Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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
Rural Delivery
Farm Supply
Pest Control
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

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Farm and Garden Books
Growing Guides
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.

Certified Organic Chestnuts
Nuts and Grains
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.

Kitty Mix
Cat Food
Pet Supplies
Catnip and Cat Grass
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

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Farm and Garden Books
Growing Guides
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

Farm Kitchen
Kitchen Supply
Canning & Preserving For Dummies
Artwork: Jar of Pickles

Monday, August 5, 2013

Home Grown: Time to Order Fall Bulbs

As summer begins to wane, it is time to decide which spring flowering bulbs you want to add to your landscape.

"You need to select good quality bulbs for planting, paying attention to size and firmness. Choose bulbs that are firm and free from soft or rotting spots, and signs of disease," says Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

There are three sources for bulbs: mail order catalog, local nurseries, and discount business.

Continued at... Time to Order Fall Bulbs

Home Grown
Plants and Seeds
Seed, Plant, and Nursery Catalogs
Home and Garden Center
Farm and Garden Books
Artwork: Iris

Monday, July 29, 2013

Vegetarian Jerky from Bayside, California

Now available with Jerky in Specialty Foods:
Vegetarian Jerky direct from the producer in Bayside, California

This unique product is a perfect imitation of real beef jerky, but without the beef.

Vegetarian "Beef-Less" Jerky was originated by Mark Turman of Californiavin 1995. Working at home, he combined special ingredients with a soybean base to come up with the veggie jerky that he began marketing.

He sold the recipe and his jerky business in 1998 to his friend, Eleanor White, who continues to provide a jerky that's preservative free, fat-free and high in protein for vegetarians and omnivores alike.

The vegetarian jerky is available in Hickory Pepper, Cowgirl, Hot Chili Pepper and Teriyaki flavors as well as in combination and sample packs of multiple flavors.

Vegetarian Jerky
Specialty Foods and Beverages
Advertise with Jerky
add your Jerky to the Buy Direct Directory

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Old Fashioned Wooden Wine Boxes from Emmett, Idaho

Now available with Boxes in Handmade :
Old Fashioned Wooden Wine Boxes from Emmett, Idaho.

Made of natural pine, this wooden box has many uses: storage, planter, garden produce container, wall shelf organizer, etc.

Makes a great display box for farmers markets.

Measures 19.5" x 13.5" x 5.5" inside. Hand holes for easy carring.

add your boxes to the Buy Direct Directory
advertise with Boxes

Here's How To... Grow Your Own Starts

Starting your own plants from seed can give you a wider choice of cultivars than what you can often find as transplants at the local garden center. It also ensures that you will have healthy plants at the right time to set out.

If you want the very latest types of plants or want to try growing heirloom varieties, you usually have to get the seed from mail-order sources.

Once you have the seeds in hand, however, you have to get them to germinate and grow in order to have useable transplants for the garden.  And this is where many gardeners face frustration.  Sometimes the seed fails to germinate or, once germinated, it doesn't grow as it should, resulting in poor quality transplants.

Growing plants from seed is not complicated if you know a few basic seed germination tips.

Follow the link to... Grow Your Own Starts

Here's How To...
How To Do It Books
Plants and Seeds
Seed Starting Trays

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Macadamia Nut Butter from Captain Cook, Hawaii

Now available with Butters in Specialty Foods:
Macadamia Nut Butter direct from Captain Cook, Hawaii.

This 100% Hawaii-grown Macadamia Nut Butter is processed "raw" using the latest technology in cracking mac nuts which enables the nuts to be dehumidified at low temperature so that enzymes are undisturbed and the great flavor retained.

Produced by a farmer-owned partnership, the butter is sold in 8-ounce jars.

Macadamia Nut Butter
Spreads and Butters
Specialty Foods and Beverages
Advertise with Spreads and Butters
add your Spread to the Buy Direct Directory

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Potpourri direct from Las Vegas, Nevada

Now available with Potpourri in Handmade:
Potpourri direct from the blender in Las Vegas, Nevada

This potpourri is filled with wonderful fragrances that will warm your home and enhance your lifestyle. Made fresh weekly using unique blends of color and botanicals.

Made from 100% natural ingredients with bright color mixes and unusual botannical pieces, this potpourri is available in a variety of fragrance blends, from Antique Jasmine to Ginger Peach. Sold in 5 x 3 1/4 x 13" or sachets.

add your potpourri to the Buy Direct Directory
advertise with Potpourri

Friday, June 14, 2013

Home Grown: Talking to Plants

The theory that plants benefit from human conversation dates to 1848, when German professor Gustav Fechner published the book "Nanna (Soul-life of Plants)." The idea is a popular one, and has spawned several more books and even an album — recorded in 1970 by an enterprising dentist — titled "Music to Grow Plants By." But will crooning compliments to your ficus really have any effect on its growth?

