Now that’s a whopper – Mount Airy News

Posted: June 16, 2020 at 7:51 am

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June 14, 2020

What is as rare as a night of fireflies in early June? As the night of June warms up the twilight is bright with the amber flicker of glowing fireflies. They still bring back memories of a huge sawdust pile in Northampton County in northeastern North Carolina on warm summer evenings. There would be hundreds of them flying around. All the kids in the neighborhood would catch them in quart mason jars and our hands would smell like the unforgettable scent of lightning bugs as our grandma called them.

Fireflies were given this scent by the Lord to protect them from enemies likes bats and other night-flying birds. Their unusual scent would alert the bats that the fireflies tasted as bad as they smelled. A fireflys glow is more than just a signal for a mate-it also warns other insects that they are near. Even when eggs of fireflies reach larva stage, they are protected from enemies by that amber glow. Enjoy the glow of fireflies this evening. You may want to see if you have the memory of that lightning bug smell.

Portaluca is a rainbow of color in a container. The colorful portaluca, also known as desert rose, cactus rose, or rose moss, is a distant cousin of the cactus family. It is popular in Texas and Oklahoma and in Oklahoma, they plant rose moss in old transfer truck or tractor tires filled with potting soil. My grandma in Northampton County planted it in an old wash pot with holes in the bottom of it.

Rose moss comes in a rainbow of colors and endure summers heat extremes. The best feature is that when you purchase it in six- or nine-packs, it is in bloom so that you know the colors you are selecting. You can choose from red, orange, white, yellow, bronze, pink, tan, wine, hot pink, lemon, and wine. They have tiny cactus-like foliage and the flowers highlight the foliage. You can use Miracle-Gro cactus medium or flower potting soil and both will promote healthy growth. They like plenty of sun. On cloudy days, they may require a half day to open fully. Unlike other annuals, you can plant rose moss close together and it will not get root-bound. You can plant three or four nine-packs.

Cucumbers and squash will thrive and grow quickly when planted in mid-June. The late-spring days and nights are warm and seeds and plants of cucumbers and squash will grow and quickly respond to warm soil. You can sow squash and cucumbers or set out plants, but the seeds you sow will quickly catch up with them. Sow or plant cucumbers and squash about two feet apart. As plants grow, keep a layer of soil hilled up on both sides of the plants. Feed them every 15 days with Garden-Tone organic vegetable food.

Taking care of late-spring roses. All during spring, the roses have put on a colorful show and are still providing plenty of blooms as we move further into June. Keep deadheading spent blooms. Deadheading is just another name for pulling spent blooms from rose bushes to promote growth of new blooms all during summer. As we move into Dog Days and warmer temps next month, keep roses watered once a week when no rain occurs. Apply Rose-Tone organic rose food every 15 days. Check roses for Japanese beetles and spray foliage with a mist of liquid Sevin if beetles infest them. Use a bottle sprayer such as Windex comes in and fill it with Sevin spray. Apply on a sunny day so the Sevin mist will dry on the foliage. Use a rose spray every ten days to control mites and other insect pests.

Unforgettable perfume of the honeysuckles. The sweet aroma of the wild honeysuckles on a warm spring evening is so very pleasant to the nostrils and reflects nature and springtime at its very best. Pick a few honeysuckle stems and place in a bud vase to bring that scent inside your home. We love the colors of honeysuckles with white and coral-orange colors. Its no wonder hummingbirds are attracted to them.

Keep planting rows of green beans. Green beans respond very quickly in warm soil and comfortable June nights. There are so many productive varieties to choose from. The very best is strike followed by Top Crop, Contender, Derby, and Blue Lake Bush. Plant in a -or four-inch deep furrow. Sow seed and cover seed with a layer of peat moss and an application of Garden-Tone vegetable organic food. Hill soil up on both sides of the furrow and tamp down with a hoe blade. When beans develop two leaves, apply Plant-Tone every fifteen days and hill up soil on both sides of the row.

Making crispy Macaroni and Cheese. This is a great recipe for a warm late spring evening supper. You will need one can of Campbells cream of cheese soup (10 3/4 ounces), half cup of milk, half teaspoon of prepared mustard, half teaspoon pepper, three cups cooked elbow macaroni, one eight-ounce package finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese, two cups crushed Cheetos, and a half stick margarine. In a large bowl mix cream of cheese soup, milk, mustard, pepper, finely shredded sharp cheese, crushed Cheetos. Stir all ingredients together and add the cooked macaroni (one and a half cups uncooked macaroni will yield three cups cooked macaroni). Pour into a casserole dish sprayed with PAM baking spray or Bakers Joy. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until firm.

Hoe-Hoe-Hoedown: Spot Remover. Betty Jo: Why are you so sad, Bobbie Jo? Bobbie Jo: I took my leopard-skin coat to the cleaners. Betty Jo: What happened there? Bobbie Jo: The coat came back spotless!

Bible Baffle- Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The chicken of course. God does not lay eggs!

Bible Baffle Where was deviled ham first mention in the Bible? When evil spirits entered the swine.

Riddle Diddle What fish is mans best friend? The dogfish.

Dog Tale What did the dog say when he got his tail hung in the door? It wont be long now!

