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Archive | Home and Garden

Tips to spring clean your deck and patio

SPR-Tips-to-spring-clean-deck-and-patio(StatePoint) It’s the time of year when sprucing up your deck and patio becomes a top weekend priority. Whether you use the space for entertaining or for solitude, you’ll want it clean, comfortable and safe this spring.

Take time to dust off your outdoor furniture and wipe down cushions that have been in storage all winter. Inspect flower pots, bird feeders and other outdoor décor to ensure they withstood the cooler months. Replace anything that is damaged.

Before setting furniture and décor back, give the surface below a good clean. Whether you’re dealing with cement, brick or wood, the quickest and most thorough way to deep clean and restore surfaces to a like-new condition is with a pressure washer. Knowing how to use one properly is important for a quality job and for your safety.

Usage Tips

• Different surfaces require different cleaning techniques. Ensure you’re following the instructions for the surface you’re cleaning.

• Always read and follow the operator’s manual and all operating instructions.

• High-pressure spray can cut through skin, so never spray people or animals. Wear closed-toed shoes and goggles while pressure washing.

• Assume a solid stance and firmly grasp the spray gun with both hands to avoid injury if the gun kicks back before squeezing the spray gun trigger.

• Never spray near power lines, service feeds, electrical meters, wiring and windows.

• Check the engine oil level each time you use a pressure washer. When changing or adding oil, don’t overfill the engine crankcase. Doing so can cause smoking, hard starting, spark plug fouling and oil saturation of the air filter.

Buying Tips

Buying a pressure washer for the first time or replacing an old one?  Here are some guidelines:

• Pressure washers are categorized in groups based upon frequency of use and the types of products and surfaces they are best suited for cleaning.

Selecting the right pressure washer for your needs depends on what you’re going to clean, how often you plan to do so, and how much time you want to spend. Ask yourself these questions before making a purchase.

• Look for a versatile pressure washer that can be used for a variety of tasks. For example, the new Briggs & Stratton POWERflow+ pressure washer has both a high pressure and a high flow mode for different spring cleaning chores. Deep clean your patio and driveway in high pressure mode or clean more delicate surfaces and rinse away debris in high flow mode.

• Consider going green with a model having reduced environmental impact. If you have an older pressure washer, a newer model could offer lower emissions and better fuel efficiency.

• Learn more about pressure washers before making an investment. For a buying guide and instructional videos, visit www.BriggsAndStratton.com.

With a deep clean, you can restore and refresh your home’s outdoor spaces and make them a friendly place to relax and have fun.

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Seasonal home maintenance tips that save time and money

SPR-Seasonal-maintenance-web(StatePoint) If you’re not careful, basic and seasonal home maintenance can cost you a pretty penny and a lot of time. Take steps to simplify these tasks.

Clean and Organize

Even if you use a professional cleaning service, you’ll still need some in-between maintenance:

• Divide clutter into three groups: junk, charity and undecided. Toss the first, give away the second and store the third until you decide whether it’s worth keeping.

• To reduce dirt, use only one entry door into your home and use doormats inside and outside.

• Clean the house and each room from the top down. Dust first, vacuum last. Scrub, wipe and polish in straight lines instead of circles. Squeegee windows and mirrors with an initial horizontal stroke across the top, then vertical strokes, wiping the blade after each stroke.

• Store basic cleaning supplies in an apron or bucket and carry them with you from task to task.

• Change furnace filter and replace vacuum bags monthly.

Don’t miss vents when you dust.

For more cleaning tips or to book a professional cleaning service to give your home top-to-bottom treatment, visit www.MerryMaids.com.

Cooling Costs

Want to reduce cooling costs? Follow these tips:

• Have air conditioning systems professionally inspected and cleaned before the season.

• Keep the area around the exterior condensing unit clear of obstructions to ensure adequate airflow.

• Clean or replace the air conditioner filter monthly to save up to 10 percent on your bill.

• Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for unit maintenance.

