Freedom

Let’s celebrate

together the incredible

freedoms we have

here in the USA.

Enjoy your 4th of July break

with family and friends.

•     •     •     •     •     •    From    •     •     •     •     •     •



All of Us at
Kowalski
Heat Treating

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Nick Name

Nick names are funny. Sometimes they stick forever. Sometimes they don’t. But when they do stick we tend wear them like a big ‘ol badge of honor. 

Lefty, T Man, Snoop, Kevins, Sweetness, BooBoo, Missy, Big D, Monkey, A Rod, Papa, Max, Butcher, Finnigan, The Buckeyes, City of Lights, Slugger, Tinseltown, Slick Willie,  – the list goes on and on.  Nicknames are such a part of how we communicate with one another. When I was little, my big brother was in charge of all the family nicknames.  It’s quite a list – (with 17 siblings and his incredibly vivid imagination, we all had multiple nicknames that will / must remain in the family!  As I grew up, nicknames rolled on with me in HS, College, and married life I have a great group of friends that I’ve known for over 30 years, many of our nicknames unfortunately or fortunately can’t be listed or our wives would be less than happy! (something about wishing we would finally be growing up??).  I did some digging, and of course found a ton of more famous names and stories behind them – sports, history, music, politics, movies, etc.  Here’s some brief history of “eke” names.  When you can give me a call, or shoot me an email – I’d love to hear your names and the stories too (skowalski@khtheat.com) Thanks to wikipedia, washingtonpost.com, and all those mentioned here – (your secret origin is safe with me!!)

