Summer

What Are Japanese Beetles Good For?

Jul 25, 2014
Kurt Andreas via flickr Creative Commons

Mid-summer brings Japanese beetles to the garden, clustering on their favorite foods: the leaves of raspberry, grape, and garden roses. In the vegetable garden, the lead shoots of pole beans are another tasty target. I know gardeners who find a daily ritual of flicking beetles into a container with water and a drop of liquid soap to be very therapeutic. Beetle demise is quick. These are people who typically release indoor spiders and wasps to the outdoors, but damage to the garden is another matter. 

Karla Salathe

You need no special excuse to seek cool water on a hot summer day. Water lilies provide a perfect mid-summer setting to explore the specialized role of aquatic plants in NH ponds and wetlands. Paddlers and shoreline hikers alike admire scented, floating flowers of water lilies blooming in July. Fragrant yellow and white blossoms seem lotus-like amid a raft of floating lily pads atop shallow freshwater ponds.

Brian Smestad, courtesy of Blue Tree LLC

A Mexican lime shortage had some NH bar owners worried. 

Margaritas, mojitos, gin and tonics... when you think of summer drinks, there's probably a lime in the picture. But up until a few weeks ago, this summer looked pretty grim – at least lime-wise.

“We were paying $50 a case to begin with,” says Jim Derosiers, “and then they jumped up to $150 a case and $175 a case.”

Desrosiers is the bar manager at Poco's Bow Street Cantina in Portsmouth. Every week, Poco's goes through about 15 cases of 250 limes each.

dailyinvention via Flickr Creative Commons

Underwear, television and delusion. No, not a David Sedaris essay. These are some of the topics we are exploring on today’s Word of Mouth. Join us for an interview with psychiatrist Joe Gold about increasing prevalence of “Truman Show Delusions,” wherein people believe their life to be an elaborate reality show. Then, we talk to NY Times TV critic, Neil Gezlinger, about why television might not be the brain melting fluff we have been taught to think. Plus, producer Taylor Quimby makes a startling confession about his undergarments. Also, birds are in our trees, on the beach and constantly in sight during the summer months, so we bring you two stories featuring these graceful creatures. 

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.


A Salute To Bobolinks & Henry David Thoreau

Jul 11, 2014
Kelly Colgan Azar via flickr Creative Commons

A tumbling jumble of bird song from across the field announces the presence of bobolinks. In his journals, Henry David Thoreau quoted a Cape Cod child who asked:

"What makes he sing so sweet, Mother? Do he eat flowers?"

l . e . o via Flickr Creative Commons

We spoke with National Geographic Traveler Magazine editor-in-chief Keith Bellows about what makes a great beach town, and he gave us some idea locations all across the country. This inspired us to make a list of New Hampshire summer spots, with particular attention to one of the state’s specialties – lakes.  We’ve also squeezed a couple rivers in here as well.

Wacky Grilling Recipes From J.M. Hirsch

Jul 10, 2014
Chris Makarsky via Flickr Creative Commons

Recently, we talked to J.M. Hirsch, food editor for the Associated Press and author of Beating The Lunchbox Blues about his wacky grilling habit. He was kind enough to send us a couple of his recipes and told us a few more on air.

woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons

It’s been 25 years since Larry David’s “show-about-nothing” debuted on NBC, but it lives on. Recently a critic made the argument that Seinfeld not only transformed the sitcom but paved the way for television’s anti-hero dramas. Plus, not even a month into summer, you may already be approaching capacity on grilled burgers and hot dogs. JM Hirsch, food editor for the Associated Press joins us to inject new ideas into the outdoor cooking season. And, a sneak peak of bands heading to western Massachusetts for this weekend’s Green River Festival.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.


Brian Hoffman via flickr Creative Commons

If today's installment of Something Wild fell to my NH Audubon cohorts, it would be easy to feature our national symbol, the Bald Eagle--perfect for patriotic Fourth of July! Instead, "NH Forest Guy" wracks his brain to make a tree connection to our nation's birthday. All I could come up with is that bottle rockets are affixed to wooden sticks and that firecrackers and other pyrotechnics are constructed and packaged using cardboard and paper--all derived from tree. No trees? No fireworks!

