Don’t Sweat It!: Easy & Delicious Pie Crust

crustby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Of all the holiday celebrations, Thanksgiving is by far and away my favorite.  And anyone who knows me, also knows that I love me some dessert. In fact, pies are a particular weakness of mine.  I mean, who doesn’t love a sweet, crunchy, savory plate of unimaginable yumminess wrapped in a simple, flaky crust and slathered with a delectable topping?  Of course, if you are the one tasked with bringing the pies and aren’t feeling up to the task you might just be in stress-mode. But don’t sweat it.  In this week’s Show Me Oz, I’ll show you how to make a simply delicious pie (and crust!) that you can be proud of!

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Moonshine in Missouri

IMG_4301By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Quite a few years back, on a beautiful fall day just like this one, a bit of unpleasant news filtered down through our village grapevine. Apparently, an elderly and well-known gentleman in our little community had been arrested for bootlegging moonshine.  That the man in question made and sold corn whiskey was no secret to many in the surrounding area, for he had been doing it for the better part of his life and made little secret of it. Some of the first official reports claimed that this gentleman and his immediate family made and sold up to 9,000 gallons of moonshine each year.  And while that may sound like a lot of ‘shine, it didn’t come as a surprise to me or to anyone else living within a 100 mile radius, because this fella had a reputation for making absolutely top-notch hooch and everyone who drank alcohol wanted a jar of their very own.

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Wild Walk: Coral Mushrooms

Mushroom - Coral 2012 10-7 (3)by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Fall is here and we finally got enough rain to kick off the fall mushroom season.  Among the many foragable fungi available in the fall, my favorite are coral mushrooms.  Not only are corals super easy to identify, even for the novice mushroom hunter, but they are downright beautiful and oh, so good to eat.

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Sensational Sedum: Autumn Joy

Sedum Autumn Joy flowers turn a deep maroon color as fall arrives.By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Fall has finally arrived in our neck of the woods and the mild sunny days are punctuated by clear blue skies and a parade of technicolor foliage.  But for most gardeners, fall usually means that the garden is beginning to look a little rough around the edges.  Because our vegetable and herb gardens surround the house the last thing we want is to let things get too ragged looking.  Over the years we have grown various perennials around the perimeter of the garden in an attempt to screen and draw attention away from the less attractive bits.  Of the many varieties we’ve grown, our fall favorite is a lusty and beautiful sedum that is appropriately named “Autumn Joy”.

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Nature Notes: The Silent and Unseen

By Joshua Mayer (Flickr: Flying Squirrel on Roof) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commonsby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

This story happened many moons ago in a garden we used to tend.  It was a sultry late summer morning and Dean and I were meandering through the garden discussing future chores.  We were having a nice walkabout, chatting and discussing one thing or another, and I suddenly turned to him and said, “Do you feel like someone is watching us?”  His perplexed look answered my question and should have set me straight, but I just couldn’t shake the strange feeling I’d had all summer long.  Someone or something had been watching me.

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Grow Pure Seed with Blossom Bags

IMG_4007by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Seed savers know that the key to obtaining pure seed is by controlling the pollination process.  Each species is made up of many varieties.  If two – or more! – of those varieties get too close to one another during flowering their seeds will not come true.  Of course, not all gardeners have the room to grow multiple varieties spaced far apart.  Sometimes, we just don’t know that we’d like to save a certain variety of seed in early spring and so we don’t pay any attention to the spacing requirements for purity.  If this sounds like you; have no fear!  Blossom bags are here to save the day!

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Essential Herbs: Basil

Classic Genovese basil ready to harvest.By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Summer just wouldn’t be summer without a plethora of lusty basil plants flourishing in the garden.  In fact, I love the sight, smell, and taste of these leafy annual herbs so much that I always over-plant in the spring and by mid-summer wind up with more basil than I need – or even know what to do with.  Yet, every spring when my husband asks me if I think we might just have too many basil starts, my reply is always the same… there’s no such thing as too much basil!

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Seed Saving Time: Harvesting Dry Seeds

Freshly harvested lettuce seed ready to be cleaned.By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

For gardeners, the most rewarding part of the season is when the harvest begins and all those luscious fruits and veggies really start to add up.  For seed savers, that joy is doubled when, in a few short weeks after the fresh harvest begins, the handful of fruits or plants that are purposely left on the vine to mature begin to set seed.  After a long season of planning, cultivating, monitoring and harvesting the bounty of the garden, the reward is more than bountiful!

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