Monday, December 30, 2013

Recipe Archive: Scape Soup

adapted from The Farmer's Market Guide

Scapes are the flower stalk of the hardneck or "ophio" garlic. Growers cut off the stalks to increase growth in the garlic bulbs underground, but chefs know that for about three weeks every year there is a delicious vegetable that tastes like a cross between asparagus and garlic. Great for sautes, soups, and flower arrangements.

Chop the buds off the scapes and cut the stems into bite-sized pieces. Cut the stems off the spinach and chop the leaves finely. Melt butter in a large saucepan and sauté scapes for 2 minutes minimum.

continued in The Book Stall
The Farmer's Market Guide With Identification Guide and Recipes by Jennifer Loustau
Recipe Archive
Farm Kitchen

Home Grown: Girdling

"Because phloem tubes sit on the outside of the xylem, and just under the bark, trees and other woody plants can easily be killed by stripping away the bark in a ring on the trunk or main stem. This process is known as girdling or bark ringing.

"Incomplete girdling (i.e., leaving about one-third of the bark intact) can be used to control a plant's growth. It can curb excessive leafy growth and help promote flowering and fruiting. It is a very useful process for unproductive fruit trees, with the exception of stone fruit."

Continued at... Girdling and Ringing

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Seed, Plant, and Nursery Catalogs
Artwork: Bark Ringing explained on 1938 Wills Garden Hints trading card #38

Friday, December 20, 2013

Mesquite Rocking Chairs from Plantersville, Texas

Now available with Furniture in Handmade:
Mesquite Rocking Chairs from Plantersville, Texas.

Handcrafted in a creative woodworking studio, these rocking chairs are made with mesquite, an exotic hardwood.

add your furniture to the Buy Direct Directory
advertise with furniture

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Rural Delivery: A Winter's Sleep

These are the longest nights. From now until mid-January the sun will set before most of us are done with the day's work. We'll be coming home in darkness and leaving the house again before dawn. Some folks never see their home in daylight this time of year except on weekends.
This is a time of torpor, when many mammals take to their burrows for hibernation. Colder weather and shorter days signal biological changes in the Earth's creatures, including man. Holidays alone are not the reason we do more shopping, put on more weight and feel more tired than usual.
Each of us comes with a built-in biological clock that affects virtually every function of our bodies, including sleep. Blood pressure rises and falls, pulse quickens and slows, and glands secrete proteins according to daily -- or Circadian -- rhythms established by this inner timepiece.

Continued at... A Winter's Sleep.

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1995. All rights reserved.
Rural Delivery
Second Nature
Out There
Artwork: Hibernation by Gun Legler

Market Watch: Increased Global Grain Production Means Lower Grain Prices for U.S. Growers

Thanks to increased global grain production and lower domestic demand for grain for ethanol, crop producers will find 2014 to be tougher than the past few years and should prepare now for lower prices..

“Prices reflect that we have moved from an era of scarcity to one of adequate inventories and prices have responded by moving lower,” said Matt Roberts, an Ohio State University Extension economist. “We are already seeing lower prices come into the market, and unless U.S. or South American acreage declines, those prices are likely to continue to move lower.

“The prices we had earlier in the year aren’t guaranteed to return.”

Thanks to several factors including no growth in ethanol demand and expanded global crop acreage, markets are moving back toward matching supply and demand, Roberts said.

Add another year of 160 or more bushels per acre yields on corn and 42 bushels per acre soybean yields, and growers can expect to see even lower prices that are well below the cost of production on land that has been purchased or cash-rented in the past three to four years, he said.

“Prices will only return to profitable levels if supply declines due to acreage leaving primary row crops or demand returns. This will likely create a significant financial strain in crop-growing areas.”

In order to prepare for the impact of lower prices, farmers should build a working capital cushion of a year to 1.5 years of land charges above what they typically need to operate.

Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Market Watch
Nuts and Grains
Farm Supply
Farm Magazines
Artwork: Win a Good Harvest: Increase Grain Production

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mount St. Helens Christmas Ornaments from Curtis, Washington

Now available with Christmas Ornaments, Stockings and Decorations in Handmade:
Mount St. Helens Christmas Ornaments direct from the artist in Curtis, Washington

Hand blown from the volcanic ash of Mount St Helen’s, these colorful glass Christmas ornaments are perfect gifts for the ornament collector and anyone who enjoys and appreciates fine art glass.

