Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Barbeque or Grilling: What's the difference?

Summer is almost here and it's time to B-B-Q! Well, according to the experts, what most of us do in our backyards on our electric ignition gas  or charcoal grills, is grilling not barbeque.

Barbeque is the "low & slow" smoking & cooking of meat, fish & veggies by means of indirect heat.  Grilling is the quick cooking of  meats, fish & veggies by direct heat either through the use of gas flame or charcoal briquets. You know, giving those beautiful grill marks!

According to Mike from Beefy's Bar-B-Q in Bradenton, Florida: northern barbeque is usually cooked on an open pit whereas southerners use a closed pit. Since Mike hails from Maryland, his barbeque is open pit and very tasty. We met up with him at the Heatstroke Hot Rod Hoedown this past weekend.

The beef was fabulous and this vegetarian enjoyed half my husband's sandwich. Choosing the sauce was difficult since he had so many to pick from.

Mike can be reached at (941) 918-9670 for special event catering.

Look for a lesson in barbeque & grilling coming in the next edition on

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Taming of the Beast; Clearing Vines from the Trees

If vines are allow to climb up your trees, they can take over the tree & kill it as they will shade the trees leaves & block out all sun.

Since NOTHING likes full sun in Florida, I've decided to start clearing the vines from the area near the creek & leave only the shrubs & trees for partial shade of the borderline Zone 9 edibles I wish to grow.

Morning sun will come right in, but afternoon shade will keep the plants from wilting in the summer heat. Well, at least that's my hope.

So where to begin?

1. Start from the outer edge.

2. Clip as close to the ground as possible as many vines as I can get to.

3. Then I clip the same vines as high as I can reach with my telscoping loppers ( love them).  I found that if I just clip at ground level, the new sprouts will just grab onto the old vines all climb again.

4. Then, I rake out that small section or row. This will expose ones that I missed in the ground, so I clip them out.

5. Then I do another section or row, raking all the clippings out to a big pile in the sun to cook so they won't try to re-root.

6. Some vines are full of thorns so doing layers at a time helps from getting snagged all over.

7. Slowly, I will reach the epicenter of this mess, which is one gnarly, twisted multi-trunked bohemouth!  He will have to be cut with a chain saw.

8. To help prevent new growth, I'm layering cardboard from shipping boxes where I want my new beds to be and covering with pine needles and all my new composting materials from the yard.

9. In about 6 months I can go back to the dead vines still hanging in the trees and pull them out, but
I have way too much to do that, so I will let nature take care of shedding the dead vines

This is quite a workout, so I am doing it in sections, a little at a time. Of course, this will be a continual maintenance, but if I don't let it get out of control, I should have a wonderful, fertile & partly shady garden!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wild Bunny nest inside the garden fence!

When staking a tomato plant in the fenced garden (fenced with rabbit fencing), I heard a grumbling. Thinking I impaled a poor frog, I cleared the mulch & some soil to see, 3 baby bunnies!

The gate to the garden had been open 1 nite the previous week, so now what?

I have to keep the gate closed, everything is up & growing beautifully.  If I close it, will I keep Mom from nursing?
I decided to keep the gate closed & keep track on them to make sure they were being fed, they were too cute to kick them out.

So, I checked out bunny life online. Here'e some interesting facts:

Bunny nests may be found anywhere, even in the open. Mine was fortunately under a layer of leaf mulch, keeping them safe from hawks & snakes and high temps, it's been 80's here lately.

Mom's come to nurse in the middle of the nite for 5-10 minutes only a day! Milk is so rich that's all they need.

It's best to leave them alone & not try to rescue them, as wild rabbit rescue usually fails.

To check that they are getting fed, pinch the back of the neck. If the skin stands up like a tent, they are dehydrated and need help. Also, their tummies will be rounded and not sunken in.

Checking on them every day, they always seemed well fed. (don't know how Mom was getting in)They didn't mind me touching them when they still had their eyes closed, but once open, they would try to hop around when I touched them.

Today, 2 weeks later, they have left the nest. During their stay, Mom nor the babies ate any of my veggies except for a little nibbling on my peanut plants.

I wish them good luck & thank them for being such good garden guests!