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Dogwood berries blazing red

The dogwoods of autumn have a harvest of red berries. The berries on dogwood trees are bright red and there seems to be a huge crop of them this year. Many of them will become food for the birds, but there seems to be plenty remaining to adorn the leaves and limbs with plenty of color. We wonder if the abundance of berries is a natural message of a harsh winter — only time will tell.

The trees are dumping their leafy harvest. The gentle breezes of October are unloading the harvest of leaves. They are a valuable resource for the garden compost bin or pile, mulch, and blanket for cool weather vegetable crops. They can be used to isolate shrubs as well as flower beds. Blow them to the compost pile or bin, vacuum them to spread between rows in the garden plot.

When will there be frost on the pumpkin? As the nights of October get cooler and we reach further into the month, the odds of the first frost of the season become a possibility. We can usually expect some frost after Oct. 15, but it is not usually a killing frost until near the end of the month. Keep your eyes on the late tomato crop and gather the green tomatoes in and wrap them in sheets of newspaper so they will ripen over a period of time in the house or basement. Keep green bell peppers harvested and dice them up and place in pint or quart plastic food freezer containers.

Investing in a durable pumpkin carving kit. You can purchase many kinds of pumpkin carving kits, but you get what you pay for. It is better to spend extra money and invest in a kit that will last for many years; a kit that has many blades and accessories that will make pumpkin carving a pleasure and an art. The same kit can be used the carve watermelon baskets, honeydew bowls, melon balls, as well as designs on unpeeled cucumbers. A durable, long-lasting kit includes knives, scoops, scrapers, and assorted attachments and gadgets. The best ones cost around $12 to $15 or less. A good kit will make it easier for the whole family to get involved in carving a few jack o’lanterns.

A traditional dish of Halloween candy. Several candy treats of Halloween have been around for more than a century and passed on from one generation down to another. Candy corn has endured for well over a hundred years. Creme pumpkins are another traditional favorite that is made from same ingredients as candy corn, and another favorite is circus peanuts with their orange color and banana flavor. Peanut brittle also arrives during the arrival of Halloween. Last year at Valentine’s Day, Brach stopped making conversating hearts. Wouldn’t it be nice if they made conversating pumpkins for Halloween as well as the old conversation hearts on Valentine’s Day. Keep the candy dish filled with Halloween favorites to keep traditions alive and well.

Keep your Jack O’Lantern bright as well as fresh. A votive candle lit in your lantern each night may cause your jack o’lantern to shrivel up and look puny. You can perk it up by removing the lid and candle and dipping the jack o’lantern into a tub of cold water and let it remain there for an hour or two. Remove the water, replace the candle and lid. Repeat this every three days for a bright and fresh looking jack o’lantern.

Making miniature Jack O’Lanterns from Jack-Be-Littles. The miniature Jack-Be-Littles make great centerpieces as well as jack o’lanterns. You can use black permanent markers to draw faces on these little pumpkins and use yellow acrylic paint to color the face drawn on the jack-be-littles. You can place them on the coffee table or dining room table. Place a layer of creme pumpkins, candy corn, or Hershey’s autumn mix kisses around the jack-be-littles. Replenish candies as needed. Add a few colorful autumn leaves to enhance the centerpiece.

Enjoying the crisp October nip in the air. Mother Nature has its own air conditioning system in October, and the nip in the autumn air makes the front porch a very special place. When the air is still, you can hear the leaves as they fall from the trees to the lawn. This is the ideal time to relax each afternoon and enjoy the crisp autumn air before the up and coming frost arrives along with cold nights, freezes, frost and later a snowfall to really clear the air.

Making a nutty pumpkin dessert. This is an easy no-crust dessert that is very simple and easy to prepare for a Halloween dish. You will need one large beaten egg, one teaspoon vanilla, one teaspoon baking powder, three fourth cup plain flour, three fourth cup sugar, one fourth cup light brown sugar, one fourth teaspoon salt, one cam pumpkin or one pint jar of pumpkin, one teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, half cup chopped pecans. Beat the egg, add the brown and white sugars, and vanilla and beat again. Add flour, salt, and baking powder and blend all together with mixer. Stir in pecans and pumpkin and the pumpkin pie spice. Pour the mixture into a 13x9x2 inch baking dish or pan and make sure dish or pan is sprayed with Pam baking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes until firm and done. Cool and slice into squares. Top with Cool Whip.

Green in the garden in all four seasons. The goal of every gardener should be to enjoy something green from the garden in every season of the year. You can do this because there are cool and warm weather vegetables and plenty of ways to prolong their season and make a harvest happen every month of the year. Cool weather vegetables thrive because they have few insects enemies and our winters are temperate. Last year, the ground only froze a few times and even then they were not very hard freezes.

Moving the panda and asparagus ferns inside for winter. With a frost not too far away, it is time to move the panda and asparagus from outside, as well as the Christmas cactus, inside the sunny living room to spend the winter. We have a snake plant that will also spend winter inside. All they will need is an application of Flower-Tone organic flower food and an extra handful of cactus potting medium and a drink of water each week.

The month of harvest festivals, Halloween carnivals and cake walks. The month of October features fall and harvest festivals, Halloween carnivals, chicken stews and bonfires with hot dog and marsh-mellow roasts. Festivals and carnival consist of cake walks, fish ponds with prizes, Bingo, door prizes, fun, foods, haunted trails, costume contests, a pumpkin decoration contest, a tub of witches brew and a hot dog stand. As nights get cooler, chicken stews in black cast iron pots are very popular.

Making a pumpkin perform a double task. If you would like to decorate a jack o’lantern, but don’t want to carve one, have your cake (pumpkin) and eat it too. You can have both by drawing a face on the pumpkin with a permanent black marker and fill the face in with a bottle of bright yellow acrylic paint, and place it on the front porch until Halloween is over. The cool weather of October will keep the pumpkin fresh. As November begins, you can cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds, and peel it after slicing it up. Cube the slices into half-inch sized pieces. Mash after boiling pumpkin until tender. Run the boiled pumpkin through the blender in “grate” mode or mash with a potato masher. You can make it into pumpkin pie or a batch of pumpkin bread.


“Multiple Babies” – Four expectant fathers were in the waiting room while their wives were in labor. The delivering room nurse arrived and told the first father, “Congratulations sir, you are the father of twins.” The father said, “That’s really a coincidence, I am a baseball coach for the Minnesota Twins.” A while later, the nurse returned and told the second father, “Congratulations, you are the father of triplets.” The second father replied, “What a coincidence, I work for Three M Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota.” An hour later, the nurse came and informed the third father that he was the father of quadruplets. The father said, “I don’t believe it! I work for Four Seasons Hotel.” After these multiple births, everyone’s attention turned to the fourth expectant father, who had passed out on the floor. As they got him to regain consciousness, they could hear him say repeatedly, “I never should have taken that job at Seven-Eleven!”

“Good News First” – The pastor stood in front of the church and announced some good news and some bad news. The pastor said, “The good news is we have enough funds to complete the educational complex. The bad news is that it still remains in your pockets!”



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