News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood


Entries from April 2014

Get Garden Ready at Tilth's May Edible Plant Sale

April 28th, 2014 by master

Attention Gardeners: Stock Up at the May Edible Plant Sale and Support Education Programs

Choose from the largest selection of organically grown edible plants in the region while stocking up on plants and supplies to grow your own food. This unique sale supports Seattle Tilth’s many educational programs.

If you are like a lot of Seattleites, you have probably noticed that the sun is coming out a little more these days, as well as your yard could use a little TLC. Why not finally start that salad garden you keep talking about? Or if you are a seasoned green thumb, you might want to try out a few organic varieties that you haven’t tried before.

The Sale will feature over 50,000 organically or sustainably grown plants that are specially chosen by Seattle Tilth’s experts because they are well-adapted to thrive in our Pacific Northwest climate. Educators will be on hand to answer questions throughout the sale, and shoppers can learn organic gardening techniques in a series of gardening presentations.

May Edible Plant Sale Shopper Shoppers will find:

  • More than 350 plant varieties for your summer garden, including rare and heirloom varieties
  • Summer crops that love full sun such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash and melons that can be planted at the end of May or in early June
  • Plants for beginning gardeners such as lettuces, Asian greens, kale, chives, arugula, strawberries, culinary herbs and edible flowers
  • Exotic flavors and colorful vegetables such as sweet chocolate peppers, bulbing fennel, Thai basil, lemon cucumbers, Purple Erdine eggplants, tarragon and striped tomatoes

If you’re new to this sale, check out Hot Tips to know before you go to maximize the experience.

All of the proceeds support Seattle Tilth’s extensive food, farm and garden education programs throughout Seattle and King County, building a sustainable and equitable local food system while safeguarding natural resources. The sale also supports local organic growers.

Seattle Tilth’s May Edible Plant Sale

Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and 4
9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Meridian Park
4649 Sunnyside Ave. N., Seattle
Get directions.

Join the Facebook event.

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Chocolate, Not a Bunny for Your Kids This Easter

April 15th, 2014 by master

Our Sister Site, speaks on behalf of cute fluffy bunnies:

Don’t Let the Cuteness Fool You: Buy Chocolate Not a Bunny for Your Kids This Easter

Posted by Nico Lund on April 15th, 2014

Last May, during a elementary school ultimate frisbee practice at Cowen Park, the game was halted due to a mysterious furry white creature hopping through the bushes.

When I picked up my daughter from practice she told me what happened and then asked if I thought it was a wild bunny. I said, “no, it was probably abandoned.” Then she said, “mama, we have to go save it!’ We turned around, went back to the park and found the derelict bunny and brought him home.

Just so you know, bunnies are very cute, but unless they are raised correctly, they can be very hard to handle and not very cuddly. The bunny we brought home fit into the latter category and try as we might, and many scratches and bites later, we realized he would do better in a home with someone who had a lot of bunny experience and could rehabilitate him.

Nilly, as we called him, was a beautiful white rabbit, the quintessential white rabbit from Alice and Wonderland. When you see bunnies, they really are irresistibly sweet and furry, but they are a pet that requires very specific care to ensure a healthy and happy rabbit. Unfortunately, many parents, boyfriends, partners and such think that a bunny would be a super cute gift, but it often ends with either a very sick rabbit, or in the case of Nilly, one that is abandoned to become raccoon food at the park.

According to Rabbit Haven, a non-profit that cares for unwanted bunnies and educates the public about rabbit care, every year “thousands of tiny baby rabbits are purchased for Easter gifts.” From their website, they have a list of reasons why this should be avoided.

  • Rabbits are not toys to be set up in a kid’s room only to come out when the child FEELS like playing. The rabbit needs a family to live with who loves them. They need room to play and be themselves.
  • Rabbits are not always cuddly and do not always like to be hauled around. They are affectionate, enjoy running and playing on the ground and use litter boxes.
  • Rabbits can become frightened when held or confronted by prey animals, like the family dog or cat. THEY NEED LOVING, GENTLE CARE.
  • Rabbits need to live indoors to be safe from diseases and predators.
  • Rabbits are not low maintenance pets. They require as much work as a cat or dog. Rabbits have high social needs and often want another rabbit as a companion.
  • Rabbits are not good first pets for a very young child. Kids lose interest quickly, and rabbits need continual love and support for a lifetime.
  • Rabbits can live 10 years, sometimes longer.
  • Rabbits need medical care from an Exotics vet. Spay or neuter can cost $150 or more, and rabbits require routine veterinary care. Rabbits have special diets and housing needs.
  • Rabbits cannot be set “free” out of doors- it’s a death sentence. They are usually killed by predators within 72 hours, suffering terribly.

If you or someone you know is considering getting a bunny, please pass this information on. As with any pet, one should always inform themselves on the pro’s and con’s of what they are getting. All species and breeds of pets have unique needs and dispositions.

Make sure you are informed before you bring any pet into your home.

Here is a great list of things to consider before getting any pet:

  1. Don’t buy a pet on an impulse
  2. Shop around for the right kind of pet for you or your household
  3. Consider Adoption
  4. Make sure your chosen pet (breed, species) fits your lifestyle
  5. Make sure your chosen pet (breed, species) fits your home environment
  6. Be clear about Why you want a pet
  7. Make sure this is a good time in your life to own a pet
  8. Consider lifespan of pet that you feel will match your needs
  9. Make sure you can meet a specific pets needs
  10. Make sure you know what breed, species is the right type for you or your household
  11. Nilly Vanilly liked his pal Spiral better than us from the get-go. He has since been happily re-homed where he was bonded with a female (spayed) companion

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Pay Attention! Whether You're Walking or Driving, it's Time to Put Down the Phone!