Today is Flag Day. Remember to fly the red, white, and blue today. One this special flag-waving and flag-flying day, its timely to present a bit of U.S. Flag Etiquette: 1. Never allow the flag to touch the ground or any other object while being displayed. 2. Salute the flag as it is raised and lowered, and when National Anthem is played, also during the Pledge or Allegiance to the flag while standing at attention with right hand over your heart. 3. Display the flag outdoors only between sunrise and sunset unless illuminated by a spotlight. 4. When displaying the flag indoors, always place the flag to the right of the speaker or stage area. 5. To place the flag at half-mast, raise the flag to its peak for a second before lowering the flag to half-mast.

June 07, 2020

The final few days of Piedmont strawberry season. The next few days will be your last opportunity to visit a pick-you-own strawberry field near you. The harvest for 2020 is down to the last few days. It is worth one more visit to pick or purchase a gallon or two. Nothing is better than freshly picked strawberries mixed with dairy whipping cream and some shortcake. Call ahead to the field to make sure berries are still available. As the strawberry season winds down, it closes out with a Full Strawberry Moon. This moon was full Friday night, but rises a bit later tonight and is still almost full. Go outside before bedtime tonight and enjoy this beautiful full moon in the waning phase.

Keep setting out a few tomato plants each week. The soil of early June is ideal for setting out tomato plants each week for as long as they can be found to assure and abundant harvest all summer long. The determinate varies such as Celebrity, Better Boy, Rutgers, Marglobe, and Homestead, as well as Early Girl will perform well and produce tomatoes in late summer.

Use a healthy organic tomato food to boost tomato growth. Tomatoes do not need to be fertilized, they need to be fed. Organic plant food for tomato plants will feed them the nutrients they need for a great yield. Tomato-Tone plant food is totally organic and comes in three pound zippered plastic bags. Side dress the tomato plants and hill up soil on both sides of the plants. Tomato-Tone has a fine texture that absorbs quickly into the soil and tomato plants respond quickly to it.

Controlling blossom-end rot on tomatoes. There are several great ways to control blossom-end rot on tomato plants. The first solution is a two-parter. The first part is to water tomato plants at the base of the plants and not the foliage when conditions are dry. The second part is to apply handfuls of powdered lime (calcium carbonate) on both sides of the tomato plants and then hill soil up on both sides of the row to cover the lime. A chemical way to control blossom-end rot is to apply Captan mixed with proper amount of water and poured into a spray bottle such as Windex window spray comes in (or any type of spray bottle). Spray the tomato blossoms with a fine mist. We like the first method of control better because it is practical and adds something beneficial to the soil in the process. There is still another method to control blossom-end rot and that is to fill a sprinkling can with water and add a half cup of Epsom salts to the water and pour around the base of the plants.

Planting a row of lima beans. The warn soil of June provides ideal conditions for sowing a row of lima beans. They will sprout and grow quickly during warm days and nights of June and July and produce a harvest in 70 to 75 days. You can choose from Dixie butter pea, Henderson Bush, or Fordhook 242. A row planted now will produce a harvest in late July or early August. Sow in a furrow about three or four inches deep. Cover seed with a layer of peat moss, a layer of Black Kow composted cow manure, an application of Garden-Tone organic vegetable food. Hill up soil on each side of furrow and tamp soil down with a hoe blade for good contact with the soil. When beans develop two leaves, side dress with Garden-Tone every fifteen days and hill soil up on both sides of row to cover the Plant-Tone.

Making applesauce puff muffins. This is a quick dessert for a late spring supper with simple ingredients. You will need two cups Bisquick, one cup sugar, one and a half teaspoons apple pie spice, three fourth cup applesauce, one fourth cup milk, one slightly beaten large egg, two tablespoons Crisco oil, half stick melted margarine. Combine Bisquick, sugar, apple pie spice, stir and then add applesauce, milk, egg, and Crisco oil. Beat for a minute. Pour mixture into greased muffin pans or use cupcake liners. Fill to 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until they test done. Cool for a minute or two and remove from pans. Mix two tablespoons of sugar and half teaspoon apple pie spice together. Melt the half stick margarine. Spread melted margarine over the cupcakes and them sprinkle the mixture of sugar-apple pie spices over muffins.

Keeping humming bird feeders filled. The fragrant flowers of the wild honeysuckle is a staple of hummingbirds diet from May until mid-June. As the blooms decline, there may be a short lull in their food chain as many other flowers have not yet reached bloom stage. Keep hummingbird feeders replenished twice a week. This will keep the hummers visiting your porch or deck and they will discover a dependable source of nectar.

The wonder world of the pollinators. Did you know that more than half the food we eat is made possible because of the bees and other pollinators? They need pollen and nectar to survive and be healthy. Along with bees, other pollinators include hare wasps, bumblebees, hummingbirds, and many types of flies. Bees are the only insect in the world that produces a food that we can eat, and that product is honey and honeycomb. Nectar that produces honey is a powerful food. A bee could get enough energy from one ounce of honey to make a flight around the world. Bees have great color vision and can discern flowers and varieties by their color. They are especially attracted to yellow, white, purple, blue, or violet. There is no such thing as tame bees. The same type bee in a hollow tree is the same type bee that lives in a domesticated hive. A bee can travel a mile in search of nectar. Only females produce honey. Male bees are called drones and their job is keeping the hive cool and fertilizing the eggs of the hives only queen bee. At the end of the season, the droners are driven from the hive. In freezing weather, bees ball up in the hive to stay warm and derive energy from stored honey. In this 21st century, farmers, gardeners, and homeowners are the bees worst enemy because they use, misuse, and abuse by their use of pesticides, herbicides and insect killers. When this is continued to be practiced, we are biting the hand that feeds us!

