February 14, 2017
What is in the VEGGIE BOX, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Kale, Lettuce, Oranges and Parsley
What is in the FRUIT BOX? Oranges, Tangelos and Dried Peaches
Spring Quarter Starting Feb 28
Payment due February 21
The new quarter begins February 28 and ends May 23th
Spring Break with NO DELIVERY April 11 and April 15
Plant Sale April 22
Hats & High Tea May 13
Mother’s Day Garden Tour May 14
Food for Thought
Cabbage always has a heart;
Green beans string along.
You’re such a cute tomato,
Will you peas to me belong?
You’re been the apple of my eye,
You know how much I care;
So lettuce gets together,
We’d make a perfect pear.
Now, something’s sure to turnip
To prove you can’t be beet;
So, if you carrot all for me
Let’s let our tulips meet.
Don’t squash my hopes and dreams now,
Bee my honey, dear;
Or tears will fill potato’s eyes
While sweet corn lends an ear.
I’ll cauliflower shop and say
Your dreams are parsley mine.
I’ll work and share my celery,
So be my valentine.
This Week on the Farm
With all the rain, many things are happening around the farm; Jeff talked about the moving soil last week. The broccoli with it flat head it can collect water and then the water tends to mold the middle florets-that is why one week you had small cut up florets of broccoli-we cut out the middles. The weeds are of course growing fast with the warmer weather, but what I have to say the one thing that just makes me so happy with the rain, the spring time, and the warmth, is to hear the spring peepers singing away. They are singing in the rain, just singing in the rain, telling the world life is good again! Their songs do tell us that life is moving, the world of nature is starting to wake up and want to make time with their partners. We send cards and chocolate at Valentine’s Day, and the frogs just sing to their loved ones. So this morning I thought what fun to look up froggy facts and share them on this beautiful pre-spring California morning.
Frogs are amazing animals. Despite their fragile appearance and inoffensive ways, they have countless strategies to deal with the most severe climates this planet has to offer. They can be found at the Arctic Circle, in deserts, in tropical rain forests and practically everywhere in between. Some of their survival strategies are nothing short of ingenious. Various frog species use strategies to deal with environmental extreme-hibernation.
Hibernation is a common response to the cold winter of temperate climates. After an animal finds or makes a living space that protects it from winter weather and predators, the animal's metabolism slows dramatically, so it can "sleep away" the winter by utilizing its body's energy stores. When spring weather arrives, the animal "wakes up" and leaves its hibernation spot to get on with the business of feeding and breeding. Terrestrial frogs normally hibernate on land. American toads and other frogs that are good diggers burrow deep into the soil, safely below the frost line. Some frogs, such as the spring peeper are not adept at digging and instead seek out deep cracks and crevices in logs or rocks, or just dig down as far as they can in the leaf litter. They are not as well protected from frigid weather and may freeze, along with their inhabitants. And yet the frogs do not die. Why? Antifreeze! True enough, ice crystals form in such places as the body cavity and bladder and under the skin, but a high concentration of glucose in the frog's vital organs prevents freezing. A partially frozen frog will stop breathing, and its heart will stop beating. It will appear quite dead. But when it warms up above freezing, the frog's frozen portions will thaw, and its heart and lungs resume activity--there really is such a thing as the living dead! One of the mad skills of a tadpole is that its metabolism speeds up as temperature rises. In an ephemeral pond, where water temperature increases as the water continues to evaporate, this clever adaptation gives the young frogs a fighting chance to fully transform before the pond disappears.
Why do frogs sing?
Like bird song, the frog chorus is an exclusively male club. Each individual male is calling his heart out to lure a female, but en masse the frog chorus is also letting all females know where the good habitat is. A favorite fake out among frog lovers, which is as instructive as it is fun, is to slowly approach a pond or ditch where frogs are singing and loudly clap. They all stop. A couple minutes later, the “chorus leader” (a large loud frog with prime real estate) starts in with his two-phase call “krick-eek” followed by a second male just a microbeat off sync and then the third. Eventually, all the frogs join in; resulting in the cacophony we call the chorus. Successful courtship in frogs leads to a kind of mating called amplexus, Latin for “embrace”and then the magic happens and within two to three weeks the eggs hatch into juveniles tadpoles.
Ask any third-grader to describe a frog’s lifecycle and you’ll get the facts, more or less accurately. Frogs lay eggs in water that hatch into tadpoles that swim around breathing through gills until they grow legs and lose their tail and then they crawl out on land. We are so familiar with the general storyline that we often fail to stop and wonder why. What’s the point? Why don’t frogs’ eggs just hatch into small frogs that grow up to be bigger frogs? Furthermore, why are newly transformed adult frogs so much smaller than the tadpoles they came from? Just as with butterflies and other insects that undergo a radical life-altering transformation, the answer lies in a sort of division of labor in life stages — juveniles eat and grow, adults mate and reproduce.
Chorus frog tadpoles are vegetarians, consuming mostly algae and other bits of plant matter suspended in water. Like other vegetarians, a tadpole needs an elaborate small intestine to process all those greens (look closely at a tadpole and you can see the twisty digestive system through the semi-transparent skin).
Adult frogs, on the other hand, are strictly carnivores, eating mostly small invertebrates. How then does a tadpole survive what is literally a gut-wrenching transformation? About the time that the tadpole has sprouted four legs, it stops eating entirely. Far from “losing its tail,” the almost mature froglet reabsorbs the calorie rich muscles of its tail to fuel this transformation. The adult frog thus emerges from its youth much smaller than it was as a teenager. Typically, transformation occurs within about eight to 10 weeks, but, it varies based on food availability and temperature. What a life these frogs lead-and we can enjoy their songs and know they are embracing their froggy mates on this Valentine’s Day. Happy Valentine’s Day to you! Have a great week~Annie