April 10th, 2014 by master

Recently, while driving at a neighborhood friendly speed near Greenlake, a female runner who was looking at her phone proceeded to cross the street in front of me without even slowing down or looking up. When I questioned her disregard for safety, she gestured that it was a crosswalk.

While not a marked crosswalk, I agreed with her that technically, yes, an intersection of streets does denote a crosswalk for pedestrians, but doesn’t she still have the responsibility to at least look up and make sure there are no cars coming?

In recognition of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, between Today and next Tuesday

The Washington’s Traffic Safety Commission says officers across the state will be cracking down on distracted driving as part of a national enforcement campaign. Komo News reports that the campaign has the slogan, “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” Yet, the epidemic of distracted driving seems to only touch the surface of how the distraction of smartphones and other digital devices are increasingly infiltrating so many areas of our lives. In many cases these distracted behaviors are putting people in harms way.

Distracted Walking: Putting thousands of pedestrians in emergency rooms each year

In a 2012 study conducted by the University of Washington, pedestrians who texted were four times less likely to look before crossing streets, stay in crosswalks, or obey traffic signals. NPR reported that the study watched more than 1,100 pedestrians at 20 intersections in Seattle that have had the most pedestrian injuries over three years.

The conclusion of the study published in The Injury Prevention Journal, stated:

Distracting activity is common among pedestrians, even while crossing intersections. Technological and social distractions increase crossing times, with text messaging associated with the highest risk. Our findings suggest the need for intervention studies to reduce risk of pedestrian injury.

Just as You Teach Kids to look Both Ways before Crossing Streets, Teach by example not to look at Mobile Devices While Walking reported on an Ohio State University study that looked at the most recent impacts of distracted pedestrians.

The authors “found that the number of pedestrian ER visits for injuries related to cell phones tripled between 2004 and 2010, even though the total number of pedestrian injuries dropped during that period. The study also found that adults under 30, mainly those between the ages of 16 and 25, are most at risk for cell-phone related injuries while walking.”

Co-author of the sturdy, Jack L. Nasar,  Ph.D., professor and Ph.D. program chair of city and regional programming at Ohio State University says that “If you must talk or text, pull out of the stream of pedestrian traffic and stop walking while doing it. If you’re a parent, just as you teach your children to look both ways before crossing a street, teach your children not to use their mobile devices while walking or driving.”

If the distractions of your phone is still irresistible while you’re driving or walking…

and for those texting walkers:

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Elephant Exhibit at Woodland Park Zoo Brings up a lot of Emotion on Animal Welfare

April 2nd, 2014 by master

Do Elephants belong in captivity, even if it helps educate visitors on the importance of habitat and animal conservation efforts?

In the wild, elephants typically live in tight knit matriarchal families. They experience many emotions that humans can relate to like grief, love, pain and fear, and they have self-awareness, memory capacity and recognition. The question being asked by some is, is being in a zoo setting detrimental to their well being?

Critiques of the Woodland Parks Zoo’s elephant program say that the current plans for the elephant exhibit expansion is not adequate or recommended. In fact, many zoo’s in the nation are dismantling their elephant programs.

Co-founder of the group Friends of the Woodland Park Zoo Elephants, Alyne Fortgang, wants to see “the elephants retired to a sanctuary that would be in a warmer climate and a drier climate, that would offer a vast amount of space and would offer these highly social animals an opportunity to make companions of their own choice.” However, the Woodland Park Zoo has decided to take the advice of Task Force on the Woodland Park Zoo Elephant Exhibit & Program (WPZEEP) that put together a report over a seven month period in 2013.

The WPZEEP report states “…that although the elephants are healthy and staff provide good care, continuing the exhibit and program as it currently functions is not viable for the long term and changes are needed…”

The WPZEEP recommendations included two options for action:

Option One:

  • Create a multi-generational herd with an effective breeding program.

Options Two:

  • Improve the existing exhibit but allow current elephants to age out or retire at the appropriate time.

I have visited the zoo many times with my daughter over the years and feel torn on the issue. Although I agree that being able to share with my child the wonders of the natural world up close and personal has been an amazing treat and a way to talk about conservation issues, I still leave feeling like something is amiss. Perhaps it’s watching the amazing creatures try to function in such unnaturally small spaces that feels strange, or maybe it’s the fact that we are standing there just watching them on display.

I can remember trips to the San Diego Zoo with my family when I was a young girl and the Sea World trips and even going to the small zoo in my hometown. I wonder if going to these zoo’s has helped me to understand the plights of the natural world more?

Alyne, of the Friends of the Woodland Park Zoo Elephants Group seems to think the answer in no. She states that:

“the number one reason the zoo says that they want to keep elephants is because people have to see an elephant in order to act on their behalf and save them in the wild. Well, there is no scientific proof that has ever shown that to be true. We are taking this intelligent and social animal and giving it such an impoverished life.” She continues by saying that “we are teaching our children the wrong message. This is not education at all. This is selfish entertainment.”

It’s hard to say what the right course of action is here with folks on both sides of the issue passionate about their views.

As of now, the Woodland Park Zoo is planning to expand the elephant program, however, I am sure this isn’t the end of the debate.

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