Author Archives: tedmanzer

About tedmanzer

I grew up in Old Town Maine and got a B.S. at the University of Maine in Plant Sciences/ minor in Botany. From there I moved to West Virginia and earned a M.S. in Agronomy at WVU. I also met my wife there. She grew up in rural WV as the daughter of tenant farmers who raised cattle and hogs. Their lifestyle at times was one of subsistence and I learned a lot from them. I've always been a foraging buff, but combining my formal botanical knowledge with their practical 'Foxfire-type' background opened up my eyes a little more. I now teach agriculture to high school students at Northeastern High School in Elizabeth City, NC. My wife teaches with me and we make a great team. I also write a weekly nature/foraging column for the local paper (dailyadvance.com). I also have written several Christian nature/adventure novels that I plan to publish eventually. One is a five book family saga I call the 'Forgotten Virtues' series. In the first book, Never Alone, a young boy comes of age after his father dies in a plane crash, and he has to make it alone. Never Alone is now available in paperback, Kindle and Nook. The second book, Strange Courage, takes Carl from his High School graduation to his recovery from a nasty divorce. The third book, Second Chances, takes Carl from his ex-wife's death and the custody of his son to his heroic death at age 59. The fourth book, Promises Kept, depicts how his grandchildren react and adjust to his death. In the final book, Grandfather's Way, his youngest and most timid granddaughter emerges from the shadow of her overachieving family and accomplishes more in four months than most do in a lifetime. I use many foraging references with a lot of the plants I profile in these articles in those books.

Leyland cypress is the mule of landscape material


We all know what a mule is. It’s a cross between a female horse (Equus caballus) and a male donkey (Equus asinus). Since the parents are different species the mule is sterile. Leyland cypress is a lot like that, except … Continue reading

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The holiday season in the high-tech era


All the children were happy to be out of school. It’s probably a good thing that most folks have unlimited minutes and data plans. I remember the bag phone days when each minute cost about 50 cents whether you made … Continue reading

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Cormorants are gluttonous birds unpopular with almost everyone


Sportfishermen hate them. Aquafarmers see them as a threat to their livelihood. Property owners watch them threaten the beauty and value of their property. Cormorants have insatiable appetites for fish. A single bird will consume over a pound of fish … Continue reading

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Newer apple varieties are out there, but often hard to find


Last week I wrote about apple cultivars we see in the supermarkets. Most have been around for a long time. Many have drawbacks that we’d like to see changed. The problem is that it takes time to get new apples … Continue reading

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We all have our favorite apple


There are thousands of apple cultivars worldwide. It seems everyone has a favorite. Some favor the pretty varieties like ‘Red Delicious’, while others like the sweet ones like ‘Fuji’, ‘Honey crisp’ or ‘Gala’. ‘Gala’ and ‘Honey crisp’ fruits are early … Continue reading

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Reblooming azaleas are popular and easy to maintain


Azaleas and nearly all spring-flowering shrubs and trees need to be pruned soon after flowering. A new fold has developed in recent years. Reblooming azaleas bloom in spring and fall. So what do we do? First of all, any necessary … Continue reading

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Wood ducks adorn our swamps and creeks


Wood ducks (Aix sponsa) are by far my favorite duck species. They’re beautiful and I love to listen to them in flight. I can close my eyes and tell the males from the females. Males whistle and females make a … Continue reading

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Winter foraging can be fun and challenging


Collecting edibles near your home can be a satisfying and money-saving hobby. It’s fun realizing there are things right under your nose that are tasty and available in quantities needed for a family meal. Winter is a lean time of … Continue reading

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Stormwater management is important but underappreciated


In northeastern North Carolina, we have many places that flood following a storm. If we happen to live in one of these areas it is important to us. Unfortunately, many folks don’t worry about what doesn’t directly affect them. Despite … Continue reading

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Black ducks face a survival challenge from mallards


Recently I discussed a genetic cross between different species in plants. The result was a new plant that was infertile. This happens quite often in ducks. Usually, male mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) are the reason why. Mallard males will cross with … Continue reading

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