An ornament stand is included with each ornament display year-round on a desk or table.

Available in four different colors: Azure, Evergreen, Ice, Rose.

Christmas Ornaments, Stockings and Decorations
Holidays and Notable Events
add your Christmas ornaments to the Buy Direct Directory
advertise with Christmas

Contests and Drawings: Crunchmaster® Gluten Free Recipe Challenge Recipe Contest

Crunchmaster®, maker of gluten free crackers, is holding a six-month competition seeking original, gluten free recipes from home chefs across the country.

Crunchmaster will award monthly prizes of $500 and $250, and a grand prize of $2,500 for the best recipe submission. All winning recipes will be featured in a unique Crunchmaster cookbook.

In addition to including a Crunchmaster product, each recipe submission must include a secret ingredient that Crunchmaster will announce each month at The secret ingredient for December is Greek Yogurt.

Recipes will be judged on Simplicity (easy to prepare with readily available ingredients and clear directions), Creativity, and  Flavor (a great-tasting, gluten free dish).

Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers
Contests and Drawings
Crackers and Flatbreads
Submit Your Contest
Recipe Archive

Monday, December 16, 2013

Out of the Past: A Right Jolly Old Elf

"He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself"
    -- C. Clement Moore

This Santa Claus is certainly a magical fellow. He flies through the sky, is rarely seen outside of shopping malls, possesses an uncanny intelligence about who has been naughty or nice, and has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of toys.

Some say he is descended -- or evolved -- from Kris Kringle, a legendary figure from Norse folk tales. Or perhaps he's related to Odin, the Lord of the Winds who rode through the stormy nights on an eight-legged flying horse.

Continued at... A Right Jolly Old Elf

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Holidays and Notable Events
Artwork: Spirit Of Santa by Tom Browning

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Home Grown: Tabletop Christmas Trees

Not everyone is able to enjoy a full sized Christmas tree in their home. For some, budgets may be stretched or space can be at a premium. Others may not have the time to put up a tree this holiday season.

Whatever the reason, an alternative to full sized Christmas trees are tabletop plants that can be decorated for the holidays, offered as holiday gifts, and in some cases can be used for several years.

Continued at... Tabletop Christmas Trees

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Christmas Trees
Artwork: Norfolk Island Pine - The Indoor Christmas Tree

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rural Delivery: A Carol's Tale

Most songs don't keep. People sing them for a few years, then lose interest. New tunes replace the old in a continuous cycle and yesterday's lyrics are soon forgotten.
Even Christmas carols, the most traditional sounds in American music, have fairly shallow roots. The most popular Christmas song to date, "White Christmas," was composed by Irving Berlin in 1942. "Do You Hear What I Hear?" only dates back to 1962 and "Away in a Manger" is just over a century old.
Hardly anyone sings old Christmas classics like "La Bonna Novella" and "Nowell" any more. Both were big European hits in the 16th and 17th centuries. So was the German carol "Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen" ("Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming.")
Like a well-worn pair of boots left on the back porch, old songs lie forgotten until they lose their usefulness. Then they don't seem to fit any occasion.

Continued at... A Carol's Tale

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2007. All rights reserved.

Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Holidays and Notable Events
Artwork: Church Choir Singing by Mary Evans

Friday, December 6, 2013

Rural Delivery: Risk Assessment

You know it's going to be a bad day when an official from the Environmental Protection Agency shows up at your door and wants to test your water.
A few years back my wife and I lived in an old mining camp high in the Pioneer Mountains of central Idaho. It was a incredibly scenic location, couched in a mountain valley with rugged snow-capped peaks rising in all directions. Our home was a prospector's cabin fashioned from rough-hewn lumber, rustic and full of character.

Early century miners drew tons of silver ore out of the nearby hills, crushed it to a fine powder and separated out the precious metals. They left behind mounds of overburden and large lagoons of mill tailings, the kinds of rock piles and mine wastes seen all across the American West.

Continued at... Risk Assessment

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1992. All rights reserved.
Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Here's How To... Test a Well
Artwork: Tailings pit, outbuildings at Camp Bird gold mine

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Growth Spurts: Weeds Welcome Global Warming

As temperature and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere increase, growers may see things pop up in their fields that they haven't seen before. Unfortunately, they won't all be good.

