News flash Don’t Mess With Old Guy’s

95 year old World War II veteran used his cane to fight off a would-be robber in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Arthur Kamberis was leaving a pharmacy on Saturday when a man approached and reached for his wallet, which was in a zippered pocket. Kamberis started to fight him off and hit him several times with his cane. A passer-by helped Kamberis, and the attacker fled.

Kamberis wasn’t hurt, and the good Samaritan drove him home. :-)

Peppers Are Worth The Time And Effort

I collected this Pepper information from several of my older postings.
I think this may have ended up being much to long. I just could not seem to find a place to stop :-(

CLASSIFICATION
There are over 20 species of pepper but only one is commonly known to North American gardeners, Capsicum annuum. This species contains the pepper varieties widely cultivated in North America. Although Hortus lists five groups within the C. annuum species, I will refer to peppers as one of two kinds, sweet or hot.

SWEET PEPPERS
Bell–This pepper is mostly blocky in shape with three or four lobes on the bottom of the pepper. For years, gardeners could choose only one color of bell, a green that matured to red, Through modern breeding efforts e can now grow bell peppers that mature to an artist’s palette of colors including red, yellow, orange, lavender, purple and chocolaTe. The bell peppers have a crisp, thick flesh and are suitable for eating fresh, or stuffing and baking.

Paprika– Is thin walled pepper becomes the flavorful condiment paprika.

Pimiento– Is heart shaped pepper measures 3 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches. Fruits have very thick flesh. Strips of this fully mature, bright red, mild tasting pepper are found in stuffed greenolives.

Sweet Banana, Sweet Hungarian, Cubanelle–All of these are also referred to as sweet frying or pickling peppers. The shape is long, narrow tapering down to one, two or three lobes. These are thinner-walled than bells and Cubanelle has the thinnest walls of the three. They are usually picked when immature as a light yellow or green. Because they have less water content than bells, they are excellent choices for frying. ‘Sweet Banana’ is a variety that has withstood the test of time–it was a 1941 All- America Selections Winner. ‘Gypsy,’ a 1981 AAS Winner is early to mature–only 62 days and performs very well in cotainers as well as in regular gardens.

Sweet Cherry Is a pepper that looks like its name in that it is globe or cherry-shaped and about 1 1/2 inches across. This pepper is harvested when mature green to deep red and is generally used in processing as pickled.

HOT PEPPERS
Cayenne– Pepper is slim and tapered, ranging in length from 3 1/2 to 8 inches. Cayennes are often dried. The hybrid ‘Super Cayenee’ is a 1990 All American Selections Winner. It is very productive, early to mature and hot, hot, hot.

Red Chili– Are small cone shape peppers of this type are 1 to 3 inches long and have medium thick flesh. They are often used dried and ground in chili powder. ‘Super Chili,’ a 1988 AAS Winner is the first hybrid chili. The compact plants were bred for increased yields.

Green Chili– Are the long (7 to 8 inch) green, two celled mildly pungent Anaheim type peppers that are so flavorful in chile rellenos. They turn red at maturity but are nearly always harvested, green, roasted and peeled. They’re the kind you’ll find in the canned goods section of supermarkets labeled “Green Chile Peppers.”

Hungarian Yellow Wax (also called Hot Banana)–This pepper is pungent but still one of the more mild “hots.” It is 5 to 6 inches long and picked when an immature greenish yellow color but matures to orangish red. This type is good for pickling or canning.

Jalapeno– Are the popular peppers used in many Mexican entrees. They are 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches long and have a thick-walled pungent flesh. They may be harvested when immatue green or mature red and are good for pickling or canning. There are many varieties of jalapeno peppers with varying degrees of pungency. It has been said that more than 200,000 pounds of jalapeno seed is planted in Mexico annually.

Red Cherry– Are hot pepper is only 1 1/2 inches across and ahped like a cherry. It may be used fresh or pickled, primarily pickled.

Red Hot Peppers – There are other Capsicum annuum in the Longum Group that add distinct flavor to their native regional cuisines. These vary in plant and fruit size and shape. Smaller plants are attractive in patio containers and hanging baskets. These scorchers such as Chili Tepine, Chile Peguin, Tabasco, and Thai, mature red and zest-up foods. Many additional kinds are available. Small hot yellow peppers like Cascabella and Santa Fe Grande are used primarily for canning and pickling. There is the hot Serrano type that is popular in the Southwest. There is Habanero, said to be 50 times hotter than Jalapeno peppers.

NUTRITION
Peppers are the right food for people seeking a healthy, nutritious diet. Low in calories, high in Vitamins A and C, peppers are also high in a very important mineral–potassium. One cup of raw sweet green peppers contains 22 calories. For comparison a cup of cucumber is 16, cottage cheese is 223 and whole orange is about 41 calories.

A red sweet or hot pepper contains about ten times more vitamin A and double the amount of Vitamin C than an immature green pepper. A 100 gram serving of red hot peppers eaten raw contains 369 milligrams of Vitamin C. The same serving size of sweet raw green pepper contains 128 milligrams, about one third less.

Whether green or red a pepper contains more Vitamin C than a whole orange which contains only about 50 milligrams. For potassium rich foods, an average banana contains 370 milligrams and a cup of green sweet pepper has 213 mg raw and 149 mg if boiled before being eaten.

PLANTING
Choose a sunny area of the garden as peppers need full sun to blossom and set fruit. Growth in full sun will result in a more productive plant. Select a spot protected from the wind as pepper plants have shallow, easily disturbed roots and brittle branches. A strong wind may break stems or completely uproot the plants.

The plant will perform best in well drained soil with adequate nutrition for plant growth. To insure adequate nutrition use fertilizes or work in well-rotted compost when preparing the garden soil in the spring.