For a laugh
Music

  • The compound word ekename, literally meaning “additional name”, was attested as early as 1303. This word was derived from the Old English phrase eac “also”, related to eacian “to increase”. By the 15th century, the misdivision of the syllables of the phrase “an ekename” led to its rephrasing as “a nekename” and common day nickname.
  • Nicknames are to formal names what cartoons are to formal portraits, what slang is to formal language, what subjectivity is to objectivity, and, sometimes, what a graffiti mustache is to a face on an ad in the subway — a Bronx cheer from the peanut gallery. Nicknames have been codified, analyzed and interpreted by legions of linguists, sociologists and anthropologists.
  •  English nicknames are generally represented in quotes between the bearer’s first and last names (e.g., Dwight David “Ike” EisenhowerDaniel Lamont “Bubba” Franks, etc.).
  • Like English, German uses (German-style) quotation marks between the first and last names (e.g., Andreas Nikolaus „Niki“ Lauda). Other languages may use other conventions; for example, Italian writes the nickname after the full name followed by detto “called” (e.g., Salvatore Schillaci detto Totò).  In Spanish the nickname is written in formal contexts at the end in quotes following alias (e.g. Alfonso Tostado, alias «el Abulense.
  •  In Viking societies, many people had heitiviðrnefni, or kenningarnöfn (Old Norse terms for nicknames) which were used in addition to, or instead of, the first name. In some circumstances, the giving of a nickname had a special status in Viking society in that it created a relationship between the name maker and the recipient of the nickname, to the extent that the creation of a nickname also often entailed a formal ceremony and an exchange of gifts known in Old Norse as nafnfestr (‘fastening a name’).
  • In England, some nicknames are traditionally associated with a person’s surname. A man with the surname ‘Clark’ will be nicknamed ‘Nobby’: the surname ‘Miller’ will have the nickname ‘Dusty’ (alluding to the flour dust of a miller at work): the surname ‘Adams’ has the nickname ‘Nabby’.
  • Other English nicknames allude to a person’s origins. A Scotsman may be nicknamed ‘Jock’, an Irishman ‘Paddy’ (alluding to Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland) or ‘Mick’ (alluding to the preponderance of Roman Catholicism in Ireland), and a Welshman may be nicknamed ‘Taffy’.
  • Giving colorful nicknames to colorful public personalities is an old American custom, as old as Old Hickory, Old Rough and Ready, Old Blood and Guts, Old Fuss and Feathers, the Ol’ Perfesser and Old Blue Eyes — as old, in fact, as Old Muttonhead, which is what John Adams, the first vice president, called George Washington, the first president, who was also known by a more affectionate nickname, “The Father of Our Country.”
  • Ever since America was invented, Americans have been inventing nicknames for public personalities, monikers that describe them or laud them or mock them, everything from Honest Abe to Tricky Dick to Slick Willie. American history can be written in a rollicking roll call of nicknames — the Swamp Fox, the Great Compromiser, the Little Giant, Stonewall, Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill, Billy the Kid, Calamity Jane, Lucky Lindy, Satchmo, Babe, Groucho, the Kingfish, the King, the Gipper, Air. The American landscape can also be mapped in nicknames — Jersey Joe Walcott, Philly Joe Jones, Broadway Joe Namath, Mississippi John Hurt, Memphis Minnie, Tennessee Williams, Utah Phillips, Minnesota Fats.
  • Nicknames beget nicknames in weird ways. In the 1880s, an English serial killer is nicknamed Jack the Ripper. Sixty years later, an American painter named Jackson Pollock starts dripping paint on canvases and — presto! — somebody dubs him “Jack the Dripper.” A popular book and movie provide a new title for a Mafia chieftain — “The Godfather” — and pretty soon, singer James Brown proclaims himself “the Godfather of Soul.” Two decades later, a rapper named Rahzel proclaims himself “the Godfather of Noyze.”
  • Back in the mid-’60s, Charles O. Finley, the owner of the Kansas City Athletics, signed a hot new pitching prospect named Jim Hunter. Finley asked the kid if he had a nickname. The kid said he didn’t. Finley immediately bestowed one — Catfish. It stuck.
  • The most prolific media nicknamer of our day is ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman, who coins comic pseudo-nicknames for ballplayers — Roberto “Remember the” Alomar and Bobby “Bad to the” Bonilla and Bernard “Innocent Until Proven” Gilkey.
  • Nicknames are also common among the kind of people who are not eager to advertise their real names — people who don’t generally hand out business cards, like gamblers and criminals and outlaw motorcyclists. Organized crime has its faults, but even its harshest critics can’t dispute that it has given America some great nicknames — Jimmy “The Weasel” Fratianno, Willie “The Rat” Cammisano, Charles “Cherry Nose” Gioe, Charlie “Monkey Face” Genker, Orazio “The Scourge” Tropea and many, many more.
  • Not only is the mob a wonderful source of names with internal quotation marks, it’s also a treasure trove of names followed by “a k a,” which is short for “also known as,” a phrase never applied to anyone you’d want your daughter to marry. The greatest a k a list in human history appeared on the cover page of a 1988 lawsuit titled United States v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters. It listed no fewer than 24 a k a’s, including “Joey the Clown,” “Jackie the Lackey,” “Matty the Horse,” “The Snake,” “Fat Tony,” “Tony Pro,” “Tony Ripe” and “The Nutcracker.”
  • Our American past can fill a page of folk heroes like the Babe and the Lone Eagle and the Georgia Peach as well as larger-than-life villains with names reminiscent of characters in the comic strips — Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, Machine Gun Kelly.  There were also comedians named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo and Gummo. And ballplayers named Dizzy, Dazzy, Daffy, Ducky, Fuzzy, Gabby, Wee Willie and Pee Wee. Not surprisingly, when Walt Disney animated the Grimm’s fairy tale about seven unnamed dwarfs in 1938, he got into the spirit of the age and named them Sleepy, Sneezy, Happy, Grumpy, Bashful, Dopey and Doc.
  • Many rappers and hip-hop musicians are pumping new life into the tired American nickname and the scholars of names are beginning to take notice.  “The intent of a rap nickname is to communicate, Many include Slick Rick, Chill Will, Jazzy Joyce, Special Ed, Flavor Flav, Notorious B.I.G., Foxy Brown, Mista Sinista, Total Eclipse, Silkk the Shocker . . . could this be the advent of a new golden age?
  • See how many you recognize:  here’s a link to the top 100 in sports  Some of my favorites: Magic, Broadway Joe, Say Hey Kid, The Rocket, Iceman, Pistol Pete, The Glide, Sir Charles, Big Papi, The Bird, and of course, The Great One.