• If your air conditioning system breaks down, a home warranty can help protect you from unexpected repair costs. It covers the repair or replacement of many of the most common home system component breakdowns regardless of age, and can be purchased any time, not just when a home is bought or sold. Last summer, American Home Shield responded to nearly 700,000 requests for air conditioning repairs during record-breaking heat waves. To learn more about home warranties, visit www.YouTube.com/TheAHSTeam.

Fight Pests

Termites cause more than $5 billion in annual damage across the country.  Unfortunately, termite destruction can go unnoticed for years and is rarely covered by homeowners insurance.

“If you detect a termite swarm, it could mean your house has already suffered damage,” says Paul Curtis, Terminix entomologist.

While eliminating termites requires the help of a trained professional, there are ways to make your home less inviting to these wood-destroying pests:

• Fix roof and plumbing leaks.

• Clean gutters to avoid water accumulation near the foundation.

• Don’t pile mulch, firewood or soil against your house, which can hide termite activity and allow easy access into the home.

• Prompt treatment and annual inspections can save thousands of dollars in damage repair.

For more information on this year’s termite swarm season or to schedule an inspection, visit www.Terminix.com.

For more information on companies that can save you time and money on home maintenance, visit www.ServiceMaster.com.

By working smarter, not harder, you can save money and free your weekends to better enjoy your home.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Featured, Spring Spruce UpComments Off

Spring cleanups start soon

By Judy Reed

 

SPR-Spring-clean-upsAs the weather warms up and residents begin to spring clean, some municipalities are offering drop off sites to help get rid of the clutter. Check out the list below to see when it’s offered in your area.

Algoma Township: Spring cleanup days are Wednesday, April 23, through Saturday, April 26. Dumpsters will be available at the township hall at 10531 Algoma Ave. Hours will be Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m to 3 p.m. No shovel offs or loose trash allowed. No liquids, no hazardous waste (no paint, oil, fuel, gasoline etc.) No brush or yard waste, no cement.

All tires must be cut in half, propane and fuel oil tanks must be cut in half. Fencing must be folded or rolled up. Barrels must have one end open or be full of holes. Will also collect E-Waste at the same location (cell phones, computers, TVs, stereos, speakers, etc.). Call the township for more info 866-1583.

City of Cedar Springs: The city will collect E-waste on Saturday, April 26, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., during the Earth Day cleanup. A dumpster will be located behind City Hall and manned by Rotarians. Bring all your electronic waste for disposal such as computers, monitors, keyboards, cell phones, radios, stereos, laptops, VCRs, TVs, modems, power cords, etc. Almost any electronic item, working or non-working, with a cord or battery, will be accepted. Computer hard drives will be wiped and destroyed.

The annual brush pickup will be Monday, April 28. Please have brush out by 6:00 a.m. and neatly stacked as close to the curb as possible. No brush larger than six inches, tree removals or stumps will be picked up. They will make one pass through town.

There is no longer a spring trash cleanup date. Check with your waste hauler for pickup.

Also note that the city will be flushing City hydrants on April 25. To avoid staining laundry, allow water to run until clear before washing white or light colored clothing.

Courtland Township: No spring cleanup, they have a fall cleanup in September.

Nelson Township/Sand Lake: Spring cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, June 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 5th and Cherry Streets, near the water tower in Sand Lake. We accept appliances, sheet metal, auto parts and engines (liquid drained), aluminum and copper wire, fencing (flattened and folded), mattresses, furniture, carpeting, clothing, glass, etc. No garbage please. No hazardous or toxic waste. No yard clippings or brush. No shovel offs of shingles and drywall. Will also collect E-Waste and metal at the same location. Please call the township for more info at 636-5332.

Sand Lake: Sand Lake will have a brush only pickup April 17-25. Pile brush along side of the road. See Nelson Township (above) for regular spring cleanup.

Solon Township: Spring cleanup dates have been set for two consecutive Saturdays, May 3 and May 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 15185 Algoma. One 5×8 trailer with 48-inch sides or one pickup box per household. All items should be boxed or bagged, 45 pounds maximum. Tires must be cut in four pieces, car or light truck only, limit four. Appliances such as washers, dryers, etc. will be accepted, but not appliances that used Freon  or other toxic chemicals. Call township for more info at 696-1718.