Michael Samuels

 

A Bedford coffee roaster offers a different kind of buzz.

Joel Christian Gill

Whether it’s a catchy theme song, or a single image - think Mary Tyler Moore tossing her cap into the air – some TV credit sequences are etched in our minds. Today we listen for the greatest TV opening sequences of all time. Plus, a look at a graphic novel that reveals the untold stories of African-American history…including that of Richard Potter, for whom the New Hampshire town of Potter Place is named. Then, tis the season for mosquitoes, black flies, and ticks. How are you preventing pesky bites? We sample the rainbow of bug repellant…from witch hazel to DEET.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.


6.28.14: Summer Is Here, Get Outside!

Jun 28, 2014
Logan Shannon / NHPR

So long spring, hello summer! Today on Word of Mouth, we head to the great outdoors, starting with the American playground, and how it’s evolved from a place of physical challenges to ultra-safe environment with short slides, and all soft surfaces. Then we’ll hit a different kind of playground for New Hampshire scavengers: the transfer station, or as it known in less polite circles, the dump.


Thirteen of clubs via Flickr CC

Few things are as nostalgic for many Americans as the idea of sitting around a campfire, roasting marshmallows, and looking for constellations or listening to scary stories. It’s these memories that the National Wildlife Federation hopes to rekindle with the Great American Backyard Camp-Out on Saturday, June 28.

Peter Gorman via flickr Creative Commons

Deep down I think we all are instinctively foragers; a vestige of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Ripening now in meadows and along roadsides is a vegetable favored by many wild-food foragers: common milkweed. From emergent shoots on through to flowers and the formation of young pods, milkweed can be cooked and added to just about any meal.

butler.corey via Flickr Creative Commons

There’s always debate about what will be the ‘song of the summer,’ a title usually determined by airtime and download statistics. But what about all the other songs that deserve a chance at becoming your summer anthem? Here is an alternative summer playlist, with songs from all across the board. Pick your favorite and listen until you get sick of it, hopefully sometime around September.

Alt text
Put Credit Here / Put Agency Her

The song of the veery is a haunting, ethereal song. Males sing at dusk, a time when not many other birds sing and daytime winds have calmed. It's also a time when the air turns damp; dense, moist air transfers sound waves better than dry air.

If you listen to the song carefully, you can hear an echo or tremolo effect (more on this below), because songbirds have, essentially, a double voice box that can produce two notes at the same time. (The left voice box is lower pitched than the right one.) In a sense, a singing veery harmonizes with itself.

ninahale via Flickr Creative Commons

The old adage goes, “money can’t buy you happiness”, but maybe you’re just not spending it right. From paying for experiences to spending on others, we'll look at the science of smarter, happier spending. Plus, parents prepare! The end of the school year is nigh. For those looking for ways to get kids off their screens and outside this summer, fear not, we have just the activities in mind. Then, the surprisingly fascinating history of the scarecrow.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.


The Hand Of The Small Town Builder

Jun 5, 2014
W. T. Pfeffer

We spoke with W. Tad Pfeffer about his book The Hand of the Small-Town Builder: Summer Houses in Northern New England, 1876-1930. Here are some images from the houses he researched, and his captions give a deeper look into the history of our favorite summer tradition, the summer house.

To listen to the full interview with W. Tad Pfeffer, click here

Sean Hurley

Copper Cannon Camp is tucked away in Franconia Notch on 128 acres of White Mountain National Forest.  In some ways a typical overnight camp with sing-a-longs at night and archery during the day, Copper Cannon is unusual in one respect.  As Sean Hurley reports, it's one of only a handful of co-ed camps in the country that's absolutely free for kids of low income families. 

I'm only at Copper Cannon Camp for 30 seconds when Zach and Rob, two eleven year old boys, spot my recorder and come racing over.

