It’s a blustery bitter cold day here, 18 degrees. We have only about two inches of snow on the ground, but the wind chill is horrendous. Gizzy wanted his usual walk and we went to the mailbox a little bit ago. He loves the snow and rolls and slides through it and runs in big circles around me. I filled one of the bird feeders while we were out there and then persuaded Gizzy it was time to go back inside.
I know that much of the eastern and middle part of the country has cold weather and places in the south are getting snow that haven’t seen it in years. Expect the colder, snowier weather pattern to persist through the first half of January. After that the National Weather Service is fairly confident that the Jetstream is going to shift back north, and the rest of winter will be milder than normal. It gives us some hope anyway.
The birds are swarming the feeders. The wind is so strong they can barely stay on them. When I was outside I heard chickadee’s calling all around me. Our most abundant birds are the purple house finches, chickadees, junco’s and goldfinches. We have a lot of cardinals and blue jays and several types of woodpeckers around too. I hope everyone is keeping their feeders full.
I’m not much of a winter person. I can admit the snow looks pretty sometimes but I don’t want to be out in it. But it’s the gray and dark days that I dislike the most. That’s why my house is filled with bright lights and blooming plants. The smell of something good baking is also part of winter.
Have you gotten any 2018 garden catalogs yet? I have been getting them for a couple of weeks. I shop a lot on line but I do love to sit and look at print garden catalogs. If you like garden catalogs you can request catalogs from many companies. Most are free. There’s a huge list of plant and plant supply companies to the right of this blog. Click on: http://gardeninggrannysgardenpages.blogspot.com/p/have-youreceived-any-garden-catalogs-in.html
Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate it.
Want to be a farmer?
Even if you don’t want to farm this webinar series by Michigan State University may have some topics that would interest you. If you are thinking about doing some farming it should be right up your ally. Anyone in the US can probably benefit from the webinars.
The series of 15 webinars begin January 17th at 7 pm with the topic of seed starting and transplant production. They’ll be held each Wednesday at the same time but if you can’t participate at that time you can look at a recorded session. The live sessions include a chance to ask questions of the expert teaching the webinar. There are several topics the average gardener may find interesting.
You’ll need a high speed internet connection to take the webinars. Each webinar costs $5 and there’s a half off discount if you pay for all the webinars. If you have never participated in a webinar the link below will explain things and give you a description of some of the other classes.
Gift suggestions for Gardeners
I can’t think of anyone easier to buy a gift for than a gardener. The number one thing you can get them is a gift certificate to their favorite garden store or catalog. If you need a list of catalogs look to the right of this blog where I have assembled a page with links to hundreds of catalogs. Or look around the house- what garden catalogs are lying around? And a gift certificate for a load of compost, manure or woodchips is also appreciated by many gardeners.
Buying actual plants can be a tricky situation unless you too are a gardener and know the gardener you are buying well. If they have expressed the hope or desire for a certain plant and you can find it then that’s probably a good choice. But if you don’t know what plants a gardener likes or has the right conditions for, it’s probably better to go the gift certificate route. And remember live plants have to be properly cared for while you are waiting to give them to a gardener.
There are literally hundreds of gardening gadgets and tools out there for sale. Every gardener appreciates quality garden tools like hand pruners, folding pruning saws, quality shovels and spades, hoses, wheel barrows, carts and so on. You may want to check the garden shed before you buy though to see what the gardener already has.
Gardening clothes and shoes are also good gifts. A nice garden hat, some garden clogs, a heavy-duty garden apron, and good gardening gloves come to mind. Your gardener may like a novelty shirt, a poncho or muck boots.
Some gardeners are also readers, and there are many wonderful garden books out there. I have reviewed some books any gardener would love, and you’ll find a page for those to the right of the blog also. A subscription to a garden magazine is also a wonderful gift. Click on
A gardener with houseplants may appreciate a beautiful or unusual pot, plant shelves or racks or macramé hangers for plants. They may also appreciate grow lights- see the article in this blog for ideas on that topic. Some gardeners may be thrilled with a big bag of a professional potting medium.
Garden décor is another spot where you may need to know the gardeners taste. If you know they collect gnomes or fanciful frogs, then go for it. Otherwise proceed with care. Not everyone wants a statue of the virgin Mary or a purple gazing ball.
Things like weather stations, wind or rain gauges, wind vanes, bird feeders, bird houses, bird baths, and fountains can also be good gifts. Solar lights of various types are also an option.