Spencer Township: Call township for info at 984-0035.

 

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Call Miss Dig before digging—it’s the law

At least three business days prior to conducting excavation on your property, contact MISS DIG at 1-800-482-7171 or 8-1-1 or by using E-Locate at missdig.net.

MISS DIG will notify the public utilities in your area so that they can locate and mark the approximate location of underground lines they own and operate within your proposed work area. For the purpose of clarification, it is not MISS DIG who marks the lines.

You will be required to answer some questions when you contact the
MISS DIG System, including:

Your name and phone number.

The contractor or person doing the work.

The geographical location (county, city, village, or township) of the work area.

The address where the work will be done.

Nearest cross streets to the work site

The type of work being done; for example, installing a fence or building a deck.

Information about the project area that identifies the boundaries for the utility representatives; for example, locate underground utility lines 100 feet from the north side of the house; locate underground utility lines in the entire yard; or locate underground utility lines in the front yard.

When do you plan to dig.

Utility personnel or their contracted locators will arrive on site and mark the approximate location of the underground lines. It is likely that more than one locator will mark lines prior to the dig-start date specified on your MISS DIG ticket.

As reminder: Utility companies will not mark private utility lines that run from the property to appliances such as; gas and electric lines to yard lights, grill, pool and spa heaters, detached garages, workshops or other similar areas. In addition, customers with irrigation/sprinkler systems or low lighting should also mark their own lines

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MISS DIG at 1-800-482-7171 or by dialing 8-1-1 and refer to the ticket number you received during your initial contact.

 

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Bringing life back into your yard and garden

SPR-Bring-life-back-webReturn of the green: Get your grass and garden growing again

(BPT) – Spring season is a time of regeneration and renewal as you prepare to bring life back to your lawn and garden. Taking the proper steps after seasonal changes or severe weather conditions can prove to be the difference between creating a breathtaking landscape or an outdoor space with unsightly mishaps. By following a few simple steps, you can take pride in your backyard year after year.

Inspect and replace your tools of the trade

The first step to creating an outdoor masterpiece begins with the proper equipment. You can’t very well dig, rake or mow with broken or dull materials, so now is the time to inspect each of your tools. Check your lawnmower and other garden essentials for signs of damage or rust. Making sure that your garden tools are in good condition at the start of the season will help establish the right foundation for a successful planting and growing season. “The right tools can make all the difference in creating a lawn that leaves a lasting impression,” says Alan Luxmore, host of A&E’s hit television show Fix This Yard. “Arm yourself with tools that are not only durable, but easy to use. Complete watering systems such as LeakFree by Nelson, offer a turn-key watering experience from start to finish, allowing gardeners more time to revel in their landscaping successes.”

Bring new life into the garden

Once your soil is permeable, it should be prepped for the upcoming planting season by removing dead leaves and plants that may have been left over from the previous season. Use a rotary tiller to break up and aerate hard soil. Once the old material has been removed from the work area and your soil is ready, begin planting your new plants, flowers, vegetables and grass. You can also help your trees, bushes and even certain plants have a more robust look by trimming them back to encourage new bud growth.

Establish a regular watering regimen

One of the most important steps to maintaining a healthy lawn and garden is providing it with the proper nutrients. Using a hose for daily irrigation seems simple but without the proper watering set up, your efforts could be futile. A proper watering guide and the following tips from the watering experts at Nelson can increase efficiency and bring you one step closer to creating a yard with envious curb appeal.

* Give your greens a thorough soaking once in a while to produce extended and robust roots.

* The best time to water is in the morning, when the air is cool and moist. The warmth of the sun and the rising temperature gently dries the grass and the leaves on the plants. And since morning air is damp, you don’t waste water through evaporation.

* Follow a regular watering schedule to discourage bugs by providing them with an inhospitable environment. Insects, with the possible exception of the water bug, aren’t terribly fond of water.

* To be certain your lawn is hydrated adequately when it has failed to rain, the standard rule of thumb is to sprinkle one inch of water per week.

