Thursday, November 16, 2017

Rural Delivery: Hitched to History

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved.

It hasn't been all that many years since horses were the primary mode of transportation all across the West. They not only pulled buggies and wagons, and sleighs in the winter, but they also powered the plows and cultivators that tamed an arid land.
Les Broadie remembered well those horse-drawn days. They were as near to him as his well-weathered hands, and as much a part of his life when I met him in 1995 as they were when he was youngster in the 1920s.

After his retirement from raising draft horses and cattle, Les operated Blizzard Mountain Carriages -- a one-man outfit specializing in buying and selling horse-drawn wagons, carriages, carts and sleighs. At the time, we was one of but a handful of American horse-drawn carriage dealers still in business.

Continued at... Hitched to History

Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Out of the Past blog
Artwork: Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride at Twilight in a Snowy Landscape by Ira Block

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Home Grown: Overwintering Geraniums

You can beat the frost and save your geraniums by taking them inside to overwinter.

In freezing temperatures, unprotected annual geraniums will turn a mushy green and die. They can be preserved, however, by overwintering indoors before they get nipped by a hard frost.

Pot up the plants, take cuttings, or store the plants as bare-root specimens.Whichever method you choose, understand that success isn’t guaranteed.

It is important to make sure the plants you attempt to overwinter are vigorous, healthy, and insect and disease free.

Continued in... Overwintering Geraniums

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Artwork: Window Box Geraniums Garden Flag

Monday, November 13, 2017

Home Grown: Letting Leaves Lie

Ecologically, the best way to deal with leaves in the yard is to mulch them where they fall and let them decompose to release their minerals back to the soil.

In well managed turf, leaf drop from shade trees is not always a nuisance that requires raking. A moderate amount of leaves chopped with a mulching mower can be allowed to decompose into the turf.

Leaves are high in nutrients like iron, zinc and copper. They are also rich in organic matter, a valuable commodity for the turf, existing trees and shrubs.

The acidity of the leaves is a common concern with many homeowners. Fresh oak leaves may initially lower soil pH but as leaves decompose, the pH will gradually build to a neutral level causing little concern.

Continued in... Letting Leaves Lie

Home Grown
Lawn Tools and Equipment
Home and Garden Center
Artwork: Grandpa and Me Raking Leaves by Norman Rockwell

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Rural Delivery: Cold Hardening

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1995. All rights reserved.

The crisp night is giving way to a warm morning glow. It will be an "Indian Summer" sort of day, the kind we missed out on last year when winter dropped in early. Some of our coldest weather came in November rather than January, where it belongs.

Most of nature depends on a steady progression of seasons.

These cool nights encourage the growth of fat and fur on dogs, cats, horses and most other warm-blooded critters.

My beard and waistline, too, seem to grow more readily this time of year. By winter solstice, or late December, we'll be well acclimated to the cold.

Continued at... Cold Hardening

Rural Delivery
The Nature Pages
Second Nature
Artwork: Winter Tree Line I by Ilona Wellman

Monday, November 6, 2017

Plant of the Week: Sneezeweed

Also known as Dogtooth Daisy, Helens Flower and Bittersweet, common sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) is a perennial plant in the daisy or aster family (Asteraceae). As its name implies, it typically flowers in late summer or autumn.

Sneezeweed grows erect, clump-forming, in moist soils along streams, ponds and other riparian areas. It produces yellow or orange daisy-like composite flowers. These colors can be used to brighten a border, a meadow, or a wild garden.

continued at the Farmer's Market Online Guide to Sneezeweed

Home Grown
Plants & Seeds
Home and Garden Center
Artwork: Sneezeweed

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Plant of the Week: Pinyon Pine

This is a short and scrubby tree, rarely reaching 30 feet or more, that is widely distributed across the Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions of western North America. A major indicator tree in the pinyon-juniper life zone, P. edulis grows very slowly; trees with diameters of 4 - 6 inches can be several hundred years old.

Typically growing in pure stands or with juniper, the pinyon pine produces chunky little cones that produce a tasty nut, the pine nut. The wood of this tree is very fragrant when burned.

continued at the Farmer's Market Online Guide to Pinyon Pine

Home Grown
Plants & Seeds
Home and Garden Center
Artwork: Pinyon Pine

Monday, October 23, 2017

Recipe Archive: Puree of Asaragus Soup

The Historic Kentucky Kitchen
Traditional Recipes for Today's Cook
by Deirdre A. Scaggs and Andrew W. McGraw
The University Press of Kentucky, 2013

According to authors of The Historic Kentucky Kitchen, this 1897 soup recipe packs a lot of flavor, considering how simple it is and how few ingredients are in the recipe. To make the soup more elegant and add texture, reserve the tips of the asparagus spears after poaching to use as a garnish.

full recipe in The Recipe Archive

Artwork: Asparagus Soup
Recipe Archive
Farm Kitchen