P. Allen Smith's
NATURALLY May/June 2017
Ice, Ice, Baby! Healthy Popsicle Recipes
Flowers Pretty Enough to Eat
Waste Not! Broccoli Stalks
It’s easy to appreciate all of nature’s beauty in the spring, isn’t it? The days are longer, flowers are in bloom and everything green is especially green. We have to remember, though, even when the blooms have faded and the summer heat causes the green leaves to lose their luster, there is still beauty in nature. I encourage you to see beauty everywhere, at all times, especially in yourself. That often is the hardest part, to recognize ourselves as strong, capable and worthy, especially when life is not easy and we feel challenged and discouraged. I am reminded of this quote by Confucius. “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” What would happen if we started paying attention to the beauty around us and within ourselves?
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Table of Contents
Ice Pops 8
Edible Flowers 20
Farmers' Co-Op Focuses on Transparency 32
Broccoli Stalks 37
Rose Oil & Water 38
Recipe: Blueberry Muffins 44
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â€œBe a rose which gives fragrance even to those who crush it."
- Imam Ali
Ice, Ice, baby
Grab a popsicle to beat the heat!
Warmer weather calls for cooler treats. Ice pops are a great way to indulge in a cool, sweet treat without going overboard on sugar. Unfortunately, a lot of commercial brand ice pops contain corn syrup, food coloring and artificial flavor that mimics the taste of fruit. We are lucky enough here in Little Rock to have an ice pop shop called Le Pops, where we can indulge our sweet tooth guilt-free. They hand make small batches of ice pops from locally sourced produce and herbs, Arkansas coffee and fine Belgian chocolate. You’d be amazed by some of the interesting flavor combinations they come up with, like cucumber mojito, pineapple habañero and cookies and jam. You can make your own all-natural ice pops at home too. All you need are a few ingredients and some popsicle molds and sticks. Start with seasonal produce. Strawberries, blueberries, peaches and citrus fruits have a lot of flavor on their own. Use herbs and spices to add a bit of a twist. Since the ice pop-making process is pretty simple, it’s a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen. They will love experimenting with flavors and watching the ingredients transform into a refreshing frozen treat. They’ll have even more fun eating them! As a bonus, it’s a way to get your kids to eat their fruits too.
The story of Le Pops
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Photo credit: Jessica Pinney
with St. Germain & Edible Flowers Recipe INGREDIENTS
¼ cup water
1. In a saucepan, add ¼ cup water and ¾ cup sugar. Heat over medium
¾ cup sugar
temperature, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool.
1 bottle Champagne
2. When syrup has cooled, slowly add the chilled bottle of Champagne, allowing
¼ cup St. Germain
the least amount of bubbles to escape as possible.
1 ounce edible flowers
3. Add the St. Germain and gently combine. 4. Place 3 to 4 flowers in the bottom of each popsicle mold. 5. Fill each of your popsicle molds with the syrup. Add the popsicle sticks and freeze for at least 10 hours before serving. 6. For easy removal, run warm water over the popsicle mold for a few seconds before dislodging. Recipe from Cooking with Janica
Blackberry Lime Sage
1 cup boiled water 1 cup cold water 1/2 cup agave nectar (or sweetener of your choice) 1 sprig of sage (left whole) 3-4 sage leaves, sliced thin 1 lime, juiced Blackberries, small (or large cut in half) INSTRUCTIONS 1. Boil 1 cup of water, then add agave nectar. 2. Remove from heat, add 1 cup of cold water, juice of 1 lime, and 1 sprig of sage. 3. Stir and let cool. 4. Add blackberries and sliced sage to popsicle molds. 5. Remove sage sprig from cooled syrup, and pour liquid into popsicle molds.
Photo credit: Lia Griffith
Recipe from Lia Griffith 19
flowers pretty enough to eat
Flowers are more than just pretty faces. We usually grow flowers for their beauty or to attract butterflies and bees to our gardens. But did you know that you can also eat some of them?
There are so many garden plants that produce edible flowers. Many of these flowers have nice, subtle flavors like rose petals or the common house geranium. Itâ€™s not surprising that many of these plants taste like they smell.
