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This season, blame it on the mold

Everywhere you look, the fields and roadsides are full of the golden invasive weed known as goldenrod. While it might make your skin crawl to see all those plumes, they are not in fact the reason why your nose and throat are itchy.
I know, I know, you’re tired of hearing this but it isn’t goldenrod that triggers your late summer allergies; every allergy website in the world says that it’s ragweed not goldenrod that’s making you miserable. 

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The health of the coral reefs matters to us, too

The past few years have been tough times for coral reefs around the planet. If you’re not a diver, perhaps you don’t care — but you should. The reefs are a kind of canary in the coal mine for global health and if they’re in a state of failure, that doesn’t bode well for us land dwellers.

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Plum delicious (or do you say ‘plumb’?)

Etymology websites have taught me (just this morning) that the expression is not “plum delicious” but “plumb delicious.” The origin is the French word for lead, plombe.
Meanwhile, the extraordinary French plums called Long Johns have arrived at Paley’s Farm Market in Sharon. I feel very special: Farmer Charlie Paley actually emailed me to announce the plums were arriving late last Friday, Sept. 7. He knows that I am a Long John plum enthusiast of the highest degree.

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Pesto season has arrived

If you read the health page article on tomatoes in the Aug. 23 issue of The Lakeville Journal, then you know that I was nervous that I got Mafalda’s tomato sauce recipe slightly wrong.
Which is exactly what happened.
For those of you who missed that article, I recently visited my friend Tina in Seattle, Wash., and had the good fortune to be invited to dinner at the home of her mother, the excellent cook Mafalda Scoccolo.

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Sweet dreams of sweet cherries

Cherries, while indigenous to Europe, have become a staple American food. The U.S. is ranked second in production of sweet cherries. Washington state in particular is a center of cherry production. New England and New York orchards also produce, although on a smaller scale and often with more of an emphasis on sour than sweet.
Cherries are one of the foods that have good taste and an abundance of natural benefits.

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How genetics set the terrier apart from the golden retriever

I confess that I don’t really know why scientists are studying dog genomes to figure out why some  breeds are better at certain tasks than other breeds.
I thought that was the whole point of “breeding,” that you seek the genes that give you the dog who will best perform its essential duties (guarding the palace, for example, or herding sheep or sitting quietly in a handbag while its owner shops).

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Tomatoes: Forgive me, Mafalda, if I got this wrong

As tomato years go, it’s been kind of moderate. It isn’t one of those years where you have so many tomatoes on the vine that you just give up trying to pick them all. 
But it also hasn’t been a year of massive blight despite the wet weather. If you’ve lived here for a few years, you might remember that one very bad blight year, when everyone was worried that the soil would be contaminated for years to come.

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What about when life doesn’t even give you lemons?

cynthiah@lakevillejournal.com

If life gives you lemons, then of course you’ll make lemonade, especially if it’s a hot summer like this one has been. 

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Opioid addiction among new mothers has quadrupled

cynthiah@lakevillejournal.com

The opioid crisis, as we know, is exploding. I don’t know quite why this is, but it seems that when addiction or disease trends really begin to hit a very low point, the media begins to talk about the children born from mothers with those diseases or addictions. Think of the crack babies and AIDS babies when those crises were at a peak of concern.

The pros and cons of the insect repellent DEET

Developed for American soldiers in World War 2, DEET has long been the most famous and effective ingredient in bug sprays. 
Otherwise known as diethyltoluamide, DEET has proven to be extremely potent against insects, but a controversy regarding its safety has put it in a questionable light. 
In the mid 1980s, a study was conducted by Everglades National Park in which, “The authors concluded that skin rashes, daytime sleepiness and impaired cognitive function are significantly associated with DEET exposure.”

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