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Becky's Food Tales - September 2, 2013


By Becky Hoff

Fri, Aug 30th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Tomato Season - A Tale of

Irrational Gardening

Tomatoes are easily my favorite thing to grow in the garden. Every year I have to try new heirloom varieties in my quest for ‘The Perfect Tomato.’ This year I have no less than 11 varieties planted in the back yard garden. Some are favorites that I have planted before like Pink Brandywine and Amish Paste. Others are new to me- Cherokee Purple, Pineapple, and Cherry Roma. I realize that this may seem like a lot, but it never seems like enough to me. My tomato obsession has me casting a critical eye on my back yard, trying to find space for yet another raised bed. My husband thinks the garden is big enough, but then he is the one who has to build those new garden beds in the spring!

I’m going to confess something here: I’m not really a rational person when it comes to my garden. Every winter I make grids, and plans. I discuss them (to death) with my husband. I review my notes from last year, and revise. A sensible plan is drawn up, and then I start looking at seed catalogs.

This is where many people run into problems. Picture it- it’s dreary and cold outside. The Christmas ornaments have long been packed away, and each grey day blurs into the next. You just shoveled out the end of your driveway for the second time that day. Then you open the seed catalog. The colors are bright, the descriptions make you long for warmer days. Each variety of plant sounds better than the next, and you start thinking that you need to try every single one. You begin to order your seeds, and the list of vegetables and flowers that you must plant gets longer and longer. Last winter was particularly blah, so I got a bit carried away. This is how we ended up with 30 tomato plants in the back yard, and nine more in buckets. (And don’t get me started on my pepper plants!)

This year the tomatoes have been very slow to come, so I’m glad I went overboard. As I’m sure others have noticed, the tomatoes really seem content to stay green this year. The cool night temperatures of August received no affection from me! Hopefully September will bring better weather, and a good quantity of ripe tomatoes.

I am happiest when I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with. When tomatoes are in full swing, my husband and I use them up making BLTs, pasta dishes, fresh salsas and salads. I will slice tomatoes and dehydrate them, making ‘sun dried tomat .....
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The Working Mom - What’s Your Definition of Camping?

By Tammy Danielson

Fri, Aug 23rd, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

I will apologize up front for concentrating a column strictly to camping but, hey, who doesn’t love it? Now, when I say camping, that does not include a tent. It also avoids dewy air mattresses, your food along with grass and dirt floating in da ..... 
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Postcards from the Windy City - Doing Summer

By Abby Stocker

Fri, Aug 16th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Hi, Readers. Well, we’re reaching the point in the summer when even the most nonchalant among us will soon be forced to reckon with The Question: what have you done this summer? For some I know, this question doesn’t seem to cause much stre ..... 
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A little of this, A little of that.

By Kathy Little

Fri, Aug 16th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Uno, dos, etc. Yes, I did take Spanish in high school long before Taco Bell became a restaurant chain. Mrs. Worley, our Spanish teacher, wanted us to learn not only the language but also about the culture of Spain and Mexico. So we had a Spanish par ..... 
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Postcards from the Windy City - Art in the City

By Abby Stocker

Fri, Aug 9th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Dear Readers, This week, I found myself on the train once again, tumbling into downtown Chicago. Beautiful Saturday afternoon, plans in the city, what more could you want? Art. And people to share it with, of course. My trip downtown a few w ..... 
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Country Coffee Talk - August 12, 2013

By Jeanette Schmidt

Fri, Aug 9th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Don’t you just love the summer! There’s nothing more enjoyable than sitting on the porch in the morning with that first cup of coffee, ignoring what’s ahead for the day. How did that jingle go...“The best part of waking up...”? Did you kno ..... 
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Tech Bytes - Profiling

By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Aug 2nd, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Profiling, “the recording and analysis of a person’s psychological and behavioral characteristics, so as to assess or predict their capabilities,” is often associated in a negative light when you’re the potential employee. When you’re th ..... 
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Musings from the back porch! - August 5, 2013

By Judy Thomas

Fri, Aug 2nd, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

In the good old summertime We waited quite awhile for it to get here and before we know it, it will be gone. Since this is my first attempt to share bits of myself and who I am, I guess I could describe myself as liking to meet and getting to know ..... 
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Postcards from the Windy City - A Bird? A Plane? A...Magnet

By Abby Stocker

Fri, Aug 2nd, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Dear Readers, Picture this: a giant circular object, apparently a ring, shrink-wrapped in some kind of white plastic, on top of a 16-axel red flatbed trailer, driving maybe five miles per hour through a gap in the trees opposite the building wher ..... 
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