SPRING 2011 HOME AND GARDEN
A supplement to the Skamania County Pioneer
A proud part of DeVaul Publishing, Inc.
Pioneeer Home and Garden
Spring Clean Your Home’s Exterior
When spring cleaning your home, it’s easy to focus on interior closets and drawers and forget the first thing any visitor will see -- your home’s exterior. But outdoor surfaces and fixtures need your attention, too. “Outdoor furniture can collect grime and rust during winter,” says Alison Gutterman, President of Jelmar, manufacturer of CLR cleaning products. “It’s important you clean them annually with an effective yet safe cleaner that won’t harm your lawn or garden.” Make sure your spring cleaning includes these outdoor dirt-magnets: Siding and Windows Even if you’re not putting a fresh coat of paint on your house this year, it’s important you clean any facade or siding that’s prone to grime. Use a power washer and start at the highest point to avoid washing dirt down onto clean areas. Pressure washers also make window cleaning easier. But be careful using them on wooden areas such as decks and window frames. The force of the spray often damages the surface of porous materials like wood. Outdoor Furniture Whether you conscientiously stored your patio furniture for the winter, or left it outside exposed to the elements, it’s likely your outdoor table and chairs need a once-over before they’re ready for use. When choosing cleaning products, make sure they’re biodegradable so they won’t harm your plants or lawn. Then rinse the furniture and the grass with your hose after cleaning. You should also choose a cleaning
product that’s safe for furniture, such as CLR Outdoor Furniture Cleaner, which can be used on plastic, wicker, wood, wrought iron, canvas and other outdoor materials. Also look for UV protectants to keep your furniture from fading in bright sun. Gutters Clean gutters prevent flooding and roof damage. The best way to check if your gutters need cleaning is to look up at the outside rim of the top of the gutter. If there is discoloration, there likely is buildup in the gutter making it difficult for water to flow. When cleaning gutters by hand, you can create a “gutter scoop” by cutting the bottom half off a plastic gallon jug with a box knife. Then, after removing any leaves, twigs or debris, flush the gutters with water to clean them properly. Screens and Filters The best way to clean window screens is to lay them flat on a cloth or soft surface outdoors to keep the frames from getting scratched. Then, hose them down and scrub gently with an all-purpose cleaner. Finally, rinse the screens again and tap off any excess water. Air conditioning filters should also be changed as part of your spring cleaning, especially if anyone in your family has allergies. Always refer to the owner’s manual to determine the location of the filter and the size needed to ensure the proper fit. For more spring cleaning tips, visit www.jelmar.com. Remember, keeping your home’s exterior clean makes a big difference.
Cover photo: Peg McLarney sells statice and other flowers from her booth at the Gorge Grown Farmers’ Market, held all summer on Saturday mornings in Stevenson. The market will return this season, joined by a new one Tuesday evenings in Carson. (Photo - Joanna Grammon)
*Mail-in offer only. See store for complete details. Offer good on select Whirlpool® appliances. Void where prohibited by law. Cards are issued by Citibank, N.A. pursuant to a license from MasterCard International Incorporated. MasterCard is a registered trademark of MasterCard International Incorporated. Prepaid Card can be used everywhere Debit MasterCard cards are accepted.®Registered trademark/TM Trademark / of Whirlpool U.S.A. ©2011. All rights reserved. ®Registered trademark/™Trademark of Maytag Properties, LLC or its related companies. ©2011. All rights reserved. 1 Estimates established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department Of Energy to calculate the savings in energy and/or water costs over the lifetime of the product. Actual savings my vary based on use and other factors.
