Local Sugar Cane Cola

I grew up with cola and soft drinks sweet­ened with actu­al sug­ar (from actu­al sug­ar cane), as opposed to the over­ly sweet high fruc­tose corn syrup used here. While I have nev­er been a real fan of the cola fla­vor, I espe­cial­ly detest cola drinks in this coun­try.

Every so often we have got­ten a bot­tle of Mex­i­can Coca-Cola from a local restau­rant, just to taste the dif­fer­ence. When we do, it brings back mem­o­ries of grow­ing up over­seas, and I invari­ably think, this is what coke is sup­posed to taste like.

Well, the oth­er day, at our local food coop­er­a­tive ((Our local food coop is The Com­mu­ni­ty Mer­can­tile, in Lawrence, KS.)), I found this:

Lost Trail Sugar Cane Cola

Made in KS It is the real deal. Expen­sive, yes, but no more­so than your Jones Soda or your Extra Gin­ger Brew. It tastes like cola should. And, it is made just about six­ty miles from here, in Louis­burg, KS (where, inci­den­tal­ly, my wife’s uncle lives). The Louis­burg Cider Mill ((The Louis­burg Cider Mill, in Louis­burg, KS, has a pret­ty impres­sive web site.)) is most­ly an apple cider and root beer brew­er (and aren’t those a dime a dozen nowa­days) but they also make this stuff.

Now, there’s a lot of stuff out there about high fruc­tose corn syrup ((High Fruc­tose Corn Syrup at Wikipedia, not a bad arti­cle but a lit­tle left of cen­ter.)), the sug­ar lob­by ((Sug­ar at Wikipedia, though this is an cau­tion­ary exer­cise in Wikipedi­at­ing… wow this arti­cle is a mess.)), and sug­ar alter­na­tives ((Ste­via, a sug­ar alter­na­tive at Wikipedia. Pret­ty inter­est­ing, espe­cial­ly the part about Cargill and Coca-Cola.)). The health food­ies have their angle, the naftites have their angle, indus­try has their angle, even the Japan­ese have their angle. The pol­i­tics are fas­ci­nat­ing, too ((Sug­ar in the 2007 Farm Bill, skip down to the sec­tion on sug­ar.)).

I’m not going to get into it, except to say this: I like the idea of actu­al sug­ar. And, it tastes bet­ter, too. So there.

Turning parsley into butterflies

First one out

A few weeks back, we noticed the fat­test, coolest look­ing cater­pil­lar (or “caler­pit­ter” as our four-year-old calls them) on our Ital­ian pars­ley. We’d decid­ed to grow the pars­ley because it was easy and cheap, and once we put it in pots on the deck (away from the bun­nies) it flour­ished. The cater­pil­lar was so cool, we did a bunch of research (they are swal­low­tail but­ter­fly cater­pil­lars, and they love pars­ley) and had just decid­ed to build a cater­pil­lar cage when… it dis­ap­peared. (Eat­en by a bird, we think.)

Nev­er fear, the three pots of pars­ley had plen­ty of cater­pil­lars hatch­ing on them. In a few days, all three pots were down to nubs, and there were five or eight or fif­teen cater­pil­lars on them. So we put the cage togeth­er (two pie plates, some small-hole mesh, baby food jars with water and pars­ley, and some sticks for cocoon­ing), put it on our screened in porch, and start­ed mov­ing cater­pil­lars. We start­ed with just two, but even­tu­al­ly felt for the lit­tle guys on their pars­ley sticks, and moved ten more into shel­ter.

We’ve been feed­ing them, clean­ing their cage, watch­ing them, and mov­ing the chrysalis­es out to a pot where the but­ter­flies would have enough room to dry their wings.

And today, the first of them hatched. Once she starts to flut­ter about, we’ll have to cor­ral her and let her out of the porch, where she can try to find more pars­ley (good luck) or get eat­en by a bird.