Next Thursday will be Saint Michael’s Day
Saint Michael’s Day will be celebrated next Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023. Special weather lore on his day says that if the mighty oaks are filled with acorns the fields will be filled with snow on Christmas Day. We wonder if this is just lore or is it possible? Yes, and it has occurred in recent years. On Dec. 25, 2010, we had seven inches of snow, and in Northampton County, my grandma’s stomping grounds and home country where she lived and died, they enjoyed a hefty 12 inches of snow. What a great time for Michael to predict a white Christmas 2023. One of grandma’s wintry predictions was “If acorns cover the ground winter snow will abound-when squirrels are on the go look for snow!”
Autumn leaves for compost, comfort, protection
We often take for granted what the leaf harvest of autumn is all about and the hidden benefits we reap from it. They shade us in summers, provide beauty and color in the season of autumn and provide a warm blanket for the forest floor in winter. As we move toward October, the leaves will soon be falling from the trees. As the leaves fall, rake, vacuum and blow them to the garden or compost pile or bin or run them through the lawn mower to break them down. Use crushed leaves on newly planted spring bulb beds and also between turnip, Siberian kale, onion sets, cabbage, and broccoli beds.
Keep counting the dews of September
The dews in the month of September are lingering around for most of the morning hours. My Northampton County grandma always checked them out while she performed her morning chores outside. She checked how long they remained on the grass and how heavy or light they were. She writes down their amount so she could calculate how much ice or sleet we would receive in the upcoming winter. With 30 days in the month, there are certainly dews to observe and enough heavy dews to observe and record. While we are on the subject of dews in the month of September, do not mow the grass that is still laden with heavy dew on cool September mornings. The wet dew is sticky and cool. Give the sun time to dry the heavy dew even if it takes until afternoon. It will make mowing easier and avoid rust of the mower’s housing and also wet feet and a mess in the yard.
The collard was Queen of Carolina gardens
The huge heads of cabbage collards were huge hedge bushes in the winter gardens in eastern North Carolina garden rows in the winters of the 1950’s. They would head up and cover whole rows with dark green from one end to the other. One large head would be enough for a meal. My Northampton County grandma became a good will ambassador in winter by giving collard heads to all her neighbors at Thanksgiving and Christmas. On New Year’s Day, everyone would be dining on a mess of fresh collard greens. They would be a staple of the winter until well into early spring, along with “pot likker!”
Getting ready to move the Christmas cactus
Next month we can expect our first frost of the season after the middle of October. The four Christmas cactus containers have been thriving on the front porch in a semi-sunny location since the middle of May. This is the secret of early blooms in November and into December. In late September, it’s time to prepare the cactus for the move inside the house to the sunny living room where they will spend the winter. At this time, they will need an application of Flower-Tone organic flower food and the containers filled to the top with Miracle-Gro cactus and citrus medium and a small amount of water each week. If the foliage develops a reddish tint, it is a signal that the cactus is receiving too much sun. To remedy this, move the cactus away from direct sunlight. When you move the cactus inside for winter, be sure to place a plastic water drip tray under the containers to catch excess water from the cactus. While wintering the cactus, water very lightly once every week and feed with Flower-Tone organic flower food once a month.
Making an apple pie-raisen dump cake
This is an easy way to prepare an apple dessert in a short time that the family will enjoy on a crisp autumn evening. You will need one can of Comstock or Lucky Leaf apple pie filling, seven McIntosh apples peeled, cored, and cubed into half inch cubes, one cup light brown sugar, one box yellow cake mix, two sticks light margarine (melted) one cup golden raisins one teaspoon vanilla, two teaspoons McCormick apple pie spices. Spray a 13x9x2 inch baking pan or dish with Pam baking spray. Boil the cubed apples and add to the apple pie filling. Drain the cubed apples before adding to the apple pie filling. Spread the apple mixture over the baking pan and then sprinkle brown sugar on top of the apples. Smooth the yellow cake mix on top. Add the apple pie spices and raisins. Pour the melted light margarine over the over the cake mixture and spread it out. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with ice cream, Dream Whip, Cool Whip, or dairy whipping cream.
Wintering over a container of Boston fern
It’s always great to have greenery in the home in winter. You can winter over many plants such as Panda fern, asparagus fern, snake plant, Christmas cactus, and Boston fern. Keep them out of direct sunlight in a room where they can receive some sunlight and a drink of water each week. Keep the fem in a container filled with fine potting medium. Feed once a month with Flower-Tone organic flower food and pinch off leaves that turn to brown. Place a plastic drip container to protect the carpet and floor. Check twice a week to see how much sun they are receiving.
Rooting shoots of the Christmas cactus
The Christmas cactus will soon be ready to spend the winter in the living room while they are still outside on the porch, you can clip some long shoots from the foliage and root them to transplant in containers and share with friends. Place the shoots in 16 ounce clear plastic bottles such as Pepsi and Dr. Pepper come in and fill the bottles with water, Place a long piece of the foliage from the cactus in the bottle and place in a location where it can get plenty of sunlight. It will not take many days to sprout roots and in several months they will be ready to transplant to a small container where they can grow and prosper until ready to transfer to a larger container.
The 2024 Blum’s Almanac now ready
The 2024 edition of the Blum’s Almanac are now at hardware’s. This will be the 196th edition. It has been published in Winston Salem for almost two hundred years. It has moon planting signs every day of the year. Times of daily sunrise and sunsets, fishing calendars, the phases of the moon and time it rises and sets, and planting guides. Visible planets, and when they rise and set, eclipses of the sun and moon, meteor showers, planting zones, holidays and special days of the year and articles of interest. A special feature is weather forecasts for each month of the year.
Planting a 2023 wintergreen garden
There is still plenty of time to plant a wintergreen garden of Siberian kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, turnips, broccoli, cabbage, collards, cauliflower, and onion sets. They will thrive in the cool soil of the garden all winter. The wintergreen garden will be virtually free of weeds and insect pests and is mostly maintenance- free! You can also have a harvest, that will extend into early spring.
Getting the deck prepared for winter
The deck has been a busy place for the past seven months. It has been a place to drink morning coffee and Mountain Dew, snap green beans, set out annuals, feed the hummingbirds, watch squirrels and birds, cool off after mowing the lawn, and watching sunsets. It is time now to clean the deck table, chairs, store the umbrella, and cover the table. The chairs can be stored under the cover that protects the deck table.
Hoe hoe hoedown
“Dear Owner”- A man returned to his vehicle to find a fender freshly bent and a note behind the wiper blade. The note said, “The people who saw me sideswipe your vehicle are now watching me write this note and they figure that I’m writing you my name and address so you can contact me and send me the bill. Ho, ho, ho! This is not so!”
“Help from the doctor”- Stranger: “Good morning, Doctor, I just dropped by to tell you how much I have benefited from your treatment.” Doctor: “But you are not one of my patients.” Stranger: “I know, but my uncle Will was, and I’m his heir!”
“Dish washing helper”- Wife: “Would you help me with the dishes?” Husband: “That is not a mans job.” Wife: “The bible says that it is.” Husband: “Where does it say that?” Wife: “In Kings 21:13, it says, “And I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping and turning it upside down.”