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Helen Bennett Harvey promises that no animals were harmed in the making of this blog. Vegging Out is a recipe for a new way of life. Or at least a new way of eating. Pull up a chair. Contact me at:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The meat behind the mirror

Have you heard vegan food can only look good when it's really meat?
That is the news about VegNews, according to a recent New York Times story that reported the magazine used meat and dairy products in images that purported to be vegan dishes.
The New York Times story says:
"The gastronomical subterfuge was revealed in an April 13 post by, a vegan blog, which found that images of conventional foods from a free online stock-photo service were identical to images accompanying supposedly vegan dishes in the magazine and on its Web site." this a tempest in a teapot? Everyone know I tried a vegan month last year and crashed and burned - it was just too hard to do. But if you are making a living writing about veganism, shouldn't the meat be left at the door?

P.S. Someone asked me today if I eat pigs. I thought that was funny. I gave up eating pigs long before other animals.

River Cleanup

The leaders of the Housatonic River Cleanup LLC today announced that boaters, fishermen and environmentalists within their group are seeking additional volunteers to join in a massive river clean up in three area communities along the Housatonic River – Stratford, Milford and Shelton.


The Housatonic River Clean Up will be held from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Saturday, May 7 (rain or shine). The event will be held in conjunction with the Town-sponsored Project Green Sweep, which is also part of the national Great American Cleanup. Volunteers are asked to meet at one of the following locations:


§  Birdseye Boat Ramp, Stratford

§  Sunnyside Boat Ramp, Shelton


Organizers of the event have arranged for refreshments throughout the day and supplies that will be needed for the cleanup (bags, gloves, etc.) Participants do not need boating experience but they are advised to dress for working outdoors. If they have a pickup truck, they are encouraged to bring it along. All participants will be entered in a drawing to win gift certificates.


Organizers of this event include the Housatonic River Cleanup LLC, all of the boat clubs along the River and businesses in Stratford, Shelton, and Milford.


To volunteer, show up at either of the above locations, and you will be given an assignment. If you have any questions, call Stratford Town Planner Dave Killeen at 385-4017.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I go paperless. Do you?

This caught my eye. I love planting stuff too.

AT&T and Arbor Day Foundation have announced their commitment to support the Boy Scouts of America in its goal to grow the Centennial Forest, a project aiding in the restoration of forests throughout the U.S.  Working with Arbor Day Foundation this year, AT&T intends to plant more than 100,000 trees in the BSA's Centennial Forest on behalf of all qualifying customers who sign-up for paperless billing.
"Last year, AT&T's alliance with Arbor Day Foundation resulted in the planting of over a quarter of a million trees in forests throughout the U.S.," said Philip Bienert, vice president, ATT.COM.  "Building on that success, we continue our commitment to environmental sustainability through this year's Arbor Day initiative – offering customers a convenient way to conserve natural resources, while reducing the amount of mail they receive each month."
To date, more than 14 million AT&T customers have chosen to go paperless. Along with the reduction of paper used, enrolling in paperless billing simplifies the lives of customers by providing a faster, more convenient way to manage their accounts online and gain access to billing statements. In 2010, AT&T's paperless billing efforts saved approximately 667 million sheets of paper across the company – the equivalent of approximately 96,000 trees.
"We are honored to team up with AT&T to plant trees to help the Boy Scouts of America celebrate its centennial," said John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Trees planted through AT&T's generous donation will help restore environmental benefits that forests provide."
In addition to reforestation efforts, AT&T promotes environmental sustainability through initiatives such as AT&T Reuse & Recycle. Using recycling programs, customer drop-offs and other channels, AT&T collected more than three and a half million wireless devices last year.
AT&T customers can learn more about paperless billing and sign up today at
For more information about AT&T's sustainability efforts, please visit or To learn how you can recycle with AT&T please visit
All information in this post was from a press release.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

DEP Press Release - Be Bear Aware

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) reminds residents to take steps to reduce contact and conflicts with bears.  These steps are becoming increasingly important as bears emerge from winter hibernation looking for food and because the state's bear population is growing.  This growing and expanding population is estimated at between 300 to 500 bears, increasing the need for people to know how to prevent problems.  In 2010, the DEP received over 3,000 bear sighting reports from 115 of Connecticut's 169 towns.  This spring, the DEP has already received several reports of bears coming into populated areas and interacting with humans and animals.  When bears emerge from their winter dens, natural foods are scarce and, as a result, bears are often attracted to human-provided foods found near homes.  On rare occasions they may attack livestock.

