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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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Say goodbye to summer with turkey burgers

It’s a bittersweet time when summer ends. Those summer months are a blessing and a curse, but now the hot evenings, the mosquitoes, the sweat, and the sweet juicy tomatoes are all on the way out. What better way to say goodbye to short sleeves than with an end-of-summer cookout?

Gather your friends, grill up some fresh turkey burgers, open a can of light beer, we used Lost 40 Day Drinker, and pay your respects to the days of bright summer flavor. My good friend Scott McGehee of Yellow Rocket Concepts in Little Rock shared a few secrets to turkey burgers, aioli and Italian salsa verde on the patio of his restaurant. As the chef at Big Orange, which specializes in classic and innovative burgers, he would know a thing or two about the subject. This menu serves six people, so keep that in mind when you’re making the invitation list. (Hint: Double it!)

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Bridal Shoot at Moss Mountain

The gorgeous scenery of Moss Mountain Farm makes it a virtual wonderland for photographers and videographers, and when you pair this stunning backdrop with a beautiful bride, the results are breathtaking.  Jake Reeves from Betwixt Magnolias shared this beautiful behind-the-scenes footage of a recent bridal shoot at the farm, and we were struck by how gracefully the bride interacted with the gardens.  It was like watching someone float through a dream. Take a look!

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Flock around the Clock: Poultry Workshop

If you’re raising chickens or think you might add birds to your backyard in the near future, the Poultry Workshop is for you. It’s ideal for everyone from small-scale chicken farmers to novices wanting a pet bird. Guest speakers throughout the day will discuss techniques for breeding and raising heritage chicken breeds as well as egg production, housing, predator control and more. You can also expect seminars on humane poultry processing, biosecurity and how to choose the best birds for your home flock.

You’ll also learn about the differences between a home flock and choosing birds for the show ring using the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection. Young chicken enthusiasts can learn about careers in animal science.

Best of all, you can meet Allen and tour the grounds of Moss Mountain Farm, which is the staging area for his Garden Home and Garden Style television shows. He will take you on a tour of Poultryville, and you’ll see how he feeds, nurtures, and protects his own flock of heritage breeds. And he’ll be on site answering your burning questions and sharing his long-standing love for chickens.

Lunch will be provided, and some great prizes will be given away. You could even purchase chickens to take home and add to your flock! This workshop is quite a deal! Reserve your spot today before they’re gone!

For budding poultry enthusiasts and 4-H members, P. Allen Smith is offering a limited number of scholarships to attend the workshop. Call Joyce at (501) 519-5793 to reserve your spot.

Click here for event details.

Make Your Coffee with Cold Brew-sion

The idea of hot coffee in the middle of summer is not appealing at all. However, with a little bit of planning, you can enjoy the smooth taste of cold-brewed coffee. It’s all the caffeine, with less acidity. I actually look forward to summer and the opportunity to make it!

Our friends at Westrock Coffee have shared a very detailed method for cold brewed coffee on their blog, and their method guarantees the very best flavor out of the beans. We can attest to their passion for coffee. (More on that below.)

However, sometimes I don’t have the usual implements and need a cold-brew alternative! So, I’ve discovered a few simple methods for cold brewed coffee for those on the go.

Big Batch of Cold-Brew:
1. Finely grind 1 cup of beans.
2. Add to a pitcher with a tight-fitting lid. Then add 4 cups of room temperature water. Attach lid securely. This prevents refrigerator flavors from affecting your cold brew.
3. Let sit overnight, or up to 12 hours in the refrigerator.
4. Strain the mixture through a filter.
5. This mix will be concentrated. I typically put it in a mason jar with a lid, and dilute it in my cup each morning with more water and ice to taste. Add milk and sugar, if you like. And you’re ready to go!

This method makes about 5 to 7 servings!

 

No Filter, Small-Batch Method:
For this, you’ll need a ceramic teapot with a strainer.
1. Grind a handful or two of beans.
2. Add to the mesh strainer section of your teapot.
3. Fill with water. Cover the end of the teapot with a plastic baggy or a dish towel to keep refrigerator flavors out of your coffee.
4. Set it in the fridge overnight.
5. Wake up and pour coffee into your mug. This will be fairly concentrated, so add water to taste. Then add ice and milk and sugar, if you’re so inclined.