A pepper plant does not take up a lot of garden space, at least when compared to vines like watermelon or pumpkin. Depending on the variety, most pepper plants will measure 2 to 3 feet tall. A half dozen plants should provide a family with a summer long crop of peppers. Gardeners with limited space can even grow peppers in containers. A large patio container will support one of the compact varieties such as ‘Gypsy.’

Many gardeners start seeds indoors early, then transplant to their garden, but seeds can be planted directly into prepared garden soil in long season areas. Sow pepper seed outdoors once the soil temperature has warmed to 75 degrees F. Place seed 1/4 inch deep, cover with finely textured soil and water gently but thoroughly. Peppers need moist conditions to germinate and are hungry for water during the seedling stage and throughout the growing season.

SELECTING BEDDING PLANTS
No time to sow and grow from seed? Head to the local nursery or garden center. You will find pepper plants that are just the right size for transplanting into the garden. Look for healthy plants that are green with with strong foliage. Yellowed leaves, spindly stems or sparse foliage indicate the plant is not thriving and probably will not perform well in your garden.

TRANSPLANTING
The same procedure and care are recommended for planting bedding plants or peppers home grown from seed. Wait until the weather has warmed to a daytime temperature of 65 to 70 degrees F. and nighttime temperature above 55 degrees F. To help warm the soil, black plastic may be placed on the ground. Slits can be made in the plastic to accommodate the plants.

Space plants about 2 feet apart. This distance will vary slightly depending on the variety. Rows should be spaced at least 2 feet apart. This will allow enough air circulation for the plants, permit easy cultivation and harvest. A time release fertilizer can be added to the soil now according to directions on the package. This fertilizer releases nutrients into the soil for about 120 days.

GROWING
Peppers should grow rapidly given warm day and night temperatures. During this period of rapid growth be sure to provide adequate water and nutrients. Water the soil before plant foliage begins to droop or show signs of wilting. Take care to watch plants and look for any insect problems. Most locaTions in North America can grow any type of hot or bell pepper without any major problem.

If you notice blossoms dropping of your pepper plant, temperature may be the reason. The pepper is a warm season vegetable. It grows and produces fruit when the soil and air temperatures are warm. The temperature range for fruit set is quite narrow. When nighttime temperatures fall below 60 degrees F. or above 75 degrees F., blossoms are likely to drop and fruit will not set. Daytime temperatures above 90 degrees F. will also inhibit fruit set, but fruits will again begin to form when cooler daytime temperatures appear.

INSECT PESTS
Gardeners may find that pests cause occasional problems. Early detection can prevent damage; inspect plants frequently for telltale signs of insects; presence. Large insects can often be removed from the plant. Any damaged leaves or stems should be removed and destroyed. Insects often make their homes among garden debris, quickly moving on to healthy plants. Remove debris from pruning or weeding once the yard chore is finished. If increasing insect populations appear, contact a garden center or a county Extension agent for information about insecticides to reduce insect populations.

Aphids are a major source of pepper problems. They are very small insects (under 1/10 inch) found clustered on the undersides of leaves and on new growth. As they feed they suck plant juices, leaves become yellowed and distorted. They can spread all viruses, particularly Cucumber Mosaic Virus.

Thrips are another likely source of pepper problems. These small flying insects. Thrips are active insects, wounding plants to suck sap like aphids. Thrips damage leaves which generally curl upward into a “boat-shape.” These insects can infect peppers with Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV).

DISEASES
While there are many viruses that can harm peppers, the following are the most prevalent in North America.

Tobacco Mosaic Virus–Leaves become yellow and a mosaic pattern can be seen on them. Eventually plants become stunted and fruit discolored. Because TMV can be found in tobacco, refrain from smoking near the plants. Do not handle plants after smoking tobacco. Many pepper varieties have resistance or tolerance to Tobacco Mosaic Virus.

Wilt diseases–These are caused by the fungi Verticilium and Fusarium present in the soil. The initial symptoms are wilting, upward curling of leaves, and yellowing. Eventually the stems and roots of the plant are affected. Verticilium wilt is more common in the western and northern parts of North America. Fusarium wilt is more likely to occur under conditions of wet soil and high temperatures.

Phytophthora root rot is caused by organisms found in heavy, poorly drained soils. These diseases are best prevented by good water management and crop rotation.

Cucumber Mosaic Virus–Plants are severely stunted with light green, leathery foliage. Leaves and fruit may develop yellow spots and rings. This virus is worldwide and can infect many food crops and weeds. Aphids can transmit CMV from weeds to vegetables and back to weeds.

Viruses and wilts are not very common in gardens. If a pepper plant appears to have the symptoms of a wilt or virus, the best action to take is to remove and destroy the plant. (Do not put infected plants in your compost bin.)

There is no cure for a wilt or virus. Plants should be bagged, sent to the landfill or burned. Do not allow the plant to be put into a community or home compost pile where the virus or wilt could infect other plants.

HARVEST
Peppers may be harvested and enjoyed when immature or mature. There is not a “best” time to harvest, let personal taste preference be the guide. Remember that sweet peppers become sweeter as they mature and hot peppers come hotter.

To harvest, do not pull or tear a pepper from a plant. Peppers have shallow root systems and it doesn’t take too forceful a pull to dislodge the entire plant from the ground. Fruits of many varieties will easily snap off at the stem. With some varieties you will need to use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the fruit stem from the plant. Harvesting regularly will encourage the plant to keep blossoming and setting fruit, especially early in the growing season. If the temperature just drops below 32 degrees F. for a short time, covering the pepper plants will protect them from damage. At the end of the growing season such as September in Minneapolis, if there is a threat of killing frost, pick all fruit regardless of the size. This is the last harvest for the plants.

