The importance of family


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Nov 27, 2023

The importance of family

February 19, 2023 The color and fragrant blooms of hyacinths One of the earliest

February 19, 2023

The color and fragrant blooms of hyacinths

One of the earliest spring flowers to bloom is the hyacinth. Only the Carolina Jasmine blooms earlier. We like the pastel colors of Hyacinths in the hues of pink, blue, lavender, light red, yellow and white. Their fragrance is sweet perfume and a welcome scent as we weave our way toward winter's final month.

Chickweed and Bermuda grass are opposite

Bermuda grass and chickweed are perennial weeds and both grow in the winter garden plot, but are opposite in their growth patterns. The chickweed has shallow roots and grows and thrives in shallow ground. It is easy to pull up by the roots and get rid of. The Bermuda grass has a root system that runs deep into the soil and reaches more than a foot in length. Winter is the best time to pull it up by the roots and throw it or better yet, place its roots in the garbage can. The best way to get rid of any weeds is by pulling them up by the roots and throwing them out of the garden. Don't use chemicals or weed killers in the garden of vegetables or flowers.

Making a fresh apple sauce pound cake

Apples are great cake ingredients in every season of the year and especially in winter. The fresh grated apples in this cake makes it moist and flavorful. For this recipe, you will need two sticks of light margarine, one and a half cups of brown sugar, half cup white sugar, two large beaten eggs, two cups grated raw tart apples (such as McIntosh, Granny Smith or Winesap), pecans, one cup chopped golden raisins, one teaspoon of vanilla, and two teaspoons of lemon juice. Cream the light margarine, brown sugar, and the white sugar. Add the beaten eggs. Peel and core the apples. Slice them and run them through the blender in grate mode. Add two teaspoons of lemon juice to the grated apples. Add to the cake mixture. Mix plain flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, apple pie spices, and vanilla, and mix well. Add to the cake mixture. Mix in the chopped pecans which have been dusted with flour. Grease and flour a tube pan and cut a sheet of waxed paper to fit the bottom of the tube pan. Grease and flour the waxed paper. Make sure the sides and tube of pan are well greased and floured. Pour cake mixture into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides and springs back up when touched. Cool for half hour before removing from pan. This cake is good fresh and even better as it ages a day or two. Keep the cake in a cake cover.

The sweet fragrance of Carolina Jasmine

The sweet fragrance of Carolina Jasmine is emitting its perfume from the edge of the garden. It is also attracting the first bees of the year in late winter as they exercise their wings and enjoy the yellow flowers and nectar. The flowers are highlighted by the dark green foliage. The jasmine blooms several times during the year and can be trimmed and shaped like a hedge as it grows during the seasons. They can be purchased at nurseries and garden centers.

There's ice in the birdbath and mud holes

Ice in mud holes and bird baths makes it difficult for birds to find a water supply during late winter. As the temperatures rise during the day, empty the ice from birdbaths and refill with fresh water.

A few honey bees are active during late February

With the Carolina Jasmine, early hyacinths, and crocus, the bees are stretching their wings and leaving the hives and hollows in the late winter quest for sources of nectar. As the temperatures rise, we may see more of them. If you see many of them buzzing around in late February, cold windy, wet conditions may occur the next day. That means they will be in their hives balled up and staying warm and thriving on nectar they have stored up earlier.

The winter-hardy pansies are colorful

The dark green foliage and brilliant colors are a special display on the front porch and deck during winter. The familiar faces on these flowers adds another special touch on a cold morning. They will thrive until the warmer temperatures of late April or early May. They can then be replaced with the annuals of summer.

Do not overwater perennials, winter flowers

Perennials and winter flowers need some moisture in winter, but don't overwater because too much water will cause the potting medium to freeze. Moisten the medium but do not let the water run out holes in bottom of the containers. Water sparingly twice each week. Use Flower-Tone organic flower food on the flowers and perennials of winter.

Down by the creek bank, frogs celebrate spring

The croakers down by the creek bank are celebrating each twilight and they are aware that spring is only 30 days away. The ground does not seem to freeze all that many days in winter and creeks don't freeze that much and this may be why the frogs are more active down in the woodlands by the creek bank. Maybe they are like the robins, who have adapted themselves to the season of winter.

Filling feeders and emptying the birdbaths

The birds of winter are still looking for fresh drinks of water especially when there are no mud holes or rain for several days. We can be their water supply by emptying ice from the bird baths and refilling the bath with fresh water when the temperature rises above freezing. Add food to the feeders each day and help make their search for food easier for them.

Will we have any snow as February ends?

With spring a few weeks away and only a few days remaining in February, will we have any snow in the forecast? We would like to see more of the white stuff to cover the winter landscape. A snow would be good news for the garden plot, great news for the kids, and grand kids and bad news for insects, their eggs, and larvae and other garden pests. There is something exciting about expecting snow even as we move toward spring.

