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Elizabeth Woodworth: Forgo the straw to minimize littering

By Elizabeth Woodworth
Contributing writer
updated: 6/20/2018 12:10 PM

The summer solstice occurs on June 21. (Always hate to see come, it means that the days are going to get shorter and winter is on the way. I hate dark!) The Sun is entering the Middle Summer sign of Cancer at the same time. The moon enters its weak second quarter today, favorable for vacations and outing of all kinds, because it minimizes lunar stress. Strawberry season ends at average elevations along the 40th Parallel while domestic red raspberries and wild black one ripen.

The June 23 high-pressure system is typically cool, and it's often followed by some of the sunniest and driest days of all the year. The wheat harvest begins in the lower Midwest, bright orange butterfly weed reaches full bloom, and acorns become fully formed. In the upcoming six to seven weeks, of Middle Summer, approximately an hour is lost from the day's length along the 40th Parallel, and the year turns toward autumn. After Summer Solstice, the percentage of totally sunny days is the highest of the year through out the nation. (Countryside)

Today, greet the Bike-and-Build contingency on the bike path at Hardees in Harrisburg. After supper, at 7 p.m. there will be a community-invited meeting at the Presbyterian Annex. Riders will explain their mission -- affordable housing awareness. There will be a bike safety clinic for the kids.

June: Pledge of Allegiance recognized by Congress -- 1942.

I was right, Thursday is soup day at summer lunch. More than worth $3.

Campaign ads are here again. It is going to be a looong time 'til November.

Once again the city council is asking residents to please not litter. A car turned in front of me, a hand came out the driver's window and something fell to the street. A banana peel! Even squirrels don't eat those, so take it home to your trash bin. Help might be coming. A Japanese farmer has invented an organic banana with an edible peel. The Mongee variety is first planted at subzero temperatures, then it's thawed and replanted in a warmer climate, resulting in a lettuce-thin peel. Growers haven't yet figured out how to ship the bananas overseas, so for now, you have to travel to the city of Okayama to try one. A department store there sells them for $6 each .

Americans use a crazy number of plastic straws, about 500 million a day, many of which end up in a landfill or the ocean, or my yard. To combat the problem, many restaurants, and even entire cities, including Seattle and Malibu have banned them outright. Do your part to help and skip the straw or use stainless-steel or paper ones.

Though I am not a griller, this tip can be used for pot roast in the oven. Take your piece of meat; pierce it all over with a fork. Then put it in a resealable plastic bag (probably best not to use one with a zip closure) with the marinade you like to use. Vigorously massage for five minutes. Let the kids manhandle the meat while you get other things ready for the grill. It is said this technique can impart as much flavor as hours of marinating. Since I never remember to marinate until just before time to roast, this could help me.

Avocados are one of just a few fruits rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. The fat in avocados also helps your body absorb vitamins A, D E. and K. Eighty percent of avocados in American stores are imported from Mexico and other countries. 7.1 pounds is the per capita annual consumption of avocados in the U.S. 80 calories in a serving of avocado, that's one third of a medium fruit. It is possible to make oil out of avocados. The oil is pressed from the pulp that surrounds the pit. It retains a subtle avocado flavor, and it high smoke point makes it a great choice for sauteing, frying, grilling, roasting and even making mayo. It's also a lovely finish for salads and vegetables. Try brushing it on your favorite seafood before grilling, or drizzling it over a light, refreshing gazpacho.

I am hesitant to tell you about a new oil, have no way of knowing if it is really good for us. Have recently learned that coconut oil is a no-no. It is horrible for our body, it stays in the blood stream in big globs of fat, that are very difficult for us to eliminate. So, no more coconut oil and be careful with the amount of regular coconut you eat. A slice of pie once in a while probably won't hurt, but a whole one is bad, not only for the sugar, and calories but also for the fat in the coconut.

Corn growing tall, wheat ready for threshing. Elders and blackberries blooming in the hedgerows and ditches. Yucca and tiger lilies blooming in abandoned home places. June!