Monthly Archives: March 2014





Let There Be Light

Let there be light!

Ever since early humans stumbled onto the miraculous power of fire to hold the night at bay, we’ve been hooked.


Photo by ltfhenry via Wikimedia Commons

Candles …


Photo by Bangin via Wikimedia Commons

Streetlights …


Photo by Tony Hisgett via Wikimedia Commons

Tiffany table lamps …


Photo by Piotrus via Wikimedia Commons

Fiberoptics …


Photo by Oliver Deisenroth via Wikimedia Commons


No, it’s not an optical illusion—you are seeing a glowing orange!

This is the work of Caleb Charland, whose artistic creations play upon a marvelous middle school science fair concept: the potato battery.

Or, in the case of the photo below, an entire potato field battery …


Potato Power, LaJoie Growers LLC, Van Buren, Maine 2012 by Caleb Charland

“By inserting a galvanized nail into one side of a potato and a copper wire in the other side, a small electrical current is generated. The utter simplicity of this electrical phenomenon is endlessly fascinating for me,” explains Charland. “Many people have had the experience of drawing power from fruit in the classroom, and it never ceases to bring a smile to the face or a thought to the mind. This work speaks to a common curiosity we all have for how the world works, as well as a global concern for the future of earth’s energy sources.”

The farm pictured above, LaJoie Growers in Maine, was the site of Charland’s first commercial farm “studio.”

“There is a lot of preproduction for the outdoor installations,” Charland told Modern Farmer. “For the potato shot specifically, it was two or three days of work because I dug up all of the potatoes and wired them and got the voltage right, and then buried them back in the ground because I wanted the wires to be coming out of the ground. When the setup is all done, I spend one or two nights shooting the scene. I’ll have two or three cameras set up, and the exposures will be set anywhere from four to eight hours long and I usually camp out there, start the exposure, set an alarm clock, and then finish the exposure.”

Charland says that it’s possible to elicit electricity from practically any produce. You just need a galvanized nail, wires, and the know-how to put it all together. The electrolytes in the produce cause the chemical reaction to occur that results in light.


Fruit Battery Still Life (Citrus) 2012 by Caleb Charland





Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Rebecca Riccio!!!

Rebecca Riccio (#4932) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a Beginner Level Bee Good to your Mother Earth Merit Badge!

“I asked my next door neighbor if I could use his backyard for a garden and he said yes. I planted corn, green beans (bush & pole), peas, zucchini, beets, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, lettuce, sweet peppers, and a watermelon and cantaloupe. We used organic pest control that I found a recipe online. I read the book “Montrose: Life in a Garden” and found the information helpful and interesting.

Well it was our first garden here in Florida. We did have a small harvest of some of the things that we planted and for the others none at all. It was an eye opening experience. We learned what worked and what didn’t and will address these items for our next planting season. I still have one tomato plant producing and a broccoli plant going to seed. Right now we are preparing the garden area for the next planting season.”



Big Sister, Little Sister

It’s that time of year …

My sister and I can’t wait for warmer weather to get outside to play. (Game of horseshoes … with a pair of warm winter gloves, anyone?) We’ve read all the books we own many times. We’ve played all of our board games over and over again. How about this for entertainment?

Photo Mar 15, 4 22 50 PM

Stair sledding is way fun and the extra-big box Daddy found sure helped. And while we’re waiting for spring a tad bit impatiently, here’s one of our favorite reads (just in case you don’t have a massive box for stair sledding).


It’s a good reminder that my sis and I make a good team. And Mia loves the line that I will never be better than her at being the little sister. It’s true. She’s also more fearless and faster on the stair slopes!





If I have to run errands in town, I make it a point to show up on my daughter’s doorstep at the very moment my granddaughters are ready to be tucked into bed so that I’m the one who gets to read them a bedtime story.

Last week, Meg and I discussed that I’d be stopping by, so she reminded me, “Make sure you get here right at 7:15 so they get to sleep on time.” I arrived a few minutes early, so I decided to wait in my car until the exact moment of 7:15 (my arrival often sets other things in motion besides jammies and brushing teeth:)

I was looking down at my Blackberry when something (someone?) knocked on the door of my Jeep. I couldn’t see anyone, but then I heard two little people yelling, “Nanny, open the door!” Stella and Mia (not in their jammies yet) were ever so excited to have me … eat bedtime pie with them (no matter that it was past their bedtime).

As it turns out, Meg decided too-late-in-the-day to make a pie with the fresh fruit I’d sent home the day before (left over from a photo shoot). Lucas, Meg, the two girls, and I DEVOURED most of a warm pie. The flavor was extraordinary, and it wasn’t because it was flavored with so much family love; truly, she’d built a magnificent pie. Here’s her improvised (“I didn’t have all the ingredients I usually use”) recipe that’s a keeper as is—happy accident.


Photo Mar 14, 5 46 54 PM


Megan’s Berry Pie

Simple Crust
2        cups flour
1/8     t salt
1/8     t sugar
1        cup (2 sticks) cold butter
1/2     cup cold water

1        cup fresh blueberries
4        cups fresh strawberries, quartered
1/2     cup sugar
3 1/2  T cornstarch
1        T fresh lime juice
1        T salted butter, cut into small pieces

1. Make crust: Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Working quickly to prevent softening, cut in butter with a pastry cutter or two knives. Add cold water and mix just until the dough sticks together.
2. Roll half the dough to fit into a 9-inch pie pan; trim the overhanging dough.
3. Position a rack on the lower third of your oven with another rack just beneath it. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
4. Combine filling ingredients and let stand for 15 minutes.
5. Pour filling into prepared crust and dot with the 1 T butter.
6. Brush the edge of the bottom crust with cold water. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into strips. Cover the pie with a lattice top.
7. Bake for 30 minutes. Slip a baking sheet beneath the pie on the lowest rack, reduce oven temp to 350°F, and bake 25–35 minutes more.

Serve slightly warm. Also delish the next morning straight from the fridge (or so I’m told).