Month: August 2018

Zucchini: The produce that keeps on giving

Mark your calendars! Aug. 8 is “National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day!” Really, it’s a thing. There’s even a hashtag on social media. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise due to overzealous planting of this easy to cultivate, high producing fruit (yes, botanically, zucchini is considered a fruit) gardeners everywhere are often overrun with squash and zucchini in August and need a place for them to go. There are a couple of factors that make this plant a producing perfect storm, but the main one is simply zucchini is easy to grow. It’s not fussy about...

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Ticked off!

It was one of those warm June mornings made for spending time in the garden, and I had been looking forward to it. After weeding and watering my veggie patch, I washed up before heading to work, happy for a bit of time bathed by warm sun and fresh air. Later that night, more than ready to call it a busy day, I stopped to inspect what looked like a pimple on my inner thigh. Dismay became alarm as I realized the spot was, in fact, an embedded tick. My dog-tired brain scrambled to remember what I was supposed to do now, somehow managing to initiate a frantic but fruitless search for tweezers. Desperate, I decided to try a small nail cuticle scissors — the flattened ends of the slim shears did the job, slipping the tick from its feeding spot. Momentarily relieved, I prodded a Google search to learn what my next course of action should be. Good old soap and warm water plus rubbing alcohol applied to the bite site right away were all that was required, but just to be safe, I repeated the application several times. I felt comforted seeing that the red itchy bite site got no bigger and developed no bulls eye rash over the next few days. My lingering apprehension lifted, but as it turned out, not for long. The next time...

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Say ‘Can-do’ to homemade ice cream

My children scream a lot. Luckily, most of the time it’s for ice cream! While we love visiting all the local creameries, there’s also something a little fun about making our own. With all the kitchen gadgets these days, sure, we could add an ice cream machine to the arsenal but when you’re doing it the old fashioned way, it might as well be truly old fashioned. You’ll need to gather a few basic supplies. The coffee cans might be the trickiest — you’ll want a larger size — usually in the 30-ounce range, and then a smaller size around 9-11 ounce size. If you can’t find the larger size in your regular grocery store, try a bulk or office store as they sell larger sizes (and plus, who doesn’t need more coffee?) Now, some companies will trick you into thinking it’s the tin kind but you might find they are instead a thick silver cardboard. Feel for the ribbing and make sure you have the right material for your ice cream “maker.” You’ll also want some thick, waterproof tape like duct or electrical tape. The ingredients are relatively simple — so simple in fact, I loaded the supplies into our “glamper” for a project to keep the kids busy when our toes weren’t getting wrinkled in the campground pool. You’ll need ice, a pint of half and half,...

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The tadpole project

The mudroom at the Milby household houses more than just a substantial amount of mud. Our delivery men have seen it all. This month, it’s a tadpole sanctuary. This particular project started out how many do: Very innocently visiting family at their new home. The pool had been vacant for a while and had turned into something of a wildlife refuge, complete with a snapping turtle and tadpoles galore. Who am I to resist such a fun project? My husband of course, was saying, “we have hundreds in the back field,” which sounded like an exaggeration, if not an outright lie. However, a field study done the next afternoon would show that sure enough, the massive amounts of rain lately left a puddle absolutely teeming with tadpoles in our back field. For your own, you could also look along the edges of ponds and in temporary pools or puddles that will likely dry up deeper in the summer. My small but mighty crew and I chose a small number from each spot, because like kids, it’s easier to keep track of just a few. If you get too many you start calling the wrong name a few times until you land on the right one. Also, the Department of Natural Resources requires you to have a permit if you possess more than 25 tadpoles of any species at one...

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