Eating flowers dates back thousands of years to the Romans who used mallow, rose and violets. The Old Testament refers to the use of dandelions as a bitter herb, and in the Victorian era, rose petals were added to dishes and sweets. Carnations are said to be an ingredient of Chartreuse, a green herbal liquor developed by French monks in the seventeenth century. Eating flowers has had a surge in popularity as more and more restaurants are using flowers not just as garnishes but as part of the meal itself. I love daylilies on a salad with fresh fruit and light vinaigrette. Squash blossoms are delightful when stuffed with vegetables and cheese. 20
Not all flowers are safe to eat, so before you go out and
It is best to pick the flowers a few hours before you plan
start grazing on blooms, you should know what you’re
to use them and always check for insects. Avoid flowers
eating. It’s important to check two or three sources to
that are past their prime or not fully open. Wash all flowers
make sure the flowers are edible. It’s advisable to only
thoroughly before eating them. Remove pistils and stamens
eat organically grown flowers since pesticides can last for
and use only the petals (violas and pansies are exceptions to
months on plants, and stay away from flowers growing by
the roadside. Introduce flowers to your diet a little at a time. A good To play it safe, you can always eat the blooms of common
place to start is with garnishes. Freshly picked and
herbs, such as rosemary, basil and fennel. And if you can
crystalized flowers are beautiful on cakes and other sweets.
eat the fruit of a plant, you can usually eat its flower. For
Incorporate floral flavors, such as lavender and hibiscus, into
example, apple and lemon flower as well as pea blooms can
your cocktail. You can use fresh flowers or freeze the petals
be quite tasty.
in ice cubes.
For a hint of spice and pepper, try nasturtiums. Violas
Tea is another great way to enjoy the subtle flavor and
and pansies have a somewhat sweet floral flavor, while
perfume of edible flowers. Place a handful of petals in a
chrysanthemums can be bitter. Of course, not every flower
teapot or cup, pour boiling water over them, let steep for
will send your taste buds reeling, so before you put it in a
five minutes, then strain and enjoy!
meal, sample it. The key to using edible flowers successfully is to keep everything else simple as to not overpower the blooms’ delicate flavors. 21
White Wedding Celebrations
Today, wedding festivities start well before the actual wedding day. From engagement parties to bridal showers, couples are feeling the love leading up to their nuptials.
To host something truly unique (and cost effective), there’s no need to go any farther than your backyard. By creating an inviting space on your patio or lawn, you’ll have the perfect setting for a special gathering. You just can’t go wrong with a classic white and neutral color palette (yes, green is a neutral in the garden!). ENGAGEMENT PARTY
For an outdoor engagement party, set up a serving tray or bar on your patio. If you have a large yard or patio, you can use planters to define spaces, creating outdoor rooms. Here, the containers have been filled with Graceful Grasses® ‘Sky Rocket,’ Supertunia® Mini Silver, shasta daisies and Shadowland® ‘Autumn Frost’ hostas for a soft, organic look.
For a garden-inspired event, place the head table on the lawn with your lush landscaping as a picture-perfect backdrop. A centerpiece of Supertunia® ‘White’ and Illusion® ‘Emerald Lace’ sweet potato vine in a porcelain urn adds an elegant touch. Soft, flowy linens and white candles in glass vessels give an air of romance.
REHEARSAL DINNER What could be sweeter than dinner under the stars? Set up seating on the patio or under a pergola. Cocktail tables can be placed throughout the lawn to encourage your guests to mingle. String lights over the seating area add romance and help define the space. Fill large planters with a thriller, filler and spiller for dramatic effect. In this case, we used Graceful Grasses® King Tut® papyrus, Artful® Fire and Ice® caladiums and Supertunia® Vista Silverberry and Quicksilver™ artemisia.
Shop online for all of these plants and more: www.provenwinners.com/catalog
Photographer: Stephanie Parsley
Plan your wedding, rehearsal dinner or bridal photography at p. allen smith's private garden home retreat
"Won't you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you." - Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Growing together with good
There’s something about seeing a fruit ripen on the vine or a flower slowly blooming that is just fascinating. With an increase in garden-centered communities and sustainable city initiatives, a new way of gardening is on the rise. The therapeutic nature of playing in the dirt appeals to all demographics, especially in the digital age when we’re spending more time than ever in front of screens. What better way to build a supportive, energetic community than by planting together? New growers can learn a lot from wiser, more seasoned gardeners who have tried and true methods of creating successful gardens. To celebrate and share the bounty of each season’s harvest, why not host a community potluck? It’s such a simple idea built around relationships grounded in living soil!
