Serve up style with new trays

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - Bob Bey­fuss Gar­den Tips Bob Bey­fuss lives and gar­dens in Schoharie County. Send him an e-mail to rlb14@cor­nell. edu.

The hol­i­days are the perfect chance to show off spe­cial serve­ware and update your kitchen.

I hope you had a won­der­ful Thanks­giv­ing with fam­ily and friends and I hope that at least one of the dishes served was some­thing that you grew your­self. I had some home grown win­ter squash served with lo­cal maple syrup as well as the last of my fin­ger­ling pota­toes. Most of the pota­toes were re­ally not much big­ger than my thumb, thanks to this sum­mer’s drought, but they re­ally do taste dif­fer­ent than store-bought ones. If you have not grown pota­toes I would rec­om­mend that you give them a try next year. I also have some smoked wild tur­key breast meat in the freezer from the bird I bagged in May, but that is re­served for sand­wiches on fish­ing trips.

I did not bring any Brus­sels sprouts down to Florida with me, be­cause my fam­ily is not all that fond of these tasty mini-cab­bages, but I did bring a dozen pints of home-made pick­les. My kids deep fried the But­ter­ball tur­key they bought, which is some­thing of a South­ern tra­di­tion that I used to be skep­ti­cal of, but I have come to re­ally like tur­key cooked like this!

Last week’s snow­storm was a re­minder of what win­ter in up­state New York is sup­posed to be like. Last year’s open, mild, win­ter is not likely to re­peat it­self very of­ten in our lives, de­spite global cli­mate change. Cli­mate change has al­ways been oc­cur­ring since this planet was formed and the ques­tion our lead­ers are deal­ing with now is how much of the change is due to re­versible hu­man ac­tiv­ity. Specif­i­cally, the burn­ing of fos­sil fu­els such as oil, gas and coal, which puts car­bon diox­ide as well as other pol­lu­tants in the at­mos­phere.

Whether hu­man pol­lu­tion will cause the glaciers to melt in the next 20 years or so is de­bat­able, but there is no doubt that we need to find a dif­fer­ent source of en­ergy.

Fos­sil fuel emis­sions kill or sicken mil­lions of peo­ple each year all over the earth and that fact is not de­bat­able re­gard­less of your po­lit­i­cal views. Sev­eral friends of mine have vis­ited

China in re­cent years where the air pol­lu­tion is so bad that al­most ev­ery­one wears masks in the city or de­vel­ops a char­ac­ter­is­tic cough. It was not all that many years ago when air pol­lu­tion from auto emis­sions alone caused a vis­i­ble haze over most cities here in the U.S. and made many peo­ple sick.

We have made strides

in re­duc­ing emis­sions, but the bot­tom line is that the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine needs to be re­placed, not re­fined, as our main source of en­ergy. OK, I will get off my soap­box and onto a few tips for the up­com­ing win­ter.

Most of us know that rock salt is toxic to all plants and road­side trees and shrubs along highly salted roads are most at risk. You can put 3or 4-foot wide strips of black plas­tic mulch over the ground be­tween your plants and the road which will keep some of the salt from leech­ing into the root zone. For drive­ways, door­ways and foot walks, you can use cal­cium chlo­ride or some of the other less toxic al­ter­na­tives to pro­tect plants. These prod­ucts are far more ex­pen­sive than rock salt, but

they are also much more ef­fec­tive. Rock salt is ac­tu­ally pretty use­less when the tem­per­a­ture is below 20 de­grees and it is also very cor­ro­sive to con­crete.

In a pinch, you can use reg­u­lar fer­til­izer, such as 10-10-10 as a de­icer, but this is even more ex­pen­sive and can also burn nearby plants. Wood ashes from the fire­place or wood­stove will in­deed im­prove trac­tion, but they make a huge mess when tracked into the house as does kitty lit­ter. Fi­nally, make sure you con­tinue to wa­ter any trees or shrubs you planted this past sum­mer un­til the ground freezes solid.

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