Grow lights- should you use them?
I have a small house, with limited window space and a fondness for large tropical plants. If I didn’t use grow lights some of my plants would either suffer greatly through a cloudy Michigan winter or I wouldn’t be able to have as many in my collection. To be clear this article is going to discuss grow lights for people keeping houseplants, a few herbs and tropical potted plants and not the kind of grow lights needed for marihuana production or intensive hydroponic food gardens. The popularity of those two crops however, have led to huge advances in the type of grow lights available to the public.
So, should you use grow lights? I highly recommend them if your sunny window space won’t accommodate all your plants, if you keep large blooming plants and if you have no sunny window where you want to have plants. In northern states with cloudy skies and short winter days grow lights may even be needed for plants in windows or in a sunroom. The newer LED and CFL grow lights use a lot less energy than the old bulbs and are less likely to cause a fire.
|I use a CFL grow light on my unheated porch for|
Even 20 years ago plant grow lights were limited to incandescent lights or those long tube fluorescents. Today we have a number of options. Incandescent grow lights are still available but I wouldn’t choose them because they are expensive to operate and give off lots of heat. The long tube fluorescent growlights are harder to find now and the fixtures that hold them aren’t usually attractive and may not fit the space where you have plants growing. They are still good however, for seed starting on shelf type units.
The compact fluorescent or “curly” grow light bulbs will screw into existing sockets or low-cost shop light fixtures. They are cost efficient, long lasting and give off little heat. I have used two types Sunblaster CFL and Agrobright FLC. Both of these give off a natural looking light and plants do very well under them. I have also found that if you are providing light for plants kept primarily for foliage, like many houseplants, that you can use a regular CFL bulb that’s labeled “daylight” with good results.
There are various types of LED grow lights now on the market. These are also very economical to run and give off little heat. The LED lights generally mix red and blue bulbs in a single unit and the light they give off is a strange purple shade. The plants love it however and these bulbs work well for blooming plants like my hibiscus. I have a foot square LED grow light that’s very lightweight and lights an area about 6 feet square when suspended about 6 feet from the floor. I also have a flood light type screw in LED that lights a smaller area (Tao Tronics LED). There are some that look like the old incandescent bulbs.
Halogen and high pressure sodium grow lights are also available. I don’t recommend these for homes where ornamental plants are being grown. These lights are a bit more expensive to buy and run and give off heat.
You’ll probably want CFL or LED bulbs that are rated as equivalent to 100 or 150 watt incandescent bulbs. How much space the light will cover depends on how high the light is mounted and the type of bulb among other things. Grow lights of any kind should be suspended about a foot above the plants for best results. The higher the light is suspended the larger an area it will light but the strength of the light and how well the plants do under it diminishes the farther the plants are from the light.
If the plants seem to be lit up by the light in a darkened room and the lights aren’t too far overhead, you are probably good to go. By the way – the lights do best suspended over the plants and not shining on them from the side. I use two lights in some of my windows that have lots of plants. The lights are about 3 feet from the windows. The plants get both natural and supplemental light. Plants that require the most light get center positions and those that require less get side positions.
Some good hardware and general purpose stores carry LED and CFL grow lights. There’s a much wider selection available on line on sites like Amazon and EBay. Garden supply stores, particularly those that cater to hydroponic or marihuana growers will sell the lights. The lights are a bit more expensive than regular CFL and LED bulbs but with careful comparison shopping you can get some types for less than $10. Make sure you check what type of fixture the bulbs require. Some grow light bulbs require specialized fixtures. I prefer ones that can use normal household fixtures.
I use closet bar brackets to suspend a pole to hang the lights on in some places and in others I use a lightweight chain hanging from a hook in the ceiling. I also have shop light fixtures that will clamp on a shelf. You can take the inexpensive shop light fixtures with an aluminum reflector “shade” and paint the outside of that reflector to match your décor.
Some people have floor lamps or desk lamps they can use a grow light bulb in. The LED bulbs are sometimes enclosed in a fixture you just plug in. Any fixture you do choose should be UFL rated for safety. Be very careful with cheap imported fixtures to check that they have a UFL tag. Most CFL and LED lights are low wattage and can be safely used in most fixtures. But do check the maximum wattage rating on any fixture you use, that information is usually on the fixture somewhere, and don’t use bulbs with a higher wattage than the fixture is rated for.