Rainbows and quickie thunderstorms. A bit of late spring weather lore says that, When the wind blows puffy clouds across the sky on a very warm afternoon, get your umbrella handy because a thunderstorm is brewing over the horizon. We are now approaching the season of thunderstorms and much of summers water supple for the garden plot will arrive in the form of pop up thunderstorms. They are beneficial because they have an ample amount of electricity in them, that jump starts the vegetables in the warm weather garden. Another bonus is the fresh aroma after an afternoon shower. Another color bonus is a rainbow in the eastern sky as the sun returns after the storm. Another beautiful sight is when the sky is still dark in the east and the rainbow has a glowing effect and reflects what looks like a double rainbow.

Hoe-Hoe-Howdown: Store manager: I saw you arguing with that customer who just left. I told you before that the customer is always right. Didnt you understand me? Salesman: Yes sir, the customer is always right. Store manager- Thats better. Now what were you and the customer arguing about? Salesman: Well sir, he said you were an idiot!

Enjoying the waning strawberry moon. The full Strawberry Moon occurred on Friday night but you can still enjoy the waning strawberry moon as it rises later each night this week. Let the light of the moon influence your garden plots growing vegetables by getting some moon water prepared to pour on the growing vegetables. Tonight before sunset, fill several five gallon plastic buckets with water and allow the waning full moon to shine down on the water during the night. Next morning, pour the moon-struck water into sprinkling cans and pour around the base of tomato plants, peppers, and growing vegetables. This is a trick our great-grandparents used a century ago. The moon does have an influence on growing things.

May 31, 2020

Peppers are truly a tropical vegetable. As we reach the final day of the month of May, the time is ideal for setting out pepper plants in the sweet, hot, and very hot varieties. Peppers are tropical in nature and thrive during warm days and nights. In sweet peppers, you can select California Wonder, Keystone, Bit Bertha, and Door Knob. Keep the hot varieties a distance from sweet varieties to prevent bees from cross-pollinating them and causing all peppers to be hot.

Peppers need to be caged or staked. The thunderstorms of summer can blow pepper plants over and at harvest, pepper plants need to be supported from wet soil to prevent rot or damage from critters plus making peppers easier to harvest by causing them to be more visible.

Robins on the lawn and birds in trees. Robins are on the lawn as they search for worms, grubs, and insects. There are birds with straw and building materials for nests in their beaks and sipping water from the birdbath. There is plenty of action on the lawn and at the edge of the garden. Keep the birdbath filled with fresh water every day and also keep hummingbird feeders filled with nectar twice a week. This will attract more hummers to the feeders and make your lawn and garden more bird-friendly.

Last opportunity to pick-your-own strawberries. Tomorrow will be the first day of June and also this week will be the ending of this years strawberry season. If you go to a field this week, call to make sure they are open and if they have the berries you need, especially if you want ready-picked berries.

Making a strawberry cream cake. This strawberry recipe is a great way to end the strawberry harvest season and so very simple to prepare. You will need one cup plain four, one and a half teaspoons baking powder, one-fourth teaspoon salt, half-cup light margarine, one cup sugar, two large eggs, one teaspoon vanilla flavoring, one cup milk, one three-ounce box Jello instant vanilla pudding mix, one quart fresh strawberries. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together. Cream in sugar and margarine. Add eggs and vanilla flavoring, add one third cup milk. Place batter into two nine-inch cake pans that have been greased and floured. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, until cake springs back when touched. Allow cake to cool after removing from pans. Combine vanilla instant pudding mix, with one and a half cups milk and whip until thick and set aside. Prepare fresh strawberries by capping and cutting them into quarters and mixing with half cup of sugar. Spread pudding mix on first layer and then cover with layer of strawberries. Repeat with the second layer. Chill cake in refrigerator and top with Cool Whip.

What is as wonderful as the aroma of honeysuckles on a warm late spring evening? The wonderful colors of pale orange and white flowers of honeysuckles emitting their sweet scent wafting through the country lanes, woodlands, and on the edge of highways in the Piedmont areas of Surry and Stokes county as well as through out the Carolinas. Its no wonder that hummingbirds are attracted to them. No other flower except the Carolina Jasmine can produce such a perfume. The unforgettable scent of the honeysuckle is so gentle, sweet, and kind to the nostrils.

Planting a pot or container of the unusual Dragon Wing begonia. This unusual type of begonia produces clusters of hot pink or red blooms continuously all summer on glossy oblong leaves. Only one of these plants is all you need to cascade over the pot or container like a huge umbrella. Give it a drink of water twice a week and an application of Flower-Tone organic flower food once every 15 days and you can enjoy beautiful blooms and foilage all summer long.