 

 

Westrock CoffeeI can’t help but recommend Westrock Coffee for your home brew. It’s what we drink in my office because of Westrock’s passion for coffee and commitment to fair-trade practices. The company improves the lives of the farmers they partner with by paying them a fair price for their coffee as well as offering training and support to increase yields. And I’m grateful for the ability to enjoy a great cup of coffee and help others at the same time.

Fresh Iced Tea Popsicle Recipes

Our episode, featuring a trip to Charleston, S.C., brought us to the only tea plantation in the United States. Tea is so Southern and so delicious, and we got a closer look at how it’s grown and processed on the plantation. And we’re so thankful tea is still around. We can’t get enough of it, iced or hot!

This episode and the heat of summer, prompted a search of the internet for iced tea popsicles. We were inspired by some light and healthy recipes online, especially those using fresh fruit and one with matcha, a green tea super food. These two recipes were tested and approved in our kitchen.

Matcha and Milk Popsicles
3 cups almond milk
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp matcha green tea powder
Zest of 1 lemon

Mix ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Fill molds with mixture and freeze until completely frozen, 3 to 4 hours.

 

16_05041Blackberry Black Tea Popsicles
3 cups black tea
2 tbs honey
Juice of 1 lemon
1 pint blackberries

Reserve 1/4 blackberries. Mix all other ingredients until smooth in a blender.  Divide remaining berries between molds and top with tea mixture.

 

A Guide to Gifts Dad will Dig

Let’s agree dad deserves something nice this year, not the same-old, same-old. Put down that chain-store leather wallet, and let this be the year you go above and beyond for your old man. Start your shopping right here. And if you’re celebrating, check out our Dad’s Day Brunch Menu.

 

AM Leonard Stainless Steel Soil KnifeAM Leonard Stainless Steel Soil Knife
Buy

Every gardener needs one of these for those tedious tasks in the yard. This tough tool can dig into the dirt, slice through thick stems with ease, and the orange handle makes it easy to find if you set it down. The built-in ruler helps you measure the proper depth for seedlings.  It comes with a sheath for storage and to protect this knife from the elements.

 

Cork and Canvas Dopp KitCork and Canvas Dopp Kit
Buy

Dopp kits are trending very hard in the world of men. And this one can work as a toiletry kit, cosmetic bag or shaving kit. It has a cork top that’s water-repellent and stain-resistant. Sleek, durable and made with sustainable materials.

 

Green Envy Garden HoseGreen Envy Garden Hose
Buy

Though attractiveness may not be the most appealing quality in a hose for dad, you can back up this purchase with a lifetime warranty. This hose won’t kink under pressure and remains flexible in sub-zero temps, but let’s hope it never comes to that. It’s drinking water safe and lightweight.

 

Sweet and Spicy Glazed PecansSweet and Spicy Glazed Pecans
Buy

Lambrecht is a company committed to quality, and by that, we mean they consider every aspect in making these incredibly addictive Sweet and Spicy Glazed Pecans. Southern-grown pecans are glazed in sugar and salt, then given a pinch of heat from red pepper, black pepper and chili powder. Dad will inhale them so fast, you might consider buying two. He might remember to savor the second package. Maybe.

 

Pop Top CoastersPop Top Coasters
Buy

You need coasters to protect your furniture, and this one is made to look like old pop tops. It’ll make dad smile every time he sets his drink down. These reproduction soda caps have an aged finish to add authenticity.

 

Folk Art Crows Wall FountainFolk Art Crows Wall Fountain
Buy

This authentic –looking homage to folk art sculptures becomes animated as a wall-hanging fountain. Plug it in to watch the crows move when the pump activates a trickle of water through their beaks. The closed system recirculates water to cut down on waste.

 

Long-Handle Cape Cod WeederLong-Handle Cape Cod Weeder
Buy

Ideal for row crops or raised beds, the steel blades are nearly indestructible and the handle will save your back during long weeding days. This tool is effective, comfortable and durable. Built to last a lifetime.

 

Garden Home Travel MugGarden Home Travel Mug
Buy

Fans of P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home show will love this mug. It has a bright, spill-proof lid that’s easy to spot among the lid drawer. Holds approximately 12 ounces of caffeinated goodness.