LED and CFL bulbs are usually safer than the older incandescent bulbs when it comes to starting fires because they don’t give off much heat to combust anything near them. But do be careful not to splash water on them, which might cause them to arch or explode. Also make sure that they are securely suspended so that they don’t fall and break and that they are where people or pets don’t accidently knock them off. Dispose of them as the manufacturer recommends.
CFL and LED lights can last for several years. But plant enthusiasts have found that after about a year of operation these bulbs become less efficient and give off less light. If you are only using the bulbs for the 6 some months of winter you’ll probably get 2 seasons of decent light but after that I recommend replacing the bulbs.
I strongly recommend getting some inexpensive timers for your grow lights. This keeps you from forgetting to turn on the lights or having the lights running longer than they need to be on. I set my timers to give the plants about 12 hours of light. You can adjust the time the lights come on and off to accommodate your schedule. Don’t leave the lights on continuously. Plants do need a period of darkness to do well.
Grow light bulbs allow people like me, who have more plants than window space, to expand their hobby. They allow people to grow plants in dark offices and even basements. I enjoy the brightly lit windows full of plants on a dreary dark winter day. I use a grow light bulb over the desk where I write because I like the light it gives off (and it allows me to have plants nearby). Neighbors may find the red looking light in my bedroom window ( from an LED) a little odd – but who cares?
Are Banana peels safe for plants?
Years ago the only recommendation one frequently heard about bananas in the garden was to bury banana peels by roses. (This was supposedly done for the potassium in the peels.) Now however there are recommendations everywhere about banana peels- bury them in flower pots, lay them on soil around plants, throw them on top of staghorn ferns, soak them in water and use the water on plants and so on. But is there any benefit to this and is it even safe?
Banana peels have both potassium and phosphorus, but little or no nitrogen. When broken down by decomposition a small amount of potassium and phosphorus will be released into the soil for plant use. The decomp process uses nitrogen though and since banana peels don’t supply it they may cause a temporary nitrogen loss. You’ll probably need to add some source of nitrogen to the banana peels for them to decompose well and not rob the plants they are supposed to help.
(If you haven’t tested your soil or potting medium then you don’t know whether it’s deficient in any nutrient. Adding it anyways isn’t helpful, excessive amounts of a nutrient can be harmful to a plant also.)
In the garden a few banana peels in the soil around plants do little harm. They won’t do much for the potassium and phosphorus needs of the plant unless you are using an awful lot of them, but they will provide some organic matter. The truth is most types of food waste, potato peels, apple cores, left over salad and so on, would do basically the same thing. Burying some kale next to your roses would be as good as banana peels. The question is do you want to make compost directly in the garden or in a compost pile?
Using banana peels in houseplant pots won’t do them any major harm nutrient wise- nor will it be of much help. What banana peels will do is attract flies and maybe mice and smell like rotting fruit. Soaking the peels in water and using it on plants is useless, not enough potassium and phosphorus will be leached out of the skins to do anything and you are creating a nasty breeding ground for bacterial and fungal organisms.
But wait – here’s the danger in banana peels
But before you say it looks like it’s harmless and I like to recycle there’s one more thing you need to know about banana peels. Bananas are one of the most heavily pesticide treated crops in the world. A lot of those bananas we eat are grown in countries which have far less stringent rules on pesticides than the United States and European countries. Most of the 20 some pesticides that can be used on bananas wind up on the heavy skin of the banana. There’s a link below to a list of pesticides found on bananas and the dangers they pose.
Organic bananas are hard to find and expensive. Commercial bananas are genetically inbred and diseases and pests of all kinds find them easy to exploit, hence the heavy pesticide use. It’s very hard to produce organic bananas and since very little of the pesticides used on bananas penetrate the skin to the edible flesh, there’s little economic reason to avoid pesticides. Most countries test the edible portion of the banana for pesticide residue and most banana shipments pass the test. That’s good for humans eating bananas but not so good if you are going to take those heavily contaminated peels and use them in the garden.
A lot of the pesticide residue is on the very surface of the banana skin and could be washed off but some does penetrate and bind with the peel. When you add banana peels to the garden you are adding a toxic chemical bomb. No studies have been done to see what pesticides on banana skins are taken up by plants they are buried by but there’s plenty of science that suggests that some of those chemicals could be absorbed. We don’t know if the chemicals taken up could harm pollinators, pets or even people.
Soaking banana skins in water is probably not only creating a nasty microbial slurry but a toxic chemical one also. It’s probably not a good practice to use such water on your houseplants. What if a pet or child drank some of that water?
