Monday, June 23, 2014

When life gives you rhubarb, make pie

Rhubarb is so easy. Just plant it and it comes back year after year. Here's our rhubarb patch, it's three feet tall. Here are my two favorite recipes, sent by my mother and mother-in-law, several years ago.

Cream cheese rhubarb pie
¼ cup corn starch
1 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
½ cup water
2-1/2 cups rhubarb, cut in ½ inch pieces
(This makes too much. The idea is to have equal parts rhubarb and cheesecake. It's even better if there is a little more of the cheesecake topping on the pie.)

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar

1 unbaked regular or graham cracker pie crust

In a 1 quart saucepan, combine first 3 ingredients, then the water and rhubarb. Bring to boil, stirring often until mixture thickens. Pour into pie shell and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Protect edges of crust with aluminum foil. Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Turn oven down to 325 degrees.
Meanwhile beat topping ingredients until smooth. Pour on top of pie. Bake for 35 minutes in 325 oven or until set. Chill and garnish with whipped cream, and sliced almonds or strawberries or blueberries, vanilla ice cream. I think vanilla ice cream the best.

Rhubarb Bars
3 cups rhubarb, chopped
1 ½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ¼ cup water
3 Tablespoons corn starch
1 ½ cup rolled oats
1 ½ cup rolled flour
1 cup brown sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter
½ cup nuts
Combine rhubarb, sugar, vanilla, cornstarch and water. Cook on stove until thick, cool  slightly. Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, soda, butter and nuts. Mix until crumbly. Put ¾ of mixture into 15 1/3 x 10 ½  jelly roll pan. Spread rhubarb mixture on top. Cover with remaining crumbs. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Organic gardening with a DIY composter

Father and daughter, Ken and Emily, spent some quality time together, designing and building our composter.
The composter is a 55 gallon metal drum, with a square cut out to make a hinged door. Then placed on rollers to enable tumbling and up high enough to dump into a wheelbarrow.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Plants that deer don't like, as much

First of all, deer absolutely love hostas. If you like watching deer in your backyard, plant a whole bunch of hostas.
But if hungry enough, deer will eat nearly anything growing in your yard. The plants that have the best chance of surviving the foraging of deer are flowers and plants that have a pungent scent, fuzzy, coarse or spiny leaves and/or an unpleasant or bitter taste. Deer don't usually eat herbs because of their pungent scent.

Flowers that are usually left alone by deer, most of these are perennials

Alyssum - annual
Amaranth - annual
Black-eyed Susan
Butterfly bush
Butterfly weed
Cone flower
Cosmos - annual
Evening primrose
Four O' Clock

Hen and chicks
Marigold - annual
Morning Glory
Salvia - annual
Snapdragon - annual
Zinnia - annual

Deer resistant herbs

Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Spearmint and Thyme


I have found that deer will eat jalapenos when hungry enough, but that's not their first choice.. They don't usually eat onion, potato, squash and tomato plants or parsley or other herbs.
Their favorites as I know from personal experience, are green beans, Swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, carrots, peas and broccoli, beets and other greens.

Renee' has a list of deer resistant varieties, Also check with Michigan State County Extension office

Rabbits are attracted to most of the same things as deer. One of their favorites is young tulip shoots. In the winter, rabbits nibble on landscape plants, roses, raspberries, apple, cherry and plum trees.
Yesterday, I noticed some damage on phlox which is most likely from rabbits. Deer leave torn leaves with jagged edges, while rabbits and other rodents will make a clean cut, often at an angle. Sometimes you can see deer or rabbit tracks, or rabbit excrement to pinpoint the perpetrator.
Deterring small and large (deer) rodents is not easy. We have a joke about deer bathing with Irish Spring at our house, but it seems to keep the bunnies away if cut in pieces and spread around the plants. I planted marigolds around the perimenter of our garden and that helped throw off their scent. Our garden which is also fenced, was not disturbed by rodents that year. There are products available to repel deer, called "Deer Away" and "Hinder"

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Oakland County farmers markets opening

Markets in the Oakland County area are cropping up, offering fresh flowers, transplants and coming soon, fresh produce. Oakland County has nearly two dozen farmers markets and many offer meals, new products, music and entertainment.
In Oakland County, there is a farmers market on every day of the week except Monday. Here is a list of the county’s markets open or planning to open soon:

Auburn Hills Farmers Market, 3308 Auburn Road, behind Duffy’s, open 2:30-6:30 p.m., Thursdays, June 6 – Sept. 26, through end of season, 248-504-8102,

Birmingham Farmers Market, 660 N. Old Woodward Ave., Parking Lot No. 6 N. Old Woodward Ave., north of Harmon, open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sundays, May 4-Oct. 19, 248-530-1200, Strawberry Sunday is June 22.