 

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DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

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Berrylicious

Strawberry love!! No matter your age, a strawberry will bring a smile to your face. Read on about these simple delights. 

Red, ripe and delicious.  That’s my take on strawberries – and I’m sure you’ll agree.  This time of year, the fresh berries are SOOOOO good, I can’t get enough of them. On cereal – yep, ice cream – yep (I have to admit I love Dairy Queens strawberry topping!), fruit trays – yep, or just one at a time. I’m not a big strawberry ice cream guy – prefer the berries on top of vanilla, (but I for sure won’t push it away).  One of my favorites is strawberries tucked inside angel food cake with whipped cream icing – creamy on the outside, yummy berries inside – hard to stop at one piece. Remember strawberries are also wonderful in any number of adult beverages.  I did a little digging on the history and info on berries, plus threw in some production videos and a few tunes to put in the right Friday mindset.  If you have a nice recipe, be sure to share (skowalski@khtheat.com).

Beatles
Harvesting
D. Carter

Strawberry Moon

The strawberry is a member of the rose family, with the most common varieties being a hybrid of the wild Virginia strawberry (native to North America) and a Chilean variety. The plant produces succulent, red, conical fruit from tiny white flowers, and sends out runners to propagate.

Although they have been around for thousands of years, strawberries were not actively cultivated until the Renaissance period in Europe.  The plants can last for five to six with careful cultivation, but most farmers use them as an annual crop, replanting yearly. Strawberries are social plants, requiring both a male and a female to produce fruit. Crops take eight to 14 months to mature.

Strawberries are among the first fruit to ripen in the Northeast. The flower buds formed last fall are tucked away under a layer of straw for the winter. Then an early-spring heat wave pushes the plants along, making the flowers open early.  Some growers keep busy protecting them from frost on cold nights, using sprinklers to form ice, which as funny as it sounds, gives off heat when it forms.

The health benefits of strawberry consumption include antioxidants, folate, potassium, vitamin C and fiber. This is part of the reason why per capita consumption of strawberries has increased steadily since 1970, from just less than 3 pounds to over 6 pounds today. The proportion of fresh vs. frozen has also increased during this period.

Not that long ago commercial strawberry production didn’t even exist.  True, the Roman poets Virgil and Ovid did mention the strawberry way back in the first century A.D., but they referenced it as an ornamental, not as a food.  Wild strawberries have been eaten by people around the world since ancient times, but not in large quantities since the fruits were small or tough or lacked flavor.

By the 1300’s the strawberry was in cultivation in Europe, when the French began transplanting the wood strawberry (Fragaria vesca) from the wilderness to the garden.  At the end of the 1500’s the musky strawberry (Fragaria moschata) was also being cultivated in European gardens.

In the 1600’s, the Virginia strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) of North America reached Europe. The spread of this new relatively hardy species was very gradual, and it remained little appreciated until the end of the 1700’s and early 1800’s when it was popular in England. At that time, English gardeners worked to raise new varieties from seed, increasing the number of varieties from three to nearly thirty.

Meanwhile, a French spy brought the Chilean strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) from Chile to France in 1714. This species of strawberry had a quality the others lacked: size.  It had fewer but larger flowers and gave rise to larger fruit. However, the Chilean strawberry was not hardy and was difficult to grow inland, away from mild coastal climates.

These two New World species of strawberries were crossed in Europe, giving rise to the modern strawberry, Fragaria ananassa. It was the French who first accidentally pollinated the Chilean strawberry with the Virginia strawberry when pistillate Chilean plants were inter-planted with staminate Virginian plants and natural hybrids were made. The English did most of the early breeding work to develop the ancestors of the varieties we enjoy today.  All modern strawberry varieties have descended from this crossing of Virginia and Chilean strawberries.

‘Hovey’ was the name of the first American strawberry variety that resulted from a planned cross, and it is an ancestor of most modern varieties.  It was developed by Charles Hovey, a nurseryman in Cambridge, MA, in 1834.  ‘Wilson’ was originated in 1851 by James Wilson who selected it from a cross of ‘Hovey’ grown with other varieties. This variety was more productive, firmer and hardier than any other large-fruited variety and could be grown on nearly any soil. It was also perfect-flowered, so it could be grown by itself without another variety for pollination. Wilson changed the strawberry into a major crop grown all across the continent; the strawberry industry soon increased 50-fold, to one hundred thousand acres.