In a session on climate, carbon dioxide and invasive weed species at the University of Illinois AGMasters Conference, USDA-ARS crop systems specialist Lewis Ziska discussed how rising carbon dioxide levels and rising temperatures may cause invasive weed populations to change. 

"Carbon dioxide provides the raw material needed for plants to grow, and as it increases, plant growth will be stimulated. Carbon dioxide is not a smart molecule -- it can't distinguish between crops and weeds. So with increased growth of crops comes increased growth of weeds as well."

Continued at... Weeds Welcome Global Warming
Growth Spurts
Farm Supply

Photo: Kudzo Vine

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Rural Delivery: Rare Breeds

Seen a cow lately? Or a pig? How about sheep or chickens? If you live near a major city, it's probably been awhile since you've encountered livestock. But even if you live in the country, miles from the nearest freeway or shopping mall, you're probably seeing less livestock these days.

Farm animals are in decline worldwide. Out of approximately 4,000 breeds of domesticated animals, 1,000 breeds are seriously threatened with extinction. Every week another breed of workhorse, cattle, pig or variety of sheep or poultry follows the passenger pigeon, the blue pike and the wooly mammoth into oblivion.
In hard numbers, there's no shortage of livestock. More domesticated animals are being farmed in less space and with greater returns of meat, milk, eggs and wool than at any time in history. But the number of breeds of domesticated animals is much smaller than it was a century ago. The genetic diversity of farm animals is shrinking, and with it the ability to adapt to new climates, new diseases and new markets.

Continued at... Rare Breeds

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1997. All rights reserved.
Rural Delivery
Farm Supply
Artwork: Dexter Cow

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Italian Dipping Oil from Minot, North Dakota

Now available with Dressings, Oils & Marinades in Specialty Foods:
Italian Dipping Oil direct from the maker in Minot, North Dakota

Made with home grown herbs (no chemicals, pesticides, or preservatives) this traditional Italian oil can be used for dipping bread; marinating, tenderizing and flavoring meats; salad dressing oil; sauteeing and/or frying and flavoring fish and vegetables.

Made by the daughter of Italians from Calabria, Italy, these oils are available in five blends:

* Thyme & Garlic Blend
* Garlic Lovers' Blend
* Roasted Garlic Lovers' Blend
* Roasted Garlic & Tomato Blend
* Rosemary

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rural Delivery: Final Harvest

Standing in a field just a few hundred yards from the place where he was born 70 years earlier on "a cold February morning," the retiring rancher eyed the crowd gathered around his dimantled windmill.

An auctioneer cried out from the center of the throng, "Last chance! Two-twenty-five, give me two-twenty-five! Sold for two hundred dollars."

The auctioneer and the crowd moved on, away from the rancher and toward a rusty manure spreader. The man with the highest bid, a neighbor, lagged behind. He studied the metal fan blades of the windmill and then crossed over to the rancher. His round, flushed face was reflected in the older man's dark glasses.

"You're going to have to help me put this thing together," he said.

The rancher studied him a moment from behind the glasses, then announced in mock seriousness. "Nope, I can't help you. I told you not to buy the thing."

Continued at... Final Harvest

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1989. All rights reserved.
Rural Delivery
Farm Supply
Artwork: Farm Auction, 1940

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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.

Continued at... Overwintering Geraniums

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Growing Guides
Artwork: Cedar Scented Geranium

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rural Delivery: Animal Talk

People who live with animals almost invariably talk to their critters, or at least that's been my experience. And the animals, in their own way, usually talk back.

I've personally talked to several horses,  a few cows,  assorted chickens,  a pair of exceptional pigs and dozens of dogs and cats.

We don't carry on about American literature, of course. When I do, their eyes glaze over the way mine do when someone talks about computer programming. They sniff. The scratch. They look elsewhere and finally walk away.

But when the subject is birds or food or the quality of the weather, then we understand each other just fine.

Continued at... Animal Talk

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1992. All rights reserved.