Keep setting out a few tomato plants each week. This week is the first week of June and even though most of the tomato plants for the harvest of summers bounty has already been set out, continue to set out a few more plants each week for as long as you can find healthy plants. This will assure a long harvest and plenty of tomatoes over a long growing season with plenty of tomatoes to share.

The corn crop should be planted soon. Most varieties of corn requires a 75- to 95-day growing season for an abundant harvest and few insects enemies, corn should be planted very soon. This needs to be done within the next week or so in order to have enough season left to plant another crop to succeed the corn later on. You can choose from Silver Queen, Golden Queen, How Sweet It Is, Early Sunglow, Kandy Korn, Illini Chief, Butterfruit, and Golden Bantam. Plant as many as three or four rows for wind and bee pollination. Thin to two plants per hill when the seed sprout and as the corn grows, keep soil hilled up on both sides of the row to support corn from storms and winds. Fertilize corn every two weeks and hill plant food into the rows. Keep a close eye out for Japanese beetles all during the summer and spray with Sevin to control them, especially at tassle time when ears begin to form.

Applying food to thriving tomato plants. Do no use 10-10-10 fertilizers or chemical fertilizers on tomatoes because they do not need nitrogen but calcium and other nutrients that promote healthy growth as well as better production. There are plenty of tomato foods and some that prevent blossom-end rot. Consider using Dr. Earths special formula tomato food sold in three-pound bags at Home Depot or Ace Hardware. You can also use Vigaro calcium-enriched tomato food sold in two pound bags. Miracle-Gro liquid tomato food is also another tomato food you mix with water and pour around the base of tomatoes. The very best of tomato foods is Tomato-Tone organic tomato food sold in three pound plastic zipper bags at Home Depot, Lowes and Ace Hardware. Dr. Earth is also great, finely textured and a little goes a long way. Most of these foods are totally organic and blend quickly into the soil. Sprinkle a little on both sides of the tomato plants and pull the soil up over the tomato food.

Planting rows or beds of lima beans. Lima beans are also a crop that is very tropical and thrives in the warm soil of summer. You can choose from Henderson Bush, Fordhook 242, Dixie Butterpea. They require a 75 day growing cycle. They will grow quickly in the warmth of June and July. Sow them in a furrow about three or four inches deep. Apply a layer of peat moss in bottom of furrow and sow seeds on top of the peat moss and then cover seed with another layer of peat moss. Apply a layer of Black Kow composted cow manure and then a layer of Garden-Tone organic vegetable food. Hill up soil on both sides of the furrow and tamp down with the hoe blade. When the beans sprout, side dress with Garden-Tone and pull soil up on both sides to cover the Garden-Tone. Feed every two weeks.

Watering hanging baskets daily. With June coming in tomorrow, keep the hanging baskets, containers, and pots of annuals watered every day. Apply water until it runs from hole in bottoms of the containers. Use Flower-Tone organic flower food every 15 days and stir it into the soil.

Planting a colorful container of rose moss. Add color to the porch or deck with a huge container of portaluca, also known as desert rose, cactus rose, and rose moss. One of the qualities of rose moss is it comes in four and six packs and is already in full bloom so you will know the colors that you are planting. The moss comes in colors of red, yellow, orange, pink, white, wine, burgandy, tan, and other colors. They produce a show of different color patterns every day because they have new blooms every morning. Keep them fed with Flower-Tone organic flower food every two weeks an water each day because they love full sun.

Hoe-Hoe-Hoedown: And mother makes two- A daughter engaged to be married said, But I dont want to leave my mother. Her dad said, I understand but dont let me stand in the way, take your mother with you.

Wrong Doctor- A farmer fell and broke his hip while he was plowing, and his horse galloped five miles into town and returned carrying a doctor on his back. Thats a pretty smart horse, a friend said later. Well, not really so smart said the farmer. The doctor he brought back was a veterinarian.

County Church Sign- The sign outside the county church said You are not too bad too come in. You are not too good to stay out.

May 24, 2020

A trip to a strawberry farm near you this week. Strawberry season is slowly winding down in Surry and Stokes counties and only a few more days left to pick your own harvest of fresh strawberries to freeze and enjoy in pies, shortcakes, jams, jellies, and preserving. The warm days of May with comfortable temperatures and no humidity makes picking easy. If you dont have time to pick, call ahead and order some ready-picked berries which are reasonably priced. Next week may be the last opportunity this season to partake in this years Piedmont strawberry harvest. Wherever you live in the area, there is a pick-your-own field near you.

Retaining quality when you freeze strawberries. To make fresh strawberries that you freeze taste like fresh berries from the field all you need to do is use a little tender loving care. When handling the fresh-picked berries, process them as soon as you bring them home from the field. While at the field, buy a strawberry capper. Most strawberry farmers sell them for a little more than a dollar. Strawberries have caps and not hulls. The cappers make handy tools for removing the caps from the berries without much handling. The first step in freezing berries is to remove the caps from the berries. Do this before you wash the berries. The less you handle the berries, the better quality they will be when frozen. After capping berries, run cold water into the sink, run cold water in other side of sink. Place a quart of capped berries in first sink for half minute. Remove and place berries in second sink for half minute. Quickly remove the quart of berries and place on a dry towel and drain for one minute. Place the quart of berries in a plastic one quart freezer container. Do not pack or mash berries into containers. Repeat process over and over, one quart at a time. Later when berries are thawed, they will have the taste and firmness of fresh strawberries.