About 1909 the variety ‘Howard 17’ was introduced by E.C. Howard of Belchertown, MA.  It had tolerance to leaf spot, leaf scorch and virus diseases and it formed many crowns with early flower bud initiation. For decades it was important for commercial use and breeding.

Worldwide 8,885,028 tons of strawberry are produced per year.  China is the largest strawberry producer in the world with 3,221,557 tons production per year, followed by the United States of America with 1,021,490 tons, and Mexico with 861,337 tons.   According to the USDA, the average American consumes approximately 3.4 pounds of fresh strawberries per year.

New varieties

 

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DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

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Let’s Celebrate!

MAN, I love pizza. I’m eating one right now…with my KHT peeps. A pizza party is always a great time. Young and old. Can’t get enough. And for me, the more toppings the better!!!!  :)))))))  The only draw back is when there is the dreaded last piece in the box. I’m always there to clean-up and I always offer Jackie the last piece. What a guy. 

Today is National Pizza Party Day, and we’re celebrating here at KHT. Now, of all the wonderful food out there, one of my favorites is pizza.  Sometimes it’s the just the perfect meal – quick lunch, savory dinner with leafy chef salad, complimented by a fine wine, a quick snack when I’m doing a project, and of course, cold from the fridge the morning after.  And there are not many pizza toppings I pass on (still not sure on this little fishy things), so when someone orders “their” favorites, I usually just jump right in.  Like most popular foods, the debate rages on as to what’s best – thin crust, big fat crust, light toppings, piled high toppings, white cheese, yellow blends, and “who’s got the best sauce” – I love ‘em all.  (and how would you like to try and find “the best” – talk about a PIA (Pain in the @%$) Job!) Lately I’ve been enjoying simple pizza – light tangy sauce, cheese, oil and basil – love it when the basil is fresh.  I did some digging and found some fun history I think you’ll enjoy.  Thanks to Wikipedia.com, firstpizza.com, pizzeriaunodue.com, pizzaneed.com, bbc.co, and restaurantclicks.com for the info.