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Best home improvements for your renovation dollars Homeowners renovate for two basic reasons: money and fun. Or, more precisely, they undertake home improvements to improve their home’s resale value or their enjoyment of their house. The best home improvements, however, are ones that deliver on both objectives. Americans will spend nearly $141 billion on remodeling in the first half of this year, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. If you’ll be among the many homeowners opting to improve, rather than move, you may be wondering what renovations are likely to give you the best balance of enhanced resale value and immediate enjoyment. Here are five home improvements - from budgetfriendly to big budget - that provide noteworthy return on investment (ROI) in terms of increased value and improved enjoyment: 1. Skylights You can lower your electric bill by installing skylights that will reduce dependency on artificial light and fill your home with natural light. You can obtain quality, energy-efficient, “No Leak Skylights” from Velux for around $800 per unit for a standard fixed skylight with flashing kit. You can find a local installer to provide a customized cost estimate at www. veluxusa.com. In terms of positive energy, the mental and physical health effects of exposure to natural
light are well documented. They’re also an effective privacy preserver for bathrooms where you might not want a wall window. Skylight and sun tunnels (skylights that use reflective tubes to bring sunlight into rooms without direct roof access) not only enhance the energy efficiency of your home, they just may make you feel better about living there. 2. Decks Whether you go for wood or composite, adding a deck is a great way to boost resale value, expand your living space and up your enjoyment of your home environment. On average, homeowners who add a wood deck can expect to recoup more than 80 percent of its cost when it comes time to sell, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 20092010 Cost vs. Value Report. Composite deck additions return about 71 percent at the time of resale. 3. Kitchens It makes sense that the room where most families spend the bulk of their time would be a popular remodel - and one that pays off big in terms of value and comfort. Even a minor kitchen remodel - costing about $21,000 - will return about 78 percent of its value on resale, according to Remodeling Magazine. A major kitchen job, costing around $57,200, will recoup about $41,200, or 72 percent. 4. Baths Whether you’re tackling a major job that in-
volves knocking out walls and changing fixtures, or just making cosmetic improvements like upgrading faucets and repainting, remodeling a bathroom goes straight to the heart of our craving for comfort. Americans view their baths as far more than a place to get clean and take care of other necessities. Even if you’re not creating a home spa, improving the bathroom is sure to boost your home’s resale value and increase your satisfaction with the room. Remodeling Magazine says the average bathroom remodel costs around $16,100 and returns up to 71 percent of that cost at the time of sale. 5. Basement/attic remodel With more families staying put in the homes they have, rather than moving up to larger homes, many Americans are looking for ways to expand their living space while staying in place. Attic and basement remodels are great ways to add usable, livable space at a fraction of the cost of building an addition. The lingering effects of the Great Recession have multiple generations living together under one roof again, and many of these families create bedrooms, bathrooms or even family rooms in unfinished attic or basement space. Everyone appreciates the extra room, and attic renovations and basement remodeling yield resale returns of 83 percent and 75 percent, respectively, according to the Cost vs.Value Report.
Cheep entertainment... A male Black-Headed Grosbeak hangs out at a Carson feeder in spite of a downpour. Note the shape of his beak, made for seed-eating. Grosbeaks appreciate the free eats. Also glimpsed as occasional visitors are Evening Grosbeaks, with their bright yellow and black feathers. This inexpensive feeder has since been replaced --- a neighborhood squirrel discovered that by chewing off the bird perches and hanging upside down from the nearest branch, it could monopolize the feeder. A squirrel-proof feeder snaps shut when it is triggered by the weight. Time spent birdwatching is rewarded with colorful plumage and lessons in bird behavior.
Front Row L-R: Ellen Miller, Pam Webster, Shane Sumner, Mike Garrett, David Sanchez Back Row L-R: Gary Green, Debbie Marsh, Carey Meeks, Mike Lane, Fred Arsenault, Dean Rodgers
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consumers to make smart choic- gins- How to protect yourself es, and reduce demand for con- against liens- How to identify tractors working underground.” a scam- Other tips and tools At HiringaContractor.Lni to protect you self and manage wa.gov, consumers can also your construction project. Confind easy-to-follow checklists sumers without internet access of what to do before, during and can check the status of their after their home improvement contractor’s registration by callproject including: - What pro- ing 1-800-647-0982. Report untections should be included in registered contractors online or your contract before work be- by calling 1-888-811-5974.
Historic barns like this one on Mid Reeves’ farm in Mill A were constructed before the advent of building codes and inspections, but have managed to stay standing as sturdy examples of ‘do-it-right-the-first-time.’
