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Daily Archives: November 26, 2012

Final Fall Clean Up

We are in the home stretch of cleaning up the yard, the garden and the trees. Once all this work is done, we have a four month respite from outdoor work, other than cleaning up after any snowmageddon. Here’s hoping we don’t see any more winters like 2010.

We spend time now doing preventive maintenance so we don’t have problems if we get ice or snow, or both. That picture above was from before we replaced our roof and put in wider gutters to handle the runoff. We were lucky we didn’t have leaks, but we do try and fix things before they become an issue.

This year the derecho in June did more damage to our trees than we originally could tell. Now that all the leaves have fallen, we see evidence of major tree limbs suspended above and hanging onto other trees south of our house. Those limbs could weigh down with ice and snow, and take out trees threatening the south side, and the heat pumps. We have to decide how to safely get them out, and we need to crown clean our huge maples and oaks, to keep them from losing any more branches.

During the ice storm a few years back, we lost quite a few of our conifers. They couldn’t handle the weight of the wet heavy snow. Our trees provide us shade, privacy and are a noise block from the distant highway. Taking care of them is a priority.

Walking around I found many dead branches caught in other trees. They need to come out. I also saw many trees leaning over from the sustained winds of the storms last year and this year. We went through two hurricanes, a tropical storm and a derecho in a fourteen month period, from August 2011 until October 2012. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Those three branches are just hanging on the other trees, no longer attached to anything. We have at least four places where this occurred. Plus, there is a huge dead limb up in my bird feeder tree, my maple. One of the two that cracked during the derecho came down, but this one didn’t.

The trees that shade our home, and provide nesting areas for the birds, and allow us the privacy on our patio are a very important part of our property. That little bit of attention, pruning, crown cleaning, fertilizing and caring for them, keeps them healthy. We will spend some time this week and next getting them ready for winter. After all, they are worth the effort.


Seems like the six weeks around Thanksgiving to New Year’s are always super busy around here. Today is no exception. I have laundry going, dishwasher finishing up the last of the dishes from our Thanksgiving Saturday night and all the follow on cooking Sunday and I am slow cooking root veggies to get us back on track eating healthy meals.

Add to that the Christmas card writing, baking for this Saturday’s craft fair, and getting out the Christmas decorations.

In my fall cleanup I found lots of cards in the desk and I’m trying to use up old ones. No need to buy any in the next few years. I found more than enough plus another box in the guest room Christmas storage boxes. I also found the centerpiece flower holder I won at last year’s craft fair at the Conservancy. I decided to make my own centerpiece this year, using it. It was made by gluing cinnamon sticks on fabric around an oval flower holder.

I foraged in the yard, and found enough greenery including lavender, rosemary and savory from my herbs to make my own arrangement. A little sugar in the water will keep it fresh for a while, and I can replenish as it needs it. Added a cardinal for color. Instant centerpiece.

As for slow roasting the veggies, I have way too many root veggies in the crisper drawer, so time to make roasted root veggies with polenta. Tonight I will cook the polenta but now the veggies are getting nice and tender. Eating by Color, as usual, and getting flavor from spices and herbs.

Peeled, sliced in half or quartered, tossed in light olive oil, the sweet potato, apple and romanescu got some garam masala, a touch of cinnamon and a little butter. The rutabaga, golden beets, and both types of turnips got a no salt mix and some cayenne. Everything then got a light dusting of salt for flavor. Into the oven to roast for three hours on slow cook setting.

When they are done, I will cube most of them and heat and pour over the polenta. I make my polenta with the corn meal I get at Baugher’s.

It makes a dark rich polenta, perfect for big flavors. I made a Dark Days dinner last year with this polenta and short ribs. Tonight it will just be root veggies and I will finish it with a few bacon crumbles from the bacon I cooked up last weekend. Minimal meat. Mostly veggies. Taking a break from all those holiday foods.

Now back to the other task I have going. Making Christmas “gifts” to hand out at my brother’s big party. I am making my own dry rub mix. An easy fun holiday favor, or small gift to give friends and family along with my homemade cookies. As I have said before, we stopped buying “things” none of us needed.

As for the rest of my shopping, I will be doing most of it Saturday the 1st of December at the Natural Craft Sale. 9-3 at the Howard County Conservancy. I know that Breezy Willow will be there with lots of homemade items, including their soaps.

I hear GreenBridge Pottery will also be there. Critter crafts for the little ones. Master Gardener demos. Don’t miss it.