The Bastrop Advertiser (Bastrop, Tex.), Vol. 155, No. 95, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 22, 2009 Page: 6 of 13
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Page 6A ★ TEhe Bastrop gtduertiser
Thursday, January 22,2009 u
inter gardens are coming to life
Usually this time of the
year or sometimes later, I write
about what disasters have
befallen my little winter veg-
etable garden I was so excited
about the previous fall.
Although I write these sad
columns absolutely straight,
some of my favorite readers
think that they are hilariously
funny. I am so sorry to disap-
point you guys this time.
This year I have good
news. I planted a 12'x8' raised,
bordered, oval garden with
nine different crops in October.
Six of these different species
did very well and one did so-
The broccoli and kale I
planted as four-pack "starts"
did the best because they had
a head start. I have been eating
the kale about twice a week
picked one leaf at a time from
the lower part of the plants.
Horace doesn't like kale, and
I love it so that leaves more
leaves for me.
The broccoli too looks
wonderful, ready to harvest.
The other crops I planted as
seeds. The collards I planted
too close together so they
didn't grow very large, but
that's okay because I like col-
lards small and tender. The
radishes I had to thin also.
They are not forming as fast as
they do in warmer weather but
that's okay too. The mustard
is doing beautifully, and I eat
it mixed with the other greens
once or twice a week. I feel so
virtuous and healthy.
The broccoli will be har-
vested today, blanched and fro-
zen in vacuum bags. The heads
are not as big as they are in the
grocery store, but it looks like
it will be another warm day
today, and I'm concerned that
it will "bolt," that is, the little
buds in the heads will pop out
into yellow flowers and it will
be ruined for eating. The buds
are still nice and tight this
morning, but they may not be
this afternoon. After the main
head is harvested, the plants
will continue to produce small
side shoots that can be picked
for putting raw into salads.
To get information on
freezing broccoli, I went to
a Web site called www.pic-
kyourown.org and scrolled
to How to Freeze Broccoli at
Home. The heads should be
cut into the little tree-like sec-
tions called "florets" and then
blanched in boiling water for
three minutes. The purpose of
blanching is to kill the bacteria
and enzymes that cause the
color and flavor to deteriorate.
Immediately after blanching,
the florets should be plunged
into ice water to keep the
vegetables from cooking any
more. Then they can be sealed
m vacuum bags and frozen.
My daughter-in-law gave
me a vacuum bag sealer for
Christmas, and it is my favor-
ite new thing. I love to put
stuff in those bags and suck
the air out of them with the
machine. I can see what I have
m packages without having to
guess what's in the plastic box
under all that hoar frost that I
thought I would never forget
and didn't bother to label. If
you don't have one, get one. I
believe the cost will be more
than offset by the savings in
food that's not wasted. It's so
much fun to do. I even think
that middle schoolers would
argue over who gets to deal
with the leftovers.
The carrots are making
little orangey roots. I hope
they make carrots before it
gets too warm. These are the
Danvers half-long variety and
they are fast growing. Carrots
begin to taste like soap when
the weather gets too warm for
them to hold their sweet flavor.
The Swiss chard didn't do
too well. I don't know why. I
planted it twice and got two
actual plants. Nobody likes
Swiss chard anyway, so it was
not a big loss. I just toss a leaf
in with some of the other stuff.
The baby spinach is long
gone. I got exactly one mess
for the two of us and a few
leaves to toss into salads. This
was a disappointment. It had a
couple of unfortunate events.
First of all, the leaf cutter
ants found it to be irresist-
ible. I went out one evening
late October and noticed
that the leaves were moving.
Upon closer inspection, I then
noticed that each leaf was
being carted off in pieces by
I followed the trail of
ants back to the nest and did
something I don't like to do. I
killed the ants on the trail with
a pesticide. It was the only
thing I had. I have heard since
then that other less drastic
things will work. I did not put
any pesticide inside the perim-
eter of the little rabbit proof
fence so the garden is still
organic. This seems to have
worked, because I haven't seen
any leaf cutter ants in the gar-
Ultimately, remaining spin-
ach plants were overwhelmed
by chickweed. I cleared out the
whole bed, spinach included,
with a cheap serrated bread
knife which I find to be a very
useful hand tool in a garden.
Perhaps I should have left
the chickweed because it is
edible and nutritious. A friend
of mine eats it regularly and
picks it in the yard for salads.
A quick search on the Internet
found descriptions of how
wonderful chickweed's nutri-
tional and medicinal values are
and how it tastes like spinach.
