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Columns

  • Visit to middle school cafeteria surprisingly pleasant

    Long before gluten was widely touted as the root of all evil and kale became the green of everlasting life, lunch was my favorite subject during school.

    I remember the guessing game my friends would play during our long march to the cafeteria, were we going to be treated to huge cinnamon rolls and savory chili today. Surely to goodness there would be chocolate pudding.

  • Fair time equals ‘cotton candy’ in trees

    We are less than one month away from fall. Yes, Sept. 23 is just around the corner, but has anyone else already noticed a slight change in the plants? I know my Echinacea, aka purple coneflower, has already gone to seed and the birds are loving it. Some locust leaves have started turning as well. Can we say climate change?

  • Popular, low-calorie and fat-free, eggplant is always in season

    Eggplant is a favorite in many areas of the South.

    Thomas Jefferson, who experimented with many varieties of plants in his Virginia garden, is credited with introducing eggplant to North America.

    Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family and is native to India. Eggplant is related to potatoes, tomatoes and peppers.

  • Bullies are no match for sneaky teacher

    I’m a sucker for a good psychological thriller, and while I try to avoid the movie theaters at all costs because of the outrageous prices for tickets (God-forbid a popcorn and soda for an additional $20) after a glowing review from a friend about “The Gift” – I had to see it for myself.

    The movie plot is chock full of everything a good thriller needs: long brooding silences, dark hallways, long camera pans on actors standing in front of windows and few jump scares sprinkled throughout.

  • There is still plenty of garden work to do

    Do you know what the monkey said when he got his tail caught in the door? “Won’t be long now.”

    Summer is winding down, but that doesn’t mean the garden work is done. On the contrary, fall work saves you a bunch of spring and summer work, and I do mean a bunch.

    I always close my veggie stand Memorial Day weekend, which gives me all of September’s weekends to prepare the garden plots for next season. I’ll need it. It’s a multi-step process to prepare the soil and the growing area for next spring.

  • It’s OK to flirt when married

    Now that the headline of this column has your attention, it’s important to point out that flirting with your spouse leads to a healthier husband and wife and a successful marriage.

  • Not your typical cockroaches

    Wood cockroaches live under loose bark, in cavities of fallen or dying trees or in stumps.

    They are natives of moist woodland habitats where they feed on decaying organic matter. These cockroaches are accidental invaders in homes and buildings in and around wooded areas.

  • Still singing after 40 years

    Those who know me best think I only recognize two music groups: 1. The Oak Ridge Boys 2. Everybody else.

    It’s not quite that way, but it’s close. What can I say?

    I was attending Oak Ridge Boys’ concerts before doing so was cool. I was listening to them when their hits were songs like “I Know” and “Jesus is the Man for the Hour.” A concert meant you got a chance to talk with them at a record table set up in a church foyer.

  • Education is the key to growing great tomatoes

    I’ve had a lot of folks asking me about tomatoes lately. Folks are wondering why their tomatoes aren’t turning and/or why they are so small. I ask what kind they planted and many times they don’t know. I can understand that. I grow so many different varieties I can’t remember all the names.

  • Safe to eat? Food safety myths

    Mayonnaise is not the culprit for food poisoning in the summer. It’s a myth that salads or any other food containing mayonnaise are a major source of food poisoning in hot weather.