The amount of pesticides found on banana skins might not have any significance as far as toxicity unless you used a ton of them on crops. We don’t really know. And they may not harm ornamentals like roses. But if you have an organic garden and avoid pesticide and chemical use then banana peels probably shouldn’t be in your garden.
More serious problems could develop if you throw unpeeled bananas in your smoothie as some media sites suggest, or make tea from dried banana skins, another idea thrown out there by some herbalists. If you eat a banana my recommendation is; wash it first, then peel it and throw away the peel.
Folk remedies are not always effective or safe. Some of the products may simply be useless in the garden but harmless. Others may not be so harmless. Many of these products are not the “natural solution” people think they are, they are actually loaded with synthetic chemicals that may work differently in the garden than when they are used as they are supposed to be used.
If you think your plants need potassium why not use a good fertilizer on them, a product designed for plants and actually tested for safety?
Here’s some more links on banana peels you may find interesting.
How to determine if you have dangerous trees in the landscape
Every year thousands of trees are toppled by weather across the country. Some of them kill people and falling trees cause millions of dollars in damage each year. In some cases the forces of nature overcome perfectly healthy trees and little can be done about that. But in many cases trees that are toppled by weather are less than healthy, although sometimes that can be difficult to determine, and unhealthy trees are far more likely to fall than other trees. When these trees have the potential to fall on homes, roads, utility lines, and other personal property, they should be considered dangerous trees.
Winter can be a good time to identify dangerous trees because you can see the structure of the tree. But observance in spring and summer may also be necessary to determine if a tree is dangerous. This article will give you some tips on identifying dangerous trees in the landscape and suggestions on how to prevent those trees from causing loss of life and property.
Species of trees more likely to have problems
Some species of trees have more problems with poor structure or tend to grow in odd ways and are more prone to breaking or falling in a storm than other species. When you are planting trees near homes and roads these trees should be avoided. When these trees are already well established near homes and roads you should take care to keep them trimmed and healthy if you don’t want to remove them. Trees that are more likely to suffer wind damage because of poor structures are willows, box elders, poplars, European mountain ash, hackberry, red maple, silver maple and little leaf linden.
If you have a lot of winter storms with heavy ice and snow then any tree that is evergreen will be susceptible to breaking, but pines often have the worse problems. Trees that stand alone are more likely to have problems than trees within a group because they bear the brunt of any wind.
Proper pruning to keep large limbs from hanging over homes and roads and to keep the tree balanced will help. Watering and fertilizing these trees and treating them promptly for disease and insect problems can help too. But you should always be aware that certain trees are more prone to storm damage than others. If these trees are also hollow or have very poor structure they should be removed.
The black willow in the photo is a good example of poor structure, with multiple trunks, narrow crotches, and crossing branches.
Dead and dying trees
It goes without saying that trees that are dead or trees that are mostly dead could be hazardous. Drought, insects, disease, injury can all cause tree decline and death. Trees that don’t leaf out when others of their kind do or trees with bark peeling off leaving bare wood are usually dead or dying. Trees that have few leaves or yellowing wilted leaves are usually slowly dying. Trees with thin, sparse growth are probably unhealthy. The Emerald Ash Borer has left a lot of dead ash trees in Michigan and many other Midwest states. Where the insect has arrived are often hundreds of dead ash trees in the landscape.
Many people leave these dead and dying trees because they hope they will revive or because they just don’t want to deal with the problem. In some areas if a dead or dying tree is near a road or sidewalk it will be tagged by government officials and removed or you will be told to remove it. Power companies may remove some dead or dying trees near their lines. If you want to save the tree and there are still some green leaves or there is any doubt in your mind about the condition of the tree, consult with a tree expert to see if there is anything that can be done.
Dead trees can stand for a long time but eventually they will fall. If they are going to fall on a home, power line or road its best to have them removed before they fall. Sometimes half of a tree will die, and the rest remain healthy. If the dead parts can’t be trimmed out easily the whole tree should be removed. In some species of trees the roots will send up new shoots after the tree’s upper part dies, but these rarely make a good replacement and should be removed.
You may have heard that leaving some dead trees is good for nature. If the dead trees are in a location where they won’t hurt anything when they fall and you don’t mind how they look, then leaving a dead tree can be helpful to wildlife. Many birds and other animals nest in dead trees. Dead trees have insects feeding on the wood that many animals feed on too.