"As Connecticut's bear population continues to grow, residents of our state should familiarize themselves with steps they can take to avoid contact with this species," said Susan Frechette, Deputy Commissioner of the DEP.  "Most unwanted contacts occur when bears are attracted close to homes by food – such as bird feed, refuse and residue on grills – that is made available to them.  This can lead to more serious problems, including habituated bears that have lost their fear of humans.  The best method to prevent problems with bears is to avoid feeding them by taking down bird feeders in the spring, keep garbage cans in a shed or a garage or tightly secured and keep outdoor cooking equipment clean."

The two most common food attractants are bird feeders and poorly-stored household garbage.  Birdfeeders should be taken down and put away during spring, summer, and fall.  Household garbage should be stored in closed garages or sheds. In cases where this can't be done, ammonia should be added to the garbage bags and cans to discourage pilfering by bears and other animals.  Other items that can attract bears include pet and livestock foods, grease and drippings on barbecue grills, sweet or fatty food scraps in compost piles, and fruit on or dropped from trees.

            Although uncommon, bears will attack and kill livestock, such as sheep, goats, pigs, and fowl.  They also can destroy unprotected beehives.  One of the best precautions for these problems is well-maintained electric fencing.  Other recommendations for livestock growers include moving animals into sheds at night, keeping feed contained, keeping animals as distant from forested areas as possible, and using guard dogs.

The DEP encourages residents to take the following simple steps to avoid problems with black bears:

1.      Never intentionally feed bears.

2.      Take down, clean, and put away birdfeeders by late March. Store the feeders until late fall. Clean up spilled seed below feeder stations.

3.      Store garbage in secure, airtight containers inside a garage or storage area. Double bagging and the use of ammonia will reduce odors that attract bears. Periodically clean garbage cans with ammonia to reduce residual odor. Garbage for pickup should be put outside the morning of collection and not the night before.

4.      Avoid leaving pet food or dishes outdoors at night.

5.      Keep barbecue grills clean. Store grills inside a garage or shed.

6.      Avoid placing meat scraps or sweet foods in compost piles.

7.      Protect beehives, livestock, and berry bushes from bears with electric fencing.

8.      Keep dogs on a leash outdoors. A roaming dog might be perceived as a threat to a bear or its cubs.


If you encounter a bear while hiking, make your presence known by yelling or making other loud noises.  Usually, a bear will move from an area once it detects humans.  If a bear does not retreat, slowly leave the area and find an alternate hiking route.  While camping, be aware that most human foods are also attractive to bears.  Keep a clean campsite, and make sure food and garbage are secure (for example, keep food in a cooler stored in the trunk of a car).

Prevention and tolerance are the basis for learning to live with bears in Connecticut.  It is important to remember that although black bears regularly travel near houses, they are rarely aggressive toward humans and can usually be frightened away by making loud noises, throwing sticks, or spraying with a garden hose.  However, it is not uncommon for bears that have found food, such as birdseed from feeders, to ignore such disturbances. In the rare instance when a bear appears to be aggressive toward people, residents should contact the DEP Wildlife Division Sessions Woods office at 860-675-8130 (Mon.-Fri. from 8:30 AM-4:30 PM) or the DEP's 24-hour dispatch line (860-424-3333) during weekends and non-business hours.