Rural Delivery
Pet Supply
Second Nature
Out There
Artwork: Mr. Ed 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Rural Delivery: Cold Hardening

Hard frost again last night. My footsteps leave dark impressions on the ground. The breath of the cows rises in clouds as they huddle together like football players at Soldier Field on a December Sunday.
Fewer grasshoppers now, I notice. They used to scatter through the wheat stubble on my approach. Only a few stragglers remain. The rest have died or gone off to hide from winter.

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.

Continued at... Cold Hardening

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1996. All rights reserved.
Rural Delivery
The Nature Pages
Second Nature
Artwork: Winter Tree Line by Ilona Wellman

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Home Grown: Growing Oaks from Acorns

To grow plants from seeds, you don't need to go to the local nursery and buy a colorful packet. A little knowledge can create a rewarding do-it-yourself experience.

One plant that is relatively easy to start from seed is the oak.

Acorns mature in early fall. You can tell the seed is ripe when the outside changes from green to yellow, brown or black and the caps can be easily removed. Acorns can then be plucked off the tree or picked up from the ground soon after falling. It's important to note that acorns left on the ground for several days begin to dry out and become a food source for insects and wildlife

Continued at... Growing Oaks from Acorns

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Growing Guides
Artwork: Acorns

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lefse from West Fargo, North Dakota

Now available in Baked Goods: Lefse from West Fargo, North Dakota

The traditional Scandinavian flat bread known as "lefse" is made from mashed potatoes mixed with flour, cream, salt and a little oil. Rolled out as a very thin dough and fried on a hot iron griddle, lefse is traditionally served with lutefisk or other meals.

Freddy's Lefse of Fargo, North Dakota, features its lefse in a Booth in the Baked Goods section of Farmer's Market Online and ships the homemade product in boxes of three dozen, six dozen or 12 dozen lefse throughout the continental U.S.

Baked Goods
advertise with Lefse
add your lefse to the Buy Direct Directory

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Home Grown: Planting for Deer Resistance

Nuisance deer that frequent the home garden often browse new plantings or established plants with tender new growth. Some mature plants may be unaffected, but for others the browsing can be fatal.

Deer can threaten young trees, especially, and the damage caused by their browsing or rubbing with their antlers can be permanent.

Some plant species more palatable to deer than others. Include plants favored by deer in your garden and you can expect frequent dinner guests.

Continued at... Planting for Deer Resistance

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Pest Control
Growing Guides
Artwork: Look What I Found In My Garden by Lori Tambakis

Monday, October 28, 2013

Growth Spurts: Enough with the Potassium, Already!

Since the chemical age of agriculture that began in the 1960s, potassium chloride (KCl) - a common salt known as potash - has been widely used as a major fertilizer in the Corn Belt.

Now, University of Illinois soil scientists are raising serious concerns with agriculture's 50-year potassium habit with research showing that testing soils for potassium is of no value for predicting its availability and that KCl fertilization seldom pays.

The findings came from a field study that involved four years of biweekly sampling for K testing with or without air-drying. Test values fluctuated drastically, did not differentiate soil K buildup from depletion, and increased even in the complete absence of K fertilization.

Explaining the increase, researcher Saeed Khan pointed out that for a 200-bushel corn crop, "about 46 pounds of potassium is removed in the grain, whereas the residues return 180 pounds of potassium to the soil—three times more than the next corn crop needs and all readily available."

Khan emphasized the overwhelming abundance of soil potassium, noting that soil test levels have increased over time where corn has been grown continuously. "In 1955 the K test was 216 pounds per acre for the check plot where no potassium has ever been added. In 2005, it was 360."

A similar trend has been seen throughout the world in numerous studies with soils under grain production.

Continued in Growth Spurts

Artwork: 1909 Potash Print Ad

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Here's How To... Tango

The word tango appeared much earlier than the dance. It first appeared outside Argentina, in one of the Canary Islands (Isla de Hierro) and in other parts of America with the meaning of "gathering of blacks to dance to drum music; also the name the Africans gave the drum itself."

The dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy of Letters, 1899 edition, defines Tango as "Fiesta and dance of Negroes or "gente del pueblo" (those that belong to lower socio-economical class) in America"; also a second meaning: "Music for that dance".