Trees with poor structure
There are trees that are doomed from a young age because they grow in an unstable manner. This can be caused by improper planting, damage when the tree is young, disease, bad pruning or just because it’s the typical growth pattern of the species. (See the list of trees that often have problems under the species heading.)
Trees that form a deep V close to the ground, or have double trunks are very susceptible to wind damage. Water gets in the base of the V and rot starts there. When trees are young they should be pruned to one trunk, removing one arm of a V if need be. Even when they are larger an experienced tree care company may be able to improve the shape and stability of these trees.
Large branches that meet the trunk with a V instead of an L shape (right angle) are also likely to break in wind or under heavy snow or ice loads. These should be trimmed away from roofs or power lines. Trim the branches back to the trunk, don’t just shorten them. Shortened branches just tend to put out a cluster of smaller branches near the cut, which puts more of a strain on the branch.
Sometimes trees grow with most of the large branches on one side or they lean to one direction. This can come from wind bending a young tree, particularly evergreens, improper pruning, a tree growing toward a sunny area, crowding by other trees or many other causes. Unbalanced trees, especially if the heavier area is away from the prevailing wind direction, are dangerous. A tree can generally be carefully pruned, often through several seasons to restore its balance and make it safer. Never remove more than a third of the tree’s growth at one time, and it’s better to let an expert shape these trees, especially if they are large.
The photo shows a good right angle attachment of a branch to the trunk.
Trees with girdling roots or damaged roots
Sometimes a tree strangles itself by wrapping roots around the trunk just below the soil level. Some species of trees are more prone to this than others and it is more common in urban areas where the tree roots may be restricted ether from spreading out or going deeper. Root strangled trees slowly die and the trunk is very susceptible to breakage at about soil level. If a tree is growing poorly, with a thin canopy and no disease or insect damage is present, it’s a good idea to carefully dig down close to the trunk and check to see if roots are wrapped around it. In some cases circling roots can be trimmed to restore tree health.
Root circling often starts when a tree is planted improperly. Plant trees so that the top horizontal root is just below soil level. Never wrap roots around a hole when planting a tree. If you can’t spread them out trim them off. Roots that hit hard, compacted soil, bedrock or a high water table are also more prone to circling around in the narrow layer of good soil. These trees quickly become a hazard even if the roots don’t strangle the tree because the tree is not able to anchor itself properly. Maples and poplars are more susceptible to root circling than other trees.
Don’t however, fill a hole you dug for a tree with things like compost or topsoil, even if you think the native soil is poor. This actually encourages roots to stay close to the original hole instead of branching out to anchor the tree. It also encourages roots to circle in the hole, which will eventually kill the tree. Adding peat to a hole dug in heavy clay soil may also create a bathtub effect, with roots remaining too wet.
Look at the root ball of trees before planting to make sure roots haven’t already created a circling pattern. Everything should be removed from a root ball, burlap, peat pots, cages and so on, before planting. Not only do these things restrict the quick establishment of a healthy root system but they prevent you from seeing what is going on with the root system. Some nurseries and landscapers still haven’t accepted this practice but numerous studies have shown that it’s the best way to get a tree established and growing correctly.
Many professionals actually gently wash away the soil from around tree roots before planting the tree so they can examine them. Circling roots are trimmed back to before the curve and badly matted roots are trimmed or gently teased apart. You can also see the top horizontal roots this way and these show you how deep to plant the tree- they should be just below the soil surface after planting.
Roots can also be damaged when construction cuts through them when sidewalks, foundations, utility lines, sewer pipes and other items are put in. If a tree loses a good part of its “anchor” it is more likely to fall. If a tree is planted where its roots are restricted, such as in a median strip, or in a container it may develop more “top” than its roots can support.
In floods even well rooted, healthy trees may be pulled out of the saturated ground. There is little that can be done in this case but clean up. When a smaller tree just topples over, pulling up a big area of roots and soil on one side, it can sometimes be righted, staked and be saved, if the damage is corrected immediately. Larger trees usually have a lot of root breakage and are not able to be saved.
|These are lichens, and they do not harm trees.|
A tree can be hollow and still look healthy because the living parts of the tree are just below the bark. This living tissue, called the cambium, has the tubes that distribute food and water throughout the tree. Each year the old cambium layer dies and a new one replaces it. The interior part of the tree, the “wood”, is basically there for support and is formed by the old cambium layers. When you look at a slice of a tree trunk and count the rings you are counting old cambium layers.