* Use a complete guaranteed leak-free system such as LeakFree by Nelson in order to conserve water in drought conditions, save money and stay dry.

For additional watering and gardening tips, and to learn more about LeakFree technology, visit www.facebook.com/NelsonWateringAndGardening.

 

 

 

 

 

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Leaf Experiences

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

The best learning is a family experience with fun. I was raking leaves and thought about my girls helping or thinking they were helping. Then I thought about when I helped my dad rake leaves or thought I was helping. What I remember best from both experiences is that I jumped into the pile of leaves and buried myself and my girls jumped into the leaf pile and buried themselves.

A difference in our experiences was what happened to leaves—Earth Stewardship. In the 1950’s people up and down the block raked leaves into the road and burned them. My girls learned leaves make good compost and should not be burned. As mulch they decay and release nutrients into the soil or garden rather than into the air. We used leaves to spread on trails at Ody Brook to prevent dirt from getting in the soles of shoes.

A great experience helps kids observe the intricate natural world. They see details and gain basic knowledge, comprehend what they experience, apply experiences to life at home and in the community, analyze what is best, synthesize what they experienced to use for new unrelated purposes, and then evaluate the value.

The experience allows discovery. I did a leaf activity with students when I was classroom teacher and at the Howard Christensen Nature Center. In fall we found a sugar maple and each student collected ten leaves and then we found a silver maple and collected ten more leaves.

In the process the students learned to distinguish leaf similarities and differences for the two species. Learning more about adaptations for the species took us deeper into reasoning and mental development. Students compared the amount of substance in the two kinds of leaves to discover that silver maple leaves were lighter with less substance. They curled and shrivel more than the heavier sturdy sugar maple leaves. We weighed the leaves and found sugar maple leaves were heavier.

I shared that sugar maple leaves do not remove most of the nutrients from the leaves but allow nutrients to fall to ground in the leaf, where they rot under the tree to release nutrients for the tree’s use in spring. Silver maples ship a greater proportion of nutrients to the roots with the sap, and store it until spring for new growth. Both species have unique nature niche strategies for recycling nutrients. Silver maples are floodplain trees and their leaves wash away with spring flooding so nutrients would be lost if dropped with leaves. Sugar Maples are upland plants and their leaves stay near the tree and release nutrients to their own roots.

My dad, like most other dads, did not realize that releasing nutrients into the air by burning leaves contributes to air pollution and increased atmospheric carbon. I like fires and “some-mores” so we burn branches cleared during trail maintenance and make our “some-more” treats. We allow many to decay in the woods to replenish soil health. Most nutrients are in the small branches that decay rapidly so we leave those in the woods and burn some larger branches. We use large branches for brush pile construction for bird and mammal shelters.

Create family experiences and build relationships. Our kids are grown but I still desire help with projects at Ody Brook. I can use the help but more importantly I think it continues to build our relationship. Of course, their lives are full and busy but sometimes we still build relationships working together outdoors.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at the odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433.

 

Posted in Awesome Autumn, Ranger Steve's Nature NicheComments Off

Fresh Market-Jack o’ the Lantern

AWE-JackolanternBy Vicky Babcock

 

Most of us have heard the story of the wily rascal, Jack, and how he tricked the devil and thereby secured his own soul. Many versions of the tale exist, but all agree on the conclusion that Jack—having barred himself from hell and being unworthy of heaven—was made to wander the world, a lost soul.

One such tale suggests that Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. Not wanting to pay for his drink, Jack convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that he would use to buy the drinks. But Jack instead put the coin into his pocket next to a cross, which prevented the Devil from turning back. Jack agreed to release the Devil on the condition that the Devil never take his soul.  When Jack passed away, he found himself barred from heaven. The devil had provided him with a lit coal in which to light his way. Jack placed his coal into a carved out turnip and so the practice of Jack o’ lanterns began.