This is a new take on a traditional backyard party: instead of casseroles, everyone brings their fresh produce for the community mealâ€”greens for the salad, veggies for the grill and, of course, berries for dessertâ€”and a little bit extra to donate to the local food bank. Good Dirt was founded on the idea that gardening cultivates so much more than plants. Gardens foster friendships and when meals are shared, so are ideas, hopes and ways to build a better, more sustainable future for all generations.
Gardening in comfort
All that kneeling, stooping and squatting in the garden can really wear us out. And sometimes hauling heavy things from one place to another just isn’t doable, especially when there’s a long list of to-dos. There are a couple pieces of equipment I keep on hand to make garden tasks a little easier. The Garden Scoot is great for getting around and taking a lot of the stress out of tedious chores like pruning, weeding and harvesting. It even has a tray under the seat for your tools and a storage basket on the back that can hold a five-gallon bucket. You can plant and weed in raised beds and containers from the seat of the Scoot instead of kneeling on the ground. The same goes for pruning your hedges. The Garden Scoot isn’t just for the garden either. Instead of stooping down, use the Scoot to wash your car tires, repair equipment or clean out the bottom cabinets in the tool shed. I also love having the Garden Glide around. Wheelbarrows can be cumbersome and not ideal for hauling certain things like large containers. I use the Garden Glide to move heavy planters from one part of the farm to another. And because it sits low to the ground, you don’t have to lift heavy objects very high to get them on the glide. At the end of a long day in the garden, I can load up empty containers and tools and take them all back to the storage shed in one trip. What’s not to love about that?
Steers at Grass Roots farms graze openly in fresh pastures. (credit: Bryan Clifton)
Farmers’ Cooperative Rooted in Sustainability As the old adage goes, we are what we eat. But we are also what we eat eats. I think it’s important to know exactly where our food comes from, and that’s especially true for those of us who are carnivores. More consumers demand to know the source of their meat and how animals are raised and want to support local, sustainable farms. The Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative is meeting these demands through its “pasture-to-plate” model and complete transparency with practices and standards.
HAPPY ANIMALS EQUAL HEALTHIER MEAT In an industrial chicken house, there may be 25,000 chickens with less than one square foot per bird. They never go outside and touch grass. The use of antibiotics helps to keep the chickens from getting sick and spreading disease, and they reach market weight much faster and at lower cost. At Falling Sky Farm, Cody Hopkins and his wife, Andrea, have a different approach to raising chickens. At 5 AM, Cody and Andrea are up catching young chickens in the brooder. They crate them and take them to pasture where they will spend the rest of their lives. “That’s Red Ranger chickens at The Wright Place Farm. (credit: Bryan Clifton)
a really, really great moment because it’s a key thing that separates what we do from the rest of the agricultural industry,” Cody says. The chickens get moved every day to a new spot of grass and they scratch, forage and roam, living a far healthier life than those raised in an industrial poultry house. “Our focus is not to produce as many hens as we can for the cheapest price,” says Cody, who owns Falling Sky Farm with his wife and also manages Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative. “Our chickens have more room to roam and therefore experience less stress. We almost never have a sick bird and none of our chickens ever get antibiotics. We use high quality feed with no GMOs. All of this makes for a healthier bird and tastier meat with a more nuanced flavor
Cody Hopkins, who manages the co-op, checks in on his pigs at Falling Sky Farm. (credit: Bryan Clifton)
profile.” The same goes for all animals raised on Grass Roots farms. Hogs, for example, are out in the forest. They are moved frequently to a new area of the forest so they can express their “pig-ness,” as Cody puts it. “They’re going to forage, get acorns and wild berries, and that, along with the ration and lower stress environment, is going to produce a much higher quality end product,” he says. Cows are moved regularly to fresh areas of grass, where they will graze, making the grass shorter so that when the chickens are moved they have shorter grass to munch on. This choreography allows the farmers to utilize the land in a way that improves the quality of the soil and diversity of the forest. “It’s as much an art as it is a science,”
Andrea Todt, who owns Falling Sky Farm with her husband Cody, checks to see if the grass is dry enough to bale. Since Grass Roots beef are never fed grain, they rely on hay in grass-poor seasons.” (photo credit: Bryan Clifton)
Cody says, “and I think that’s a really beautiful thing.”
