Preparing the Garden for Winter in New Jersey

by Vicki Patterson

Residing in New Jersey, Vicki Patterson cares for Gypsy Vanner horses and offers puppies for adoption at RiverPointe Farm in Bloomsbury. Ms. Patterson also enjoys gardening and cooking in her spare time. She shares some tips for winter gardening below.

While people often think of summer and fall as the prime seasons for gardening, winter is also crucial. Taking time in the late fall and early winter to prepare the garden for some downtime will help to ensure a fruitful growing season over the next year.

Cover the garden area with compost, including vegetable scraps, cut grass, and leaves. While you can buy compost, ideally you should create your own because this method is more sustainable.

Clean up the yard. Remove dead tree branches and any plants that did not survive the change of seasons. Be sure to cut back parts of the garden or yard that have become overgrown and pick up any leaves that will decompose in the winter.

If you have a lawn, make sure to prepare it for the cold weather, too. Early winter serves as a great time to apply fertilizer and grass seed, especially to bare spots.

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The Gypsy Vanner Horse Society by Vicki Patterson

In 1992, American horse enthusiasts Dennis and Cindy Thompson spotted what they called a “magical” horse while driving through the English countryside. Subsequent conversations with the farmer boarding the horse led to the discovery that a special kind of horse, called a vanner, had been selectively bred by local Romani Gypsies. A vanner was the perfect horse to pull a Gypsy caravan; the website of the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society asserts that the perfect caravan horse is “strong, intelligent, docile, athletic, and colorful and has excellent endurance.”

The Thompsons spent the next four years involved with the Gypsies, learning about their culture, caravans, music, customs, and especially horses. They learned the Gypsy vision of the perfect vanner and found that some of the Gypsies had been engaged in a selective breeding program to develop perfect vanner horses. A private people, the Gypsies had managed to keep their work largely secret since immediately following the Second World War.

To create an official registry for the breed and promote it in the United States, where it had previously been unknown, the Thompsons established the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society in 1996, whose mission statement calls for fealty to the Gypsies’ vision of the vanner, including genetics. Although there were no vanners in the United States at the time, a magical stallion the Thompsons had seen on an English field years earlier, named Cushti Bok, which means “Good Luck” in the Gypsy tongue, was imported shortly thereafter and the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society issued its first registration certificate, #GV00001F. In the years since, it has issued over 2,300 additional registration certificates.

Gypsy Vanners remain scarce in the United States, but have grown in popularity because of their amiability. Suitable for work like pulling wagons and caravans, they are equally at home in the dressage ring as with a rider and noted for their patience with beginning riders and children.

About the author: Vicki Patterson is a member of the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society who breeds and raises horses, including Gypsy Vanners, at the RiverPointe Farm on the banks of the Musconetcong River in New Jersey.

Gypsy Vanner Mare with Colt

Gypsy Vanner Mare with Colt Some rights reserved

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The History of Fishing

Based in New Jersey, Vicki Patterson serves as Barn Manager at RiverPointe Farm. In this role, Vicki Patterson manages the care of 10 dogs, 11 horses, a flock of sheep, and happy, healthy puppies. Actively involved in collie rescue for many years, she possesses three rescued collies and five dachshunds. In her leisure time, Ms. Patterson enjoys reading, hunting, fishing, and gardening. In the following, she outlines the history of the ancient art of fishing.

Originating as a method of catching fish for food, fishing currently serves both as sport and as hunting. The first evidence of fishing was found in an Egyptian scene from around 2000 BC. The artwork depicts people fishing with rod and line, as well as nets. In China around the fourth century BC, writers tell about fishermen using a silk line and hook, as well as a bamboo rod. Cultures around the world have practiced fishing, including those from Assyria, Greece, Rome, and Israel.

Most developments in the art of fishing have involved changes in tackle, as the equipment used for fishing is commonly known. Early fishing was accomplished with a tool called a gorge. Constructed of wood, bone, or stone, the gorge was sharpened at both ends and hung off-center on the line, covered in bait. Fish then swallowed the gorge, which wedged itself in the throat of the fish, allowing the fisherman to pull the fish in. When metal became more common in toolmaking, some of the first things made were hooks used in catching fish.

Early hooks were used on lines strung from boats. When fishermen added rods to their tackle, they could fish from the shore, using the rod to suspend the line out in sufficiently deep water. At first, rods were short, made from only a single length of wood or bamboo. Romans in the fourth century AD began joining pieces together to make longer rods, enabling the advent of fly fishing with artificial flies.

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