Thursday, June 23, 2011

White Flower Farm Open House

Saturday, June 25th – Annual Open House

Mark your calendars for our Open House day, when we welcome old friends and new for iced tea and cucumbers sandwiches on the lawn by our house. The date this year is Saturday, June 25 and we'll start serving around 2:30. The display gardens should be close to peak and the Begonia House full of renowned Blackmore & Langdon varieties will be hitting its stride. It's also the occasion for our annual Best Garden Chapeau contest, which is judged by family members on an entirely subjective basis. The prize is a $100 White Flower Farm gift certificate plus local bragging rights and an appearance on our Web site, value beyond measure.

AmeriCares Fund Raiser

Sotheby's International Realty along with Country Loft Antiques will join with AmeriCares to host a gathering of concerned CT citizens to open their hearts and raise funds for the recent catastrophic events in the numerous southern states and the people devastated by the tsunami and earthquakes in Japan.

The fund raiser will be held on Saturday June 25, 2011 from 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM at Country Loft Antiques, 557 South Main St. Woodbury, CT.  The event will have live entertainment, a wine tasting, food, and a silent auction. Among the items in the silent auction is a Mercedes Benz donated by Danbury Mercedes Benz,  

Tickets are available at Country Loft Antiques or at the door for $35 per person.  Please call 203.266.4500 for more information.  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Operation Trashdown

Operation Trashdown: The Benefits and Ease of Composting

by Ilene Moyher

Welcome to Operation Trashdown, a concept for creating a cleaner earth. Everyone can help by adopting the "less trash" mindset in their shopping and daily routines. Considering what's in landfills and in our oceans (read interesting facts about The Great Pacific Garbage Patch), here are some ways each person can help reduce the amount of trash created and save money, too!

Composting of household trash– it’s easy to get started and maintain, can reduce the amount of household garbage by one-half (it did in my house), and creates great soil for garden use. It may seem ‘icky’ at first, but in reality composting creates less messy garbage and is as simple as throwing food and paper scraps into a container then adding them to a pile in the backyard.

Simply keep a sturdy metal or plastic container with a secure top next to the kitchen sink and throw in the items listed below. You may be surprised to learn that this container, if kept covered and emptied at least every 2-3 days, will not create any odor, attract insects, or cause extra mess in the kitchen. Outside, somewhere easily accessible but not too close to the house, start a compost pile or place a compost bin (available from big box stores). Add contents and cover with outdoor waste such as grass clippings, leaves, and hay, and agitate the pile (recommended but not necessary to cover new contents every time they’re added).

Items to Compost:

•Coffee grinds and tea bags

•Fruit and vegetable rinds/peels, pits, and scraps

•Eggshells (rinsed)

•Cardboard torn into pieces

Avoid composting meat, bones, dairy products, fatty foods, as these may attract critters.

Composting may definitely be done from spring through the ground freezing in late autumn, and quite possibly through winter depending on location of the bin/pile. The following spring you’ll find a pile of rich soil ideal for gardening. For more details on the benefits and ease of composting, visit Mother Nature Network- Composting and Composting Guide .

Three basics of Operation Trashdown are:

•Reuse or recycle more than you throw away

•Consider product packaging – amount of packaging and whether it’s made of recycled or recyclable materials

•When buying, make choices based on where items will end up (in a landfill? recycled? a treasured keepsake? long usage life?)

Everyone can help make a cleaner earth by embracing the "less trash" mindset in their shopping and daily routines. Think of something you may have already done or can start doing today. Please share your successes and ideas, and encourage your friends and family to think green in this way, as well. If each person adopts one or more habits to shift away from living a disposable lifestyle, and teaches the next generation earth-friendly habits, it will make a big difference.

Challenge: Adopt a new practice every month. Join Operation Trashdown and start today!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Litchfield Hils Road Race

The 35th Running of The Litchfield Hills Road race will take place on June 12th with registration beginning at 10:30 AM at the Litchfield Green. 

For More Information, please go to

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Eat Chocolate

By Brittany Shutts

Maybe the Mayans and Aztecs were onto something when they started making drinks from this delicious bean. Chocolate should not be relegated to the level of gumballs and gummy bears. This sweet treat contains antioxidants, nutrients, and serotonin-increasing carbohydrates. It is conducive to both health and happiness, and should be eaten without guilt.