Follow the link to... Tango
Here's How To...
How To Do It
Artwork: Tango Argentino by Pedro Alvarez

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Rural Delivery: What Logs to Burn

"Logs to Burn! Logs to Burn!"
"Everyone needs logs to burn!"
Hear the woodman sell his wares.
What trees they come from, no one cares.

Ah! But here's a word to make you wise,
When you hear the woodman's cries.
Never heed his usual tale
That he has good logs for sale,
But read these lines and really learn
The proper kind of logs to burn:

Continued at... What Logs to Burn

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2004. All rights reserved.
Rural Delivery
Shop Tools and Hardware
How To Do  It Books
Artwork: Stack of Firewood

Out There: Bugs Aren't Gay, Just Confused

 Scientists studying homosexual behavior in insects - courting, mounting, and trying to mate with members of the same sex - have concluded that homosexuality in insects and spiders is just a case of mistaken identity.

In their haste to produce offspring, bugs do not take much time to inspect their mates' gender,

"Insects and spiders mate quick and dirty," says Dr. Inon Scharf of Tel Aviv University's Department of Zoology "The cost of taking the time to identify the gender of mates or the cost of hesitation appears to be greater than the cost of making some mistakes."

Continued... Out There

Out There: Scouting the Frontiers of Science
Science and Technology Books
The Nature Pages
Artwork: Seven-spot Ladybirds Mating

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Home Grown: Preparing a Lawn for Winter

When it's time for the last cutting of your lawn, how low should you cut? Your area's winter snowcover should help you decide whether to cut it short or leave it long.

If you live in a heavy snow area, cut the grass to about 1.5 inches in fall to prevent it from matting down beneath the snow and forming a haven for the snow mold fungus.

In areas with little snowcover, grass dries out and the crowns may be injured from a lack of insulation. In those areas, leave the grass long over the winter to help protect the crowns from drying out.

Continued at... Preparing a Lawn for Winter

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Lawn Tools and Equipment
Lawn Mowers and Yard Supplies
Artwork: Walk-Behind Broadcast Spreader

Monday, October 21, 2013

Growth Spurts: Waterhemp Becoming a Superweed

Studying the first known case of waterhemp with resistance to HPPD-inhibiting herbicides such as Callisto, weed science researchers at the University of Illinois have identified two unique mechanisms in the plant that have allowed the weed to “get around” these herbicides.

“Waterhemp is very diverse, which you can see in the field. There are red plants, green plants, tall, short, bushy—basically a germplasm pool. If you  keep spraying the same herbicide over and over, eventually you’re going to find that rare plant that can resist it,” said Dean Riechers, a U of I Professor of weed physiology.

What the U of I researchers find alarming is that waterhemp resisted the herbicide in much the same way that corn naturally resists HPPD-inhibiting herbicides.

Continued in Growth Spurts

Farm Supply
Farm Magazines
Growing Guides
Artwork: Warterhemp

Home Grown: Fire Ant Control in the Fall

When you think of fire ants in the fall, "vulnerable" isn't the first word that pops into your mind. But it should be.

If you are going to treat fire ants only once a year, do it in the fall. Fire ants are easier to kill in the fall.

Continued at... Fire Ant Control in the Fall

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Pest Control
Artwork: Fire Ant

Rural Delivery: How to Make a Jack-o-Lantern.

First, you start with a pumpkin seed, but not just any pumpkin. Seek out seeds of a Halloween or Jack-o'-Lantern or Spookie variety. You want a pumpkin that matures to the size and shape of your own head.
Sow your seed just before the last frost in mounds of soil and manure. And as you plant, reflect on how deeply the roots of pumpkins sink into history. Native to the Americas, pumpkins fed Indian tribes before Columbus landed and gave white settlers in frontier cabins sustenance through cold, dark winters.

Grow pumpkin vines in full sun with plenty of water. When they sprout small pumpkins, pinch off the tips of the vines. When the pumpkins are six inches across, pick all but one pumpkin per vine.

Continued at... How to Make a Jack-o-Lantern

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1996. All rights reserved.
Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Holidays and Notable Events
Artwork: Jack-o'-lantern

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Here's How To... Build With Straw

Straw-bale construction is not a new technology, but it is getting more recognition as consumers and builders look for more efficient and economic forms of construction.