Eliza, Andrea and Sam taking a break from chores to enjoy the scenery at Falling Sky Farm (photo credit: Bryan Clifton)
TRANSPARENCY BUILDS TRUST When it comes to their meat, people place higher values on different things. For some consumers, environmental impact is important; for others, it may be animal welfare. “Fundamentally, what all these folks care about is trust, knowing that they get the product that is promised to them,” Cody says. As a customer, it can be challenging to navigate the world of labels. Buzzwords like “natural,” “cage-free” and “local” don’t often carry the weight you might think they do. “Organic,” for example, doesn’t tell you anything about the way the animal is raised—it only addresses the type of feed. What Grass Roots provides its customers is a direct connection to the source of their food, to the farm and the farmer. Every package that ships out has a stamp on it that tells the customer the farm of origin. If you want to visit the farm and see it in action, you can. And if you really want to dig into the details, the co-op’s standards are listed on their website. All farmers in the co-op follow these same standards. They all use the same feed, pen designs and processors. Animals have plenty of space, and the land is enriched instead of destroyed. Operating as a co-op, these small farms are able to share resources and responsibilities, which makes processing, marketing and distribution more efficient and cost effective. This way the farmers can focus on producing the healthiest, highest quality meats for their customers. “It’s really an old-fashioned way of farming,” Cody says, “When you farm the way we do, you don’t feel like you’re just a cog in the wheel. Animals are happy and healthy. The land is not exploited and in the end you end up with a really great product. That’s what customers want.” 34
The life of a Grass Roots pig: foraging for treats in the forest
Gather friends and family to visit Moss Mountain Farm. Tour the abundant gardens and Allenâ€™s private home, then sit down to a garden-to-table dining experience featuring recipes selected from Allenâ€™s best-selling cookbook, Seasonal Recipes from the Garden.
MOSS MOUNTAIN FARM
IN ROLAND, ARKANSAS
Thursdays & Fridays May - June $96.75 PER PERSON ( All applicable taxes included)
Space is limited. Visit www.PAllenSmith.com, email email@example.com or call Joyce at 501.519.5793 to make your reservation!
Don’t Toss out Those
How many broccoli stalks have you tossed in the trash? We’re all guilty of it. The gnarly looking stalks just don’t look as appetizing as those frilly florets. Since you pay for broccoli by the pound, you’re literally throwing away money when you discard the stalks. With minimal effort, though, you can whip up something delicious. They’re packed with as many vitamins and minerals as the more visually-appealing florets, so there’s no reason not to eat them. You just have to get past the thick, green peel, and you’re left with a light, almost-white tender heart of the stem. Use a sharp knife to peel off the thick part. Then, you can use the stem any way you would use the florets. They’re great cut up and eaten raw with hummus, salsa or other dips. Slice the stem into coin-sized pieces and sauté them with other veggies or by themselves. Roast them in the oven with olive oil and a few spices. The possibilities are endless. 37
Attar of Roses Rose oil is one of the most sought after and expensive oils in the world. It was discovered hundreds of years ago, during the time of the Moguls. The story goes that Princess Nour-Djihan and Emperor Djihanguyr rode through a garden canal filled with rose water on their wedding day. The heat of the afternoon sun separated the oil from the water, and the couple couldn’t help notice its intoxicating scent. The oil was skimmed off the water to create perfume. And so began the production of rose oil, traced back to 1612 in Persia. It takes about 2,000 rose buds to produce 1 gram of oil. The Damask rose, Provence rose and Eglantine rose are considered to be the most fragrant in the world and have long been used to make rose oil. The roses must be collected in the early morning dew. Once the sun hits the petals, they begin to dry out and lose their fragrance. Bulgaria supplies 80 percent of the world’s rose oil, which is commonly used in perfumes, pharmaceuticals and liqueurs. It’s best used in its pure state.