COOKING WITH HOT PEPPERS
A cautionary note on preparing HOT peppers for storage or cooking. The “heat” in hot peppers is an oil called capsaicin that is contained in the placenta (membranes that join the seed to the fruit). This oil will easily get on hands and fingers during the cutting and cleaning process.

If you then rub your eyes, nose or mouth, the oils will be transferred to these areas with a distinctly painful burning. Wear plastic gloves while cutting the hot peppers to prevent any of the oil from covering your hands. Wash hands after preparing is finished. Do not rub your eyes!

Should you forget to use caution and end up with burning hands, gel from the leaf stem of an aloe vera plant offers immediate relief when applied to hands or other burning areas. Use the gel carefully. A 10 percent solution of Clorox may be helpful.

The temperature of a ‘hot’ pepper can be controlled by using or excluding the seed san dplacenta of the pepper when cooking. If you wish a dish to be ‘hot’ include the hot pepper(placenta/seeds) parts. If you want less heat, use the flesh only and dispose of the placenta and seeds.

STORAGE
Peppers may be stored fresh, frozen, dried or pickled. Peppers will continue to ripen after being picked. Store peppers at room temperature if you wish them to ripen. The ripening process will be slowed if the peppers are stored under cool conditions. If whole fresh peppers are placed in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator, they should keep for at least a week.

Peppers are among the easiest of vegetables to freeze. Most peppers such as sweet bell or jalapeno need not be cooked or blanched prior to freezing. Simply wash, slice open and remove seeds. They may be cut into strips, chopped or diced and placed in a freezer container. Once thawed the peppers will be soft but well-suited for use in soups, stews or cooked vegetable dishes.

Mature peppers may also be dried for long term storage. Make a Mexican ristra, a long string of dried chili peppers that can be hung on the wall for easy accessiblity as well as a colorful decoration. Use fresh chili peppers leaving the stems on. Make a small slit on each side of the pepper just below the stem. Insert a needle and thread through these slits and string the peppers together. Hang in a warm dry place. Use them in appropriate recipes or as a decoration. To dry “hot” peppers such as jalapeno, use waxed dental floss because the capsaicin oil dissolves thread.

FAQ’s on pepper growing.

1. Q. Why do my pepper plants often bloom but fail to set fruit?

A. Peppers, like tomatoes, are sensitive to temperature. Most peppers will drop their blooms when daytime temperatures get much above 90 degrees F. in combination with night temperatures above 75 degrees F. They will also drop their blooms in the early spring if temperatures remain cool for extended periods. Hot peppers, such as jalapenos, withstand hot weather fairly well and can often produce fruit through the summer in most areas. Optimum temperatures fall between 70 degrees and 80 degrees F. for bell-type peppers and between 70 degrees and 85 degrees F. for hot varieties.

2. Q. If I remove the first few blooms on a pepper plant, will my overall production be increased?

A. Maybe. Occasionally, if a bell pepper plant sets the first bloom that flowers, the plant will be stunted as it matures that fruit. This is likely to happen if the plant is growing under marginal conditions which might include low fertility or perhaps low moisture. With the first bloom removed, the plant will grow larger before setting fruit which often does result in higher total yields. However, if the plant is grown under satisfactory cultural conditions removing the first bloom should not affect subsequent yield.

3. Q. If you plant hot peppers beside sweet peppers, will the sweet pepper plant produce hot fruit?

A. Absolutely not. Pepper flowers are self-pollinated, although occasionally cross-pollinate. However, the result of this crossing will appear only if seed is saved from this year’s crop and planted next year. It will not result in off-flavor or differences in fruit characteristics of this year’s crop.

4. Q. Can I cut back my spring planted pepper plants in late summer or early fall for increased production later?

A. Yes, although this is not a recommended practice. In the northern parts of the state spring-planted pepper plants can often be carried through to first killing frost without pruning. However, in southern parts, judiciously pruning the pepper plants and applying additional fertilizer as a side dress application can prolong pepper production until the first killing frost. Pruning should not be severe in southern parts of the state as excess foliage removal can often result in burn, stunting or death of the plants.

5. Q. Is there any difference in taste or nutritive value between green peppers and those that mature and turn red?

A. Peppers that are allowed to mature and ripen entirely, from green to yellow to red, are higher in vitamin content, especially vitamin A. There is little difference in taste although there is a considerable difference in texture caused by the ripening process.

6. Q. How can you tell when jalapeno peppers are mature?

A. Jalapeno peppers are edible and flavorful at all stages of their growth. However, a connoisseur of jalapeno peppers can distinguish a definite flavor difference between a fully mature jalapeno and one harvested early. A fully mature jalapeno pepper, regardless of size, generally exhibits small cracks around the shoulders of the fruit. Often a darkened area on the fruit indicates maturity and the initial stages of a color change in the fruit.

7. Q. Can I save seed from this year’s pepper crop for planting in my next garden?

A. Yes. Peppers are self-pollinated and consequently will breed if seed is saved from this year’s garden for planting in next year’s garden. Although an occasional cross-pollination will occur, this is generally not a problem. Do not save seed from hybrid pepper plants as these will not breed true and will result in plants exhibiting characteristics different than the desired hybrid.

8. Q. The foliage on my pepper plants developed spots or lesions and the leaves have dropped off.

A. This could be a combination of three foliage diseases: Alternaria leaf spot, Cercospora leaf spot and bacterial leaf spot. In most cases, two or more of these occur simultaneously on the foliage. They can be controlled with foliar sprays using a combination of chlorothalanoil and Kocide or any other copper fungicide. Begin at the first sign of the disease and continue at 1- to 2- week intervals during the critical disease periods.