Homeowners are encouraged to hire licensed, bonded contractors As spring and summer remodeling projects begin, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is launching a statewide radio advertising campaign urging homeowners to protect themselves from being taken advantage of by unregistered contractors. “When it comes to hiring contractors, the lowest bid can come at the highest price,” says Carl Hammersburg, Fraud Prevention and Compliance Program Manager. “Fortunately, L&I offers a number of ways for homeowners to protect themselves.” The radio ads direct visitors to HiringaContractor.Lni.wa.gov, where homeowners can see if their contractor is registered, bonded and insured. They also can check whether a contractor has any citations or unpaid judgments. Unregistered contractors underbid their com-
petition because they misclassify their workers to dodge unemployment taxes and workers’ compensation insurance premiums. They also do not carry a bond or insurance, which can sting a homeowner should something go wrong with the job. About half of homeowners interviewed to prepare for the ad campaign said they didn’t know if a contractor they used in the past was registered. The 2008 Legislature funded the statewide-campaign to make more consumers aware of the need to hire only registered contractors. “This campaign is the first step in tackling the underground economy,” said Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who chairs the Labor, Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee, and helped pass the 2008 legislation. “We want to empower
CLARK COUNTY PAVING
Spring is Here!
“The Paving People”
Call Paul @ 360-772-5575 for a FREE Estimate Today SKAMANIA COUNTY PIONEER POB 219 198 SW 2nd Stevenson, Wash. 98649 509-427-8444 Frank and Judy DeVaul ......................................................Publisher Joanna Grammon......................................................................Editor Jean Foster..........................................Office Manager/Sports Editor Angela Rogers...................................................Advertising Manager Bridget Callahan...............................................Circulation Manager
Pioneer Home and Garden
Beat the Heat
Written by: Dan Reude
Beat the heat this summer with some quick tips to stay cool, safe, and keep the air you breathe clean! If you have a new home that has no air conditioning, now would be a great time to put in your order to have that new air conditioner or heat pump installed by a professional. Many people assume that since they have such a tightly constructed home they will never need air conditioning. This is simply not true, unless of course you like to be very hot in your home. Every year we find that many people get into the middle of summer and after the 3rd, 4th and 5th day of hot weather things really start heating up. Their home is built so tight that it cannot lose the heat the way many would expect. At night they might open a window and let the air blow in. This is a non-filtered air inlet. It is allowing dust, dirt & pollen into your home and is uncontrolled. In some cases, it is simply not safe to leave your windows open. You could be potentially allowing criminals easy access to your home and family. Here are some simple tips to stay cool and safe in your home: 1) Have a quality air conditioner or heat pump installed by reputable company, 2) Set the cooling at the thermostat 3 degrees above the heating temperature you like. Leave the heating/cooling mode on “Auto”, allowing the air conditioner to come on early & preventing the home and everything inside to heat up, 3) Turn the fan to the “ON” position at the thermostat during spring & summer only. Your thermostat is generally located by the return air duct, sensing the air coming from the house on it’s way back to the furnace. By leaving the fan on in a two story home, the air on the upper level that is heating up will be moved to the lower level, mixing with the cooler air. This allows the floors to stay closer to the same temperature and to allow the thermostat to know that it needs to turn on to remove any heat, 4) Keep the windows closed and locked at night. This will help to keep you safe. It is important to bring outside air into your home, yet it is best to bring in this fresh outside air pulled in by a mechanical furnace. It is cleaned through a good air filtration system and then dispersed to every room in the home; fresh air filtered and controlled.