  1. Pizza is the world’s favorite fast food. We eat it everywhere – at home, in restaurants, on street corners. Some four plus billion pizzas are sold each year in the United States alone (an average of 48 slices (about six pizzas) per person!). But the story of how the humble pizza came to enjoy such global dominance reveals much about the history of migration, economics, and technological change.
  2. People have been eating pizza, in one form or another, for centuries. As far back as antiquity, pieces of flatbread, topped with savories, served as a simple and tasty meal for those who could not afford plates, or who were on the go.
  3. In Sardinia, French and Italian archaeologists have found bread baked over 7,000 years ago. According to Philippe Marinval, the local islanders leavened this bread. Foods similar to pizza have been made since antiquity. Records of people adding other ingredients to bread to make it more flavorful can be found throughout ancient history.
  4. In the 6th century BC, Persian soldiers serving under Darius the Great baked flatbreads with cheese and dates on top of their battle shields. And in Ancient Greece, citizens made a flat bread called plakous (πλακοῦς, gen. πλακοῦντος – plakountos) which was flavored with toppings like herbs, onion, cheese and garlic.
  5. These early pizzas appear in Virgil’s Aeneid. Shortly after arriving in Latium, Aeneas and his crew sat down beneath a tree and laid out ‘thin wheaten cakes as platters for their meal’. They then scattered them with mushrooms and herbs they had found in the woods and guzzled them down, crust and all, prompting Aeneas’ son Ascanius to exclaim: “Look! We’ve even eaten our plates!”
  6. But it was in late 18th-century Naples that the pizza as we now know it came into being. Under the Bourbon kings, Naples had become one of the largest cities in Europe – and it was growing fast. Fueled by overseas trade and a steady influx of peasants from the countryside, its population ballooned from 200,000 in 1700 to 399,000 in 1748. As the urban economy struggled to keep pace, an ever-greater number of the city’s inhabitants fell into poverty. The most abject of these were known as lazzaroni, because their ragged appearance resembled that of Lazarus. Numbering around 50,000 they scraped by on the pittance they earned as porters, messengers or casual laborers.
  7. Always rushing about in search of work, they needed food that was cheap and easy to eat. Pizzas met this need. Sold not in shops, but by street vendors carrying huge boxes under their arms, they would be cut to meet the customer’s budget or appetite. As Alexandre Dumas noted in Le Corricolo (1843), a two liard slice would make a good breakfast, while two sous would buy a pizza large enough for a whole family. None of them were terribly complicated. Though similar in some respects to Virgil’s flatbreads, they were now defined by inexpensive, easy-to-find ingredients with plenty of flavor. The simplest were topped with nothing more than garlic, lard and salt Now that’s healthy!). But others included caciocavallo (a cheese made from horse’s milk), cecenielli (whitebait) or basil. Some even had tomatoes on top. Only recently introduced from the Americas, these were still a curiosity, looked down upon by contemporary gourmets. But it was their unpopularity – and hence their low price – that made them attractive.
  8. For a long time, pizzas were scorned by food writers. Associated with the crushing poverty of the lazzaroni, they were frequently denigrated as ‘disgusting’, especially by foreign visitors. In 1831, Samuel Morse – inventor of the telegraph – described pizza as a ‘species of the most nauseating cake … covered over with slices of pomodoro or tomatoes and sprinkled with little fish and black pepper and I know not what other ingredients, it altogether looks like a piece of bread that has been taken reeking out of the sewer’ (I’m not sure sewer pizza is the right positioning?).
  9. When the first cookbooks appeared in the late 19th century, they pointedly ignored pizza. Even those dedicated to Neapolitan cuisine disdained to mention it – despite the fact that the gradual improvement in the lazzaroni’s status had prompted the appearance of the first pizza restaurants.
  10. All that changed after Italian unification. While on a visit to Naples in 1889, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita grew tired of the complicated French dishes they were served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hastily summoned to prepare some local specialities for the queen, the pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito cooked three sorts of pizza: one with lard, caciocavallo and basil; another with cecenielli; and a third with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. The queen was delighted. Her favorite – the last of the three – was christened pizza margherita in her honor – (I like her, as it’s one of my favorites too!).
  11. This signaled an important shift. Margherita’s seal of approval not only elevated the pizza from being a food fit only for lazzaroni to being something a royal family could enjoy, but also transformed pizza from a local into a truly national dish. It introduced the notion that pizza was a genuinely Italian food – akin to pasta and polenta.
  12. Nevertheless, pizza was slow to move out of Naples. The initial spur was provided by migration. From the 1930s onwards, a growing number of Neapolitans moved northwards in search of work, taking their cuisine with them. This trend was accelerated by war. When Allied soldiers invaded Italy in 1943-4, they were so taken with the pizza they encountered in Campania that they asked for it wherever else they went. But it was tourism – facilitated by the declining cost of travel in the postwar period – that really consolidated pizza’s position as a truly Italian dish. As tourists became increasingly curious about Italian food, restaurants throughout the peninsula started offering more regional specialties – including pizza. The quality was, at first, variable – not every restaurant had a pizza oven. Nevertheless, pizza quickly spread throughout Italy. As it did so, new ingredients were introduced in response to local tastes and the higher prices that customers were now willing to pay.
  13. But it was in America that pizza found its second home. By the end of the 19th century, Italian emigrants had already reached the East Coast; and in 1905, the first pizzeria – Lombardi’s – was opened in New York City. Soon, pizza became an American institution. Spreading across the country in step with the growing pace of urbanization, it was quickly taken up by enterprising restaurateurs (who were often not from an Italian background) and adapted to reflect local tastes, identities and needs.
  14. Shortly after the US entered the Second World War, a Texan named Ike Sewell attempted to attract new customers to his newly opened Chicago pizzeria by offering a much ‘heartier’ version of the dish, complete with a deeper, thicker crust and richer, more abundant toppings – usually with cheese at the bottom and a mountain of chunky tomato sauce heaped on top of it. At about the same time, the Rocky Mountain Pie was developed in Colorado. Although not as deep as its Chicago relative, it had a much wider crust, which was meant to be eaten with honey as a desert. In time, these were even joined by a Hawaiian version, topped with ham and pineapple – much to the bewilderment of Neapolitans.
  15. From the 1950s onwards, the rapid pace of economic and technological change in the US transformed the pizza even more radically. Two changes are worthy of note. The first was the ‘domestication’ of pizza. As disposable incomes grew, fridges and freezers became increasingly common and demand for ‘convenience’ foods grew – prompting the development of the frozen pizza. Designed to be taken home and cooked at will, this required changes to be made to the recipe. Instead of being scattered with generous slices of tomato, the base was now smothered with a smooth tomato paste, which served to prevent the dough from drying out during oven cooking; and new cheeses had to be developed to withstand freezing. (Americans spend about $4.5 billion on frozen pizza each year).
  16. The second change was the ‘commercialization’ of pizza. With the growing availability of cars and motorcycles, it became possible to deliver freshly cooked food to customers’ doors – and pizza was among the first dishes to be served up. In 1960, Tom and James Monaghan founded ‘Dominik’s’ in Michigan and, after winning a reputation for speedy delivery, took their company – which they renamed ‘Domino’s’ – nationwide. They and their competitors expanded abroad, so that now there is scarcely a city in the world where they cannot be found.
  17. Paradoxically, the effect of these changes was to make pizza both more standardized and more susceptible to variation. While the form – a dough base, topped with thin layers of tomato and cheese – became more firmly entrenched, the need to appeal to customers’ desire for novelty led to ever more elaborate varieties being offered, so that now Pizza Hut in Poland sells a spicy ‘Indian’ version and Domino’s in Japan has developed an ‘Elvis’ pizza, with just about everything on it.
  18. Today’s pizzas are far removed from those of the lazzaroni; and many pizza purists – especially in Naples – balk at some of the more outlandish toppings that are now on offer. But pizza is still recognizable as pizza and centuries of social, economic and technological change are baked into every slice.
  19. Let the debate begin. – rankings on favorite toppings

