News from National by President Faith Tiberio

Think Lobster

Mary Bertolini performs miracles. You all know that from our past meetings, trust this year Mary is out doing her previous years leger-de-main, and we can all look forward to a meaningful meeting of fun and friendship, and, in fact a mini-vacation in Boston area for an astonishingly all inclusive small sum. Wait until you see what Mary has arranged for you. It will be “Duck”, and “Ducky” is a clue.

In the meantime, The American Bee Journal, the January 2009 issue, is reporting that both in Paris and in London, rooftop apiaries are thriving. One of note is on top of the marble façade of Palais Garnier, [the Paris opera house] from which the bees are foraging on the chestnut and linden tree as well as the Palais Gardens.

In London, hives atop Fortnum and mason at 181 Picadilly are in elegant designer hives, with arch facades – Roman gothic, Chinese or Mughal design, an idea for us who need to have our hives attractively placed. These mansion English bees get to forage in Buckingham Palace 42 acre private gardens. [I’ve read recently that Queen Elizabeth will open her gardens this coming summer on a limited schedule].

According to the Bee Journal, roof top bees fly longer, going to work earlier in the morning and coming home later, laden with their golden pollen. They are twice as productive as their country cousin.

I’ll bet “Royal Jelly” from their bees, is “Royal Jelly”.

The winter meeting at Ambler has been postponed until the Provost report is made. Linda Lowe, our splendid liaison, is coming to my home in Sherborn on January 28th, with your Vice President, Jenny Rose Carey, so I’ll have some fresh news for you then.

How lucky we are to have Hazel Herring, with her wealth of experience working on Ambler “Anchor” project. Our anchor in history and in our future.  She is in constant touch and always ready with something helpful.

Does anyone know anything in the line of printing handkerchiefs – ala arts / crafts? I saw one English made hankie for children the other day which was charming. Such a thing might be adopted for Farm and Garden. Let me know?

Seed catalogs are brightening up these long snowy days and aside from dreaming of brussels sprouts, cabbage and green beans next summer, it is possible to have a lot of healthy greens, vitamin packed produce in a week or ten days by “sprouting” in an area as small as a kitchen windowsill. Fun to watch grow, good to eat sprinkled on salads and soups.

Our thanks to Kay Engelhart who faithfully sends you these messages.

News From National – Faith Tiberio, President

So many of you have asked me for another “sample” of things that might go into our memories book, that this Christmas season I thought you would enjoy the following.

            “It will be artistic,” my mother said. “Very Artistic”

             “I never heard of anything like it,” my father objected when he returned from feeding the chickens. “I’ve been thinking about the upcoming Christmas light contest sponsored by the Power and Light Company, but nothing like that entered my head.”

The early ‘30’s in St. Augustine where we fled from the cold of the farm near Lake Erie [chickens, ducks, rabbits and all] penned and trucked with us suffered from the Depression like the rest of the country. But this economic change energized the citizens of the oldest city. Efforts to attract tourist doubled, Christmas time and the contests for a prize winning outdoor-lighted tree became a battleground on residential streets among the householders.

            “You must get a good-sized tree from the woodlot,” Mother said. “Old Moses will help you.”

Now, Moses, our gardener, lived in one of those wooden cottages behind the National Cemetery; the ground around them remained swept clean to the bare earth and very neat, watched over by a few Chinaberry trees. But that morning Moses did not come to work,

Father returned from the woodlot with a fine green pine tree tied to the top of our ’29 black Ford sedan, but he stormed into the house, furious. “Someone,” he said, “got into our wood lot and cut off our beautiful Holly tree. Nothing left there now but a stump.”

            “Never mind,” Mother said. “We have a lot of balloons to blow up.  Oh, the tree will be grand …… So artistic.”

 She enlisted St. Augustine’s leading historian who liked chickens and talking to my father.  She gave him a huge bowl of popcorn balls and inveighed them to blow up multi-colored rubber balloons, and to fasten them painstakingly to strings of colored lights.

When we finished the last balloon neither man could eat any popcorn and had soup for lunch. In the afternoon, Moses dropped by to wish us a happy Christmas. He eyed our tree on the front porch. “Mother said, “When we turn on the electricity, the balloons will look like huge colored balls.”

Moses said, “I didn’t need any lights. I just got myself a beautiful holly tree from your lot. I knew you wouldn’t mind and I didn’t have money for a bought one. The berries make the trimming and the birds can have something too.

My father paled.  Then his face got very red. He swallowed hard. Then his face broke in a smile.  “Merry Christmas, Moses,” he said. “Bless you and yours.”

That night, Mother plugged in the Christmas tree lights and stood breathless. All the balloons lighted up for one glorious, exquisite moment. Then they burst like rapid gunfire. The smell of burning rubber, wisps of smoke and hissing sounds filled the air and alarmed the chickens, pandemonium.