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Ground cover: The creeping cure for ugly bare spots and landscaping challenges Nearly every lawn or garden has one - a bare, ugly spot where nothing seems to grow well. Maybe the spot gets too much sun, or too much shade. Perhaps the soil is too sandy, rocky or full of clay for most plants to survive in it. Maybe it’s on a hill or slope where exposure to wind and water runoff make it uninhabitable for average plant life. Whichever one (or more) of these challenges is the source of your problem spot, chances are the cure is pretty universal: cover it up ... quickly, inexpensively and permanently with fl owering or lush, green ground cover. Hardy, easy to grow and aesthetically appealing ground cover fi lls vacant spaces, solves landscaping trouble spots and minimizes garden maintenance. Ground cover can transform a dull, sparse space into a rich tapestry of textures, shapes and continual color. These plants can spruce up challenging spots under trees, accent transitional areas along paths and foundations, and intensify interest in open spaces. Plus, they deliver a stunning seasonal
show of fl owers and colors. Ground cover is a cost-effective, fast way to deal with diffi cult trouble spots. It performs the job of mulch at a fraction of the cost, blocking weed growth, insulating soil, protecting more fragile plants and adding visual appeal. Some ground covers even bolster nutrients for companion plants with more demanding nutritional needs. Spring is the best time to plant ground covers, giving roots a chance to become established before conditions turn harsh. But before you decide on which varieties of these landscaping miracle-makers you’ll plant, here are some ground cover guidelines: * Don’t just plant the fi rst ground cover that catches your eye. First, take stock of your problem area so you can select a ground cover that is appropriate for the spot. Some ground covers need sun, while others thrive only in shade. Some prefer dry locations. Others require moist soil. * Assess the soil at the site. Is it sandy and dry? A lovely loam? Or wet, soggy
clay? There’s a ground cover for every soil condition, but you’ll also need to test the acidity level of the soil. You may need to amend your soil to raise or lower its pH content, or add organic matter to modify its texture. * Hardy as they are, ground covers still require proper fertilizing, watering and weed control to maintain their attractiveness - just like any other plant. Newly planted areas will need special attention until they’re well established. * Seed is the least expensive way to start ground cover. And planting ground cover seeds is some of the easiest sowing you’ll ever do in your yard or garden. Ground cover seeds are typically much smaller and lighter than other plant seeds; often you’ll get as many as 175,000 seeds in just 1 ounce. One way to make sowing even easier is to use a pre-mix of seeds and lime, like those offered by Outsidepride.com. The mix comes in a shaker bottle and you simply sprinkle the seeds on the planting site. The lime in the mix improves the pH of acidic soils, adds valu-
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able micronutrients and helps break down organic matter. The lime is also white, so it’s easy to tell where you’ve spread the seed. You can fi nd a ground cover for virtually every soil situation - and to suit every landscaping preference. Outsidepride. com offers more than 50 different types of ground cover seed, from the luminous lavender and red of Magic Carpet creeping thyme and the baby blue of ForgetMe-Not to the gorgeous greens of Irish Moss and Kenilworth Ivy. Best-sellers like creeping thyme offer homeowners a vibrant, versatile way to solve problems and accent their landscaping. Creeping thyme is a favorite for its tolerance of dry soil, low maintenance needs and ability to self-seed season after season. To get ground covers started off on the right foot, plant them in spring so they have a chance to root well. Before long, your barren, weedy trouble spots will be gone, covered by wondrous waves of fl owers and foliag
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Another fine use for giant zucchini
MAKE DREAMS COME TRUE
There are uses for giant zucchini other than depositing them on the neighbor’s doorstep, ringing the doorbell and running. Late last summer, the Associated Press and several other news agencies reported the saga of a Missoula County, Montana woman who found another use for overgrown squash. She had just let her three dogs outdoors around midnight when a 200-pound black bear tried to muscle its way through her door, after batting her 12-year-old collie around. It had apparently been eating apples from a tree in her front yard when it was startled by the dogs. She kicked the bear, which responded by pawing her leg and ripping her jeans. As she tried to retreat into her house, the bear advanced, sticking its head and shoulder part of the way through the door. Holding her door closed with her left hand, she spied an overgrown zucchini on the counter and grasped it in her left. With all her might, she let it fly --- and it hit the bear on the head. That’s when the bruin decided discretion was the better part of valor and chose to depart. The dog was stunned but not seriously
injured; the woman needed a tetanus shot but was otherwise okay, although she had a screendoor. to replace This comment was left on the Seattle Times website by someone known only as Upper Left Coast: “Thank God that in America we still have our right to Bear Zucchini. When Zucchini is outlawed only Bears will have Zucchini. I will not give up my mammoth Zucchinis without a struggle. They will have to pry my cold dead fingers from around my Zucchini! God Bless America! Thank you and goodnight.” Yet another use for giant zucchini: With a large tablespoon, scrape out the pithy center of the ‘one that got away.’ Stuff the zucchini with a mixture of hamburger or ground turkey and/or cooked rice, mixed with half a lightly sauteed chopped green pepper and half a chopped small onion and some garlic. Top with a small can of tomato sauce (you can mix the sauce with dried oregano, basil, thyme and/or parsley, or use part of a jar of pasta sauce). Sprinkle on a layer of grated cheese, and bake in a 325-degree oven in a large shallow baking pan until the side of the zucchini tests tender when poked with a fork. That’s a tasty giant zucchini!
