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Essex Column

Next Tuesday, July 9, the Essex Town Board will hold a public meeting at 9 a.m. at the town hall to discuss the hamlet water project. The current cost estimate is a little more than $3 million. The hamlet currently draws water from the lake, an abundant supply but expensive to filter properly. Well water is preferred, as it’s much cheaper to make potable.

Birds-foot trefoil is an invasive plant, but one that’s so benevolent it’s hard to not like. It flowers from June into September with rich yellow low growing blooms, and lives quite well along sandy roadsides. It looks stunning when mixed with red clover, also a non-native, and purple vetch. It has a light honey-like aroma but in the language of flowers it represents revenge. The Bible, Shakespeare and more modern writers and artists attribute traits to various flowers, the most familiar to us being roses and romantic love. In Victorian times, bouquets and arrangements had specific messages, so one would probably not want to receive birds-foot trefoil.

In the same way we describe the size of hail stones in terms of sports balls and tumor size in terms of fruit, the term heirloom is used for vegetables and heritage applies to animals. There are heirloom tomatoes and heritage breeds of pigs, but never the other way around, with heirloom hens or heritage eggplant. Another pair of words shows the same kind of use: artisanal and craft. Artisanal commonly refers to cheese, while craft refers to beer. Neither adjective carries much weight, other than to mean not mass produced. While I’m at it, the noun coast means where land meets salt water. For fresh water, describing that juncture as shore or lake shore works just fine. Finally, for restaurants to say a menu item is house-made is more accurate than home-made, and probably tastes just as good.

On the farm, a big success in this so far difficult year has been transplanted sweet corn. In size, it has a big jump on the seeded corn, and has managed to stay ahead of the weeds better. I’m looking forward to trying some ears next month.

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