The history of Valentine’s Day

The history of Valentine’s Day originates back to the Catholic church; where Saint Valentine was martyred.  Saint Valentine was a priest whom served in the 3rd century in Rome.  It was Emperor Claudius II that decided a “single” man made a better soldier than someone who had a wife and a family.  He then went on to outlaw marriage for young men who would be a solider.  Saint Valentine realized that this was not appropriate and began to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.  When it was found that Saint Valentine was doing this, he was ordered to be put to death by Claudius.

A Valentine greeting dates back as far as the middle ages. Although a written Valentine did not appear until the late 1400’s.  One of the oldest known Valentines known to exist today is a poem that was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife in 1415 while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.  It is believed that several years later, King Henry V had commissioned a writer to compose a Valentine’s Day Note to Catherine of Valois.

Today we carry on the tradition of Valentine’s Day through cards, flowers, romantic gifts and special dinners.  This year let your Valentine know how much you love him/her with a very special gift of love!

Get in good with flowers at Dees’ Nursery & Florist.


Composting Made Easy

Composting will benefit both the environment and your wallet!  When you make compost, you create a source of high quality nutrition for your garden

Did you know that composting can be not only easy but a great way to provide your soil with beneficial nutrients to help plant life thrive?  Composting is a process of taking everyday waste from your kitchen, or leaves and other natural matter and decomposing it to provide a rich fertilizer that you can use throughout the year, in your garden, on your lawn, and even for potted plants.

Compost systems range in size from small bins used to recycle a household’s scrap all the way to industrial sized bins for farmers.

Composting will benefit both the environment and your wallet!  When you make compost, you create a source of high quality nutrition for your garden and eliminate the need to constantly purchase a fertilizer.

Composting will improve the soil structure and moisture retention which can actually protect plants from certain diseases.

A good compost starts a home!  Begin your search for ingredients for your compost in your own backyard, kitchen and even your neighborhood.  What waste could you divert from the trash into your compost pile? Most of us can find a wealth of nutrient rich materials such as grass clippings, pine needles, cones, hay, manure, kitchen scraps, coffee grounds and dried leaves to turn into a soil nourishing compost.

Your goal to build a compost pile is to provide the best possible conditions for the proliferation of a hardworking micro-herd of organisms.  Begin your compost pile or bin with a compost starter.  This is done to introduce organisms to your pile.

Composting piles or bins are quite simple actually, they need only a balanced diet, water, air and warmth.

Remember anything living can be composted, but the quality and quantity of the materials you use affects the process and determines the nutrient value of the finished compost.

The ideal Carbon/Nitrogen level ratio is 25-30 to 1.  You can achieve this by layering your compost.  Build your compost into alternating layers of high carbon materials like saw dust and high nitrogen materials like fresh grass clippings.

As with anything all living organisms need water, however; too much water will drive out air and will drown the pile.  Good, rich compost is about as damp as a moist sponge.  Make sure your compost pile is in a place that is well drained, you can achieve this by building the compost pile on a layer of sand.

Finished compost is one of the most versatile fertilizers you will ever use.  You can apply it freely at any time of the year without fear of buring plants or polluting water.  Compost can be used on vegetables, annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs and even in potting mixes for your house plants.  Composting is easy, beneficial to the environment and most importantly beneficial to your garden, lawn and all living plants!

Fall Pumpkin Soup

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 large pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, diced small
  • 1 Granny Smith apple [peeled and diced small]
  • 2 teaspoons of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 lbs. of acorn squash seeded, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 cups chicken broth (optional); substitute a vegetable broth if on vegan diet
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • chopped scallions for garnish

Step by Step:

  • Remove pumpkin meat from pumpkin and discard seeds (or save them to roast).
  • Put the pumpkin meat in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Melt the butter and sauté the onions, apple and oregano with pumpkin pie spice for 7 – 10 minutes.
  • Add the acorn squash and the pumpkin meat and sauté for another 5-10 minutes to ensure squash is softened.
  • Stir in the stock (vegetable or chicken), along with the pepper and salt.
  • Place on low heat for 20 – 25 minutes.
  • When the squash begins to fall apart this is done.
  • Using an immersion stick blender or food processor, blend until smooth.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In the pumpkin shell, add the cream and the purée.
  • Bake for 30 35 minutes, covering the top of the pumpkin with foil.
  • When ready to serve, garnish with scallions and serve the soup right out of the top of the pumpkin.

Hint: for a nice twist, serve with cheddar cheese grated over it.

Fall Pumpkin Recipe by Rickey Esto