to both a few house pix and also the story on my very unglamorous kitchen are here.

  8. Zendoc says:

    Margaret, reading your recent book and thoroughly enjoying it. After spending my days knee deep in the corporate muck of my day job I retreat to your world in the evenings and get knee deep in your words. They refresh me, energize me and allow me to face the next day with renewed vigor. Thanks for that!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Zendoc. What a sweet comment! I hope that you will enjoy the rest of it, and the book blog and the garden one, too. I am here! And grateful for such kind responses, I must say.

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