When the wood inside a tree rots and falls apart the tree is very vulnerable to being toppled by wind. Some hollow trees will persist for many, many years and then fall in a storm that didn’t seem that powerful. Many things can cause a tree to rot and become hollow. Anything that damages the protective bark layer can let disease and decay into the tree interior. This can be improperly trimmed branches, damage to the trunk from tying a dog or clothesline to it or hitting it with the mower, lightning strikes, or birds boring into it. Decay can start where a narrow crotch forms a V and collects water.
You can often see holes going into the tree, such as the hole in the photo, and examining them may tell you how much of the tree is hollow. A good sign that a tree is hollow or is beginning to rot is the presence of shelf fungi on the outside of the tree. These are large, brown or black hard growths that protrude out from the trunk, (like a shelf) not the lacy green or gray lichens that often cover trees. Lichens are harmless to trees. Shelf fungi are the fruiting bodies of the fungus that is inside the tree breaking it down.
A small hollow area of the tree is usually no cause for alarm. But if the entire interior of the tree, or a large part of it, is gone it is probably not safe. Measure the outside diameter of the tree. Now measure how much good wood is left on the tree interior. You may be able to measure a hollow by looking through a hole and inserting a ruler. Or you may need to drill a small hole to see how far in you go before you hit the hollow. If there is less than 1.5 inches of good wood left for every 3 inches of outside diameter of the tree, the tree is unsafe. There is really no way to make a hollow tree safe.
Removing a tree before it falls can save you property damage or even save your life. Make it a practice to examine your trees frequently.
Tourtiere – French Canadian Meat pies
Meat pies are one of those items that have popularity in many parts of the world and each family who enjoys meat pies and makes their own may have a slightly different recipe. My family is of French Canadian ancestry and meat pies have always been part of our Christmas breakfast. First my paternal grandmother made them, then my father and now I make them, along with some of my sisters, to carry on the tradition.
Typically, French Canadian Catholics ate meat pie after midnight mass. In our family that was moved to later, on Christmas morning. My mom always needed to have fruit salad for Christmas morning too. Our meat pies were spicy with black pepper and liberally doused with ketchup- which is also a common topping in Canada.
You can vary the spices in your meat pie, I have seen old recipes use thyme, rosemary, bay, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, as well as pepper and garlic. Onions are a part of most meat pies. Our meat pies always had potato in them- my grandfather also liked turnip in them when he had some. But in earlier times it was said that only those poor enough not to have much meat added potatoes.
I use ground beef and some spicy sausage in my meat pies, but others add venison, ground pork, veal or lamb. About 3 pounds of meat will make two standard pies. Feel free to experiment with meats and spices to make your own family recipe.
2 pounds of lean ground beef
1 pound of spicy (hot) ground sausage
6 cups of frozen Potatoes O’Brian (potatoes with onions and peppers)
Or 4 cups of finely diced potatoes and 2 cups of finely diced onion
½ teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon seasoned salt (or to taste)
pie dough for 2 double crust pies
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Put bottom crust in each pie pan. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large skillet, fry beef and sausage with spices until lightly browned. Drain off any grease.
Add potatoes O’Brian. (No need to thaw)
Cook, stirring often to keep meat and potatoes from scorching or sticking until the potatoes are soft. Drain off any remaining grease.
Mash the meat and potato mixture with a potato masher or spoon so that the mixture is uniform, with no large pieces of meat or potatoes remaining. (Taste the mixture to see if more spices are needed and adjust to your taste.)
Fill pie crusts with hot meat mixture and top with the upper crust. Put a few slits in the top crust and brush with melted butter.
Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Serve warm with ketchup. (Some people like a beef gravy instead.)
Note: pies can be made ahead, cooled, wrapped tightly and frozen. Defrost and heat thoroughly in oven before serving.
Hot cocoa and warm cinnamon rolls, now that’s what winter’s good for!
“He who has a garden and a library wants for nothing” ― Cicero
© Kim Willis - no parts of this newsletter may be used without permission.
And So On….
Find Michigan garden events/classes here:
(This is the Lapeer County Gardeners facebook page)
An interesting Plant Id page you can join on Facebook
Here’s a seed/plant sharing group you can join on Facebook
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I write this because I love to share with other gardeners some of the things I come across in my research each week. It keeps me engaged with people and horticulture. It’s a hobby, basically. I hope you enjoy it. If you are on my mailing list and at any time you don’t wish to receive these emails just let me know. If you know anyone who would like to receive a notification by email when a new blog is published have them send their email address to me. KimWillis151@gmail.com