In truth, the practice began long before the story of Jack. Carved vegetables, usually turnips or beets, were used in celebrations around the world for centuries.  Wikipedia associates the term jack-o’-lantern with ignis fatuus (foolish fire) named for the phenomenon of strange flickering light over peat bogs.  You may have heard it called the will-o’-the-wisp. Gourds were the choice of the Maori, who used the carved fruit as lanterns over 700 years ago.  s gourds (the pumpkin is one) are the earliest produce known to be cultivated by man—dating back over 10,000 years—it is likely the practice of carving lanterns from them extends back thousands of years.  Irish immigrants have been credited with bringing the practice to the United States however, where they discovered the pumpkin made a much better media than the turnips they used in their home country.

The origins of Halloween can be traced back to the Celtic festival of Samhain—the celebration of their new year, the day of the dead—which took place on November 1. The day marked the harvest, the end of summer and the beginning of the dark, cold winter. The Celts believed that on the eve of their new year the bounderies between the world of the living and the world of the dead became blurred and the dead could return to earth. The advent of Christianity changed and blended with the old rites. November 1 eventually became All Saints Day and November 2 All Souls’ Day to honor the dead. It is commonly believed that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic traditions with more sanctioned beliefs and the two holidays share many aspects, including bonfires, parades and dressing in costume. All Saints’ Day, or All-hallowmas—from Middle English for All Saint’s Day—has itself changed to include more of its pagan roots.  All Hallows Eve, or Halloween as we know it today, became the date of choice and the Jack-o-lanterns we all love, once used to frighten the dead and demons away from our doors, can be found on doorsteps everywhere. Trick or Treat, a mostly American tradition, probably resulted from the old practice of feeding the dead.

You’ve most likely carved your pumpkins for this year. Next year, consider saving the bits of carved out fruit (minus the peal) and throwing it into a pot of chili for a healthy and tasty addition. And the seeds—well we all know what pumpkin seeds are good for.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween, everyone—and Happy Haunting!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

If you’ve never had pumpkin seeds, you’re in for a treat!  While these are great simply roasted and salted, you can make them your own by adding your own special blend of spices. If you’ve already carved your pumpkins, consider purchasing another. Roasted or baked pumpkin makes a great addition to soups and stews, breads, cookies and pies.

Basic ingredients:

Approximately 1 ½ c. pumpkin seeds

2 or 3 tsp. melted butter or olive oil

Salt

Optional choices (partial list):

A dash or two of soy sauce

Garlic powder

Seasoned salt (I like Morton’s)

Chili powder or cayenne pepper

Pre-heat oven to 300◦ Fahrenheit.  Rinse seeds thoroughly in a colander under running water, removing the majority of pulp and strings.  In a medium bowl, toss together seeds, oil or melted butter and seasons of your choice.  You can also make a sweetened version by substituting sugar and cinnamon.

Spread seeds out onto a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden, stirring occasionally. Once these start to brown, they will do so quickly, so be sure to keep an eye on them. Cooking times are approximate.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

Posted in Awesome Autumn, Halloween fun, RecipesComments Off

Rob Vander Zee’s ArtPrize

Rob VanderZee’s entry into ArtPrize.

Rob VanderZee’s entry into ArtPrize.

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

Rob Vander Zee, talented young man, was seeking an art project while in high school and has now displayed in Artprize 2013. When I was developing a wetland learning station at the Howard Christensen Nature Center in the 1980’s, it was fortunate that Rob connected with us. I explained a wetlands vision and gave him an image. From there he created the artwork mural that still draws youth and visitors to think about wetlands. Please visit HCNC and become a member.

I gave Rob a picture of a beaver pond and he painted a wonderful realistic rendition. The work entices viewers to think about the world we live in. Rob is at native of Cedar Springs and his work helps people think about the future.

Wetlands are major contributors to Michigan’s recreation economy.  They are economically valuable assets that filter toxics from water, reduce flood damage, are major food producers, and provide desirable sites for human habitation. Wetlands modify weather conditions and determine the depth of ground water tables that recharge city and private wells.  Water moves from wetlands to ground water and vice-versa.  How we handle sewage, fertilizers, pesticides, and toxic substance disposal are important community health issues that are constantly in debate. Safe drinking water is taken for granted and there are those that want to reduce community efforts to protect water quality by reducing government programs protecting our health and the environment.