9. Q. The foliage and fruit of my pepper plants are distorted and small. The leaves have a mosaic pattern.

A. This could be one of five viruses that attack peppers in Texas. The best control is to buy healthy plants and to follow approved cultural practices and a good insecticide program. The viruses are transmitted by aphids. For this reason, it is important to control insects. Also, when a plant becomes infected with one of the viruses, remove the plant.

10. Q. After the recent rainfall, my plants wilted and died soon. The inner stems of the plants were dark.

A. This is Phytophthora stem rot. It is a soilborne fungus that attacks peppers. It is particularly severe in areas where water stands around the plant. Plant on a raised bed for optimal drainage.

11. Q. After a summer rain, my pepper plants died rapidly. I found a white growth at the base of the plant. Intermingled with this growth were small, round, bead-like structures the size of a pinhead.

A. This is southern blight, caused by a soil-borne fungus. Crop rotation and deep burial of organic material will help control it. Do not allow leaves to collect around the base of the plant because the fungus will feed on them and later develop on the peppers.

12. Q. There are small wiggly trails all over the leaves of my pepper plants. What are these?

A. These trails are caused by leaf miners. Heavy infestations can defoliate plants and reduce yields. Control this pest by treating with diazinon or a recommended insecticide. Two or three applications at 5-7 day intervals may be necessary to achieve control. Use as directed on the label.

13. Q. We have just moved to this area and enjoy the Mexican food. What makes Mexican food so hot? Is it the pepper they add?

A. The cooks add pepper alright but not the black stuff you shake from a can – they add green peppers, Capsicum annum. These peppers contain a chemical named capsaicin. When you eat these “green bullets from hell” there’s a cellular response that releases neurotransmitters. These are proteins that mimic chemically the sensation of burning or pain. They go to the end plate of our sensory nerves and create the sensation of pain. The body’s response is to remove the chemical irritant by increasing heart rate to increase metabolism, by increasing salivation and increasing sweating. Your nose runs and the gastrointestinal tract goes to work in high gear to remove the irritant. You sweat to cool yourself.

The body’s strong reaction to capsaicin is why many people claim chili has medicinal properties. A paper by a New Mexico biologist noted that the death rate from heart disease in the state was about half the national rate. She also said the rate of heart disease among Hispanics and Indians was low. Presumed reason? They all eat lots of chile pepper and that reduces blood fat levels. Hot peppers are said to protect against blood clots that could cause thromboembolism.

So why do folks eat this hot food? When people eat hot chili the brain secretes endorphins, the opiate-like substances that block pain. Endorphins are produced when runners “hit the wall” and get their second wind. Who needs to jog and watch their diet? Just eat peppers and keep on burning!

15 Q: We have 2 bell pepper plants, in containers, that have until recently been very healthy and produced several beautiful peppers. Within the last week or two the peppers have developed small round tannish spots on the some of the fruit. The fruit were not fully developed, but we harvested then in order to save the fruit, if possible. In cleaning the fruit, the only damage is the small spot or two on the bottom of the peppers. I thought perhaps it was sunscald, but these plants have plenty of leaves. Could they be getting too much sun and would moving them to a shadier location help?

A: Tan or translucent spots on developing pepper fruit is DEFINITELY sunscald. All the young pepper has to be exposed to is a few minutes of direct sun during the hottest part of the day and that does it. Remember the last time you burned your body parts the first sun exposure of the spring?! The same situation! If you can see the pepper on the plant SO CAN THE SUN and it is not protected. A bacterial spot would be black so you can rule that out. You did right by removing the fruit; such removal may stimulate more foliage growth and subsequently more fruit protection.

16. Q. Do you have any information on the hot pepper used in Mexican dishes?

A. Is the Pope Catholic? Does a bear eat in the woods? OF COURSE, I have information on the pepper which made Mexican food famous! Peppers are hot, trendy items. Look at a recent crop of mail-order gift catalogs. Inside you can order pure silk chili pepper ties, sterling silver red or green chili pepper tie tacks; t-shirts, shorts, cotton caps blazing with red peppers or the red chili pepper string of Christmas lights. These gifts indicate the popularity of peppers. If you can’t grow peppers, the least you can do is wear one to show your support. The National Garden Bureau declares 1993, ‘The Year of the Pepper’ to encourage more folks to grow this New World native. With basic information, anyone in North America should be able to successfully grow pepper plants in pots or in the garden. Grow a hot or a sweet pepper for the flavor and satisfaction of saying “I grew it myself.

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Squash – Summer Or Winter Types Are Easy To Grow

Squash Growing – Do So At Your Own Risk They may over run your garden. You may have so many fruits that you can’t give them to your neighbors as fast as your vines can produce them.

Squash require a moist soil and should be fertilized about every 2 weeks during their growing season with a 1/4 cup NPK 5-10-5 or 10-15-10 fertilizer.

Growing Squash is not for the timid! Whether it be delicious green zucchini, yellow straight or goose neck squash or one of the many hard skin winter type squash, they are all vigorous vine plants. Given ample water and fertilizer they can soon cover everything in sight. One healthy vine may cover 60-75 or more square feet of your garden.

Summer squash do not keep well and should be eaten fresh from your garden. They are best harvested in early morning hours. Leave a inch of so of the stem attached to your squash. This will help keep them fresh longer if your don’t prepare them the same day you pick them.

Winter squash is hard skinned and is a good keeper for long term storage. There are dozens of varieties of winter squash available to the home gardener. I like the Butter Nut types.
They have a pleasant taste are good keepers and can be baked, broiled, boiled and used in making bread’s and soup’s. What ever variety you grow harvest them ‘Before’ night time temperatures fall below 50 degrees. Squash are warm weather loving plants. Plants and fruit are easily damaged by night time temperatures below 50 degrees.

