Winterizing the Garden
I have a friend who regularly sends out a wonder garden missive on what he’s doing around his farm/garden in Wisconsin, what he’s been observing while out and about and what he suggests readers think about doing in that month in their own gardens. Since I just looked at his latest piece, I thought it might be a good idea to list a number of garden tips for October as everything gets ready for a long winter sleep.
One important point is to continue watering trees and shrubs all month; in fact, up until a hard freeze. Evergreens and trees as well as shrubs and perennials continue their root grown until the ground freezes. This means the plants continue to take up nutrients as well. If you collect seeds from any of your woody or native plants, be sure to sow them now. These seeds need the winter cold in order to germinate in the spring. Not sure where you want to plant the seeds? Okay, stratify them in a sealed plastic bag with some shredded peat moss or between layers of dampened paper towels and place them in the back or your refrigerator.
Now is a good time to add more bulbs to the yard—can we ever have too many?! Think about planting them among your hostas and ferns which will cover the dying foliage later in the spring. It’s important to leave that foliage on until it’s brown because the bulb takes up next year’s nutrients through the sun on the leaves.
October was a time my father dreaded as a boy. My grandfather was a florist and planted huge fields of flowers for bouquets and various wedding and funeral arrangements. A mainstay of late summer funeral arrangements was gladiolus and that meant these tender bulbs had to be dug up in the fall. My father spent many boyhood days in the fields first planting, then harvesting and finally digging up these and other bulbs like Canna lilies and dahlias. Don’t forget to do the same and to let them dry out in an airy and non-freezing area for the winter.
Other areas of the garden to consider would be the lawn. Though October is too late to fertilize, I recommend a good raking of the lawn to provide some gentle aeration. Remember to rake up or mow up tree leaves. Contrary to what some may say, most of our leaves do not help the lawn. In fact, many, like Maples may actually harm the lawn when the get wet and start to harbor fungus or other lawn enemies.
Have a vegetable garden? Harvest gourds and other late developers now and when the harvest is finished, plant a cover crop of winter rye to till into the soil in the spring for green nutrients. If you have weeds in the garden either remove or kill them first or else you’ll have even more come next spring!
Finally, guard your trees from the deer and mice by protecting the trunks. This can be easily and inexpensively done by simply using a three or four-inch diameter drain tile about three feet in length. It may not look pretty, but once a deer or mouse girdles a young tree, you’ve lost everything. Got everything done for winterizing the garden? Then go online and start preparing to receive your 2018 catalogs—it’s never too early. Me? I’m going to some nurseries to look for some bargain shrubs and trees to add to my mini-arboretum!
Helping to Save Houston’s Pets
DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I’m heartbroken over the ongoing disaster in south Texas and Louisiana, and especially for the thousands of pets being displaced and separated from their owners. It stirs up terrible memories of Hurricane Katrina and all the lost pets from that storm. Is there anything that we, who are in safe places, can do to help these pets and owners who have lost everything? — Carol in Buffalo, New York
DEAR CAROL: Twelve years ago, I wrote about the problems caused by Katrina’s flooding, including pets being displaced and sent to shelters across the country. There was a huge increase of diseases like heartworm in pets who were lost outdoors for many days.
Since then, a lot has changed. Disaster planning now requires that pets be considered in cities’ evacuation plans. Shelters in hurricane-prone areas have developed disaster plans that include ways to effectively manage an influx of hundreds of animals.
Ahead of Harvey, many shelters in the evacuation zones transferred their adoptable occupants to other states to make room for rescued pets. Local shelters are networking more closely with each other, with national rescue groups and with the public (thanks in part to social media like Twitter) to coordinate transfer of animals to overflow shelters.
For example, one shelter, Austin Pets Alive!, is taking in pets by the truckload and for several days has coordinated transfers, as well as calls for volunteers and supplies, via Twitter.
You may be able to donate supplies directly to Texas shelters that need them (by ordering them on Amazon, for example) or by donating money to national rescue organizations like HSUS or the ASPCA.
Send your questions, comments and tips to
© 2017 King Features Synd., Inc.
Slow-cooker Corn Chowder
Corn chowder is so much better when it’s cooked low
1 lb. baby red potatoes, halved or quartered
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
8 c. low-sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 c. canned corn
2 sprigs thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. onion powder
3 c. Shredded chicken
1 1/3 c. shredded Cheddar
1/4 c. whole milk
2 tbsp. heavy cream
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 tbsp. chives, for garnish
Into your slow cooker, place potatoes and flour. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Next, stir in chicken broth, corn, thyme, basil and onion powder. Cook on high for 3 hours, or until potatoes are tender.
Stir in chicken, cheese, milk and cream, until cheese is melted and fully incorporated. Heat for another 10 minutes to warm the chicken.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with pepper, bacon and chives. Serve.
This gentleman with hat, jacket with tails, ruffled shirt and patent leather shoes has the clock in his stomach.
The Bradley and Hubbard “blinking eye” John Bull clock sold for $416.
Clocks were an important part of the Victorian home. Large grandfather clocks were kept in the front hall or living room to tell time, ring chimes on the hour and even tell the phases of the moon. The only public sources of time were the train station, city hall or church tower clocks. Smaller clocks that told time were kept on the fireplace mantle and were made to be decorative with bronze figures as part of the case in formal homes, and plain or even comic cases in others. Almost all clocks had to be wound for up to eight days.
Bradley & Hubbard, a Connecticut company that made many iron and other metal items, had an 1857 patent for a figural novelty clock that could blink its eyes. “Blinkers,” also called “winkers,” were made in many shapes. An organ grinder with a monkey, Topsey, Mammy, Sambo the Banjo Player and John Bull examples have sold in auctions during the past five years for prices from $500 to about $1,000.
John Bull is a character who was a popular symbol of England from 1712 to the 1940s. New England Auctions sold a 16-inch John Bull blinking eye clock for $416 in 2016.
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I have a coffee bin that was in my grandparents’ general store in the late 1800s or early 1900s. It’s marked “Dilworth’s Prime Grade Coffee.” The markings were made with a stencil. There is a shipping label on top, but I can’t read the date. Does it have any value?
Dilworth’s was in business in Pittsburgh during the late 1800s and early 1900s. John Dilworth was one of the founders of a wholesale grocery company, which operated under various names until 1881, when it became Dilworth Brothers Co. Collectors like early advertising items and if the lettering is in good condition, your bin has value. The shipping label is a plus. Large wooden coffee bins sell for $300 to $500.
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Toy noisemaker, dancing woman, celebrating new year, multicolor tin litho, wood handle, shaped oval, twirls, 1930s, 5 inches, $15.
Tin plaque, Martin Luther King Jr., portrait, “I have a dream, Freedom for all my people,” 1960s, 8-inch diameter, $40.
Appliqued quilt, American Glory pattern, spreadwing eagle, flowers, scrolling vine border, white, red and teal, 1950s, 80 x 90 inches, $580.
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The 50th Anniversary edition of “Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2018” will be published Sept. 19. Along with Terry Kovel’s reflections on 50 years of collecting, the book features 20,000 listings and more than 2,500 full-color photographs, plus trends, special events and surprises. Check out KovelsOnlineStore.com for the new price guide and other resources.
© 2017 King Features Synd., Inc.