In the Garden: Our blackberry bushes are loaded this year, I'm hoping we will be able to put some in the freezer if we can beat the birds, raccoons and deer! We may be battling grasshoppers for the fruit, I saw in this week's paper that they are showing up early in the Little Rock area. With the mild winter and warm spring, they've already started munching on home gardens. Grasshoppers can wipe out a blackberry bush in a day so spraying is a good idea. Master Gardener Richard Cooper at the Farmer's Co-op says Sevin or Malathion liquid is the best insurance policy out there!
You may be thinking about putting up some preserves while berries are plentiful. Whether you have your own out in the garden or have to buy them, homemade preserves are the way to go. Besides being way better than store bought, they end up costing roughly 50 cents or less a half pint. Nothing tastes as good as homemade preserves on a hot biscuit, you can actually use it for "bargaining power" with the the right people ;-) Everything you need is at your local Co-op, they carry a full line of canning supplies so you can go from berry to biscuit in no time!
If you have the room in your garden, this new and improved method of planting sweet potatoes may appeal to you too! We have a steep incline on the west side of our house that is impossible to mow. I planted pumpkins there the first year we lived here and they did great so sweet potatoes should do well too. The vine cover would improve the looks of the hillside and the bonus would be a crop of sweet potatoes! Visit the Outlaw Garden for complete instructions.
At the Coop: Here's a list that will put a smile on your face and $$$ in your pockets... who doesn't like that??? Every year I am tempted by the colorful annuals but the biggest bang for your buck are perennials.
In the kitchen: Do you remember letters? We used to get them in the mail. No not email, mail! People you loved used to send them once a week because they missed you! Even if you just lived the next town over, 20 miles away you still got a letter from them. Inside would be clippings out of the paper. My
Aunt B. still sends me clippings from from Jay Harshaw's Potluck column in her SW Times Record.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, 3 tablespoons of the cocoa, and 3/4 cup of the white sugar. Reserve the remaining cocoa and sugar (this will be sprinkled over the top of the batter). Stir in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla to the flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
Pour the mixture into an ungreased 8-inch baking dish. In a separate small bowl, mix the remaining white sugar (it should be 1/2 cup), the brown sugar, and remaining 4 tablespoons of cocoa. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the batter. Pour the hot tap water over all but DO NOT STIR! Bake for about 40 minutes or until the center is set. Enjoy with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!