Making a Shoneys strawberry pie. This is a melt-in-you-mouth tart strawberry pie. You can use a frozen pie crust or a graham cracker crust which is better. You will need one cup of sugar, one cup cold water, six tablespoons corn starch, one three-ounce box strawberry of Jello, one quart fresh strawberries cut into quarters, one unbaked pie shell or graham cracker pie crust. Cut the fresh strawberries into quarters and spread into pie shell or crust. Heat the cup of water and stir in the sugar and corn starch until thick, remove from heat and add strawberry Jello, and stir until well-blended. Pour over strawberries and chill an hour in refrigerator. Top with Cool Whip or whipped cream.

Making a good potting medium for annuals in containers and hanging baskets. My mother always said that You get just what you pay for. This is so very true when purchasing potting medium for annuals, ferns, flowers and plants. These annuals are in for a long, hot summer on the porch or deck, so why waste time and money on bags of lumps, clumps, sawdust, and bark in bag name potting soil that does not have too much soil in it? Why waste your money in beautiful flowers and plant them in lumpy, cheap, potting soil? Purchase potting medium especially formulated for flowers, plants, and annuals that has good texture and nutrients that flowers thrive on. Good potting medium comes in 20- to 40-pound bags and you will not feel any bark or lumps in the bags. Use the feel test when you buy a bag quality potting medium. A good bit of wisdom is dont buy a bag that has a hole in it, inspect it carefully.

Keep a bag of peat moss on hand for planting flowers and vegetables. Peat moss is a great enhancer and an improver of all types of soil and it also helps retain water as well as absorb moisture into the soil thus promoting growth and health of both flowers and vegetables. A 3.5 cubic foot bale of peat moss costs around $10 to $11 dollars. To use, all you have to do is slice open the top of the bale and shovel out what you need and use a few clothespins to seal the bale until you need some more. It is a good rule to never run out of peat moss all during the growing season.

The benefits a Black Kow bag brings to the garden plot. This organic product in a yellow and black plastic bag pays rich dividends to any garden plot or raised bed. It can be purchased in hardwares, Lowes, and Home Depot and all garden centers. You can purchase it in 25- and 50-pound bags. It is totally organic and ready to use. A 25-pound bag costs between $5 and $6 dollars. It is good for the soil, good for vegetables and flowers and best of all-good for the environment.

The time is ideal for the setting out tomato plants. The nights of May are definitely getting warmer and this is a sure sign that it is time to start the bulk of the tomato crop for a bountiful mid-summer harvest. The warm May days and nights will get them off and running. In all, there are at 350 varieties of tomatoes in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Some colors are red, pink, orange, yellow, purple, green (for frying), and believe it or not, there are white tomatoes. Of all the tomato varieties the best are Big Boy, Rutgers, Marylobe, Homestead, Better Boy, Parks Whopper, Celebrity, Early Girl, Beffy Boy, Beffy Steak, Roma and German Johnson. Plant quite a few varities for a long and consistent harvest. Also plant a few plants each week for as long as you can find healthy plants to continue to prolong the summer harvest. Remember that all summer tomatoes no matter what variety need to be caged or staked for support as well as protection from wind and thunderstorms and keep the harvest off the ground. Allow at least two feet between each tomato plant to allow for stakes, cages, and room to harvest.

Impatiens make the prettiest of all hanging baskets. The impatiens is so useful as an annual and can be planted in borders, beds, and rows. It can also be planted in pots, containers, but their main attribute is what they do to adorn hanging baskets as they cascade over the sides of the baskets. Plant only two or three plants per basket to avoid them getting rootbound. Water baskets every day until water runs out hold in bottom of the baskets. Feed with Flower-Tone organic flower food every ten days. The impatiens comes in colors of red, white, pink, rose, wine, orange, salmon. They come in four and six packs and best of all, they come in full bloom.

Planting a row or bed of color in the form of zinnias. To attract butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, all kinds of pollinators as well as Emrches and other birds, plant a row or bed of zinnias. The colorful zinnias are a favorite of tiger swallowtail and the Monarch butterflies. Plant zinnias all during the month of May and feed them every two weeks with Flower-Tone organic flower food.

Hoe-Hoe-Hoedown: Circus fun! Why did the sword swallower swallow an umbrella? Because he wanted to put something away for a rainy day.

Earl: Why did they arrest the knife swallower? Pearl: He burped and stabbed someone in the bleachers.

Flight to Egypt: The Sunday school teacher asked her students to draw a picture of Mary and Joseph and the Christ Child fleeing from King Herod. Madge drew an airplane with three faces looking out the windows. Thats interesting, said the teacher, Where are they going? To Egypt, said Madge. By plane? Yes said Madge, Pontius, the pilot is flying them.

Heidi: I just figured how to come away from Las Vegas with a small fortune. Dewey: And how can you do that? Heidi: Go there with a large fortune.