"There isn’t a lot of research in this area, but there is evidence that plants respond to sound," says Rich Marini, head of Penn State’s horticulture department. "Wind or vibration will induce changes in plant growth. Since sound is essentially vibration, my guess is that vibration is causing a response."

Continued at... Talking to Plants

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Nanna (Soul-life of Plants)
Arwork: You Talking to Me?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Here's How To... Make Jams and Jellies

Jelly, jam, preserves, conserves, marmalades and fruit butters are all made from fruit, preserved by sugar and thickened or gelled to some extent.

To gel properly, sweet spreads must contain the right combination of fruit, pectin, acid and sugar. The fruit gives each spread its unique flavor and color. Fruit also supplies the water needed to dissolve the other ingredients and some or all of the pectin and acid. Good quality, flavorful fruits make the best sweet spreads.

If combined with the right amount of acid and sugar, pectins cause a gel to form.

Follow the link to... Make Jams and Jellies

Here's How To...
How To Do It
Jams, Jellies, Preserves
Guidebooks and How-to Titles
Canning Jars

Home Grown: Remove Grass Clippings, or Not?

Should you remove your grass clippings or leave them where they fall?

The experts can actually make a case for either removing or not removing the clippings from your lawn. Those homeowners that let their grass get very tall before they mow will have to remove the clippings. Heaps of clippings piled in windrows by the mowers look unsightly and block sunlight, turning the lawn yellow beneath. In effect, the clippings act like mulch. Remove those clippings and relegate them to the compost pile, or, let them dry for a day or two and use them to mulch your garden, if you haven't applied a broad-leaf herbicide to your lawn.

Continued at... Remove Grass Clippings, or Not?

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Lawn Mowers and Yard Supplies
Lawn Tools and Equipment
Arwork: Lawn Care

Recipe Archive: Chicken and Dumplings

Recipes for chicken and dumplings were brought to America by French, German British and eastern European immigrants, just to name a few. And variations can be found among the Pennsylvania Dutch and in the Deep South, the Midwest, and New England.

To prepare the dumplings, combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Stir to blend. Bring butter and milk to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Drizzle into the dry ingredients and mix well. This will be a fairly dry dough.

Form the dough into 6 loose ovals or rounds, about 2 inches in diameter.

continued at Chicken and Dumplings

Dumpling Maker
Recipe Archive
Farm Kitchen

Friday, May 31, 2013

Here's How To... Keep Your Fish

Another way to keep fish for long periods of time is by drying or smoking the meat. "Food smoking is a human invention. No other species on the planet incorporates any similar activity into its food gathering, preparation, and strategy for survival," writes John Manikowski in Fish Grilled and Smoked.

Smoking preserves fish by reducing moisture content, thereby retarding the growth of bacteria.  But there are still heat-resistant microorganisms that survive the smoking process, like Clostridium botulinum,  capable of causing food poisoning. To stay safe, refrigerate smoked fish.

The smoking process consists of five basic steps -- cleaning the fish, brining the fish, drying the fish, building the smoker, and smoking the fish.

Follow the link to... Keep Your Fish

Here's How To...
How To Do It
Guidebooks and How-to Titles
Photo: Stovetop Smoker

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Recipe File: Café Florentine

from Hot Drinks: Cider, Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate, Spiced Punch, and Spirits by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss
Inspired by the flavors of orange and almond in a traditional Florentine cookie, this sophisticated coffee drink combines Grand Marnier and amaretto for a delicious match. 
A cup of Café Florentine is divinely accented by a piece of dark bittersweet chocolate or chocolate-dipped Florentine cookies on the side.
Recipe: Café Florentine
Recipe Archive
Artwork: Three Coffee Cups

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Home Grown: Sun Protection for Tomato Skins

The sun's rays are tough on our faces and arms, but we can wear sunscreen to reduce the damage to our skin. Tomatoes don't have that option. Exposed to bright sun, the fruit can heat up dramatically, reaching temperatures as much as 18 degrees warmer than the surrounding air.

Sunscald damage to your tomatoes depends on their stage of maturity, and the intensity and duration of the heat. The fruit is most susceptible when it is green or when the first pink color begins to show (called the breaker state).

Continued at... Sun Protection for Tomato Skins

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Tomatoes and Tomato Seeds
Seed, Plant, and Nursery Catalogs
The Many Varieties of Tomato

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Home Grown: Keeping Out the Kudzu Bugs

Adult kudzu bugs will emerge in the spring, lay eggs on sprouting kudzu and begin building large populations. In addition to dining on kudzu, the insect also feeds on soybeans and other legumes, including beans in home gardens.