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Containers can be used to grow summer squash like these baby yellow squash, delicious halved and briefly steamed, sauteed in a little oilive oil with fresh basil, or cut up in a salad. Just be sure to check out the growing habits of the plant, and try to use one suitable for container growing.
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Extend Your Home’s Living Spaces Outdoors
As the weather warms, Americans spend more time in their backyards and gardens, taking advantage of their outdoor living and dining space. Recent decorating trends are helping homeowners create inviting outdoor spaces. It’s no longer about simple picnic tables on patios or decks. There now are many new ways to create welcoming ambience. More homeowners are using innovative products for the backyard and garden made with recycled materials -- a small way to make a big difference. For example, recycled plastics are being used in functional yet stylish decking, vertical gardens, fl ower pots, bird houses, furniture and more, diverting this valuable material from landfi lls. “Consumers have many options today to create beautiful backyards and other home spaces with recycled products,” says Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council. “For instance, recycled plastics can be used to create all sorts of functional and fashionable products, from modern lawn chairs to chic accessories to long lasting fences.” Here are some great tweaks for your outdoor spaces this season: * Divine Decking: To create decks, gazebos and other outdoor structures, many builders are now using composite lumber, some of which is made with recycled plastic shopping bags. These composites are typically stain- and water-resistant and don’t attract those pesky backyard bugs that enjoy wood.
* Light It Up: When entertaining outdoors at night, the right lighting adds ambience while illuminating pathways for safety. You can up-light trees for dramatic effect. Energy-effi cient solar lighting is a great choice, as you avoid dealing with cords in or under your yard and save electricity in the process. * Feel-Good Furniture: Homeowners nowadays can lounge on brightly colored chairs and benches and dine on stylish tables made with recycled plastics and other innovative materials. Green minded consumers can choose furniture made from postconsumer containers, such as plastic milk jugs, detergent containers and margarine tubs. And best of all, you’ll save time and money by not having to stain or weatherproof this second generation furniture. * Grow-Up: Short on space in your yard? Vertical gardens are a conservationist’s dream, allowing plant lovers to create hanging gardens in even the smallest corners, indoors and out. Vertical gardens often are made with recycled plastics, and can create a fl ower or vegetable source on just about any type of wall. They help turn even the smallest studio apartment or backyard deck into a green oasis. For more tips on how you can help “close the recycling loop” by using recycled products to create a greener sanctuary for your home and garden, visit www.plasticsmakeitpossible.com. Expanded location in Camas off SR14 & Union Street Locally owned and operated
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Strawberry pots are great for growing herbs. This one has sage, marjoram and Greek oregano, as well as a few tiny strawberry plants in the pockets. Keep watering and snipping herbs, and they’ll give back flavor.
Garden prep 101: Getting ready for planting season
Outside birds are singing and bits of green are popping up all around. As seasons change from winter to spring, the gardener’s mind quickly leaps to growing flowers and produce. Before getting out there and planting, follow these basic garden preparations to get the most out of this growing season. Journal: ScottsMiracle-Gro gardening expert Ashton Ritchie strongly recommends that every gardener keep a “garden journal.” “My wife and I keep a garden journal so we know what we planted, when we planted and harvested, what problems we had to treat, what we used and how well it worked,” he says. “We start each growing season by reviewing last year’s journal.” In fact, many successful gardeners, like Ashton, take notes or keep journals. It can be as easy as taping seed packets into a small notebook or sketching out where the tulip bulbs are planted. Keeping track of gardening experiences can simplify the gardening process, and will be an invaluable reference in the future. Garden design: Whether planting a new garden or bringing life to an old one -- a smart design is key. Light, water and space requirements vary from plant to plant - and region to region. Therefore, a well designed lay-out for a garden can make the difference between a bountiful harvest and withering leaves. From fancy landscaping software programs to simple charcoal sketches, creating a garden layout is a great way to plan the optimal design. A few measurements of the space
