.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Features

  • I am particularly anxious to move some of my houseplants outdoors this spring. The gardenia that I have had for over 12 years looks terrible! It needs the restorative environment of the great outdoors: more light, warmth, higher relative humidity and rainwater. I am not sure whether the cold house during the January ice storm/no electricity episode has had an impact on it or if it was just coincidence that it began to die back shortly thereafter. In any case, it needs to be pruned up and sent outside to recover.

  • It is time to begin planning for 4-H Camp. As has become a tradition, we have many exciting events and activities planned for the five-day excursion, June 2-6, at Lake Cumberland 4-H Center.

    4-H Camp forms for campers, teen and adult volunteers are available at the Marion County Extension office at this time. Camp applications are due into the extension office by May 15th

    The fee for this year's camp is $150.00, with limited 4-H camp scholarships available. We will be attending camp again this summer with others from Green, Clinton and Adair counties.

  • For some gardeners the tactile experience of maintaining the garden is not really what they're after.  I love the whole process but I realize that most people just want things to look good without too much fuss. There in lies the mission of the Perennial Plant Association's "Plant of the Year" program.

    Each year industry professionals vote for what they think is an outstanding perennial, this year the votes have been cast for Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'.

  • The past couple of years have been tough on both tobacco farmers and companies alike as decreased cigarette consumption and poor growing conditions have hampered the stability of tobacco on the farm and in the marketplace.

    Although we're just getting into the 2009 crop year we've already encountered some obstacles that have been hard to stomach as many burley farmers received production/contract cuts in March.

  • Is there any kind of casserole that is not improved by topping with canned French fried onions? I don't think so. The Green Bean Casserole that everyone has made forever is the first recipe that I used them in. It's on the side of the can of onions (and beans, too) and everyone I know likes it. The only problem I've ever had with this casserole is the temptation to eat the onions that go on top of the casserole while you're waiting for it to bake. (It's always good to have an extra can of onions just in case.)

  • If you are thinking of purchasing a home in the next year, you should be aware of the tax credit that is available to first-time homebuyers.

    In February, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provides first-time homebuyers with a tax credit of 10 percent of the purchase price of a home up to $8,000 or $4,000 each for married persons filing individually. This credit can be used on the 2008 tax returns, due April 15, or 2009 tax returns due next year. Qualifying taxpayers must purchase a home by Dec. 1 to be eligible.

  • Here's a great little sweet that's really easy to make, delicious to eat and very pretty. These Mini-Cheesecakes keep well in the refrigerator for about a week, though I doubt that you'll have them that long.

    You can use a muffin pan with cupcake liners or the foil cupcake holders that stand alone.

    The first time I made these, I used the chocolate-caramel chips, because that was the only kind I had at the time. Since then, I have used regular semi-sweet chocolate chips and the half white/half chocolate chips. They all work equally well in this recipe.

  • I must admit that I am not an organic gardener; however my personal philosophy of gardening has changed a bit in the last few years. I used to reach for the nearest pesticide (as harsh as available) the minute I would spot a problem.

    Now, I guess I am older and wiser, lazier or just a little less of a perfectionist, or maybe it's that I have two beautiful daughters now and I don't want them being exposed to chemicals, whatever the case I don't reach for pesticides unless a serious problem occurs.

  • I have long been taught that fall fertilization is preferred over spring fertilization for many plants, but there are some exceptions.

    We had a tough 2008 growing season with late summer drought and a windstorm that only added insult to injury. Add ice and a generally windy winter and some plants are in need of a little energy boost.

    Summer drought and early fall leaf drop (or the severe desiccation that many deciduous plants experience from the wind storm) means that stored energy may be low.

  • This week I'm featuring sweet onions, two side dish recipes that I tried recently and was quite pleased with.

    The Baked Onions are so simple and delicious, great with grilled meat. (They could be cooked on the grill, too, I guess, though I haven't tried it.)

    The Scalloped Sweet Onions are terrific made with Vidalia onions, which are just showing up on the spring market.

    Baked Onions

    3 large sweet onions

    Salt

    Pepper

    Paprika

    Butter 1-2 cans beef consommé

  • This week I have several things I wanted to let everyone know about as well as some gardening chores that should or should not be done now.