In the 1970’s we passed the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species. These programs have helped restore conditions that improve our quality of life. Those protections are being challenged to reduce taxes. People forget the pollution costs were more expensive and damaging to health than the preventive tax programs. Saving tax dollars spurs efforts to reduce government programs but at what cost? They may not be perfect but the programs protect our economy, health and quality of life. Rob’s art work hopes to engage people to think about the future and I hope my articles do the same.

When we bought Ody Brook property in 1979, the home plumbing from the toilet went into a 55-gallon drum that had rusted away and other water was piped directly to the Little Cedar Creek. We installed a proper septic system and drain field. It was not until 1976 that government regulations changed construction codes to meet the Clean Water Act and provide environmental protection. We recently added five acres to Ody Brook that has an existing home. That home’s plumbing ran to the Little Cedar Creek without a septic drain field. The home construction predated the 1970’s Clean Water Act tax legislation. We recently installed a proper septic system to protect the stream, wetlands, and water quality for Cedar Springs human and wildlife neighbors.

How many homes still have systems that pollute water quality, fishing, health, and damage our community’s economy and quality of life? The current budget battle in Washington is wrestling with what is needed to maintain a high quality of life in Cedar Springs. That brings us back to Rob Vander Zee’s art.

Rob painted a mural for ArtPrize called Michigan Forest: The Future of Genetic Manipulation on an Eco System. He comments his artwork is open for interpretation. He wants people to think about society actions. His work displays possibilities for the future. He wants viewers to contemplate nature niches and our role as participants in the ecosystem. I hope many of you viewed his work. If not, view and read his comments about the painting at: www.artprize.org/rob-vander-zee.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at the odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433.

 

Posted in Awesome Autumn, Ranger Steve's Nature NicheComments Off

Fresh Market the Cranberry

AWE-Cranberries-rgb

It is commonly held that there are only three fruits native to North America—blueberries, cranberries and Concord grapes. While I am not certain of the accuracy of this statement, cranberries are indeed native to America. Native American Indians used the berry as both a food source and a wound medicine, as well as a dye.  Its name is said to come from a variation of “craneberry,” so called because the early settlers from Europe thought the flower resembled the head of a crane.  Also referred to in various parts of the world as mossberry, fenwort or fenberry, marshwort, bearberry, bounceberry (a common method of testing for quality was to bounce them) and Sassamanash.

The rich red color of the berries lends itself well to festive occasions such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. Indeed, many of us associate the fruit solely with Thanksgiving and have not enjoyed the many dishes that can be created from this versatile berry.  If your experience with cranberries has been limited to cranberry relish, it’s time to open the door to a world of culinary possibilities.  Cranberries—used to flavor meats for centuries—make a good addition to breads and desserts as well as salads and cereals.  Because of their tart flavor they are best consumed in a sugared dish or paired with another fruit such as the apple.

Cranberries are one of the Super Fruits. This nutrient rich berry carries its own natural anti-biotic and has been linked—in the form of juice—with urinary tract infections relief in women. Cranberry juice consumption can aid in the prevention of tooth decay as it helps prevent the build-up of plaque. Studies indicate that extracts may have anti-aging effects.  Cranberries are high in vitamins C and K as well as fiber.  Vitamin K promotes cardiovascular health. It, along with phosphorous in cranberries assists in bone and tooth health.

An Indian legend describes how the cranberry came to be:  Long ago, the Yakwawi’àk, or Mastodons, walked the Earth, placed here by the creator to be useful to man. The monstrous beast was fierce, powerful and invincible and a great help to the Lenape’wàk .  But the powerful creatures turned on them and waged war on all of the animals—a great battle was fought. Many lives were lost and the ground ran red with the blood spilled.  Yet the Yakwawi’àk were nearly impossible to kill! Slowly, the battlefield turned into a great quagmire and many of the hugh creatures drown. The Creator, angry with the monstrous beasts, threw lightning bolts, killing all but one bull. Badly wounded, the beast fled to the far north, where it is said, its evil spirit remains. Evidence of the great battle can be seen today. You can find the bones of the Yakwawi’àk as well as other animals in the marshes. The Lenape’wàk were saddened by the lives lost and the loss of potential food and furs. In remembrance and compassion, the Creator caused the cranberry to grow in the marshland so that it might be used as food for mankind. The deep red color of the berry was to remind us of the blood that was spilled on that terrible day.