Storing Winter Squash is simple and easy. Butternut squash stored at a temperature around 50 degrees will store well for 2 or 3 months.

Squash market. OSU website has a good information page on when and how to harvest and store your winter squash harvest.

Insect pest and fungus can be a problem. How ever both can be easily treated if caught early and treated with the proper fungicide or insecticide. Giving your plants a mild dish soap bath using a hose end sprayer is helpful in preventing both insect damage as well as any fungus infections.

The ‘Squash bug’ Is Not Your Friend! And can cause a lot of damage or even kill your squash plants if not treated and controlled. This same bug will also attack cucumbers and melon plants. Start your spraying program at the first sign of these vine killing pest.

I have had some success in controlling insects by allowing my chickens, ducks and geese limited time access to my garden plot. Grinning, of course they do from time to time take a bite or two from my plants, but, it is a trade off. I can let the bugs have the garden, spray with harsh insecticides or allow my birds the occasional bit of fresh squash.

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Summer Construction Project

Summer is approaching. We will soon be in the dog days of summer. With little wind and temperatures will be bumping that 100+ degrees everyday.

Son-n-law has discovered that he is short on storage space. As is, he has so much stuff(junk) stacked up in his workshop that is in very near unusable as a work shop.

His workshop is 24ft by 24ft and has an existing concrete slab that extends 14ft 5 inches to the south of his shop. So, we are adding a 14ft 5 inch by 23 foot structure for a storage building.

Yesterday I had both grandsons here, so I hijacked those two young (25 year old) healthy boys to drag my steel into the shop and cut up the steel needed to frame up the east and west ends of SNL’s new building.

After a lot of effort we finely made a space large enough to layout and weld up the building framing.
Steel for the doors and door framing will be picked up Monday or Tuesday.
I’ll post a picture after we have the framing set up and bolted down to the concrete slab.

hoe Grin … in my spare time I sharpened my garden hoe and modified it so I can now easily make seed planting furrows only 1/2 to 1 inch deep. I think this will be beneficial in getting all of my seed at the same depth. I’m hoping that this will improve my seed germination rate allowing for a better, more even plant spacing.
hoe Based on the quality of these pic’s, it’s a good thing I’m not trying to make a living as a photographer..

Roosters! Last 5 of my young roosters were honored guest at Saturdays BBQ along with a rack of home grown pork ribs.
Wow I love it when spring arrives in southwest Oklahoma.

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Naked In The Garden – Peppers And Tomato’s

Saturday, May 2, is World Naked Gardening Day
Not wanting to frighten the horse or donkey I will not be naked in the garden. However (Big Smile) … any of you city or country girls that participate in this event, please fell free to share your Naked Gardening Day pictures.

Before you buy your tomato or pepper seed or seedlings, there are a few things you need to know. Hybrid or Heirloom seed? Which is best for you?

Hybrid seed in agriculture and gardening is produced by artificially cross-pollinated plants. Hybrids are bred to improve the characteristics of the resulting plants, such as better yield, greater uniformity, improved color, disease resistance, and so forth. Today, hybrid seed is predominant in agriculture and home gardening, and is one of the main contributing factors to the dramatic rise in agricultural output during the last half of the 20th century. In the US, the commercial market was launched in the 1920s, with the first hybrid maize. Hybrid seed from the first generation of hybrid plants does not reliably produce true copies, therefore, new seed is usually purchased for each planting.

Heirloom seed plant variety is a cultivar that was commonly grown during earlier periods in human history, but which is not used in modern large-scale agriculture. Many heirloom vegetables have kept their traits through open pollination. The trend of growing heirloom plants in gardens has been growing in popularity in the United States and Europe over the last decade.

Heirloom growers have different motivations. Some people grow heirlooms for historical interest, while others want to increase the available gene pool for a particular plant for future generations. Some select heirloom plants due to an interest in traditional organic gardening. Many simply want to taste the different varieties of vegetables, or see whether they can grow a rare variety of plant. Heirlooms, by definition, must be open-pollinated.

Determinate varieties of tomatoes, also called “bush” tomatoes, are varieties that are bred to grow to a compact height (approx. 4 feet). They stop growing when fruit sets on the terminal or top bud, ripen all their crop at or near the same time (usually over a 2 week period), and then die. They may require a limited amount of caging and/or staking for support, should NOT be pruned or “suckered” as it severely reduces the crop, and will perform relatively well in a container, minimum size of 5 or 6 gallon.

Indeterminate varieties of tomatoes are also called “vining” tomatoes. They will grow and produce fruit until killed by frost and can reach heights of up to 10 feet although 6 feet is considered the norm. They will bloom, set new fruit and ripen fruit all the time throughout the growing season. They require substantial caging and/or staking for support and pruning and the removal of suckers is practiced by many but is not mandatory. The need for it and advisability of doing it varies from region to region. Experiment and see which works best for you. Because of the need for substantial support and the size of the plants, indeterminate varieties are not usually recommended as container plants.

I will not attempt to list or recommend any one variety to you. I am including a link to a seed supplier that I have used with good success.

Tomato Growers Seed Company has a website that I often use as a reference when looking for seedlings and seed at my local nursery. Along with a good quality picture they also give a short description of it’s mature appearance, days to maturity and a bit of other useful information on each variety offered.

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Winter Project – Horse Drawn Road Grader Rebuild

Our (me, son-n-law and grandson) have finished our winter project.
The 2 horse – drawn road grader was taken out for a test drive late yesterday afternoon.

It actually works better than I expected.

