You Didn’t Say, “Dibby-Dabs!”

While growing-up we all learn many lessons. In my house, a powerful lesson is to say “Dibby-dabs” when you are leaving your seat to ‘save’ it when you came back. If you forget to say it, you just lost your seat.
image

As you can see, I forgot to say Dibby-dabs.

Copyright – Ilex Farrell

Fried Turkey, Stuffin’ et al!

We’ve been frying our turkey for years now. I’m not going to get into all the rules for frying here, although there are some funny EPIC FAILS on this topic!

I will share my recipe for stuffing though. Many who have come over to my house for Turkey Fry Friday in the past have asked me for it.

image

I am horrible about placing ‘amounts’ on ingredients, as I add more of what I like and less of what I don’t. With this recipe, there really is no wrong answer. However, have these thing for the base and add things you like including: pork sausage, celery, carrots, use cornbread instead of plain bread, cranberries, raisins, water chestnuts (nice crunch!) or even nuts.

image

Melt a stick of butter in a large pot. Cut up and combine everything except the chicken broth and stuffing. Here you see: Onion, Mushrooms, Celery and Apples.

I’m not really cooking it, just getting it started. I then add my seasonings like: Onion powder, salt/pepper, garlic, rosemary and of course some thyme. After this, I add my chicken broth.

image

I then put my stuffing into a large bowl.

**As my family celebrated Thanksgiving November 2nd this year, ironically, I could not find stuffing (dried bread quarters) to save my life. I used fresh bread this time and the stuffing turned out like a bread pudding. Actually, everyone liked it more than normal!

Back to the directions…

Pour the pot mix over the stuffing and mix. Depending on how you like your stuffing (dry or moist) add more chicken broth or more stuffing to compensate. At this point I take a taste to see what I came up with. I tend to make mine moist, however you will loose some moisture cooking, be aware.

image

Smash either into your turkey or into a oven safe dish if you are frying. Remember, you CANNOT fry the turkey stuffed. Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes.

image

Although you really don’t need to inject anything into the bird for moisture, we like to add some garlic butter for some zing.

image

Although my family loves the jelly-type cranberry sauce, I find it quite disgusting. This year I made fresh cranberry sauce, something I never thought of doing. It was a big smack to the head as to how easy it is and why I’ve not been doing it over the years.

  • 12oz of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water

Other additions (after cooking): orange slices, raisins, cinnamon..

Boil all 3 ingredients while stirring until the berries ‘pop’. You will hear it. Then remove from heat, let cool and add other enhancements if wanted.

image

Turkey Time!!

Most of the fails happen upon entry. Be sure your turkey is defrosted, dry (water will make it splatter) and you use the ‘2 person + pole’ method of dunking for safety.

image

Almost down!

image

It only takes 3 1/2 minutes per pound @ 350F. Pretty quick, IMO.

Hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving!!

Copyright – Ilex Farrell

Ilex vs. Tar Spot on Maple

There are several fungi in the genus Rhytisma (most commonly Rhytisma acerinum and Rhytisma punctatum) that cause tar spot on maples and sycamores. These fungi commonly survive in over-wintered leaf litter, where they produce spores that lead to leaf infections.

image

The first symptoms of the fungus usually start in mid-June as small (less than 1/8 inch diameter), pale yellow spots. The spots enlarge and their yellow color deepens as the season goes on. Next a black spot will develop in each yellow spot by mid-July to early August. The black spot grows in diameter and thickness and soon looks like a spot of tar by the end of summer.

image

This fungus is only unsightly and NOT detrimental to the tree. Treatment is usually not necessary, costly if attempted and most of the time, ineffective.

image

The best defense in keeping tar spot out of your trees is to rake up and destroy all infected leaves in the fall. Leaves should be burned or properly mulched. The fungus can overwinter on fallen leaves and provide a source of inoculum to re-infect the trees for the next growing season.