Cranberry Cake with Butter Cream Sauce

3 T. butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup evaporated milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed and halved

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in milk.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture.  Stir in cranberries.

Pour into a greased 9-in. square baking pan.  Bake at 350º for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

Butter Cream Sauce

½ cup butter, melted

1 cup sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a saucepan, combine melted butter, sugar and cream; bring to a boil, stirring often.  Boil for 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla.  Serve warm over Cranberry Cake.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

 

Posted in Awesome Autumn, RecipesComments Off

Fresh Market—the Cabbage

AWE-Cabbage

By Vicky Babcock

 

Everyone knows that babies come from the cabbage patch, right? But do you know where cabbages come from?  According to Roman mythology cabbages sprung from the tears of Lycurgus, King of the Edonians of Thrake.  Lycurgus had reason to cry cabbage tears, having angered the god Dionysos whom he had persecuted.  As punishment he was struck mad and in this sad state, slew his wife and sons.

Cabbage is one of the earliest domestic vegetables, likely dating as far back as 1000 B.C.  They are from the family Cruciferae, from the Latin for “cross”, so named because the flowers of this family are cross-shaped.  While many varieties of cabbage can be found today, the most common and familiar to us are the green and red cabbages.  The savoy cabbage, also fairly common, was developed by German gardeners during the 16th century.  Not all cabbages are equal as red and green and savoy all have slightly different nutritional values.  For a nutritional powerhouse, you can’t go wrong with cabbage!  Generally speaking, one cup of raw, shredded cabbage contains only 50 calories and a whopping 190% of the RDA of vitamin C.  It is an excellent source of vitamin K with 91% RDA in one cup, shredded.  It is also an exceptional source of manganese, vitamin B6 and folate as well as a good source of thiamin, riboflavin calcium, potassium, vitamin A, fiber, protein and magnesium.  With virtually no fat, it is a dieter’s dream!

Cabbage, in the form of sauerkraut, was used by Dutch sailors to prevent scurvy during long ocean voyages.  Captain Cook believed in the medicinal value of sauerkraut and his ship’s doctor used it for compresses for wounded sailors.  Long before this the cabbage was recognized as a valuable medicinal tool—Greeks and Romans believed that the vegetable could cure almost any illness.  Both the Egyptians and the Romans believed eating cabbage before a night of drinking would prevent them from feeling the effects of the alcohol.  While I found no support for this theory, cabbage juice has been used to treat stomach ulcers and to relieve constipation and cabbage has been linked to cancer and stroke prevention.

Love of cabbage was the undoing of the Man in the Moon, whom, it is said was banished to Earth’s satellite because he had been caught stealing a cabbage from his neighbor on Christmas Eve.  The heaviest cabbage on record was grown by Scott Robb of Palmer, Alaska and weighed 138.25 pounds.  The largest cabbage dish used 80,191 cabbage rolls and weighed 1,221 pounds.  Babe Ruth wore a cabbage leaf under his hat during games to keep cool—he would change it for a fresh leaf every 2 innings.  World Cabbage Day is on February 17th.  You can use red cabbage water to determine pH—it will turn red in acidic solutions and green in basic solutions.  In a neutral solution it will stay purple.  You can make red cabbage water by chopping up one large red cabbage and boiling it until the water turns a deep purple.  Cool and refrigerate.

 

Sautéed Cabbage

1 small head savoy or green cabbage, about 2 ½ pounds

1 thinly sliced onion (optional)

2 tablespoons butter

Salt to taste

¼ to ½ teaspoon pepper

¼ tsp. nutmeg or ginger

Directions:

Cut the cabbage thinly as for coleslaw—discard core.  In a large pan, sauté in butter until tender and slightly browned—approximately 10 to 12 minutes.  Add seasons and serve as a side.

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Posted in Awesome Autumn, RecipesComments Off