 Mother cried.  My father comforted her and wisely refrained from comment. In the end, the tree stood forlorn but adorned with a few popcorn balls. If the light company judges even saw the tree, it would have been a miracle.

On Christmas morning there was but a single egg in the chicken coop. Somehow, it seemed symbolic but father wisely refrained from reporting it. And at Christmas dinner, Mother said, “Well, in my heart, I knew it was artistic, very artistic.”

Outside, our Rhode Island Red Rooster crowed.

At holiday time, Insanity is hereditary. You can get it from your grandchildren.

The photo on the back of the cover of our great “Bee Issue” had been assembled and photographed by Bruce Crossman from some “homey” things stored in our old barn. Bruce is a most accomplished photographer and after several shots, he was finally satisfied and sent the back cover picture to Kathy Beveridge who did the rest. Our thanks to both of them.

It seems to be the consensus that unless something horrific and unexpected befalls us, the Council Meeting can be conducted by e-mail or mail or telephone. At this moment our main concern are getting the budget together and Kay Engelhart, Peggy Campbell, Carol Leonard and Margaret Latham are comfortable in contacting you all this way to save expense and inconvenience of travel during the winter months.

But speaking of Spring … and Spring in my soul, we’re moving forward with plans for our June meeting and renewing our friendship with each other.

Your newsletters, phone calls, e-mails and letters continue to underline your determination to make Farm and Garden a viable, marvelous spectacular Green Surge as we move into the beginning new year.

Betty Monahan has been on the lookout for future speakers. And on our home front, our admired Hazel Herring, chairman of the Ambler project was reported purchasing and setting up beehives and we have sent her the bee pin, which Mary Falkenberg has also earned. Hazel has some good honey recipes.

Audrey Erhler reports that she is in conversations with our people at the National Arboretum, regarding the next summer’s interns: while Mary Bertolini is working on our June Meeting and is very eager to have a complete Orientations Sessions for new members and for others who want to “brush up” on what’s new. She is also wisely holding off a bit before making any final choices about pricing, in case the economic situation changes in the next few months. We’re especially watching the falling prices of Maine lobster … very hard on the fisherman I’m afraid but may be a plus for us in June. It’s hard to imagine that the native Maine and Massachusetts Indians [Maine as part of Massachusetts until 1820] used lobster as fertilizer for their corn.

Best to all for the holidays.


New from National October 2008 Edition

Letter from the National President, Mrs. Joseph W. Tiberio

History doesn’t pass the dishes again.

Do you realize that we the members of the Woman’s Farm and Garden Association are an historically important group? That by belonging, that by being members we have inherited a unique and special identification with equal privileges and responsibilities. Both of these are historically significant and continuing.

Here is my latest report to you.

You would be pleased with the progress of our “home base” (so to speak) and that the home base is the original head house of the Ambler greenhouse. How very sophisticated our 1914 green push seems now, with its fairly rustic beginnings.

Other organizations have grand buildings proclaiming many fine gifts and service to our country and community. But ours, in this day of increasing environmental awareness and agricultural crisis continues to stand for all to see simple and fundamental.

We ARE the folks who began greenness on this same campus during another time of need and crisis.

What is left of the historic greenhouse comes the challenge of restoration and use of the head house for our home base… a headquarters. Hazel Herring with the support of all, will make sure that we are claiming a place at last to put down real visible roots.

During my visit there two weeks ago, I inspected the freshly painted head house and enjoyed a huge social event, connected with our own Jenny Rose Carey’s Arboretum. Susan Yeager and Diane Berman and Kathy Beveridge of Keystone Branch joined Linda Lowe along with a host of others to honor Dean James Hilty and his pretty wife, Kathy. Woman’s Farm and Garden was prominently promoted by all of them in this first time-ever use of the space around the head house.

On the subject of bees, The Massachusetts Department of Agriculture has issued a warning to all beekeepers to move hives away from Maple trees which have been infected with imidaclorprid to eradicate the Asian long-horned beetle. Presumably beekeepers in other states are aware of this.

Please keep sending in clippings, notes, newsletters. I do hope you are working toward the prizes being offered and helping the bees and beekeepers in your communities. Kay Engelhart sent in a story from Saginaw News about Haagen-Dazs’s Honey Bee event for children. Samples of vanilla honey–bee ice cream and packets of bee friendly flower seeds were given out. Jean De Decker sent a long article from the Detroit News stating that 2.4 million colonies have been lost in the last two years. All of this will raise food prices, and if not stopped, who dares to think of the future?

None of us are wealthy until we realize that we have something money can’t buy. That goes for our history … past, present and future.