Researchers have been searching for ways to control the insect, recently introduced from Asia. Until a control is found, the following tips are offered to homeowners who want to keep the pest at bay:

Continued at... Keeping Out the Kudzu Bugs

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Pest Control
Kudzu Bugs

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Here's How To... Make a Book

A single-section book is simple to make. Sheets of paper are gathered together and folded in half to make a single section. The number of sheets used can vary, but if you use thick paper, do not use too many, or the book will look clumsy.

For the cover, select a suitable light cardboard or heavy paper. If what you choose is not heavy enough, laminate two different papers together to obtain the required weight.

Follow the link to... Make a Book

Here's How To...
The Handmade Book
Books and Journals
How To Do It
Books and Publications
Artwork: Handmade Notebook

Friday, April 26, 2013

Goat Milk Soap from Lindon, Utah

Now available with Soaps in Health & Beauty:
Goat Milk Soap direct from the soapmaker at a goat farm in Lindon, Utah

This soapmaker has been raising goats for over 20 years and making soap since 1997.

The sweet creamy goat milk produced by the goats is the main ingredient in the soaps that are available in 35 scents. The most popular are Lavender, Peppermint, Red Clover Tea, Love Spell, Lime Sugar and Unscented soaps.

Handcraft Goat Milk Soaps
Health & Beauty
advertise on the Soaps page
add your Soaps to the Buy Direct Directory

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Handmade Soaps from Mammoth, Arizona

Now available in Handmade:
Handmade Soaps from Mammoth, Arizona.

This home-based soapmaker is focused on providing homemade bath and body products of the highest quality. Featured here is a lovely lavender, swirled, cold process soap scented with Lavender Vanilla fragrance oil.

All the ingredients in this soap are natural, vegan, and from the finest sources of butters and oils.

This bar of soap produces lots of luxurious lather, leaving skin silky.

add your soaps to Buy Direct Directory
advertise with Soaps

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wearable Art from Naples, Florida

Now available in Handmade:
Wearable Art from Naples, Florida.

Holly Slezak of Naples, Florida handcrafts earrings, necklaces, some bracelets, as well as home decor items like oil painting prints, abstract wall hangings, table knacks, and more.

This large featured piece she calls her harp. It sells for $16 with tax.

add your artwork to Buy Direct Directory
advertise with Artwork

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Home Grown: Creating a Container Flower Garden

First, select a good pot. They are available in a variety of materials like foam, fiberglass, plastic or wood. Choose a container that coordinates or complements the color of your deck. Whatever you choose, make sure there is a hole in the bottom for drainage. This sounds really basic, but it is easily overlooked when shopping for a pot.

If you’re going to use plastic, make sure it’s double-wall plastic. Containers made of low-quality plastic or wood will deteriorate quickly. To extend the life of a wooden container, line it with heavy-duty plastic. Spray black plastic pots with plastic-friendly paint to make them more attractive.

Continued at... Creating a Container Flower Garden

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Smart Pots

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Farmers Market Supply: Bakery Boxes

Now available in Farmers Market Supply: Bakery Boxes

These white non-window bakery boxes are ideal for cakes, pastries, pies and cupcakes. White outside and Kraft inside.

Lock corner design for easy assembly and convenient storage. Sturdy packaging made in the USA from premium paperboard.

Recyclable and compostable.

Farmers Market Supply
Kitchen Supply
Open Air Farmers Markets Directory
add your product to Farmers Market Supply

Home Grown: Cultivating a Cutting Garden

Cutting gardens, which were a normal part of Victorian gardens, are made up of a variety of annuals and perennials, both flowering and foliage, that can be used in flower arrangements. Today, they can fill the need for fresh-cut flowers, either for the home or to offer as a gift.

Most cutting flowers grow best in a full-sun location. Some gardeners prefer a less conspicuous spot because it may not look its best all season, while others make it a part of the overall garden design.

Continued at... Cultivating a Cutting Garden

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Growing Guides

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tips from the Farm Kitchen: Egg Color, Size, and Grading

Are white eggs better than brown eggs?


"Egg color is a distinction not of quality, but of chicken variety," according to chefs Gayle Pirie and John Clark, authors of Country Egg, City Egg.

Continued at... Egg Color, Size, and Grading

Farm Kitchen
Country Egg, City Egg
Kitchen Supply

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Hoosick Hickory Syrup from Hoosick Falls, New York.

Now available with Syrup in Specialty Foods:
Hoosick Hickory Syrup from Hoosick Falls, New York.

With an old family recipe in hand, this vendor created an original Hickory Syrup with a deliciously earthy and woodsy flavor.

Hickory Syrup is used mostly for pancakes, waffles, and french toast, as well as a topping on ice cream, sweet potato fries or even sweet potato chips.

This syrup is also a fine sweetener for glazes, marinades, meat and seafood sauces, barbecue sauces, and salad dressings.

Specialty Foods and Beverages
Advertise with Syrup
add your Syrup to the Buy Direct Directory