Acorns may signal a harsh winter | Mt. Airy News (2023)

Acorns may signal a harsh winter | Mt. Airy News (1)

Beginning of the colorful showoff of pumpkins

The pumpkin harvest is being shown off on the lawns of churches for fund raisers and in front of produce markets and roadside stands. Pumpkins have many uses such as jack o’ lanterns, harvest decor, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin puffs and puddings, and all kinds of desserts. They also make great lawn and porch displays. There is no shortage of colors, shapes and sizes of pumpkins and all the choices are great. Unlike many vegetables, pumpkins have a long shelf life. They will survive for over a month in a lawn or porch display and then be made into a pumpkin pie. Pumpkins are members of the squash family. The mid western part of our country produces the most pumpkins and Illinois produces more than any other state.

The leaf season of autumn is now here

The autumn air in October has a certain crispness which causes many leaves to fall as they unload from the tree. The leaves are dry and crisp as they gracefully fall to the lawn. Their crispy, dry condition makes them easy to blow or vacuum and rake to the garden or compost area. They can be broke down quickly by running them through the leaf vacuum. The crushed leaves make a blanket for rose bushes, bulb beds and azaleas or covering between rows or in beds. The oaks will begin to unload their harvest in November and continue to fall all during that month.

When can we expect to see Jack Frost?

The first frost in this part of the state is after October 15, but most years, it is much later than that. We may get a dusting on the lawn, but a frost that covers the roofs and turns them frosty white usually occurs around Halloween. The first killing frost that knocks out summer annuals and the remnants of summer crops usually occurs in mid-November.

Indian summer both colorful and beautiful

Indian summer is a most beautiful season with plenty of color, atmosphere, and very comfortable temperatures. All of nature is in slowdown mode. The crows in the pines are cawing about it and squirrels are celebrating by scrambling for acorns. Before darkness arrives, we are rewarded with the varied colors of a beautiful sunset on the western horizon.

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Slowdown mode works its way to garden plots

Every thing about warm weather is winding down in the garden plot. Only a few pepper and tomato plants are still producing. The cool weather vegetables are slowly replacing the spent crops of late summer. The mustard and mixed greens, Siberian Kale, broccoli, onion sets, turnips, collards and cabbage will soon be covered with a layer of crushed leaves to prolong their harvest into the winter. Slow down mode in the garden does not mean stop mode.

Making a batch of Halloween trail mix

Fill an orange plastic jack o’ lantern with a great Halloween harvest, trail mix and set it on the dining room table and refill it often. To prepare this trail mix, combine, a box of Fiddle-Faddle popcorn, one bag crumbled cheese doodles, one box golden raisins, on bag M&M’s (plain) harvest mix, one pack Nestle’s chocolate chips, and one pack of mini pretzels (crumbled). Combine all ingredients and mix in one teaspoon salts and two tablespoons light brown sugar. Mix well and store in a popcorn tin to keep it fresh.

Tub of cold water cures shrinking pumpkin

After a votive candle burns in a jack o’ lantern for a week a pumpkin can begin to have the “Shrinks” You can provide a cure for this pumpkin shrink by removing the candle and place the shrinking pumpkin into a tub of cold water and leave it there all day. Before nightfall, remove the pumpkin from the tub and dry the inside and outside with a towel and replace the candle.

Plenty of fresh apples for the autumn table

The apple harvest of autumn is now reaching its peak of production. The produce stands and fruit markets as well as supermarkets are glowing with red, yellow, pink and green Granny Smith apples. They can be purchased by the bag, bushel or pound. The very best of all the apples are the tart and mellow, ones such as McIntosh, Winesap, Jona-Gold, York, and Granny Smith. For a real treat, fry some apples as a substitute for dessert. Peel eight or ten tart apples and cut into slices and discard the cores. Apply several teaspoons of lemon juice and set aside for several minutes. In a frying pan, melt one and a half sticks of light margarine and fry the sliced apples until tender. Remove from heat and sprinkle with a half cup of light brown sugar. Serve with cool whip.

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Radish are a quick autumn vegetable

Cool soil of October paves the way for one of autumn’s quickie vegetables. A packet or two of radish seed can be sown in the cool October soil. They will sprout quickly because they love nippy soil conditions. Packets of radish cost around two dollars or less. You can choose from Crimson, Giant Cherry Bomb, Cherry Belle, Cherriette and Perfecto. Plant seed in a furrow about three inches deep and place a layer of peat moss in the bottom of the furrow. Sow seeds sparingly and cover with another layer of peat moss. Apply a layer of Garden-Tone organic vegetable food and hill up soil on each side of the furrow. Tamp down soil on top of the row for solid soil contact.