and observations of the amount of sunlight or moisture will prove helpful in the planning process. Consider what the garden will look like from all angles to maximize enjoyment. In addition, seed packets, garden books, potting labels and nursery experts are always great resources on a plant’s growing requirements. Plant selection: Varieties of plants available in today’s market are virtually endless. That is why seed catalogs are a priceless tool for any gardener. Leafing through these resources can make plant selection easy and fun. With a garden design and journal from last year in hand, it will be a cinch to narrow down the choices for this year’s garden. A successful gardener doesn’t have to grow all their plants from seed. Most nurseries offer a wide range of small herbs, vegetables, fruits and flowers to transplant directly into the garden. However, starting plants from seed does provide more variety, is usually less expensive and can grow plants that are more disease resistant. Selecting plants native to your region attracts wildlife and makes your garden a living visual experience. Soil amendment: Native soils and top-soils are not all created equal. Most will need a little boost to become fertile garden soil. A 3-inch layer of high-quality garden soil, such as Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Garden Soil, can be tilled into native soil to improve existing soil, add organic matter and help plants build strong roots. Amending soil will allow gardeners to grow beautiful flowers and bountiful vegetables naturally. Compost is another great source of organic matter for the garden. Create a compost bin and add leaves, lawn clippings, kitchen scraps, potting soil from last year’s containers and any other garden waste. Turn or aerate the pile once a month, and by next summer all that former yard waste will be nice organic material for your garden, and keep the refuse out of landfills. Feeding, watering and weeds: Once the garden is planted, feeding, watering and weeding are essential to the growth and survival of flowers and vegetables. Fortunately, you can prevent weeds and feed plants for up to three months with Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed All Purpose Plant Food Plus Weed Preventer when placed onto soil before laying mulch. Even with proper feeding, a garden should still be monitored daily for water needs, depending on the amount of rain, sunlight and temperatures it receives. Mulch: Mulch is an often overlooked cousin of garden soil. Many believe mulch to be a strictly decorative item, but most gardeners know its true value. High-quality mulches like Scotts Nature Scapes Advanced look great while also helping conserve water and naturally preventing weeds by blocking growth and restricting access to sunlight. Mulch should be used around the base of plants and in beds, but can also be used to create pathways through a garden, making harvesting and watering easier. Don’t forget that containers also benefit from a nice 2-inch layer of mulch. With just a little planning, and a few easy preparations before the growing season, gardeners can reap the rewards come harvest time, and enjoy the beauty of the garden all season long.
Call Before You Dig
Before using a shovel, backhoe or excavator for any reason you need to call 1-800-424-5555 -OR- 8-1-1 Or visit www.callbeforeyoudig.org Call for line locates at least two working days before you dig. It's a free service and required by law. One call to the toll free number and all utility companies will be notified
Public Utility District No. 1 Of Skamania County Phone (509) 427-5126 or Toll Free (800) 922-5329
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Tuscan wood-burning ovens are the ultimate outdoor kitchen appliance Tucked away in a corner of Skamania County is a little bit of Italy, a Tuscan wood-fired oven. Sturdily built of brick, firebrick and concrete by Nick and Paula Zeller, it is fired up at least once a month, an opportunity to gather a few friends for a day of sharing its warmth. Ye a s t y breads are hauled from its mouth, including whole wheat pita puffing up in seconds at the oven’s hottest baking temperature, crusty loaves of potato rosemary bread, multi-grain flaxseed bread, rustic rolls and sourdough pumpernickel bagels, as well as pizzas. The process of warming the oven to nearly 900 degrees --- pizza range --- and gradually cooling it down takes literally 24 hours, as the fire is continually stoked. Temperatures of both the roof and floor of the oven are monitored, and a sensor can be inserted into the loaves to see if they have reached the critical stage of around 190 degrees. Once the oven is hot, it stays hot. The coals are raked out and the floor of the oven is cleaned. Some breads bake directly on the firebrick, which