 

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Gone Fishin’

Lake Erie fishing is a sport and a pastime that appeals to young & old, male & female, novice & competitive angler. Check out that whopper on the right side of row eight above. That’s a 51.5-inch Muskie. WOW!!!!!!!  Me? I’ll be at the grill with some sides ready to whip-up a tasty Walleye or Perch dinner. Yummmm!!!!!!! :))))

Now that the lake is starting to clear, and the ice is headed east, it’s time to get out the boat (or call a buddy with a boat) and do some fishin’.  Lake Erie fishing, especially for perch and walleye, is some of the most prized angling in the United States and the best fishing in Ohio. Anglers often carefully watch the fishing reports to plan annual treks to Lake Erie, sometimes several times a year, to enjoy the chance at catching an impressive haul after a day or weekend on the water.  I know that serious anglers love heading out really early in the morning (it’s my favorite time of the day!) when the water is calm, and the fishies are biting. I on the other hand will be glad to get the skillet or grill fired up!  I am not a fisherman, something about bobbing on the water doesn’t work well for my constitution!  Here is some good info for the novice fisherman, along with links for charters, and more.  So, call some buds, grab a hat and some sunscreen, light snacks, and head on out to enjoy the day.  Thanks to eriecharter.com, lakeeriewalleyecharterfishing.com, and planetware.com.  Enjoy, and call me when it’s time to eat!!

Play this tune while you read to get you in the mood.

Lake Erie is the fourth largest of the five Great Lakes serving as the international boundary between the United States and Canada. On a clear day on the open water, you can see the mainland of Canada and the Lake Erie islands.

Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes, and the entire shoreline stretches for 871 miles, touching the US state borders of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York. There are so many fishing opportunities in this body of water, but most anglers come specifically for the walleye and perch.

In order to enjoy the best fishing that Lake Erie has to offer, you either need to hire a Lake Erie fishing charter, which is easy to do, or know a private captain who can take you. Fishing with an experienced captain on Lake Erie is essential.  Here’s some links: Try This and This

The weather conditions on the water are finicky, and the fishing regulations are strict. Having knowledge of the lake and its islands allows you to safely fish in just about any weather.