What kind of acorn crop will October bring?

A huge crop of acorns could be a message of a harsh winter. Acorns on the forest floor could mean that snow will be knocking on our front door. A huge crop of acorns point to a cold, hard winter. If you see squirrels scurry around harvesting and storing acorns, it could be a sign of a snowy winter. Acorns are only a harbinger, we will just have to wait and see.

Enjoying days of Saint Luke’s little summer

We have been celebrating this great stretch of Indian Summer since around October 12, and can expect a few more days of comfortable temperatures that will come to an end on October 16. Saint Luke’s Little Summer has provided a break and a door of opportunity to get cool weather vegetables ready for up and coming colder temperatures and also catch up with the leaf harvest. May Saint Luke will be able to extend a few more of these days!

Using jack-be-littles for Halloween decor

The Small jack-be-little pumpkins make nice harvest and Halloween decorations and blend in well with the Hershey’s harvest Kisses, leaves, and a few harvest colored candles and a scattering of creme pumpkins for added color. The jack-be-littles. These little pumpkins cost less than two dollars each.

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An autumn crunch maple nut coffee cake

The season of autumn is a great time to enjoy coffee cake. This is a great recipe with plenty of pecans in it. You will need one half cup of butter or light margarine (melted), one cup of finely chopped pecans, half cup of brown sugar, half cup of grated bread crumbs, one beaten egg, half cup white sugar, half cup milk, one cup of pancake mix, one teaspoon vanilla extract. Combine a half cup of melted butter or light margarine, brown sugar, chopped pecans, and bread crumbs. Mix all thoroughly and press into a baking pan sprayed with Pam baking spray. Combine beaten egg and white sugar and beat until fluffy. Add milk and pancake mix with vanilla extract and stir lightly until mixed. Stir in three tablespoons of melted butter or light margarine Pour over the brown sugar-pecan mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for at least thirty minutes. Cool for fifteen minutes. Flip out of pan onto a cookie sheet or large plate. It can be served hot or cold.

A garden in all the seasons of the year

A goal for the garden should be to have something producing in it in all seasons of the year, a garden in production no matter what the season may be. There are enough varieties of cool and cold weather vegetables that can extend the garden into every season with a harvest in each month of the year. A garden that will look full of life all year long.

Peat moss is important for cooler weather

When sowing or setting out cool and cold weather vegetables such as Siberian kale, collards, broccoli, cabbage, mustard and mixed greens, turnips, onion sets, lettuce, and radish. Always apply layers of peat moss on tops and bottoms of seeds and plants before hilling up soil in the furrow.

Using organic plant food on a cool weather vegetables

Applying organic plant and vegetable food on cool and cold weather vegetables will promote a healthy harvest in autumn and winter. Organic food such as Plant-Tone, Garden-Tone, Alaska fish emulsion, and Doctor Earth plant food. These are finely textured and quickly absorb into the soil and food during winter extremes.

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Making a colorful pumpkin center piece

A real pumpkin with floral decor in its center will add color to any dining room table. Buy a medium sized pumpkin that is round and orange. Cut around the top and remove the seed as if you were preparing a jack o’ lantern. Place a potted mum in the pumpkin, placing a small towel in bottom of the pumpkin lightly water each week. You can also use an orange plastic pumpkin and a small potted mum.

Indian corn makes great harvest decorations

Indian or ornamental corn comes in colors of brown, maroon, burgundy, gold, and tan. It can be purchased in bunches or individual ears at most supermarkets and produce markets. It can be use to decorate mantels and dining room tables. It makes a great decor just by placing it in a decorative bowl.

Hoe hoe hoedown

-“Untidy sum”- A father was speaking to the young man who had been dating his daughter about his finances. “What will be your yearly income?”, the father asked. “Fifty thousand,” the young man replied. “That’s not too shabby. And when you add my daughter’s forty thousand, that will be a comfortable income.” “Oh, I counted hers in the fifty thousand” said the young man.

-“Let’s make a deal”- A pastor was trying to work out a deal for a lower price on his vehicle repairs. “Remember the pastor pleaded, “I am a poor preacher.” “I know”, said the mechanic. I was in your church last Sunday.”

Night of the “Full Hunters Moon”

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Sunday, October 9, will be the night the Full Hunters Moon shines down on harvested fields and woodlands with an orange glow. It will rise at 4:55 p.m. just before dark and as night falls, it will cast a glow on the wings of crisp autumn air that will make the Hunters Moon even more bright and full. Enjoy this beautiful moon as it shines all night through the bedroom window. We remember coon hunting under a bright Hunters Moon in Northampton County as a kid.

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