Straw is a renewable resource in plentiful supply that can offer simple construction and great versatility. Approximately 200 million tons of straw that would otherwise go to waste is available each year for use in construction. This waste straw is left over from crops such as wheat, oats, barley, rye, rice and flax, after all the food has been extracted.

The straw is gathered and baled using a baling machine. Sizes of straw bales vary from 18"x14"x36" to 24"x18"x48" and weigh between 50 to 90 pounds. The straw is compressed by the baler and tied together with wire or string.

Follow the link to... Build With Straw

Here's How To...
How To Do It
Artwork: Straw Bale House

Home Grown: Autumn Tree Planting

Late summer and fall is a great time to take advantage of end of season sales at nurseries and plant some trees and shrubs. With the heat of summer over, plant water needs are less and roots make good growth in the warm soil. Just be sure to plant early enough that plants get a head start before the ground freezes.

It takes less than a minute in bright sunlight for small feeder roots to die, so protect the roots before planting. Without these, the plant must struggle to absorb moisture; transplant shock will be greater and survival lower. Make the planting hole at least a foot greater in diameter and six inches deeper than the plant's rootball. If your soil is heavy, loosen it on the inside of the hole.

Continued at... Autumn Tree Planting

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Seed, Plant, and Nursery Catalogs
Artwork: Planting a Tree by Sir George Clausen

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Rural Delivery: Signs of the Weather.

Bad weather is on its way -- ferocious storms of rain and maybe snow. I see it clearly in the night sky: that ring around the moon -- a sure sign.

The brighter the stars, of course, the better the weather, but when a cat begins to wash its face a storm is coming fast. And when smoke drops in a chimney, rain soon follows.

Continued at... Signs of the Weather

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1996. All rights reserved.
Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Artwork: Ring Around Moon by Alan Lenk

Home Grown: Identifying Emerald Ash Borer

As fall's colors emerge, it's hard to miss the striking gold and purple leaves of ash trees lining streets and roads in many Midwestern U.S. states. However, when emerald ash borer arrives, many ash trees planted in towns, cities and conservation plantings could be lost.
First detected in southeast Michigan in 2002, emerald ash borer, or EAB, is an exotic beetle that attacks and kills all native ash species, including white, green, black and autumn purple ash. To date, the beetle is present in 22 U.S. states as well as Canada and has killed more than 150 million ash trees.

Continued at... Identifying Emerald Ash Borer

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Pest Control
Seed, Plant, and Nursery Catalogs
Artwork: Adult emerald ash borers mating

Holidays and Notable Events: World Food Day

Celebrated on October 16 each year in honor of the date the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations was founded in 1945.

Events include an annual Hunger Run, a 10K competitive race and a 5K non-competitive walk/run held to focus public attention on the fact that hundreds of millions of people around the world still live in chronic hunger and to raise funds to help hunger-affected communities meet their own food needs over the long term.

The 2013 Hunger Run will be held October 20 at Terme di Caracalla in Rome, Italy.

World Food Day
Holidays and Notable Events Calendar
advertise on World Food Day
promote your product on Holidays and Notable Events
Artwork: World Food Day Poster

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Recipe Archive: Chocolate Torte

This sweet treat, courtesy of Gordon Sample, is from the kitchen of Ruby Faye Sample, inspiration for Ruby Faye's Bar-B-Que in Clinton, adapted from The Kentucky Barbecue Book by Wes Berry.

  • Combine milk, pudding mix, and Cool Whip. Mix until smooth. Line bottom of 9 x 13-inch pan with graham crackers. Don't crush them.
  • Add half of pudding mixture, and then cover with another layer of graham crackers.
  • Add rest of pudding mixture. 
  • Cover this layer with graham crackers...

continued at Ruby Faye's Sweet Shoppe Chocolate Torte

The Kentucky Barbecue Book by Wes Berry
Recipe Archive
Farm Kitchen
Milk Chocolate Frosting

Monday, October 14, 2013

Rural Delivery: Silent Sentinel of Crop Protection

He stands alone near the fenceline staring out at the horizon. The breeze that rustles through the dried corn stalks stirs his tattered shirttails. He sways slightly, but keeps a firm grip on his rusty pitchfork with a broken tine.

Since spring planting he's been out there, a silent sentinel of agricultural defense. As the fields were plowed and fertilized, he was watching. He witnessed the first emergence of seedlings and saw the workers moving handlines during the early summer drought.