Istvanski via Flickr Creative Commons

The heat wave that blanketed the east coast in mid-July was the longest to hit New York City in a decade. Not surprisingly, the Big Apple broke records for energy usage, as sweltering city-dwellers turned up the AC.  The US leads the world in climate control – but at a significant financial and environmental cost.  Leon Neyfakh is a reporter for the Ideas section of the Boston Globe – and author of the article “How to Live Without Air Conditioning”.

Chuck Holton via Flickr Creative Commons

The Boy Scouts of America opened its version of a Disney-esque destination getaway in early July. The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve includes whitewater rafting, miles of zip line, and an 85,000-seat stadium – all built on ten thousand acres of West Virginia woodland.

found_drama via Flickr Creative Commons

Last weekend was the first actual weekend of summer…an event barely noticed by many who’ve been barbequing, swimming and gardening since Memorial Day. Plenty of people do celebrate the longest day of the year in a more traditional way…and we’re talking traditions that stretch back thousands of years -- Carol and Clay Young hosted a fire ceremony to welcome in the solstice in the backwoods of Wentworth, New Hampshire, with a small, but diverse group of revelers. Word of Mouth’s Molly Donahue was there and brought us back this audio postcard.

Goldfinches, The Late Nesters

Sep 21, 2012

The bird world quiets down by late summer - but not the American goldfinch, one of the most common backyard birds. September brings the chatter of young goldfinches as they follow their male parent. They beg noisily, perched with head thrown back and trembling wings.

Most songbirds switch their diet to high-protein insects when feeding their young, and they nest earlier when insects are most bountiful. For example, chickadees that keep bird-feeders busy in winter disappear in summer as they forage for insects not birdseed.

Hawks Aloft

Sep 7, 2012

Once again, it's broad-winged hawk migration time. Whirpools of hawks soon will fill the sky, riding high on thermal lift as sun warms earth. When lift plays out they stream south in an orderly, and countable, procession.

New Hampshire Audubon does just that - count the hawks - at Carter Hill Orchard in Concord and atop Pack Monadnock at Miller State Park in Peterborough.

Here's what Henry Walters, the official counter at Pack Monadnock, wrote two years ago on September 18:

Hover Flies

Aug 30, 2012
Hope Abrams, via Flickr Creative Commons

While hiking on Mount Monadnock this summer, I witnessed an odd phenomenon: nearly-motionless hovering insects with orange-yellow stripes over a dark body suggesting wasps or bees. The tight aerial formation of insects hovered at eye level in a shaft of sunlight over the trail.

The “Hover Flies” - sometimes called “Flower Flies” - belong to a LARGE group in the Order “Diptera” (the true flies). Those in the Family “Syrphidae” have only one pair of wings. All wasps and bees have two pairs of wings.

BunchofPants via Flickr Creative Commons

Maine Chef Kathy Gunst on what we should cook and eat to make us feel better about the waning summer season.

Kathy's recipes:

END-OF-THE-SEASON ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE
From Notes from a Maine Kitchen (Down East Books, 2011)by Kathy Gunst
 

Dragonflies Winging South

Aug 24, 2012

Late summer brings cool nights and clear air - and winged migration. Along with birds heading south, there's a few butterfly, moth and dragonfly species that respond to the migratory urge.

One dragonfly - the common green darner - has been studied with results that suggest there's a lot of similarities between insect and bird migration. Tiny radio transmitters were attached with eyelash adhesive to green darners which were tracked by plane and ground crews.

Shorebird Migration

Aug 17, 2012
Flickr Creative Commons

The autumn shorebird migration starts early. The first signs of autumn are now found moving southward along beaches and in salt marshes or high above New Hampshire's 13 miles of Atlantic coast. 

Not So Common Nighthawks

Aug 10, 2012

In mid-August, one of the most elegant and least known migration flights begins. Common nighthawks, a long-distance migrant, are one of the earliest to depart their northern breeding grounds. Despite their species name, they aren't hawks and they aren't nocturnal. And, alas, they no longer are common. Nighthawks are crepuscular, a great word for the handful of species that are most active at dawn and dusk.

WBUR

Mid-summer is not too soon to think about heating next winter. By August, forest trees are beginning to prepare for the coming winter. With recent attention to the importance of local food production, we should consider ways to meet our heating needs using local wood energy.

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