Rose Water Rose water, a byproduct of distilling rose oil, is inexpensive and widely used in skin care, food flavoring and other beauty products. Some ways you can use rose water: 1) HYDRATING FACE SPRAY – Fill a small spray bottle with rose water and add a few drops of your favorite essential oils. Evening primrose is a good option. You can add other ingredients that are good for your skin as well, like aloe vera or witch hazel. 2) MAKEUP REMOVER – Combine coconut oil and rose water 3) LINEN FRESHENER – Spritz rose water on your bedding, clothing or furniture. Add a few drops of lavender oil for a more fragrant scent. 4) HAIR RINSE – After conditioning your hair, finish with a rose water rinse. It will leave your hair soft and with a delicate scent. 5) FOOD FLAVORING – A few drops or rose water can transform a recipe. It’s great in pastries, salads and even in fruit jams. 6) COCKTAIL SYRUP – Mix rosewater and simply syrup to give cocktails a nice twist. Make sure you buy rose water made from rose oil and not a manufactured version which won’t have quite the same smell or properties.
SunPatiens at ®
Moss Mountain Farm
It’s always an exciting day when SunPatiens arrive at the farm! When I see them coming off the truck, the ideas start flowing. I think about where I’m going to plant them, which colors I’ll plant together and which containers or beds I’ll put them in. With the various types and colors of SunPatiens, it’s easy to incorporate them all over the property. When I was thinking about what to put in the large terra cotta pots on my porch for the summer, I knew SunPatiens were the perfect choice. I wanted to choose a color that would pop against the house and go with my favorite coral chairs. I knew Compact Blush Pink would be perfect! What I especially love about SunPatiens is how lowmaintenance they are. Aside from regular watering, they require very little care. And they thrive in sun or partial shade and produce nonstop blooms, from spring through frost. Not long after they arrived, I got to work planting the SunPatiens in the terra cotta containers. I used a welldrained soil, gave them plenty of water and placed the containers in the sun. About a week later, I moved them under the porch where they’ve flourished.
GROWING SUNPATIENS: - Plant in well-drained soil. - Incorporate a slow release fertilizer at half the label rate into the soil (if the soil you’re using doesn’t already contain fertilizer). - Water plants well after planting until they are established (7-10 days). - You don’t need to remove old flowers or cut off older growth. New leaves and flowers will cover the old blooms. Generally, SunPatiens should not be cut back. If you plant a vigorous variety that gets taller than desired in mid- to late summer, then take off the top one-third of growth. If you follow these easy growing tips, you’ll have an abundance of beautiful blooms for three seasons. I love sitting out on the porch after a long day with a good book or a cocktail. Sometimes Duncan joins me, and we take in the beauty of the farm punctuated by the colorful blooms of SunPatiens.
All About That
It wouldnâ€™t be summer in the garden without basil, so go ahead and plant some now! It goes a long way in sprucing up a sauce or salad. Not just handy in the kitchen, there are many uses for this aromatic herb. Even better, itâ€™s a cinch to grow. Basil needs 6-8 hours of sun per day and grows best in a garden bed or container. If growing indoors, make sure to place your plant on a south-facing windowsill. I grow several varieties, including Spicy Globe, Purple Basil and the traditional Sweet Basil, and there are many more to choose from. I like to drink tulsi, or Holy Basil, as a tea. The plant has sacred meanings in Hinduism, hence the name. You can steep fresh or dried leaves in hot water. On its own, Holy Basil tea is caffeine-free.
Basil likes it hot, so wait to plant it until the daytime temperatures are above 70 degrees and night time temperatures stay above 50. Any chill will cause the leaves to blacken and curl. Basil needs rich soil with plenty of organic matter to hold moisture and improve drainage. Harvest whole stems by making cuts just above a pair of leaves and be sure to pinch back the flowers to prevent the plant from producing seed. This will encourage more leaf growth. Place bunches of stems inside in glass jars or vases with a little water. They will not only be at your fingertips when you need them, but also look great sitting on your windowsill. Basil is best used fresh, but any extra that you have can be preserved through drying or freezing in ice cubes. Then youâ€™ll have sweet, peppery basil to use in soups and other dishes throughout the winter months.