Clarkston Area Farmers Market, 6558 Waldon Road, in the front lot of the Renaissance High School/Community Education building in Clarkston. Open 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturdays, June 21 to October 11, or find Clarkston Area Farmers Market on Facebook

Clawson Farmers Market, Clawson City Park, 1080 N. Custer open 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. Sundays, July 13 to Sept. 28, 248-435-6500, (Closed Labor Day weekend)

Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market, Walter E. Sundquist Pavilion in George F. Riley Park, Grand River Ave. at Grove St. Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, May 17- Nov. 8, 248-473-7276, ext. 13,

Lake Orion Farmers Market Downtown, 93 S. Anderson Street, two blocks south of Flint Street and one block east of Broadway, near Children’s Park. open 2 -7 p.m. Wednesdays, June 18 to Oct. 22, 248-693-9742.

Lathrup Village Farmers Market, 27400 Southfield Road, Lathrup Village, open 2-7 p.m., Wednesdays, June 4 to Oct. 16,

Milford Farmers Market, on East Liberty Street between South Main Street and Union Street, open 3 to 8 p.m., Thursdays, May 8 to Oct. 23, closes at dusk starting in September, 248-496-7056,

Northville, Northville Downs Track parking lot at northwest corner of 7 Mile and Sheldon, open 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Every Thursday, May 1 - Oct.  30, 248-349-7640,

Novi Farmers Market, at Civic Center Campus, 45175 Ten Mile Road, Novi, open 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturdays, June 28 to Sept. 13, 248-504-8102,

Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford Township. open 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, May to December and 7 a.m. -1:30 p.m. Saturdays January to April, 248-858-5495,

Open Air Orion Farmers Market is 2-7 p.m. Wednesdays at Howarth United Methodist Church, 550 East Silverbell, east of M-24, open mid May to mid October, Orion Township 248-693-7067. 4th Wednesday of the month dinners, 248-693-7067,

Ortonville’s Beets, Beats and Eats, 395 Mill St. Crossman Park, downtown Ortonville, open 6-9 p.m., Fridays, June 20 to Sept. 5, 248-240-0907,

Oxford Open Air Farmers Market, open 2-7 p.m Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, mid-May to mid-October, downtown Oxford, Northwest side of M-24, north of Burdick, by Funky Monkey Toy Store, 248-693-7067,

Pontiac - Goldner Walsh Garden & Home Farmers Market, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays, May to October at Goldner Walsh Garden & Home, 559 Orchard Lake Road, Pontiac.

Rochester Farmers Market, E. Third and Water Street, open 8 a.m.- 1 p.m. Saturdays, May 3- Oct. 25,  248-656-0060, Accepts Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) and (SNAP) or Bridge Cards.

Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak Farmers Market, 3601 W. 13 Mile Road, Royal Oak, open 8 a.m.- 2 p.m. Thursdays. June to October, 248-898-3031,

Royal Oak Farmers Market, 316 E. 11 Mile, open 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Fridays, May to December and Saturdays, year-round. 248-246-3276,

South Lyon Farmers Market, downtown at Pontiac Trail and Liberty Street, South Lyon. Open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 3 to Oct. 25, Saturdays, 248-437-1735,

Springfield Farmers Market, 12000 Davisburg Road, Davisburg, open 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Sundays, June 15 to Sept. 28, 248-249-1592,

Walled Lake Farmers Market, 1499 E. W. Maple, Walled Lake, open 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays, May through October, 248-926-9004,

Huron Valley Farmers Market, 305 N. John St., Highland Township, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, May 3 – Oct. 4., 248-755-1195,

Wixom Farmers Market, at Sibley Square Park, 48900 Pontiac Trail, Wixom, 3-7 p.m. Thursdays, June 5 to Aug. 14, 248-624-2850,