May 17, 2020

Mid-May is cucumber and squash time. As we reach the middle of May, it is now the perfect time to sow seeds of cucumbers and squash. They love the warm soil of mid-May and now the days and the nights are getting warmer. Most cucumbers will produce fruit in 55 to 60 days. Good varieties are Poinsett 76, Long Green, Straight Eight, Ashley, Marketmore 76, and Parks Whopper Two, which produces long, dark green cukes in 55 days. Asian cucumbers are popular in American variety. Burpee has an Asian cucumber names Suyo Long that matures in 60 days and they will grow up to 16 inches long and can be harvested at any length which makes it a plus. A packet of 20 seeds cost a little over four dollars.

Plant cucumbers in a furrow about three or four inches deep, three or four seed at one foot apart. Cover the bottom of furrow with a layer of peat moss, sow seed, and cover with another layer of peat moss and then apply a layer of Garden-Tone vegetable organic food. Hill soil up on each side of row and tamp down with the hoe blade for good soil contact. When cucumbers sprout, thin to two plants per hill.

Warm soil of mid-May will promote growth of summer squash. Summer squash will thrive and grow quickly in the warm garden soil of mid-May. The nights are now warmer and will promote even faster growth. You can choose from crookneck or straightneck varieties. Personally, we prefer the straightnecks simply because they dont have many seeds and the seeds are smaller, and the squash are meatier, plus the seeds can easily be scooped out and squash can be cut into half-inch cubes for casseroles, fried squash, or sonkers.

The best straightneckers are Early Prolific Straightneck Enterprise by Park Seed, Saffron my Burpee, and a new variety by Burpee Seed named Fort Knox, which produces fruit in 50 days. The squash are ten inches long. There are 20 seeds in a packet and it cost $5.45. Pricey, but with ten-inch fruits and a longer harvest, they may be worth a try. Many Burpee Seed can be purchased at Walmart, Home Depot, or Lowes.

If you prefer crooknecks, Burpee has the varieties of Golden Goose, Gourmet Gold, and Pick-a-Lot. Park Seed has Summerpac and Early Summer Crookneck. Plant squash in a furrow about three to four inches deep. Apply a layer of peat moss to the bottom of the furrow and sow four seeds to a hill about a foot apart and cover with a layer of peat moss, a layer of Black Kow composted cow manure and a layer of Garden-Tone organic vegetable food. Hill up soil on both sides of the row and tamp down soil with the hoe blade for soil contact. When squash sprouts, thin to two healthy plants per hill and keep soil hilled up to the squash. Side dress with Garden-Tone every two weeks.

Feed the garden instead of using fertilizer. For a healthier garden and better soil enrichment feed your garden instead of using pellet and chemical fertilizers. Use organic natural plant foods that boost the vegetables as well as the soil. You can use Alaska fish emulsion as a liquid plant food mixed with the proper amount of water for quick response to growing plants and vegetables. You can use organic plant and flower foods such as Garden-Tone vegetable food, Plant-Tone plant food, Flower-Tone for all kind of flowers, Holly-Tone organic food for azaleas and evergreens, Rose-Tone organic food for roses, Black Kow organic composted cow manure and 3.5 cubic foot bales of peat moss, Dr. Earth vegetable and tomato plant foods sold in three-pound bags at Home Depot. All these products dissolve quickly in the soil and plants and vegetables will quickly respond to these organic reasonably priced and easy to handle products.

Irish potatoes are producing dark green foliage. The Irish potatoes are producing lush green foliage that is bushy. It will not be long until they have tiny green spuds developing under the foliage. Keep soil hilled up to the foliage and side dress with Garden-Tone organic vegetable food. Keep a close eye out for Colorado striped potato beetles and lightly spray with liquid Sevin at the first sign of them. As white blooms form, continue to feed every ten days by side dressing with Garden-Tone organic vegetable food and hill up soil around the potato vines.

Starting a row or two of green beans. The warm days and nights of mid-May are just right for sowing a couple of rows of green beans for the 2020 growing season. Warm May soil will give them a jump start. You can choose from many vegetable varieties such as Top Crop, Kentucky Wonder Bush, Blue Lake Bush, Derby, Strike, Tenderette, Contender, Blue Lake 274, and White Half Runner. Green beans produce a harvest in 55 to 60 days, and if you cleanly harvest them, they will produce beans for several weeks. Sow bean seed in a furrow about four inches deep. Apply a layer of peat moss in the bottom of the furrow and sow beans on top of peat moss. Apply another layer of peat moss, a layer of Black Kow composted cow manure and a layer of Plant-Tone organic plant food. Hill up soil on each side of the furrow and tamp down with the hoe blade for contact with the soil. After beans sprout, side dress with Garden-Tone organic plant food every ten days. When beans bloom, apply a sprinkle of Dr. Earth vegetable plant food on both sides of row and hill up soil on both sides to promote a healthy bean harvest.

Partaking in the pick your own harvest of strawberries. A strawberry field on a warm May morning with the aroma of sweet strawberries and the perfume of honeysuckles wafting on the breeze and birds singing on a May morning in Surry or Stokes County. Picking berries is a fun thing to do and we like to crawl through the row and get right down where the berries are. Frozen strawberries that are capped and frozen whole are almost as good as fresh. Gather plenty for shortcakes with fresh whipped dairy cream or a strawberry cobbler. Pick enough to share with a neighbor.