I tried it and thought it tasted
like grass. I weeded the whole
garden in about an hour with
the bread knife. If you pull
the chickweed up, the plant
breaks off from the roots and it
grows back. This quick release
function is probably a survival
mechanism because deer and
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There was more to celebrate with this year's success-
ful winter garden.
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other herbivores eat it.
The little garden has been
a lot more fun this year. The
main reason it is more suc-
cessful that it is getting more
sunlight. The clearing we did
last summer opened up the
way for winter sunlight to
reach the plants. The under-
ground gopher fence seems to
be working since there are no
gophers. The rabbit fence is
also working. The lettuce was
eaten up but by little worms,
not rabbits. I don't care that
much for garden lettuce any-
I worked in about two
inches of good compost when
the garden was started and
have been feeding the garden
with compost tea made in a
five-gallon bucket with a bur-
lap "tea bag." The plants love
This year I wasn't so
demoralized by early failures
and felt like tending the little
spot. The garden is sectioned
off with surveyors tape on
the ground into about 4x3
foot spaces, and I think I will
start something in the three
empty spaces. The vegetables
that can be planted in January
include, spinach (why not?),
beets, English peas and tur-
nips. What's there to lose? I'm
going to try it.
My favorite lunch these
days is a mix of garden greens
washed and sliced up into
strips and very lightly sauteed
in olive oil just enough to cook
down but not turned to mush.
Then I add onions and toma-
toes chopped as you would
for tacos. Lastly I sprinkle
on John the Greek Original
Salad Dressing. I use this
brand because it has no sugar
or water in it, but you could
use whatever you have on
hand. Today I may add some
feta goat cheese. I call this a
warm salad, and to me it is so
yummy I can hardly stand it.
Ama Sue Madden was a school
teacher who loved her job with
a passion. Her first and second
grade students were her "Sun-
beams". Once a Sunbeam, always
a Sunbeam was her class motto.
The class flower was the Sunflower. Mrs. Madden
won many honors over her 35 year teaching career, in-
cluding Teacher of the Year. She loved her family, her
home, her children and her friends. She always had a
warm friendly smile for everyone.
Ama Sue Madden passed away January 19, 2009 at the
age of 63, in Bastrop Texas. She was preceded in death
by her father and mother, Frankie D. and Hazel Freeman.
She is survived by her three sons, Charles Michael Mur-
phy, Ryan Todd Murphy, Christopher Allen Murphy, his
wife Brooke Murphy and four grandchildren, Nick, Jayson,
Parker and Presley; two aunts, Josephine Deans, Wanda
Hendrickson and her husband, David Madden.
Services for Mrs. Madden will be held at The Church
of Christ in Groesbeck, Texas on January 23, 2009 at 1:00
pm. Burial services will follow at Faimtberiy Cemetery.
The family wishes to thank all those who assisted in a
peaceful passing, especially Elizabeth Sims. „ ,„r„rllT
1 4r O' F J PAID ANNOUNCEMENT
Susan Eskew McDonald
Susan Eskew McDonald, a former Bastropian, died n
Anniston, Alabama, on Nov. 22, 2008. In 1948, Susan
was born in Bastrop, ' exas, to Vernon and Gail Eskew,
the younger of two daughters. Susan attended public
school in the Bastrop system, until her graduation from
Bastrop High School in 1966. In addition, she was a
graduate of Texas Tech University.
Survivors include her husband, Dr. Glen B. McDonald
of Jacksonville, AL; two sons, Trey McDonald of
Jacksonville, and Blake McDonald of Portland, Ore;
and, her sister, Ann Eskew George, of Lago Vista, "exas.
Susan also leaves behind many friends, neighbors and
cousins in Bastrop, where she was well-loved for her
vivacious smile, her lively energy, and her keen sense of
humor. While attending Bastrop High School, Susan
was a basketball player, a class officer, and a member
of the BHS band. She was a twirler, then Drum Major
in her senior year. Susan was also a member of Calvary
Mrs. Susan Eskew McDonald had been a resident of
Calhoun County, Alabama, for more than 30 years. Over
the years, Dr. and Mrs. McDonald enjoyed extensive
travel to many foreign destinations. Mrs. McDonald had
been employed for many years as office manager of her
husband's dental practice. Graveside Services were held
for Susan Eskew McDonald on Nov. 26, 2008, at the
Anniston Memorial Gardens Cemetery. PAID ann0uncement
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Wright, Cyndi. The Bastrop Advertiser (Bastrop, Tex.), Vol. 155, No. 95, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 22, 2009, newspaper, January 22, 2009; Bastrop, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth252549/m1/6/: accessed April 25, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Bastrop Public Library.