But now the crop is in and harvest done, and he's still standing there, waiting. I find him unnerving.

Continued at... Silent Sentinel of Crop Protection

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1995. All rights reserved.
Rural Delivery
Holidays and Notable Events
Artwork: Scarecrow by Susan Savad

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Rural Delivery: A Bite Most Deadly

Some folks are afraid of spiders, others snakes. Lightning puts the fear of God in many of us, and so do earthquakes, tornadoes and dark moonless nights. Living in the country presents many special worries, like the threat of wildfire or the potential for flash floods. More cars collide with wild animals on rural roads than city lanes and the chances of eating a poisonous mushroom or contracting the deadly hantavirus are much greater off the beaten path. But there is no threat so terrifying in rural places, or as fatally serious as rabies.

Growing up, I learned to keep a wary eye on grape arbors and tall, dark hedges of lilacs lest some crazed bat should emerge, grab hold of my hair, bite my scalp and infect me with rabies. Older cousins planted a terror of rabies in my pre -school mind with accounts of the terrible vaccination shots in the belly that bat bite victims had to endure and how, more often than not, the bitten person went crazy and was committed to an asylum, ranting and raving and foaming at the mouth.

Continued at... A Bite Most Deadly

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Out There
Pet Supply
Artwork: Mad Dog by Mike Savad

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Rain Barrels from Aaron's Rain Barrels of Massachusetts

Now available in Farm Supply:
Rain Barrels available direct from Aaron's Rain Barrels of Massachusetts in Farm Supply.

There is much more to making rain barrels than just adding a spigot to a barrel, of course, and if things are not done just right a rain barrel will begin leaking within a few weeks.

The rain barrels from Aaron's Rain Barrels are not the same as you'll find at Home Depot, Lowes or Walmart. They are expertly designed, carefully crafted and shipped direct from the workshop in Massachusetts.

Made from 100% recycled plastic or traditional oak whiskey barrels, the rain barrels are available in several different styles, including an Irrigation System popular with gardeners, a Gutterless Rain Barrel for those without gutters, and a Downspout Diverter that helps keep basements dry.

Whiskey Barrel Rain Barrel
Rain Barrels
Farm Supply
add your supplies to Farm Supply

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Rural Delivery: Bird Wars

Some farmers enforce their property rights with shotguns; others use feral cats, cannons, balloons or plastic owls. If they don't, birds can eat them into poverty.

This is the time of year when sparrows, starlings, pigeons and other overwintering fowl start making a pest of themselves in barns and feedlots. Feed lines in dairy barns are black with birds and the backs of the cows are often slick with their excrement.

An adult starling, according to some reports, will eat one-and-a-half times its body weight in feed per day if given the chance. Wintering flocks numbering 2,000 birds will consume a ton of feed a month or more.

Continued at... Bird Wars

Michael Hofferber
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Artwork: Starlings by Will Borden

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Home Grown: Don't Dress Tree Wounds

Many gardeners have experienced that awful moment when the lawn mower or weed whacker accidentally comes in contact with the bark of a valued tree in the landscape and a wound is created.

No matter how careful you are, accidents happen, and then you’re left wondering what you can do to help the tree repair this wound. In most cases, the answer is to let the tree repair the wound on its own.

Upon being wounded, trees begin a natural process of callusing over the wounded area with new bark and wood. In the spring, when trees are growing vigorously, this process will naturally occur quickly. During other times of the year when growth is not as vigorous, try to keep wounded trees growing as vigorously as possible by fertilizing and watering.

Continued at... Don't Dress Tree Wounds

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Artwork: Wounds Are Healed

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Organic Chestnuts from Sherwood, Oregon

Now available in Nuts and Grains:
Certified Organic Chestnuts direct from the grower in Sherwood, Oregon

Colossal chestnuts available fresh in season and dried for year around use.

This vendors specializes in chestnut gift packs for the holidays and sells out early each year. If you're looking for a special "something" for that top-producing employee, or the friends who "have everything," a gift pack from the orchard is a perfect selection.

Nestled in the hills of Oregon's lush Willamette Valley, this orchard produces some of the Northwest's finest quality chestnuts. Established in 1991, the orchard is a state-of-the-art operation.