Making a strawberry-banana salad. This salad is as fresh as a visit to the strawberry patch in Surry County, and easy to prepare! You will need two three-ounce boxes of strawberry Jello, one cup or boiling water, one and a half quarts of fresh strawberries cut into halves or quarters, four bananas cut into cubes, a half cup chopped pecans, one carton sour cream, half cup sugar, and one teaspoon vanilla flavoring. Dissolve strawberry Jello in the boiling water, add fresh strawberries, add cubed bananas, sprinkle with lemon juice. Pour half the mixture into a bowl or mold and chill until firm. Mix sour cream with vanilla flavoring and sugar (you can use strawberry flavoring instead of vanilla). Pour sour cream mixture over chilled Jello mixture that has been chilled. Add the remaining Jello mixture and chill until very firm. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Hoe-Hoe-Hoedown: How bright he is! Teacher: How long did the Hundred Years War last? Student: I dont know; ten years? Teacher: No, think carefully. How old is a five year old horse? Student: Oh, I know, five years old! Teacher: Thats right, so how long did the Hundred Years War last? Student: Now I get it. The war lasted five years.

Getting older: Carla: My grandma is always complaining about how awful it hurts to be old. Darla: Mine does too, I guess those wrinkles hurt a lot.

Mixed up Mom Ann: I dont think my mom is a very smart parent. Jan: Why dont you think shes not so smart? Ann: Shes always sending me to bed when Im not sleepy and making me get up when Im still tired.

Fun Pun Why did cave men always live in caves? Because they could not afford condos.

May 10, 2020

The season of the fireflies is almost here. The second week of May has now arrived. The days and nights are getting warmer as we move further into the month of May. We can look forward to and expect the arrival of the fireflies or their other name, lightning bugs as they were called by my mother and grandma. We hope this will be a bountiful year for them. They are unusual insects with a light in their tail. Some years they are more abundant than they are in other years. We believe their numbers depend on how warm the weather is as we move into the first weeks of May. Warm days are when their eggs hatch out and produce the population of the seasons fireflies .A previously cold and hard winter could be a factor in the number of fireflies we will enjoy in the spring and summer of 2020.

The humming birds are now in full cycle. The warm and sunny days of May send a message that the season of the humming birds is now in full swing mode. Many spring flowers are not in bloom yet and that means hummers will be heading to the feeders in search of nectar. Keep feeders half full during the first half of the month of May to check how much they are consuming every three days. If they consume most of it, fill the feeders completely full. You can purchase envelopes of powdered nectar that you mix with water or ready-to-use nectar in half gallon bottles. You can also make your own with a half-and-half mixture of water and sugar with a few drops of red food coloring. Change nectar every three or four days and also clean the feeders.

Moving the Christmas cactus outside. All of the Christmas cactus have wintered over in the sunny living room since mid-October. Now with the warm temperatures of early May, they are ready to be moved outside to the front porch for spring, summer, and early autumn. The warm sun prepares cactus for a bloom season in mid-November. They enjoy a semi-sunny location on the front porch and a drink of water once a week and a shot of Miracle-Gro liquid plant food once a month. Cactus dont like direct sunlight and their foliage will turn red if they receive too much sunlight.

Adding cactus potting medium to Christmas cactus. When moving Christmas cactus outside for summer, add extra cactus medium to the containers. You can purchase Miracle-Gro cactus, citrus, and Palm potting medium in eight quart bags at Home Depot and Lowes for less than seven dollars a bag. It is in an orange bag and formulated for effective drainage which cactus need.

You can start Christmas cactus from cuttings. You can root cactus from cuttings and share a Christmas cactus with friends. As the Christmas cactus cascades over their containers, pinch off a stem of foliage about eight inches to ten inches long and place in a clean plastic or glass bottle of water and in a few weeks it will start to develop roots. When the cactus grows several inches taller, transplant it into a container of cactus starting medium and use a plastic drip tray for the container. Water once a week and feed with Miracle-Gro liquid food once a month.

The season of a Blackberry Winter. As the month of May moves along, we can enjoy two or more weeks of Blackberry Winter and some uncomfortably cool nights as the wild blackberries begin their season of white blooms. There are plenty of blackberry vines along county lanes and fields, meadows and roadsides in Stokes and Surry county and all across the Piedmont. We just came through Dogwood Spring, a period of cold at Aprils end and now we have a few weeks of Blackberry Winter. After these cool days, the nights and days should both be consistently warmer.

A pickle of a cucumber idea! May is here and the nights are getting a little warmer each evening and in about ten days or so, the soil in the garden plot should be warm enough to sow seeds of cucumbers. A great idea for all of you who love to make homemade pickles. You can make your own supply of dill weed that you can produce in the same row or bed in which you plant your cucumbers. Purchase a packet or two of dill seed at the hardware or garden department. Your hardware can weigh you out a half ounce for less than the price of two packets of seed. If you sow enough dill weed, you can also make several pints of dill vinegar to improve the flavor of collards, kale, mustard greens and mixed greens. You can also dry the seed for seasoning and of course, use the dill weed itself for dill pickles. If you sow dill in the cucumber bed, sow it in the outer rows on each side.