Below is a picture of a common type horse drawn road grader.

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Son-n-law and grand son using our redesigned and rebuilt road grader.

road-grader 001-1

road-grader 002-2

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Life Is Not Always Easy!

cow-poop

Stroll Down Memory Lane

In 1938, Congress passed the Wages and Hours Act which set minimum wage at $.25 per hour for workers engaged in interstate commerce.
1950 the wage was increased to $.75. Workers made from $30.00 to $36.00 dollars a week ‘Before’ tax deductions!

1950 Food Cost These are some of the things you may have seen advertised and how much food and groceries cost in the 1950’s.
This list contains, product, price, quantity and state this price was came from based on old news paper advertising.

American Cheese 45 cents per pound New Hampshire 1950
Apples 39 cents for 2 pounds Florida 1952
Bananas 27 cents for 2 pounds Ohio 1957
Box of Chocolates $1.86 for 1lb Florida 1955
Cabbage 6 cents per pound New Hampshire 1950
Campbell’s Tomato Soup 10 cents Ohio 1957
Carnation Milk Can 14 cents Ohio 1957
Chickens 43 cents per pound New Hampshire 1950
Chuck Roast 59 cents per pound Florida 1952
Coffee 37 cents 1 pound Florida 1952
Cream Corn 3 cans for 38 cents California 1959
Eggs 79 cents for a dozen New Jersey 1956
Family Style Loaf of bread 12 cents Florida 1952
Frozen Chicken Pie 19 cents Ohio 1957
Frozen green Beans 24 cents per 1/2 pound New Hampshire 1950
Gerbers Baby Foods 10 cents California 1959
Grape Jelly 19 cents Ohio 1957
grapefruit 25 cents for 6 Florida 1952
Hamburger meat 89 cents for 3 pounds Ohio 1957
Heinz Cream of Tomato 25 cents for 2 cans Tennessee 1952
Hunts Fruit Cocktail 23 cents per can Ohio 1957
Hunts Tomato Juice 15 cents California 1959
Jiffy Cake Mix 10 cents Ohio 1957
Juicy Oranges 69 cents for 2 dozen New Hampshire 1950
Kelloggs Shreaded Wheat 18 cents Ohio 1957
Kraft Cheese Slices 29 cents pk New Hampshire 1950
Potatoes 10 lb bag 35 cents Kansas 1953
Porterhouse Steak 95 cents lb Maine 1950
Lamb Chops 49 Cents per pound New Hampshire 1950
Large Eggs 49 cents per dozen New Hampshire 1950
Lettuce 25 cents for 2 heads Florida 1952
Lux Flakes 27 cents per pk Florida 1952
Margarine 19 cents 1 pound Florida 1952
Maxwell House Instant Coffee $1.19 Ohio 1957
Miracle Whip 55 cents New Jersey 1956
Mushrooms 49 cents per pound New Hampshire 1950
Onions 15 cents for 5 pounds New Hampshire 1950
Palmolive 3 for 21 cents Florida 1952
Peanut butter 29 cents Florida 1952
Perch 49 cents per pound Ohio 1957
Pillsbury Cinnamon rolls 23 cents Ohio 1957
Pineapple 25 cents each New Hampshire 1950
Pork and Beans 25 cents for 3 cans Florida 1952
Pork Roast 39 cents per pound Florida 1952
Potatoes 35 cents for 5 pounds New Hampshire 1950
Rib Roast 29 cents per pound Wisconsin 1954
Ritz Crackers 32 cents New Hampshire 1950
Sirloin Steak 55 cents per pound Florida 1952
Sliced bacon 35 cents per pound New Hampshire 1950
Sugar 43 cents for 5 pounds Florida 1952
T Bone Steak 59 cents per pound New Hampshire 1950
Tide Powder 67 cents Giant pack Florida 1952
Tooth Paste 29 cents New Jersey 1956
Toilet Tissue 5 cents New Hampshire 1950
Turkeys 49 Cents per pound New Hampshire 1950

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Tea – The Worlds Most Popular Drink

green_tea After water Tea is the most consumed drink by most of the worlds people.
My supermarket has a dazzling aray of teas to choose from. Green, black, berry, fruit and herb flavors of all kinds. Bagged and loose types.

Tea in my neck of the woods most often means tea served over ice and sweet, Grin .. I like mine very sweet.

Avoid bottled teas, you can’t rely on the bottle label hype for the true facts. Bottled teas many times are plastered with declarations of their rich antioxidant content. The truth is if you’re looking for high doses of healthful antioxidants, your much better off brewing your tea at home.

Research finds that some store bought bottled teas contain such small amounts that consumers would have to drink 20 bottles to get the antioxidants, also called polyphenols, present in one cup of home brewed tea.

To compound this problem, many bottled tea beverages often contain large amounts of sugar and unpronounceable chemicals that health conscious consumers may want to avoid. Avoid refined sugars by using a little all natural honey to sweeten your tea. {I like a twist of lemon in both hot and ice tea} for a little added taste punch up.

I don’t recommend needlessly spending money on bottled water. However water is good for you and does not contain any added sugar or other chemicals found in many bottled teas.
Hint Brew and bottle your tea at home. To take on long trips or when going to work.

Old friends, one being 92 and the other 91.
Having their morning tea on the front porch.
Merralee had been repeating herself many times to her hard of hearing friend, finely Merralee ask ‘Vera, why do you have a suppository in your ear?’
After a minute of silence, Vera said ‘damn! Now I know where I put my hearing aid.’

