A poem by J.F. Conant

He who loves an old house never loves in vain. How can an old house used to sun and rain, to lilac and to larkspur and an elm above-ever fail to answer the heart that gives it love?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spraying the apple trees

Every year we have issues with caterpillars on our apple trees. This year I got off the dime and sprayed the trees with dormant oil.   Dormant oil  basically smothers any little buggies (or their eggs) that are overwintering on the tree. It is an organic way to take care of some issues before they begin!
Some dormant oils are petroleum based. Some are plant based.  Choose whichever suits your desires best.
You will need a sprayer as well. I had to get a new one this year and paid about $12 for a 2gallon sprayer at the local Farm and Tractor store (http://www.tractorsupply.com/)  Mix the spray according to directions and you are all set to go.
Now, 2 things, first, if you are going to prune your trees, do that first. Next, you must spray before the tree buds out or you will smother the buds as well as the bugs! Not good. Choose a calm day with no rain predicted in the immediate future.  Start at the inside/top of the tree and work your way down and out. Don't forget to do the tree trunk too!

You may want to wear a mask a always wear eye protection.  Clean up your sprayer. I, personally, do not use insecticides, but if you do,  and you use the same sprayer, be sure and do an extra good of cleaning it out.

That's it. No muss. No fuss.  Just get ready to enjoy some beautiful, home grown apples come fall!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sweet 16 here we come!

I pledge allegiance to Kentucky Basketball as part of the the Big Blue Nation, and to the 8th National title, for which we hope to win, one Commonwealth, under Cal, with Bourbon and Bluegrass for all. Go Blue!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Oh My Goodness! Look what Joe just ordered for me...

O.K. Well, I actually ordered it, but he is paying for it .....so
Last fall,  the 2 cycle mantis tiller that I had for 14 years finally died on me.  Joe had promised me a new one this spring, so I went looking and I found out that they now make a Mantis with a 4 cycle Honda engine!
So, I got me one! Woo Hoo! Only 24 lbs and runs like nobody's business!
If you garden, you have GOT to get you one of these babies! They ROCK!

Last night's supper

This chicken recipe was delicious! I made it last night with mashed potatoes and green beans on the side. I felt it was a little heavy on the chives, but made a nice change of pace

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound), trimmed of fat
1 teaspoon kosher salt , divided
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour , divided
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil , divided
2 large shallots , finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped chives (about 1 bunch)

Recipe Directions
Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or heavy skillet until flattened to an even thickness, about 1/2 inch. Season both sides of the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place 1/4 cup flour in a shallow glass baking dish and dredge the chicken in it. Discard the excess flour.
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm.
Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring constantly and scraping up any browned bits, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour; stir to coat. Add wine, broth and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil, stirring often.
Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until heated through and no longer pink in the center, about 6 minutes. Stir in sour cream and mustard until smooth; turn the chicken to coat with the sauce. Stir in chives and serve immediately.

Health Advantages: low calorie, low carb, low sat fat, heart healthy, healthy weight.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I have put it off for as long as I can...

This morning I had to get out and prune our apple trees. I am always scared I will kill the tree, but so far they have all managed to live! LOL

The main goals in pruning are to get rid of dead and diseased branches as well as suckers and to open up the tree so that sun and air can filter in.

Before we moved back here 2 years ago, I came down with one of the boys and gave all of the trees a much needed cutting back. The problem was, the trees were all over grown and there really is such a thing as cutting too much off at one time. So, I cut about 1/3 of what I wanted the first year. Another 1/3 last year and now, this year, I think I have them just about right, so from now on it should be pretty smooth sailing.

Next up, I have to spray the trees with dormant oil to help kill any overwintering buggies that might damage the fruit.  More on that tomorrow.  Right now, I think I'll make myself a nice cup of tea.
here is a list of situations you always want to prune out from weekendgardener.net:

A. Suckers

B. Stubs or broken branches

C. Downward-growing branches

D. Rubbing or criss-crossing branches

E. Upward growing interior branches

F. Competing leaders

G. Narrow crotches

H Whorls

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring ahead?

The time change for daylight savings time arrived early, early this morning. Another sure sign that spring has to be on it's way!

I've seen robins in the front yard this week and bulbs are beginning to push their way up through the still frozen ground. And now the weatherman is forcasting sunshine and 50 degrees next week. Woo Hoo!

It's been a long time coming people! Let me tell ya!

And now begins the spring clean up. That mad scramble to get everything cleaned up and set up for the warmer weather. And, if you do it right, you might even get it all so that by the time fullblown summer gets here, all you will have to do is fire up the grill and keep the cold drinks coming!

This year's BIG project is to paint the house. As big as this place is, that is a monumental undertaking!! But I am determined not to let another year go by where this beautiful old place slips slowly into ruin. She deserves better and so do we.

Anyway, I am going to Home Depot and buying Behr paint. The kind that has the paint and primer all in one. I painted one whole wall last year to see how it worked, and it looks pretty good to me!

Other then that, it's cleaning up the yard and getting the garden ready are the main goals once the weather breaks for good.

What are you up to this spring?