Making dill vinegar. To make dill vinegar, add a cup of chopped dill weed to a pint of vinegar, add salt, sugar, pepper, and hot sauce (to taste). Boil the mixture and place in sterilized pint jars, seal and process in hot water bath canner for five minutes. Dill seed in small spice bottles can be purchased at supermarkets if you would like dill seed in your pickles.

Avoiding powdery mildew on impatiens. In the past few years, impatiens have become victims of a fungus that causes powdery mildew that hinders the colorful and long-lasting blooms of impatiens. Here are several preventive measures to remedy the powdery mildew problem. Always start your impatiens plants in a well-cleaned container or hanging basket. Fill the container with fresh new potting medium. For an organic preventive measure, spray each week with a mixture of two tablespoons of baking soda to one quart of water. Use a spray bottle like glass cleaner comes in (or any type sprayer bottle). Spray a layer of mist over the impatiens once each week on a sunny, warm day. Feed with Miracle-Gro liquid plant food or Miracle-Gro pep sticks (two per container once a month). Water the impatiens every day.

Almanac for the month of May 2020. The full moon of May was Friday and was named Full Flower Moon. Mothers Day is today, May 10. The moon reaches its last quarter on Thursday, May 14. Armed Forces Day will be Saturday, May 16. The new moon of May occurs at sunset Friday, May, 22. Memorial Day is Monday, May 25.

Making a dish of apple fritters. These apple fritters will melt in your mouth and are easy to prepare. You will need two beaten eggs, one cup sugar, one cup sour cream, four apples, cured and cut into quarter-inch cubes, one teaspoon apple pie spices, one and a half cups self-rising flour, three fourth cup milk. Mix all ingredients together. Fry on medium head in Crisco oil. Dust with powdered sugar mixed with half teaspoon apple pie spices.

Hoe-Hoe-Hoedown: Lucky Rabbits Foot. Husband number one: I carry a rabbits foot around in my pocket because its saves me a lot of money. Second Husband: I cant see how that would save you any money. Number one husband: Well, every time my wife sticks her hand in my pocket, she thinks it is a mouse.

Mighty Hunter. Game Warden: You are under arrest. You are hunting with last years hunting license. Hunter: But I am only trying to shoot the deer that got away last year.

Full of worms. Im not going fishing with my brother again, Robbie said. Why not? said Bobbie. Does he move around too much or rock the boat? No, he eats all the worms, Robbie said.

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May 03, 2020

Warm days and nights of May. There are still some cool days and nights as we enter the month of May, but frost danger odds are getting less every day. It is still a good idea to hold off on setting out tomato and pepper plants or cucumbers, squash, or corn until the middle of May. A row of green beans can be planted because the ground will be warm by the time they pop out of the soil. There is still plenty of cool nip in the early days of May.

Dogwood winter is at an end. The leaves have covered the dogwoods and their white blooms have covered the forest floor and lawns. The leaves have passed the size of a squirrels ear, but it is still too cold to plant a crop of corn. Wait until the nights and soil are warmer. After all, corn is a crop that requires a 90-day growing season and you do not want to have to replant half of it. Wait until after mid-May to be assured of a great corn harvest in mid-summer.

Raising a row of royal burgundy beets. Beets love the mild temperatures of early May and respond well to soil in the May garden plot. Beets require a long growing season and should be planted soon in the spring garden. Beet seeds are very hard and need a little help to get them off to a good start. To plant beets, sow two seeds about two inches apart in a furrow about two or three inches deep, apply a layer of peat moss in the bottom of the furrow before sowing. After watering the seed and peat moss apply a second layer of peat moss and water it with the Waterwand. Add an application of Plant-tone vegetable food and hill up soil on both sides of the furrow and tamp down soil with a hoe blade.

Side dress the beets with Plant-Tone organic vegetable food once they sprout and about every 15 days and keep the soil hilled up after you feed the beets.

Setting out a container of American Bee Balm. American Bee Balm is a historic plant that we can trace all the way back to the Revolutionary War and the Boston Tea Party. During that event, the citizens of Boston raided British ships anchored in Boston Harbor and dumped their cargo of tea overboard. Then they boycotted the tea trade by making their own tea with leaves from American bee balm plants.

We wonder if it was a common wild plant in those days? You can still find this historic plant in nurseries, hardwares, and garden departments at Lowes, Walmart, Home Depot and Ace Hardware. They produce beautiful green leaves and some produce pink blooms and other varities produce lavender blooms. With just a little bit of protection they will endure our Southern winters, or you can set out these plants in large containers or pots. Water them and feed them twice a month with Flower-tone organic flower food for blooms and foliage all during the summer.

Buying packets of zinnia seed for colorful show all summer long. The racks in garden departments are filled with packets of zinnias at Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, hardwares and at many supermarkets. They are available in every color of the rainbow except blue. Maybe some day some biologist or seed researcher will develop a blue zinnia like Burpee developed a white Marigold years ago.

Zinnia seeds cost less than $2 a packet in colors of red, yellow, white, orange, pink rose, green, purple, lavender, and peppermint stripes. Zinnias also are available in several different sizes. They attract hummingbirds, finches, bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

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June 16th, 2020 at 7:51 am

Posted in Organic Food