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Mold And Mildew – Not As Dangerous As You Think

Is Mold or Mildew Killing You and Your Family not likely. Most molds and mildews are nothing more than a fungal pest, that if uncontrolled can damaging wood, walls, floors and clothing. They smell bad, look bad but pose no serious healthy problems to most other wise healthy humans. 99% of all mold and mildews fall into this category.

The main ingredient in killing and controlling mold and mildew is keep everything ‘Dry’, Molds can not grow on dry surfaces. Open your windows ‘Everyday’ air out your house if weather permits. Airing out your house removes damp stale, smelly air and brings in dry, good smelling, good for you, fresh air.

Laundry dryers Must be vented through walls to outside of your house. Better yet use your grandmas old fashion close dryer, a close line. Your clothes will smell fresher and whites will be whiter.

Both your under house crawl space and attic must have vent opening to vent moist air out and fresh dry air in. Basements must have fresh air venting as well, either by windows or power suction ventilators.

Now a word from real experts on mold and mildew control.

Reprinted with permission from the University of Georgia.
Dorman, D. (1997). Mildew Prevention and Removal. University of Georgia, Cooperative Extension Service.

PREVENTION

Keep Things Clean Keep closets, dresser drawers, basements, any place where mildew is likely to grow as clean as possible. Soil on articles can supply enough food for mildew to start growing when moisture and temperature are right. Greasy films, such as those that form on kitchen walls, also contain many nutrients for mildew causing molds.

Get Rid of Excess Moisture
Remove the cause.
The first step in mildew control is to try to control the dampness inside the home. Cooking, laundering and bathing, without adequate ventilation, adds three gallons of water to the air everyday. Dampness in any structure is caused by condensation of moisture from humid air onto cooler surfaces. Excessive moisture collection may mean that a corrective measure is needed in the attic, crawl space or basement walls.

Dry the air.
Mechanically. Cool air holds less moisture than warm air. Properly-installed air-conditioning systems remove moisture from the air of the living space by taking up warm air, cooling it (removing the moisture) and circulating cool, dry air back into the room. Use dehumidifiers in areas that are not air conditioned, especially the basement. You can attach a humidistat to the unit to control the humidity. If necessary, heat the house for a short time to get rid of dampness. Then open doors and windows to let out the moisture laden air. Use an exhaust fan to force it out. Dry air in closets and other small areas with a continuously burning electric light (60 to 100-watt bulb). The heat from the bulb will prevent mildew if the space is not too large.

Chemically. Moisture absorbing silica gel, activated alumina, anhydrous calcium sulfate and a product called “Molecular sieves” may be used to dry the air. These chemicals are not harmful to fabrics and feel dry even when saturated; they hold half their weight of water.

To use, hang cloth bags of the chemical in clothing closets. Or place open container of it in the closet – on a shelf preferably, or on the floor. See that the door is well sealed and kept closed so that moisture from outside air will not go in. You may scatter the dry granules through layers of clothing and other articles that are to be stored in tightly-closed chests or trunks.

Another moisture absorbing chemical is anhydrous calcium chloride. It is available in small, white granules that hold twice their weight of water. Because it liquefies as it absorbs moisture, do not let this chemical touch clothing or household textiles; it can make holes in them.

To use anhydrous calcium chloride, place the granules in a simple cup shaped container made from non rusting screen or waxed cardboard perforated with small holes. Support the container in an enameled pot so the liquid can drip away from the container, leaving the calcium chloride to take up more moisture. Then place the pot in the closet, preferably on the shelf, and keep the door shut tightly and sealed. One pound of calcium chloride will last from two weeks to two months, depending on the humidity. When only liquid is left, discard and start over.

Circulate the Air.
Air movement is very important to removing moisture. When the air outside is drier than the air inside, the dry air enters, takes up excess moisture and then travels back outside. When natural breezes are not sufficient, you can use electric fans. Poorly ventilated closets get damp and musty during continued wet weather, and articles stored in them are apt to mildew. Try to improve the air circulation by opening the closet doors or by installing a fan. In addition, hang clothes loosely so air can circulate around them. Cooking, laundering, and bathing may add three gallons of water a day to the house, which can cause the moisture build-up unless circulation is adequate. It is often necessary to use some type of exhaust fan.

Get Rid of Musty Odors Musty odors, which indicate mold growth, are sometimes noticeable in basements and shower stalls. Take special precautions to get rid of musty odors as soon as possible to prevent further objectionable and damaging mold growth. Usually musty odors disappear if the area is well heated, ventilated and dried. If odors remain, the following treatments may be necessary.

Basements. Use chlorinated lime (commonly called chloride of lime or bleaching powder) to remove musty odors in basements. Sprinkle this chemical over the floor. Leave it until all mustiness disappears, then sweep it up.

Cement and Tile. Scrub cement floors, tiled walls and bathroom floors with a very dilute solution of sodium hypochlorite or any chlorine bleach available in grocery stores. Use one-half to one cup of liquid household bleach to a gallon of water. Rinse with clear water and wipe as dry as possible.

Keep windows open until walls and floors are thoroughly dry. Aerosol sprays for cleaning and sanitizing bathroom walls are also available.

REMOVAL – Clothing and Fabrics

Remove mildew spots as soon as you discover them. Brush off surface growth outdoors to prevent scattering the spores in the house. Sun and air fabrics thoroughly. If any mildew spots remain, treat washable articles as described below. Dry clean non-washable articles. Wash mildew stained articles once with soap and water, rinse them well and dry them in the sun. If any stain remains, use one of the following bleaches.