Chocolate is good for your heart. To the alarm of their patients, doctors in Australia tried prescribing a bar of dark chocolate a day to treat hypertension. Some patients complained that it was too hard to eat that much chocolate in one day, while others could not accept it as a treatment. There seems to be a method to their madness. A study at Harvard Medical School observed a 32% lower risk in heart failure in women who ate one to two servings a day of quality dark chocolate a day.

A whole bar may not even be necessary to get the benefits of chocolate. A study in Germany found that people who ate approximately one square of chocolate a day had a 39% lower risk of heart attack or stroke. Chocolate not only prevents strokes, but provides protection against damage after a stroke has occurred. Phytonutrients called flavonoids that are found in chocolate have positive effects on high blood pressure and inflammation. Just one Hershey Kiss-sized morsel is enough to lower blood pressure.

Beef is not the number one greatest source of iron. Dark chocolate contains more iron per ounce than beef sirloin. Just one ounce of dark chocolate will provide you with 19% of your RDA of iron, while beef pales in comparison with a mere 3 percent. Chocolate binging should ideally not provide you with your daily dose of iron, as it also contains large amounts of saturated fat. Everything in moderation, even with chocolate.

You know the spring in your step that follows a tasty square of chocolate? It’s not in your imagination. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine – a mood elevator – and carbohydrates that increase levels of serotonin.

According to a study called “Metabolic Effects of Dark Chocolate on Energy, Gut Microbiota, and Stress-Related Metabolism in Free-Living Subjects,” eating dark chocolate can improve your mood and correct imbalances caused by stress. After two weeks, an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day reduced the levels of stress hormones in participants who consider themselves to be highly stressed. You can read the article here.

For all of the nutritional benefits of chocolate, it’s best to eat it in its most unadulterated form. Choose an organic chocolate with at least 70% cocoa and little added sugar. Most chocolates on the market don’t make the cut.

Green and Black's is a brand of organic chocolate with a rich and complex flavor. Its Fair Trade certification means that the farmers are provided with a steady income, healthcare, and education for their children. The farmers learn sustainable farming techniques and receive extra funds for growing organic produce. With Fair Trade chocolate, you can be certain that the cacao was not produced on plantations that use slave labor and other unethical practices.

Taza Chocolate is a socially-responsible brand of Mexican-style chocolate from the Northeast. Taza is the only company in the US that makes stone-ground organic chocolate. The chocolate bars have a unique granular texture from the grinding technique. Their Chocolate Mexicano Mix is also great for making hot chocolate. The company uses sustainably-grown cacao and fairly pays their farmers.

If you like your chocolate combined with something more, Theo’s Fantasy Flavors have unique additions, such as French bread and chai tea. Theo is organic, Fair Trade, and vegan-friendly. The company also uses sustainable energy sources and packaging methods. A great place to start with Theo chocolates is the Fig, Fennel, and Almond bar with 70% dark chocolate. You will know it by the whimsical rendering of squirrels on its wrapper.

Whatever your preference in chocolate, there are a number of different brands to choose from that are not only good to their staff and good to the environment, but they are also good for you. That's a win-win.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Upcoming Area Weekend Events

National Learn to Row Day-8:00 am-Litchfield Town Beach

Clearing a New Trail on Prospect Mountain-8:30 am-Cathole Road, Bantam

Hike Fox Brook Trail-9:00 am-12:00 pm-Goshen Land Trust

CT Trails Day Celebration-10:00 am-Boyd Woods

Sandy Beach Swim Lesson sign-ups - 10:00 am-1:00 pm - Sandy Beach

Hike or Bike on Litchfield Community Greenway Trail-11:00am-1:00 pm-White Memorial CC

Lego Construction Contest-1:00 pm-St. Michael's, Litchfield

Kayaking on the Water-1:00-5:00 pm-White Memorial CC

Landscape Architecture: Children's Garden-1:30-2:30 pm-Tapping Reeve House

Exploring Ongley Pond-2:00 pm-White Memorial CC

BLPA Wine Tasting & Auction-5:00-8:00 pm-Bantam Firehouse

Winfred Rembert Art Exhibition-5:00-10:00 am- Litchfield Community Center

LRWC Duck Day Fundraiser Party-TBA