Category: Leslie Milby

DIY files: Flower arrangements

Getting and giving flowers is one of the best ways to bring a smile to someone’s face whether the occasion is a happy one, sad one, or no specific occasion at all — and yes, that “someone” could simply be you. But with it being May, Mother’s Day is on May 12, and as you can imagine, it is a holiday that gives Valentine’s Day a run for it’s money in floral sales. To make mom really feel special, try your hand at creating your own bouquet of flowers to continue your reign as favorite child. (You are her favorite, aren’t you?) If you can’t or don’t grow your own flowers, local growers and florists can still meet your needs. With brides and party planners tackling their own bouquets these days, many flower farms and shops offer buckets of flowers or DIY bunches already, and if they don’t specifically list it in their offerings, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Unlike the majority of supermarkets and box stores who ship their flowers in from overseas, chances are your local supplier will cut them just a day or two at most before you use them in bouquet. Carrie Jennings, owner of Honeybee Flower Farms in Cordova, is a local grower who can attests that DIY is in for arrangements, as it’s rare she comes back from a day at the Easton...

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Take your gardening out of the box

With the sunshine and bearable temperatures hanging around a bit longer and for multiple days, it’s time to rid your yard of traces of the crazy and wet winter as well as get your gardening projects started. With some progressive (and easy!) gardening techniques, you can accomplish both tasks. Whether you choose to try bales of straw or hay or do what’s known as hugelkultur, both methods harness composting power, self irrigation and minimal work for you. Bale Gardening Hay bales or straw bales are one of the most popular forms of alternative growing and though you may not think it, are a form of container gardening as the bale acts as both the container and the soil. The bales take the hassle of loosening and prepping the ground of a permanent garden, and allow you to easily grow something where sun conditions are ideal but perhaps the ground and soil are not. Though straw bales are thought to be more favorable with less seeds in them and disease risk, hay bales have the advantage of holding in water better and will also leave you with a more nutrient rich compost for your next project after your bale garden is gone. Regardless of type, the bales don’t even need to be in great shape — if you have some that have been exposed to the elements, you may be...

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Save space for your stored food

Do you feel that constant nag on your to-do list that you need to go grocery shopping, yet when you get home from a grocery trip, it never seems like there is any space to stick what you just bought? Aside from your pantry and your refrigerator, you might even have a chest freezer that’s filled to the brim as well. While it’s great to stock up, has the same sad can of chickpeas peeking at you in the back of your pantry since your child’s birthday … before last? Or by the time you pulled the steaks you got for such a great deal out of the bottom of your freezer, they were too freezer burnt for anyone except for your dog to enjoy? As the real, actual Maryland spring is finally approaching, so is cleaning season and the transition from crockpot meals to meals being prepared on the grill with fresh vegetables, making this a perfect time for a pantry and freezer cleanout. Pantry Purge Focus on your pantry first, emptying it all out on your table or countertops. Start with a clean sweep of anything that is expired or stale to the point you can’t eat it and try to compile items into groups such as breakfast items, baking items, things for lunches, things for kids, etc. As you put items back in, place your groups...

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From seed to shining seed

Tell any kid you’ll give them a cookie, I mean a carrot, if they will tell you how to get a seed to grow and there’s a good chance you’ll get a great answer. “Sunlight, soil and water” is a no-brainer even to the youngest of gardeners, but there are also a few hints to starting your seeds to ensure they develop into bountiful plants. While you know the library is a great place for books that will grow your imagination, you may not know it’s also a great stop for growing your garden! As a collaboration between the Talbot County Free Library, University of Maryland Extension and the Talbot County Master Gardeners, you can not only get fruit, vegetable, herb and flower seeds but growing help as well at the Easton and now, St. Michaels branches. The Start of Your Starts After you have decided what to grow, sift through your seed packets to see what you’ll want to sow indoors earlier than planting the rest of your garden. Aside from reading the hieroglyphics on the back of the seed packet, try using a planting chart specific to our area with all dates and guidelines in one place, like the one found on the University of Maryland’s Extension’s website. “Some seeds can be started indoors to get a jump on the season such as tomatoes, broccoli, zinnias, etc.,...

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Time to get pup-and-at-’em!

Were you one of the lucky souls who had a present that barked under the tree? Or perhaps those emotional humane society ads called you to action? If so, congratulations on your new pup and family member. Studies show as a dog owner you will have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, be less likely to be depressed, and of course, unofficial studies show your heart and your feet will be warmer too! Important People and Big Decisions It’s up to you to fight amongst yourselves about who your dog’s favorite family member is going to be at home, but...

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