Sweet and sour chicken

For this dish you will need one dozen chicken strips or tenders, Crisco oil, half cup water, three tablespoons corn starch, half teaspoon of salt, half teaspoon pepper, half cup of light brown sugar, half cup apple cider vinegar, one cup pineapple juice, two tablespoons soy sauce, one two ounce jar of pimentos (diced), half cup diced onions, one can pineapple tid bits, and two tablespoons catsup. Batter the chicken in flour, salt, and pepper and fry in Crisco oil. Drain oil from chicken. Add half a cup water and simmer for 15 minutes. Combine corn starch, salt, pepper, catsup, brown sugar, pineapple juice and soy sauce. Cook on medium heat until it thickens stirring constantly. Add pimentos, diced onion, and pineapple tidbits. Cook on medium for ten minutes stirring often. Boil a packet of Minute rice or Success rice and serve the sweet and sour chicken over the bed of cooked rice. You can use boneless pork tenderloin to prepare sweet and sour pork.

Good, bad, and ugly

Not everything that grows in the garden glitters like gold. The garden is a mixing bowl of success and failure. One great attribute of every garden is that when a variety fails to meet our expectations, we can try another selection of the same type of vegetable. Some varieties just perform better than others in different gardens. Find the vegetables that perform well in your garden and stick with them. Just because a vegetable is new means nothing if it is not productive in your garden. We still use some vegetable varieties that my father used in his garden that are heirlooms that have proven themselves for generations. Trying new varieties in the garden is a slow-learning process and some varieties just do better than others. Sometimes you just don't know what you have until you try something new. Repeating was said earlier, new is not necessarily better. Old rows are sometimes well plowed but still proven better!

Spring onions can now be started in garden

Most hardwares now have spring onion sets on their shelves. They can now be planted in the cold soil of the late February and early March garden. The ground of winter does not freeze that often and the onion sets will thrive in late winter soil. You can choose from red, yellow or white onion sets. One special organic ingredient that will give onion sets a large boost is to apply a layer of peat moss in the bottom of the furrow before setting out the onion sets. After applying the peat moss, set the onions rootside down about three or four inches apart and cover sets with another layer of peat moss and then an application of Garden-Tone organic vegetable food. Hill up soil on each side of the furrow and tamp down with the hoe blade for solid oil contact. The peat moss will retain moisture and improve texture of soil for root crop growth.

Extra hour of daylight arrives next month

We will gain an extra hour of daylight in the middle of March as Daylight Savings Time returns. That extra hour of daylight added to the extra minute we receive each evening until June 21, will really help with the cool weather vegetable planting as we move closer to the season of spring. It's not hard to get used to that extra hour of daylight!

Stock up on Holly-Tone organic plant food

As we get closer to the season of spring, build up your supply of the Holly-Tone family of organic plant, vegetable, and flower foods. Their zippered bags makes them easy to apply and place directly into furrows and rows with no smell or mess. You can choose from Holly-Tone evergreen food, Rose-Tone organic rose food, Tomato-Tone organic tomato food, Flower-Tone organic flower food, Garden-Tone organic herb and plant food, and Garden-Tone organic vegetable food. These are all fine-textured organic foods that are easily absorbed into the soil for a quick boost for plants and flowers. An application of a little bit goes long way toward productive harvest. It can easily be side-dressed into the soil to feed vegetables.

Hoe hoe hoedown

"Goofy Golf." Billie: "I’d move heaven and earth to improve my 110 score." Willie: "Try moving heaven. You have moved plenty of earth around today."

"Weight Loss!" There are only three things to give up if you want to lose weight; breakfast, dinner and supper.

"At the Raves."Jo: "I had a hunch today. I got up at seven. I had $7 in my pocket. There were seven people at the lunch counter. There were seven horses in the race. I picked the seventh horse to win." Flo: "So he came out the winner?" Jo: "No, he finished seventh!"

"The crazy funny bone." Dan: "Ouch, I bumped my crazy bone." Jan: "Oh well, comb your hair over it and it won't show!"

The color and fragrant blooms of hyacinths Chickweed and Bermuda grass are opposite Making a fresh apple sauce pound cake The sweet fragrance of Carolina Jasmine There's ice in the birdbath and mud holes A few honey bees are active during late February The winter-hardy pansies are colorful Do not overwater perennials, winter flowers Down by the creek bank, frogs celebrate spring Filling feeders and emptying the birdbaths Will we have any snow as February ends? Sweet and sour chicken Good, bad, and ugly Spring onions can now be started in garden Extra hour of daylight arrives next month Stock up on Holly-Tone organic plant food Hoe hoe hoedown