Lake Erie regulars know that the bait shop intel is some of the best information available. The walleye and perch are constantly on the move, and while most captains will know generally where they should be throughout the year, their specific locations and bite action will change by the day and oftentimes by the hour.

A favorite of Lake Erie fishing is perch.  Anglers say the best set-up is the hook sinker with a worm bait. Although you can also use a spinner tipped with a worm or a small jig head with a worm or minnow bait. Perch fishing with worms tends to produce the best results, but maggots, prawns and lobworms are also amongst the best bait for catching perch. Recently released Ohio Department of Natural Resources yellow perch hatch results indicate more of the same: overall mediocrity, leaning toward the not-so-good side.     )Depending on the fishing zones you choose, you will likely experience different results.

Many anglers also head to Lake Erie for the prized walleye. Walleye require different bait and fishing methods. Strict bag limit and size regulations for walleyes keep the fish populations in Lake Erie in check. It’s one of the reasons that the walleyes in these basins are able to grow to such large sizes.  People come from all over the region and US to fish for walleyes in Lake Erie, especially in the early spring and fall. The sheer quantity of fish and relative unavailability in the supermarket make it a popular sport fish.

There are various techniques used for getting bait into the strike zone for walleyes. Trolling is a common method that enables anglers to use crank/stick baits in the spring and fall and spoons and nightcrawler harnesses in the summer. All Lake Erie anglers have their own preferences when it comes to the use of planer boards, divers, downriggers, weighted spinners, or flatlining while targeting walleyes.

1. What to Know Before You Go. Lake Erie fishing is exciting, and you will relive the trip with every bite of perch and walleye that you cook for dinner, but there are some key things to know before you go. First things first: educate yourself on the Lake Erie fishing regulations. Since bag limits are reviewed each year, it is important to know what they are for the species that you are targeting, as the regulations are strict.

2.  Be sure to obtain a valid Ohio fishing license from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources or from the state you will be fishing from. Lake Erie is surrounded by the US states of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York, which all have their own regulations and fishing license requirements.

3.  If you are susceptible to sea sickness, be sure to wear a motion-sickness patch or take motion-sickness prevention pills with you. The Lake Erie waters can mimic the ocean in inclement or windy weather, making for a rocky day on the boat. Hence the reason I do the cooking!!

4.  Hiring a Lake Erie fishing charter is easy to do, and it is one of the best ways to make sure you get right on top of the fish that you want to target. There are several types of charters available depending on your preference. You can hire a private charter, which is more expensive and generally takes groups of four to six people by pre-booking.

5.  Another option for Lake Erie fishing charters are walk-on head boats, where you just show up and go. These are nice options for people who decide to go fishing at the last minute because they are convenient. They are also more affordable than private charters, making them great options for families and groups who are on a budget.

6. Where to Depart. Lake Erie has three main basins from which anglers generally depart to fish for perch and walleye. Port Clinton is the Walleye Capital of the World, so it is the go-to launch for the Western Basin and that is where you will find the largest concentration of Lake Erie fishing charters. The Western Basin is productive in the spring during spawning season and in the fall.  The Central Basin, stretching along the northeastern Ohio border and part of Pennsylvania, is popular in the late spring and summer. Popular Ohio departures for the Central Basin include Huron, Lorain, Fairport, Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ashtabula, and Conneaut.  The Eastern Basin stretches from Pennsylvania to New York and Canada.

7.  Other Fish to Catch on Lake Erie. when it comes to Lake Erie fishing, there are other species that are great to target as well. Here are some of the other species that are likely to make an appearance:

Smallmouth Bass. The smallmouth bass in Lake Erie are a popular species for anglers. There are some strict regulations regarding smallmouth bass to help the populations get through spawning season, so you will want to review those if you plan to fish for this species in the spring or early summer. Smallmouth bass can be fun to catch, as they are active fighters and oftentimes jet out of the water.

