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By Melissa Tucker

A Handful Of Flour With Egg On A Rustic Kitchen

Secrets for the Perfect Pie Crust

by guest writer Jennifer Burcke
(from the Naturally holiday e-mag)

When asked to declare my favorite food to prepare and enjoy with my family, the answer is simple: pie. I love to make pie almost as much as I love to eat a delicious, flaky pie crust filled to the brim with the best of what the season has to offer. If I can share that pie with friends and family, then all the better.

I was blessed with a grandmother who was a gifted pie baker. When we visited her, she would always greet me with a warm embrace and then humbly proclaim, “There might be a little pie.” My feet could barely carry me fast enough to discover what sort of pie she had made in anticipation of our arrival. More often than not, she would delight with not one, but two or three freshly baked pies cooling on the counter.

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antique roses

In Memory: Antique Roses for the Departed

We know cemeteries as place to remember those who have passed on, but many are also a haven for forgotten specimens of flowers like antique roses. This is because many years ago, family members would plant the favorite flower of a loved one next to his or her headstone, and in some cases, those flowers live on many hundreds of years later.

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huskcherry

Introduce Yourself to Husk Cherries

By guest writer Jennifer Burcke
(taken from the October Naturally e-magazine)

I remember vividly the first time I tasted a husk cherry. It was more than a decade ago while shopping at the local farmers market with my young daughter. One of the farmers had a small basket of papery lantern shaped fruits on his table. I asked if they were tomatillos based on their appearance. He was happy to offer us a generous handful of husk cherries to taste while he told us all about these interesting fruits.

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toads

Toad Pumpkins Add Whimsy and Warts to Fall Decor

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Painted pumpkins are an easy and popular alternative to carving the traditional jack-o-lanterns. And the Toad pumpkins, with their small shape and interesting “warts” will add even more whimsy to your designs. Toad pumpkins are easy to grow from seed, have a bright orange color and will need approximately 85 days to grow to maturity. They weigh between 1.5 to 2.5 lbs., which is the perfect size for a project with children. The more water you give it, the more warts it will produce! You can purchase Toad pumpkin seeds from my Home Grown Seed Collection.

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Putting Your Garden Beds to Bed for Winter

14_08559 14_08554 11_11388 Rake On The Wheelbarrow

Prepping your garden beds for winter will make it easier to get a jump start on planting in the spring because working in a soggy, spring bed is a difficult task! It’s far smarter to do that work in the fall when the beds are dry and the weather is nice.

So, if you’re wondering how to tuck your garden beds in for a long winter nap and have them wake up refreshed, start with these five tasks:

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Amaranth flowers bloom in hot summer day

Two-for-One Plants: Amaranth

Amaranth flowers bloom in hot summer day

By Amy Renea
See full article in the September issue of Naturally

Amaranth is an under-appreciated native grain with a host of beneficial uses. It grows easily in most of the United States and can be found growing wild in many U.S. states. Typically, wild amaranth is ‘pigweed,’ but you might also find various cultivars popping up in your garden that have seeded from a neighbor’s garden. My initial exposure to amaranth was in our first house where a tiny seed of ‘Hopi Red Dye’ had managed to settle in the cracks of an aging sidewalk. I didn’t know what it was, only that it had beautiful wine red leaves, so I let it go. That tiny little seed in that tiny little crack with its tiny little red leaves grew and grew and grew until it was 6 feet high. Beautiful plumes developed and seed was set for the next generation. I was hooked for life.

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