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add your chestnuts to the Buy Direct Directory

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kitty Mix from Boulder, Colorado

Now available with Cat Food in Pet Supplies:
Kitty Mix from Boulder, Colorado.

This mix combines three all meat treats - Bison Bits, Chicken Crunchies and Turkey Treats - into one package.

Cats are strict carnivores, which means they are designed to get their protein from meat, not plants. Their nutritional needs are different from humans or dogs, omnivores who derive some nutritional support from plant-based proteins.

These treats are 100% meat - bison, chicken, chicken liver, turkey, or 100% fish - squid, shrimp, tilapia, bonito. The moisture level is less than 10% for a longer shelf life.

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add your product to Pet Supplies

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Half Peck Basket with Handle from Jacksonville, Texas

Now available with Baskets:
Half Peck Basket with Handle from Jacksonville, Texas

These wooden half peck baskets are perfect for fruits, vegetables, crafts, market displays, or as a gift basket. Made of sweetgum wood with a natural finish.

Capacity: 1/2 peck
Height: 6-1/2"
Diameter: 8-1/2"

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Home Grown: Aphid Control Without Chemicals

Aphid lion larvae consume approximately 400 aphids a week. They compete with lady bugs, parasitic wasps, minute pirate bugs, hover fly larvae, predator stink bugs, praying mantises, assassin bugs, damsel bugs and other beneficial insects for aphids, often making it unnecessary for gardeners to use chemical sprays.

Aphids are phloem feeders, or plant-sap suckers. They congregate on the growing tips of garden plants or on the underside of the leaves. They are small and round and produce a frass (excrement) called honeydew that collects on the plant leaves, making them sticky.

A garden’s aphid population builds at a very high rate due to asexual reproduction by the females giving birth to already pregnant clones. A female aphid can produce 5 to 12 offspring in one day.

Continued at... Aphid Control Without Chemicals

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Artwork: Aphid Lions

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Here's How To... Make An Arrowhead

Flint-knapping requires the ability to control the way rocks break when they are struck. The best rock is somewhat brittle and uniform in texture and structure, lacking frost fractures, inclusions, or other flaws. This type of rock is very fine grained or non-grained. The best rocks for flint-knapping are chert, flint, chalcedony, quartzite, jasper, and obsidian. These rock types, when struck with another rock, piece of antler, or bone, will fracture or break in a characteristic pattern called a conchoidal fracture. This creates a rock fragment called a flake.

The production process begins with a piece of raw material, called a core. Flakes are removed by striking the edge of the core with a sharp, forceful blow, in what is called percussion flaking.

Percussion flakes are removed using a hard hammer or soft hammer. Hard hammers are typically made of igneous or metamorphic rocks such as granite, quartz, basalt, or gneiss. Hard hammers tend to pass most of their energy to the core without absorbing much of the force, so they are used to flake large cores of hard materials. A carefully controlled strike is always more important than a hard strike when using a hard hammer.

Follow the link to... Make an Arrowhead

Monday, August 12, 2013

Good Weight: Aristolochia Produces Most Potent Carcinogen

Cancer researchers at the National Cancer Centre Singapore have discovered that Aristolochic Acid, a natural compound found in Aristolochia plants, is the most potent known carcinogen, causing more DNA mutations than cigarette smoke or ultraviolent light.

The compound has been commonly used in traditional herbal preparations for various health problems such as weight-loss, menstrual symptoms and rheumatism. It has been officially banned in Europe and North America since 2001 and in Asia since 2003, but its long-term impact is still being felt as patients with associated kidney failure and cancer are still being diagnosed, especially in Taiwan.

In addition, certain AA-containing products are still permitted under supervision and products containing AA are still easily available worldwide, including over the internet.

Source: SingHealth

Friday, August 9, 2013

Tips from the Farm Kitchen: Homemade Pickles

'Tis said that a meal should include all four flavors -- sweet, sour, pungent and astringent -- and homemade dill pickles or sauerkraut fill the bill for those with a "sour-tooth" to balance their "sweet-tooth."

Mouth puckering foods have been around since the first cider went sour, but processes have improved since the time when the sour taste happened accidentally.

Continued at Homemade Pickles

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Artwork: Jar of Pickles