    It is time to uncover roses and strawberries but you should keep your mulch or covering material handy especially for the strawberries in case we have a late spring freeze.

    After pulling the covering off of the roses, you should incorporate a one-half cup or so of 10-10-10 around each bush to give them a little extra boost for their spring flush. After about four weeks, give them another dose to keep them fed.

  • Traditional farm programs have focused on supporting prices rather than revenues (prices multiplied by yields). The new optional Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program addresses declines in state revenue caused from declines in prices and/or yields.

    The inclusion of state yield protection allows for protection from droughts, natural disasters, and floods.  The ACRE program uses market-based prices and state yields in determining revenue instead of government targets, therefore allowing revenue to adjust to current market conditions as they move up and down.

  • I never met a shrimp I didn't like.

    I've tried hundreds of shrimp recipes over the years and even though some were definitely better than others, I can honestly say I had no trouble eating any of them.

    I think it's in my genes, as my father was also a shrimp-lover.

    When I was a little girl, we used to go to a wonderful restaurant in Danville, Ill., (home of Dick VanDyke and Gene Hackman) called Connou's. It was located in old railroad dining cars (green and silver, as I recall) and had wonderful food.

  • Here are a couple good meatless recipes that don't involve fish.

    The Mushroom Strata is delicious. My mom used to make a version of this that she served for Sunday brunch, but it's good anytime.

    The next recipe is from my Susan's Kitchen cookbook, page 81.

    My grandma and mom made this and it sure came in handy back when I first moved to Kentucky and had chickens.

    Mom served this on chow mein noodles, which is really good, but you could also use patty shells or toast.

    Mushroom Strata

    1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced

  • The Marion County 4-H Council recently met and discussed the following upcoming 4-H events:

    • The 4-H Speech contests are underway in the schools beginning March 19 with Lebanon Middle School.

    Judges are still needed. If you would like to volunteer, contact the Marion County Extension Office, 692-2421.

    • The Marion County 4-H Council will once again be holding their silent auction at the Farm, Home and Garden Show, April 4 and 5. 4-H'ers, leaders and parents will be contacting local businesses for their support with this fundraiser.

  • There are various odd jobs to address in the garden once spring arrives. Well-timed chores can help us improve the performance of some plants, control others and eliminate some.

    Weeds are usually foremost on people's minds as they make their way back to the garden each spring.  There is no magic bullet for weed control, but we can take some common sense measures to devise an overall management plan.

    Diligence plays a role, as does timing and technique.

  • Sandy is a beagle mix that will make a great family pet. The children will love her. She likes to play fletch and be active in the yard. If your pet is missing, call the shelter-it may be there. For a complete listing of pets with pictures visit adoption@petfinder.com. The shelter reminds pet owners that all cats and dogs should have a rabies shot. To adopt an animal, potential owners must complete an adoption application. The animal shelter accepts stray or unwanted animals. The shelter is located off of KY 208 and is open from noon until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.

  • For the cow/calf producer this is a very important time of the year as far as calving goes. As spring is quickly approaching its easy to get too busy and sometimes forget about the basics.

    I recently read this article from the University of Kentucky and thought it would be appropriate for this time of the year.

    Spring-Calving Cows

    The spring calving season should be in full swing now, top priority should be to get a live calf and keep cows in sufficient body condition to rebreed early.

  • Do you have problems with fire blight, black spot, powdery mildew, Fusarium wilt, early blight and late blight?

    If this is the case plant disease resistant varieties this year! Sure old time favorites are what you are used to but try something different with them this year.

    Mail order catalogues promise a bountiful harvest of fruits and vegetables without much work, but we all know that isn't how it works.

    However, there is one thing that we can do easily that will save us a lot of hassle this summer, variety selection.

  • Doc is a neutered male around 5 years old with long, black and white hair. He is a house cat, litter box trained and front declawed. If you are looking for a cat to hold and enjoy Doc is the one. If your pet is missing, call the shelter-it may be there. For a complete listing of pets with pictures visit adoption@petfinder.com. The shelter reminds pet owners that all cats and dogs should have a rabies shot. To adopt an animal, potential owners must complete an adoption application. The animal shelter accepts stray or unwanted animals.