(1. Lemon juice and salt. Moisten stain with lemon juice, spread on salt and place in the sun to dry. Rinse thoroughly. Use with care on colored fabrics.
(2. Perborate bleach. Mix one tablespoon sodium perborate bleach and one pint of water. Use hot water if it won’t damage the fabric, otherwise use lukewarm water. Sponge or soak the stained area. Allow to remain one half hour, then rinse. Test on colored garments first.
(3. Chlorine bleach. Mix two tablespoons of liquid chlorine bleach with one quart of warm water. Sponge the stain or soak the stained area in the solution. Allow the bleach to remain on the fabric from five to 15 minutes, then rinse.

An additional soaking in weak vinegar (two tablespoons to a cup of water) will stop further bleach action. Never use a chlorine bleach on silk, wool, or Spandex fabrics. Some fabrics with wash-and-wear or other special finishes may be damaged by chlorine bleaches. Articles with such fine finishes usually have a warning label or on a hang tag attached to the garment when it is sold.

Upholstered Articles, Mattresses First, remove loose mold from outer covering by brushing. Do this outdoors if possible. Run a vacuum cleaner attachment over the surface to draw out more of the mold. Do everything conveniently possible to dry the article, such as using an electric heater. Sun and air the article to stop mold growth.

Another way to remove mildew from upholstered furniture is to wipe it with a cloth wrung out in a solution of one part denatured alcohol to one cup of water. Dry thoroughly.

Use a fungicide available in aerosol cans to get rid of musty odors and mildew. You can use vapors of paradichlorobenzene or paraformaldehyde in closed areas. Mildew that has reached the padding of cushions and mattresses must be cleaned by a storage company that has facilities for fumigation.

Rugs and Carpets To remove mildew stains sponge rugs and carpets with thick, dry soap or detergents suds and wipe clean with a damp cloth, or clean them with an electric shampoo machine.

If the problem is that of excess water (example- flooding due to burst pipes or washer overflow) the procedure is somewhat different. Immediate action is important to keep mildew from starting up. First, determine how much water has been absorbed by the carpet. To check, raise a portion of the carpet by pulling it off the installation strips at one corner. If the pad is wet, the entire carpet and pad will have to be removed. This is necessary so the sub-floor can dry, which in many cases prevents it from buckling.

When both carpet and pad have been saturated, the best recommendation is to have a professional pick up the carpet and transport it to the plant, where it can be cleaned, deodorized and dried. Some shrinkage should be expected (one to two inches). However if the carpet backing is in good repair, it can be re-stretched to fit the room by a power stretcher.

If professional services are not available, it is possible to dry a saturated carpet at home. Using a hot water extraction unit, vacuum the carpet until no more water can be removed. Then place the carpet on a flat surface outside in the fresh air and sunshine. It is important to turn the rug or carpet upside down so that, as the carpet dries, any soil in the carpet backing or along the carpet fibers will be drawn toward the base of the carpet rather than to the surface.

Once the sub flooring has dried, the dry pad and carpet can then be re-installed. If a musty odor is present in the padding, it is best to replace it. Do not reinstall the padding, thinking that, in time the odor will disappear. Once the carpet is placed over the musty odor, the problem will only get worse, since the moisture cannot readily escape. Musty carpet can be deodorized by professional cleaners.

If only the carpet is wet, (padding and sub flooring are dry) a hot water extraction vacuum may be sufficient to remove the water. These units can be rented in many cities from rental agencies, hardware and grocery stores. Do not attempt to use a home vacuum unless it is specifically designed as a wet vacuum.

Leather Goods To remove mildew from leather goods, wipe them with a cloth moistened with dilute alcohol (one cup denatured or rubbing alcohol to one cup water). If mildew remains, wash with thick suds made from a mild soap or detergent, saddle soap, or a soap containing germicide or fungicide, then wipe with a damp cloth and dry in an airy place. Polish leather shoes and luggage with a good wax dressing.

Shoes contaminated with fungus growth on the inside often develop unpleasant odors. You can remove this kind of mildew with low-pressure sprays specially intended for freshening shoes; these sprays are available at shoe and department stores. Use these products as directed.

Paper and Books Remove any dry, loose mold from paper with a clean, soft cloth. If mildewed paper is damp, dry it first. To dry wall paper, heat the room for several hours or even days to dry the plaster as well as the paper. Plaster should be dried slowly to prevent cracking. If the mildewed paper is washable, wipe it gently with a cloth wrung out of thick soapsuds, then with clear water. For more stubborn stains, wipe the area with a solution of one quart household bleach in one gallon of water then rinse with clear water. A commercial ink eradicator may also be useful for small stains.

If mildewed paper is unwashable, rub the wall with a commercial wallpaper cleaning dough. To avoid contrast, you will probably have to clean the entire wall.

To dry books, spread the pages out fan-wise to air. If the books are very damp, sprinkle cornstarch or talcum powder between the leaves to take up the moisture. Leave starch or powder on for several hours, then brush off.

Wood Thoroughly clean mildewed surfaces, woodwork, and other wooden parts by scrubbing them with a mild alkali, such as washing soda or trisodium phosphate (eight to 10 tablespoons to a gallon of water), or with disinfectants, such as a quaternary disinfectant or pentachlorophenate. Paint and grocery stores and janitors’ supply houses sell these products under various trade names.

Rinse the wood well with clear water, and allow it to dry thoroughly, then apply a mildew resistant paint. Mildew resistant paints in all colors for outdoor wood surfaces are available for use in untreated paints.

If the mold has grown under the paint or varnish, remove all the paint or varnish from the stained areas, then scrub with a solution containing eight to 10 tablespoons of trisodium phosphate and one cup of household chlorine bleach to a gallon of water. Use stronger solutions if necessary. Wear rubber gloves. If the stain remains, apply oxalic acid (three tablespoons to one pint of water). Finally, rinse the surface thoroughly with clear water. Dry well before refinishing. Caution The acid is poisonous, so handle it carefully.

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