A Talk With Farmer, Bird Maven, & Wildlife Illustrator Annie Novak at Kingsland Wildflowers, + Rooftop Tour and Bird Beer! (10/11)

Annie Novak's avian illustrations
Annie Novak’s avian illustrations

We’ve written about Greenpointer, rooftop gardener and farming renaissance woman Annie Novak before—she heads up the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm (44 Eagle St), founded Growing Chefs, is manager of the Edible Academy at the New York Botanical Garden, and she literally wrote the book on how to turn your urban rooftop into a farm or garden. What you probably don’t know is that she’s also a wildlife and nature illustrator, with a new book coming out on bird migration. This Wednesday Oct 11th from 6-8pm at Kingsland Wildflowers (520 Kingsland Ave) you can see her give a lecture on her latest research and slideshow of her illustrations. The event kicks off at 6pm with a walking tour of Kingsland Wildflowers’ green roof and a cocktail hour, with the Safe Flight IPA” featured beer—a collaboration by local brewers KCBC & NYC Audubon to raise awareness of annual bird collisions.

The event is part of Kingsland Wildflowers’ monthly artist lecture series, featuring local Greenpoint artists who have created environmentally-focused bodies of work. Once a month various artists will speak at Kingsland Wildflowers about their process, inspiration, and ideas behind their unique take on the world around us and the habitat in which we coexist.

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Help Make McGolrick an “Urban Oasis”

With your help, McGolrick Park could look like this.

When you think of Urban Oasis, McGolrick Park might not come immediately to mind. Although it is much more quiet (and less trampled) than it’s more promiscuous sister (McCarren… ’cause everyone’s been there), it’s not exactly teeming with wildlife.

But the NYC Audubon society is taking action to create a native plant garden for songbirds and other winged species in the park this Spring. They will also be starting an initiative to monitor the park’s biodiversity before and after planting.  Continue reading

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Recipes Gone Wild: Springbok ‘n’ Rolls

I learned a new word this weekend: pronking. It’s what animals like springboks, gazelles, and antelopes do when they bounce up into the air, getting all four hooves off the ground. Here’s a clip of some springboks pronking about, all excited about fresh grass. The word comes from the Afrikaaner verb pronk, meaning to “show off” or “strut,” as in “Oh hey there, hungry lion! See how fit I am? Now why would you waste a perfectly lovely afternoon chasing me?” The moral of the story is don’t chase springboks (unless you’re a cheetah). Lunch will NEVER make it to the table. Make fresh spring rolls instead.  They taste awesome, are quick and easy to make, and will give you so much clean energy that you’re gonna wanna pronk all day long! Continue reading

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“they don’t make bobcats pillows anymore…”


While searching for accessories on KRRB for Greenpointers’ new office, I found this bobcat pillow. I wasn’t aware that “they” ever made bobcat pillows, but apparently “they” don’t anymore, which makes this a rare item.

The best website ever made about bobcats says that, “bobcats have five toes on the forefoot, but the fifth toe does not leave a mark in the ground because it is raised high up on the foot.”


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Great Backyard Bird Count Happening Now – Just Look In Your Yard! (2/14-17)

Cooper's Hawk in Greenpoint, Brooklyn © Jennifer Galatioto

I was so excited to see birds starting to use the new feeders we put up in our new backyard. At first it was just sparrows and starlings with some mourning doves eating the seeds that fell on the ground. Then I spotted gorgeous House Finches!

I will record all of these birds as part of the Great Backyard Bird Count, which is happening now through 2/17! Take a look in your yard or nearby park for at least 15 minutes and count the birds you see in that period of time. This is a great activity for the whole family, kids, cats, etc.

Click here to get started here. Even easier – there is an app to record your observations.

The data from YOU citizen scientists is used by REAL scientists to understand where and how many species of birds there are in a specific place at a specific time – this weekend! You can watch all this data being submitted in real time on the GBBC website.

Birds to look out for in Brooklyn: Pigeons, Starlings, Sparrows, House Finches, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, Down Woodpeckers, Robins, Red Tailed Hawks, Mourning Doves, Juncos, Seagulls, Cooper’s Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, Kestrels, Snowy Owls (for real!)

Last year I made this video with the house finches that lived on our fire escape before our landlord flipped out about the bird feeder…Maybe they followed us to our new home.

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Recipes Gone Wild: Morning Glory Muffins

The other day I got an alarming series of texts from my friend Camille. She had just baked a batch of muffins, cooled them, and set them on the countertop in ziploc bags while she stepped out to run some errands. Upon returning home, she entered her kitchen and glanced around. Something was wrong. Granola crumbs littered the floor. She heard a rustling, and surveyed the room. It was then that she locked eyes with her intruder— a fat squirrel, having entered through the open window, now huddled under the kitchen table, seemingly trying to calculate the probability of successfully dragging a Ziploc baggy full of muffins and a package of sprouted chia-goji berry granola out the window without being eaten/killed/captured and/or losing his loot.

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Recipes Gone Wild: Beer-Steamed Mussels and Oven Fries

Ah oui…mussels and fries, moules frites as les sophisticates call ‘em. This classic combo just might be my dream meal. I nearly always order them if they’re on the menu, and, when inspired, I make them myself at home. You know why? Because it’s seriously simple to make delicious mussels (assuming you got a nice, fresh, living, breathing batch of these bivalves to work with). And if you get over to the Green Market this Saturday, then you too can pick up a bag of these briny black beauties from your neighborhood fishmonger, which is just what I did last weekend. Chop some herbs and vegetables, throw it all in a pot with some beer (nothing too fancy required) and in about 20 minutes you’ve cooked a really delightful (and very nearly gourmet) meal. Continue reading

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Recipes Gone Wild: Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Halloween may be long over, but those little decorative pumpkins, the sugar pie variety, are still gracing the table tops and window sills of homes and shops around the neighborhood. You could send your leftover pumpkins to Teddy the talking porcupine, or you could throw them in your oven and transform them into something delicious. On a recent visit to Brouwerij Lane, after extolling my love of squash and shamelessly touting my cooking skills, I was granted 4 little pumpkins from their personal stash of decorative vegetation. I brought them home, set them on the couch and stared at them. Four pumpkins. They stared back. Four pumpkins. They weren’t talking. Tell me what to do with you. Silence. No clues. I decided I’d just roast them all and create something new and pumpkin-y each day.

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Recipes Gone Wild: Never Enough! Roasted Garlic

Nothing is easy. Especially not figuring out what to make for dinner, which can actually feel like sort of a chore if you cook a lot. Having said that, I’ll admit that few things make me as happy as cooking…so I ought to stop complaining and celebrate the fact that last week I received a gift of somewhere around 30 bulbs of fresh garlic from the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival! Weehoo! What to do with such a generous harvest? Well, there is one thing in cooking that IS easy AND satisfying. Two words: roasted garlic.  I learned how to roast these lovely alliums over a decade ago and still it’s totally magic to me how a little heat and a drizzle of olive oil can turn something so pungent and crisp as raw garlic into something this mellow, sweet, and smooth. Continue reading

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Recipes Gone Wild: Quick Ginger Carrot Pickles

Illustrations by Libby VanderPloeg

Growing up, I lived a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan.  Nearly every day during the summer I’d go to the beach, but on the hottest afternoons, I stayed indoors. On these lazy days, I’d grab a fistful of freshly peeled carrots (this was before the ubiquity of packaged “baby carrots”) and a stack of picture books, and disappear for a while to my hiding spot— above a floor vent, under a sunny window, behind a big, blue chair.

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