April, 2004

It's Too Tight To Breathe In Here


Imagine you’re going to spend six months in a lovely bubble, far from the cold of a New England winter. You’ll need to bring along a few key items — heat to keep you warm, cozy furnishings, food and storage, some cleaning supplies to keep it all spic and span, and comfy clothes. Recreational materials are optional, but this is your basic list. Once inside, zip up tight to keep the outdoor air and elements from raining on your affair. Now you’re ready to float comfortably for the next half year, zipped up tight like a Zip-Loc Baggie with your comfort space inside.


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Brightly lit room

Vermont Fresh Network Preserving the Edible Landscape


It may be cheese that’s melting in their mouths, but what they’re showing the rest of the world is that it’s perfectly possible to eat your landscape. The cheese that Chef Doug Mack uses to make his fondue is created at Orb Weaver Farm in New Haven. The farm is home to a handful of Jersey cows that produce the milk for the fondue cheese. It’s one of many agricultural havens that define the Vermont landscape and nestle among the undulating fields and pastureland of Addison County. If there were no market for the cheese, then there would be no cows, and the open fields could just as easily feature condos as cattle.


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face of a cow

Modified Seeds: Friend or Foe?


Hot debates over biotechnology and genetic engineering are taking place under the golden dome in Montpelier this spring. For the past couple of seasons, genetically engineered (GE) corn seeds have been planted on Vermont farmland. The GE corn has a naturally occurring insecticide, Bacillus Thurengensis (Bt) spliced into its genes to kill corn worms and borers, major problems for farmers. Another GE corn variety resists the herbicide Round-Up, so when weeds sprout in the corn fields, the farmer can spray Round-Up with no harm to the corn plants. GE seeds are produced by Monsanto, one of the largest chemical companies in the world. Monsanto also produces Round-Up and the GE soybean seeds now being planted in Vermont.


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cartoon plant with a face

Elsa Hilger: Genius on the Cello


At 100 years of age, Elsa Hilger has not lost her ear. Born on April 13, 1904 in Trautenau, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Elsa loved music long before she ever picked up the cello. The youngest of eighteen children (only four of whom survived), Elsa sat in a corner listening to her sister’s violin lessons with the famous instructor Ottokar Sevcik. Impressed by the 9 year old’s attentiveness during the lessons, he told her parents, "She has a cellist’s hands, such a good stretch." Convinced he was right, they bought their daughter a half-size cello and Sevcik became her first teacher.


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Elsa Hilger Playing the Cello