Copyright – Ilex Farrell

Softy Hands

GAAA! I’m melting!

image

I remember when I was a child and used to coat my hand in Elmer’s glue, let it dry and peel it off my hand. Of course the point was to peel it off in one piece. This was only done out of boredom.

I have now graduated to using paraffin wax to soften my paws, not to make skin sculptures. Since this last week I’ve been making winter pots and I hate wearing gloves when I work, so my hands are beat to sh*t. I will need to do this nightly for a week to recover from the abuse!

image

This is great to do in the winter. It’s warm and really softens dry, cracked hands. As it solidifies, it’s fun to squish it between the fingers.

image

Ahhhh, mushy!

 

Copyright – Ilex Farrell

How to Create an Outdoor Winter Pot

My office for the next few days.
image

This week kicked off the winter pot brigade! It generally slows down enough for me to help make the 100 or so winter pots my company installs before Thanksgiving. Out of the 100 or so we make, about 10 are Christmas containers, but we like to use the nondescript term of ‘winter pots’, because 98% of our client base is Jewish. No red, no berries, no sparkles, no holly, no bows, no garland, nothing related to Christmas! These limitations aren’t that difficult, there are many other options available. I like a non-Christmas pot myself, as it can be displayed after Christmas without looking like you were lazy in removing the holiday displays. Sometimes I use something easily removable such as lighted sticks, or sprigs of red berries that can be removed from the display and the pot can continue on into January and beyond.

image
image
IMG_2350
IMG_2426
IMG_2447

We pre-fab these at the office and the crews deliver these to the client’s homes. You can skip many of the next steps if you already have a prepared pot of soil. We make them this way so we don’t have to stand outside and do it! I think this almost falls into that category of, ‘Lazy man works the hardest!’ Ha!

We use nursery pots that closely fit the size of our client’s containers. Cut a plastic sheet to fit over the bottom holes. This slows or stops the water from draining and helps freeze the display in place. Next, add florist foam to the middle for stability of the larger ‘thriller’ items, as these could be rather large birch poles. Then fill the rest of the pot with a 50/50 soil/sand mixture. Be sure to really stuff that soil into the pot. The better packed soil helps hold the display in place from precipitation, the weight of snow and wind.
image

image

image

image

image

Copyright – Ilex Farrell

This is How You Do It To It!!

I’m not a pool player… However, my husband is a regular Mike Massey.

Though I seem to be attracted to pool players, I’ve never been very good at the game. I never learned more than how to hold a stick, which end to hit the ball with and it’s the WHITE ball I should hit with the stick.

My husband doesn’t really enjoy playing with me, as he feels it will hurt my ego to have all my balls on the table as he hits the 8 ball in. Eh, I really, truly don’t care. I get excited when I make one good shot, whether I win or loose.

We have found one game that we can both play somewhat competitively called ‘Bottle Pool’. It’s basically played with only two balls, a cue ball and a (plastic) bottle that is placed in the middle of the table. You gain points by hitting balls (after hitting a rail), having them go in or the most points can be had by knocking over the bottle with one of the regular balls. Oddly, I can do carrum shots pretty well & that is what this game is all about!

So, one night I was feeling frisky and figured we could go to the local watering hole / pool hall and get in a few games. Not many pool halls want you playing bottle pool for obvious reasons, so we chose to stick with 9-ball, as this game has the rule of slop, meaning that if you got a ball in that you didn’t intend on getting in, it still counted and you could shoot again. This bodes well for beginners.

It was the fourth game after a few brutal matches of me just moving balls around the table… However, he let me break this time… His Loss!!

BOOM! 9 Ball in on the break – Game winner!

2012-09-22 20.40.09

I retired from pool that night on a high note!!

Girdling Root – A Slow Death For a Tree

As an arborist, many things make me sad when I see a dead tree. Most of these trees did not have to die a slow death. A girdling root could have been prevented during planting. If the planter would have examined the tree’s rootball before installation and planted this tree correctly, this tree may have been alive today.
image

image

Firewood.