is quite sterile once it reaches those temperatures. Breads with seeds that could burn on the oven floor or that may need some support are baked on sheet pans, often coated with a little coarse flour of cornmeal to lift them slightly from the pan. The patio Tuscan oven was inspired by the Zellers’ bicycle trips through Europe, where roadside trattorias often serve rustic pizzas, breads and meats baked in outdoor ovens. The Zellers make regular trips to Bob’s Red Mill in Milwaukie, Ore., to buy baking supplies in bulk including whole wheat to be ground into flour. Wood-fired ovens also do a great job of cooking meats, and are a ‘secret weapon’ in the barbecue wars. The Zellers built their outdoor oven themselves using fire bricks and other separately purchased materials, but kits are also available. Go to www.fornobravo.com, or www. losangelesovenworks.com. Books are also available, including “Build Your Own Earth Oven,” by Kiko Denzer; and “Building a Wood-Fired Oven For Bread & Pizza,” by Tom Jaine. The “Pizza Oven Construction Manual,” an eBook by Frank Noetzold, is available online in a CD version with photos. Go to www.frankspizzaoven.com
CHUCKLEHEAD CHUTNEY 8 Bartlett pears, chopped (you can use red pears; leave the skin on) 2 limes, juice, chopped sections, grated zest 4 green apples, chopped 2 peaches, chopped 1 orange, juice, segment pieces without skin 1 can pineapple (chunks or crushed) 1 can Del Monte tropical fruits in juice 2 cups yellow raisins 1-1/2 cups brown sugar 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar 2 tsp. lemon juice concentrate two healthy knobs fresh ginger, grated 2 T. whole cloves 2 tsp. ground cinnamon freshly grated nutmeg 1/4 tsp. mace 3 large cloves garlic, chopped 1/2 tsp. cayenne (less, if you’re chicken) 1/2 cup grated coconut (add last five minutes of simmering) (4-5 very small whole dried chiles, if desired) Put all ingredients except coconut and dried chiles in a large non-reactive kettle. Bring to boil, lower heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Add coconut; simmer at least five more minutes. Check consistency of syrup — it should cling to the spoon. If not, cook it some more. Add chilis, if desired. Pour into sterilized pint jars. Cover with sterilized lids and tighten. Process in simmering hot water bath 15 minutes. Remove jars from canner; cover with large towel and let cool 24 hours before moving jars for storage. Makes 9-10 pints. Good with curry dishes, chicken or pork. Refrigerate after opening. Joanna “Chucklehead” Grammon
Pioneer Home and Garden
Garden season preparation: Ready tools for the growing season As the seasons change and outdoor living becomes a reality once again, visions of bountiful gardens and green grass fi ll the heads of most homeowners. It is likely, however, that a few items in the tool shed need some attention. Even the most experienced gardener has tools for working in and around the garden and lawn. Although the lawnmower, spreader, shovel or rake may get taken for granted, all tools work more effi ciently and last longer with proper care. Essential tools: A quick inventory of garden and lawn tools will make things easier this growing season. Most tool sheds contain a shovel, hoe, trowel and hose. Lawn care can be even easier with just a few additional items such as a mower, a rake and a high-quality spreader like the Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard DLX Spreader . You can fi nd many variations on these basic tools and numerous other options on the market such as trimmers, edgers, aerators and tillers, but the key is to have a few essentials on-hand and ready for use. Care tips: Most garden and lawn tools have metal parts containing iron and, therefore, attract rust. Oxygen present in the air and water combines with iron to create reddish-looking patches on metal, known as rust. Left unchecked, rust can eventually destroy a tool - but it is easily prevented. Simply keep
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tools clean and dry. After each use, tools like shovels and hoes need a quick cleaning with a stiff wire brush and rag to remove moisture and debris. Oiling or waxing the blades on garden and lawn tools is a great way to prevent future rust while keeping tools in tip-top shape. If a tool is already rusted, simply apply a small amount of mineral oil and scrub with steel wool, or consider a commercial rust remover if necessary. Lawnmowers need care each season. A properly cared for and maintained mower will last for several years. To ensure the best possible performance, treat your mower to a tune-up, oil change and blade sharpening each spring. S p r e a d e r s also need annual maintenance to ensure peak performance. After each use, empty the leftover contents back into the bag. Finally, place the spreader on the grass and hose it down. Any metal parts may also benefi t from a spray of oil to prevent rust. Proper tool storage is very important. Remember to keep tools clean and dry. Never leave tools outside, exposed to the elements. If possible, hang shovels, spades, hoes, rakes and hand tools from hooks on the wall, making tools easier to fi nd when needed. Some attention at the start of the season really pays off in the end, and extends the life of your favorite garden and lawn tools. So this year, take a few minutes to care for these items and reap the benefi ts for many years to come. CHECK OUT THE GARDEN BOOK DISPLAY AT LESLEY’S BOOKS!
Lesley's Books Downtown Stevenson, Across from Riverview Bank
Hours: Open Wednesday - Sunday 10 to 4
Pioneer Home and Garden
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