USE BASIL TO: 1. BUST STRESS: Add some basil leaves to your bath, along with Epsom salt, to help you relax. 2. SOOTHE YOUR STOMACH: For indigestion, steep three or four basil leaves in a cup of boiling water. Drink in between meals throughout the day. 3. ENHANCE BUTTER: Place 1/4 cup finely chopped basil, 1 clove of chopped garlic and 1 stick (1/2 cup) of salted butter in a bowl. Stir until combined. Place on wax paper, roll into a cylinder and refrigerate. 4. KICK UP YOUR COCKTAIL: Make a simple syrup by combining 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar and a handful of basil leaves in a pot and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar dissolves then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and strain. Refrigerate the syrup in a sealed container and use within a week. 5. BATTLE AGAINST BITES: Rub a drop of basil oil on a bug bite to get rid of the itch.
My favorite Blueberry Muffins Recipe
You might call blueberries nature’s little superheroes when it comes to nutrition. They’re high in potassium, fiber and vitamin C and are packed full of antioxidants. Research suggests that blueberries can help lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and may help reduce the risk of cancer. And, they’re super flavorful! Do you need any more reasons to incorporate more blueberries into your diet?
Blueberry muffins are a classic. While it may be tempting
2. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and ¾ cup sugar
to whip up a batch from a boxed kit, try this recipe for blueberry muffins from scratch that is almost as easy and certainly better tasting! INGREDIENTS 6 Tablespoons butter or margarine, room temperature 3/4 cup sugar 1 egg 2 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 pint blueberries 2 teaspoons sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 375˚ F. with an electric beater. 3. Add the egg to the butter/sugar mixture and beat until well incorporated. Set aside. 4. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, salt and baking powder. 5. Fold half the dry ingredients into the egg-butter-sugar mixture. 6. Stir in half the milk and repeat the process with the remaining dry ingredients and milk. 7. Add the vanilla and give the batter a good stir. 8. Gently fold the blueberries into the batter. 9. Spoon the batter into greased muffin tins. Fill the tins almost level to the top. 10. Mix 2 teaspoons of sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle on top of the muffin batter. 11. Bake for 30 minutes. If you can stand to wait, allow the muffins to cool after baking for 20 to 30 minutes, otherwise get 'em while they're hot! Makes about 12 medium-sized muffins.
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A Chef's Coveted Ingredient: duck
It’s a good day for Chef Scott Rains at Table 28 when he gets his hands on some duck eggs.
“The yolk is amazing,” he says. “It gives any dish a smoothness and richness unlike anything else.” Duck eggs have a higher fat content than chicken eggs. Pastry chefs use duck eggs to make cakes, muffins and other baked goods fluffier and richer. Chef Rains says his favorite thing to make with duck eggs is crème brulee. “Ducks eggs are creamy and like velvet in your mouth,” he says. Even just a poached duck egg is such a treat, especially since the eggs are only available about six weeks out of the year. “Maybe Allen will send me some from the farm!”
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'Blueberry Sundae' Daylily
Shadowland® 'Empress Wu' Hosta
Big Bang™ Mercury Rising Tickseed
Rainbow Rhythm® Primal Scream Daylily
Dolce® 'Blackberry Ice' Coral Bells
'Magnus Superior' Coneflower
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Walter, a White Indian Runner, is the farm’s resident Harry Houdini. He has found a way to escape any pen he’s been put in. And once he’s out, boy, can he run! He goes through the pond, the fields and through the vegetable garden slinking in an out of the plants. He’s murder to catch! They don’t call ‘em “runners” for nothing! I especially try to get him in a pen during breeding season because Walter is quite the ladies’ man. It never fails that he finds his way to the hens. And just when I think I’ve got him cornered, he slips away. If I am lucky enough to catch him, I have to hold on tight. Walter likes to wiggle around in protest. If you visit the farm, you’ll probably spy Walter somewhere he shouldn’t be!