Bear sightings reported by the public provide valuable information to assist the DEP Wildlife Division in monitoring the black bear population.  Anyone who observes a black bear in Connecticut is encouraged to report the sighting on the DEP's Web site ( or call the Wildlife Division's Sessions Woods office.  Some bears have been ear-tagged for research.  Information on the presence or absence of tags, including tag color, letters and numbering is particularly valuable.  To obtain informational fact sheets about bears, visit the DEP's Web site or call the Sessions Woods office.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Here's a reason to smile

Need a reason to think about why animals are so much more than many of us think they are?
Here is one in this video.

I nabbed the video off a friend's Facebook page. Is it real? Looks so to me. You can decide for yourself.
But even if you decide these lovely animals were 'trained' or encouraged to behave in this way, you can't deny they are interested in each other. To me they also appear to be truly interacting, 'speaking' as it were.
Will this inspire anyone not to eat a dolphin? I hope you already don't eat dolphins. I hope even more that you don't eat cats.
Some people have to eat both of these animals. But not everyone does and when you have a choice....

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

No Child Left Inside/Great Park Pursuit 2011 Kick-off

The Great Park Pursuit Outdoor Adventure Challenge Begins at Hammonasset State Park, Madison
 WHO:          Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel C. Esty joins Connecticut families to kick-off the sixth annual Great Park Pursuit – this year with a new twist. 
 WHEN:        Saturday, April 9, 2011
                  9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
 WHERE:       Hammonasset Beach State Park – Meigs Point Nature Center 1288 Boston Post Road Madison
·         Guided Bird Walks
·         Binocular and Spotting Scope Station
·         Fill the Bill:  activity focusing on the different beaks and types of food that birds consume
·         Mist Netting
·         Live Birds of Prey
·         Bird Hurdles
·         Bird Scavenger Hunt
·         Purple Martins
·         Bird Safety Patrol/Beach Cleanup

WHAT:         The Great Park Pursuit Outdoor Adventure Challenge is part of the No Child Left Inside® initiative.  Introduced in 2006, No Child Left Inside® is a campaign designed to reconnect children with the outdoors, showcase the recreational opportunities available in Connecticut's 139 state parks and forests, and build the next generation of environmental stewards.  The Outdoor Adventure Challenge is a year round adventure that encourages families to experience the excitement and joy of fun outdoors in CT State Parks and Forests.   Today's event is the first in a series of Outdoor Adventure Challenge Family Days.  The Family Days are themed around eleven outdoor recreation activities (Birding, Fishing, Hiking, Biking, Historic Sites, Boating, Swimming, Camping, Picnicking, Letterboxing and Winter Activities). 

At Hammonasset we are focusing on birding.  The families will receive a GPP Outdoor Adventure Challenge Passport (or they will be able to download a copy from the No Child Left Inside® website - and that will be where they record their various adventures. 

 Editor's note: Yes, this is a press release. It is posted here because it sounds like fun and because kids should get outside!

Grow your own food!!

I just love that vegan chef Mary Lawrence encourages folks to garden.
What better way could there to be bring fresh food to your table and to your family. I hope my family does more of it this growing season. (Stay tuned! The photo at bottom is a flower outside my home.)
In a recent newsletter, Mary says: "Are you a chef who likes to garden? Me, too! I've combined two of my favorite activities into a demonstration that I hope will be a ton of fun as we discuss 'Planning and Planting a Chef's Garden.'"
"This class will teach you how to choose 'double duty' plants that are not only easy to care for, but will reward you throughout the season."

Her event will be held 6:30-8:00 p.m. April 5 at the Bethel Public Library, 189 Greenwood Ave., Bethel.
"This presentation will show you what to plant, when to get started, and how to prepare for a bountiful harvest. Learn about perennial and annual herbs, alliums, 'cut and come again' greens, seasonal staples, canning and cold storage," Mary's newsletter says. The photo above is from Mary's newsletter.

Mary also is part of the Register's Community Media Lab.

Would you like to join the Community Media Lab? Let me know!

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