• Live or live-cut...that is the question for this year's holiday tradition of decorating an evergreen indoors for Christmas. You may think that you are being a better environmental steward by purchasing a live tree; not necessarily.

    Live-cut Christmas trees are a 100 percent renewable resource that is reusable, recyclable and biodegradable. They are an American product, farms employ approximately 100,000 people each year; and one acre of planted Christmas trees provides the daily oxygen requirement for 18 people.

  • During the holiday season, I like to have cookie dough already mixed up and in the frig, ready to pop in the oven at a moment's notice when friends stop by.

    Who doesn't like warm homemade cookies? My grandson Owen.

    Right now I have sugar cookie dough in the refrigerator, because it's so versatile and can be dressed up with colored sprinkles, chocolate icing, etc. Peanut butter cookies are also great for this.

  • Leaf raking is a fall rite that only children enjoy, it seems. Once we rake the piles they enjoying undoing it all in one jump!  I propose a new approach that makes us all happy:  adults can still rake a little, children can still play and trees will benefit from some mulch and fertilizer. Raking leaves is passé; instead let them stay where they fall, beneath the canopies of your trees.

    This may be a bit of an over statement because some small yards can quickly fill up with leaves, smothering grass and perennial beds. There is a happy medium.

  • I've been experimenting lately with sweet potatoes-trying to find recipes I like.

    Sweet potatoes are so good for you and I've been pretty much stuck in a rut with my sweet potato casserole.

    It's good and I still like it but it's more like dessert than a vegetable.

    Here are two recipes you also might want to try.

    The Sweet Potato "Fries" are spicy and crispy, but not actually fried.

    The Hawaiian Baked Sweet Potatoes is a combination of pineapple and sweet potato with a crispy crust and quite tasty.

  • The City of Lebanon's animal ordinance, which was passed by the Lebanon City Council, will soon be going into effect. Starting Jan. 1, 2009, if you live in the city limits of Lebanon and own animals, you have a new set of laws to abide by. I know that no one likes change, and it will take a while for everyone to get acclimated to the new ordinance. Everyone seems to have an opinion concerning the ordinance, and not everyone is smiling.

  • It's alright to go ahead and cut your roses back. Our recent cold weather should have sent them into dormancy.

    Generally it takes a night or two in the low 20s and upper teens to accomplish this.

    The most commonly grown roses by homeowners are hybrid teas.

    Hybrid teas are the long stem type of roses such as the ones sold at florists.  This type of rose requires the harshest pruning; they actually require hard pruning to perform well.

    Hybrid teas should be pruned down to 8-10 inches.

  • As much as I like cooking (and eating) it's not surprising that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. No shopping or gifts are required and everybody just wants to get together and eat (and maybe watch a little football.)

    In my family, it seems everyone eats so much they have to take a nap, and everyone blames it on the turkey (not the three helpings of dressing and gravy or the extra helpings of mashed potatoes.)

  • The recent economy crisis is having an affect on everyone, not only us humans but our animals are also feeling the pinch.

  • Perhaps the last garden chore of the season is tucking in the strawberry planting for winter. Strawberry plants have already set their buds for next spring's flowers and the crop can be lost unless you protect them from harsh winter conditions.

    A fully dormant strawberry plant's flower buds can be damaged at temperatures below 15 deg. F.

    In addition to flower bud damage, the alternate freezing and thawing of the soil that commonly occurs in winter and early spring can cause plant roots to break and the plants to be heaved right out of the ground.

  • It's time to clean up the bramble patch:  in order to maintain healthy and productive blackberries and raspberries we need to prune out the old to make room for the new.

    Most brambles are biennial which means they fruit on second-year growth.  Blackberries are easy to deal with, just remove the arching canes that fruited this year and trim up and trellis the new growth from this summer which will bear next summer's fruit.  Repeat the same thing next year!

  • My daughters both asked me to write down this week's recipe for them so they could make it. I first made it in 1999 and everyone who has ever tried it seems to really like it.

    I haven't run it in my column since 2000. So, here it is again in case you didn't get to try it the first time. I guarantee this to be delicious.

    I noted on my daughters' copy and will note here that when I make this soup, I use more onion, carrot and celery than is called for-maybe twice as much.

  • I received a request from my son-in-law for good breakfast recipes.

    Breakfast is his favorite meal. I like it, too.

    When I was growing up, my mom would serve a breakfast meal for dinner once in awhile. Dad and I loved it!

    The first recipe is one of those breakfast casseroles you can put together the night before and bake in the morning. It is quite good.

    I used to make the overnight coffeecake for my dad for breakfast when he would visit. He liked it made with apples, but it's good made with peaches, too.

  • I spoke with Jo-Ann van den Berg-Ohms from Van Engelen Bulb Company the other day.  Her family has been in the Dutch bulb business for five generations so I trust her advice when it comes to bulbs.  She noted that bulbs are best planted once soil temperatures cool to about 55 degrees, so she tells people to wait and plant bulbs until we have had at least two weeks of sweater weather.  If it is too cool outside without a jacket then it's just right for planting bulbs.

  • Now that Halloween is upon us and fall decorating is in full swing it makes me reminisce about Halloweens past and how times have changed. Yes, I said it, sounding like my parents and grandparents, but times have changed since I was a trick or treater.

  • The persimmon trees are absolutely loaded this year. I have a good-sized tree in my fence line by the road, and a couple others in the woods, and the limbs are drooping heavily because of all the persimmons. This may mean that we’re in for a bad winter; I hope not.

  • A copy of the City of Lebanon's animal control ordinance has been published in The Lebanon Enterprise, which means the ordinance is now in effect. All animal owners in the city limits of Lebanon should acquire a copy of the ordinance and read it thoroughly to see how it pertains to your own animals.  If you don't have the issue of the paper with the ordinance, you can pick up a copy of the ordinance at Lebanon City Hall or here at the animal shelter.

    There is a grace period until Jan. 1, 2009, for owners to comply with the requirements of the animal ordinance.

  • It occurred to me the other day that I have not seen as many intricate spider webs this all at the farm.  I like my spiders, as long as they are not lurking on my shoulder or in my bed.  I enjoy seeing them in the garden or in the corner of a window where we can watch their work from indoors.

    Maybe I am not looking closely enough; perhaps the weather has made them act differently this year?

  • I’ve followed the All-America Selections for as long as I can remember. 


    I always have a file of recipes that I haven’t gotten around to trying yet, some I’ve cut out of magazines and newspapers, and some people have sent me. This week’s two recipes are extremely easy, and I can now report after trying them that they are both very good.

    I tried the E Z Sirloin Tips on my family a week or so ago, and everyone said they liked it a lot.


    Clients soon may be calling about lady beetles congregating on the sides of homes and infesting buildings. This phenomenon has become an all-too-common autumn event throughout Kentucky and much of the United States. 

    The culprit is the Asian lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis, in search of protected places to spend the winter.