Steelhead. Anglers enjoy fishing for steelhead because they are quite aggressive on the line. They also make for great table fare. The Ohio Division of Wildlife has been releasing steelhead trout in Lake Erie since the mid 90s, and they have become a popular fish for anglers.

Lake Trout. Lake Erie lake trout can grow quite large and are nice to catch. They are stocked in Ohio waters, so there are generally healthy populations.

Sheepshead. Often considered by anglers to be a junk fish, sheepshead are exciting to catch. These are quite popular to get on the end of your line while fishing for something else. Most anglers do not keep sheepshead, but they provide a lively intermission to your day of fishing.

8.  Planning a Lake Erie fishing trip is fairly simple and can become a yearly tradition as it is for so many anglers. Start your planning by deciding what type of species you want to fish for, as that will determine the time of year to go and the location of your departure.

If possible, give yourself a couple of days to make the most of the trip and ensure you have an ice chest full of fish to take home. At the very least, if one day is all you can do, try to plan the trip when you have the most flexibility to change the date if weather conditions are not favorable. Keep in mind that the captain has the final say when it comes to assessing the weather conditions.

Look up local resources like the Lake Erie Shore & Islands to find information on things to do in the area, lodging, and restaurants that you can plan to visit during your stay. They also provide daily weather and fishing reports that you can check before and during your time on the water.

Catch & Cook with Robert Field

How to Get a Fishing License in Ohio with pictures

 

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DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Play Ball

There’s nothing like going to Progressive Field. I like to get there early. I love the ballpark smell, (especially the food!!!!!!!!) the action of the game and the passionate fans. Oh, and did I mention the food?  :))))))) Read on for some fascinating facts about this great game.

I love it when baseball begins.  It’s a sign that spring is “almost” here in Cleveburg, and becomes a regular destination point for me and family and friends throughout the season. I love heading to the ballpark on a nice day and taking in a game.  Everything about baseball is great – young and veteran talent on the field, big hitters, stealing bases, great pitching, defense … oh, and the food – not much I don’t like – popcorn, yep, peanuts, yep, dog and a beer, yep, nachos, yep, ice cream (in summer) yep, pizza, why not, brats, sure (stadium mustard of course) … I could go on – plus all the new-fangled ways they get me out of my seat in into the food court (chicken barbeque sandwiches – oh my!).  Walking back to my seats, I stopped and looked at the field – the “diamond” as it’s called and wondered where this all came from.  The pitcher’s mound, the batter’s box, coaches on the corners.  The field looks so big at times, and so small too, with the size, speed and athleticism of the players.  So, back at the ranch, I went online, and found a ton of cool info (could write pages on this), dating back to the early days when the game was first formed, and formalized.  Here’s some fun trivia you can take to the ballpark next time you visit.  Enjoy, and thanks to Wikipedia and 19cbaseball.com for the info.

19th Century Baseball: The Beginning
Contrary to popular belief, Baseball was not invented by a single individual, but evolved from various European “bat and ball” games. Russia had a version of Baseball called Lapta, which dates back to the fourteenth century. It consisted of two teams (five to ten members) with a pitcher and batter. The ball would be thrown to the batter who would attempt to hit it with a short stick and then run to the opposite side and back before being hit by the ball. (when we were kids, we played “running bases”)

England has played Cricket and Rounders for several centuries. The first recorded cricket match took place in Sussex, England in 1697. Cricket is played in a large open circular field and has two sides of eleven players that attempt to “put out” a “batsman” who tries to prevent a ball thrown by a “bowler” from knocking over “bails” placed on “wickets,” or three upright sticks. If the batsman makes contact with the ball, he runs to the opposite side of the “pitch” and continues running back and forth until the ball is retrieved by the opposing team.

Rounders, which shares more technical similarities to Baseball, dates back to Tudor times in England. This game consisted of two teams, six to fifteen players, including a pitcher, batter, “bowling square,” “hitting square” and four posts, similar to bases used in Baseball. Each player had to bat in each “inning” and the game lasted two innings. The pitcher tossed the ball to the batter who attempted to hit it. If contact was made the batter ran to the first post. Points were awarded depending on what post was reached by the batter and the manner in which the post was reached.

Town Ball – Germany played a game called Schlagball, which was similar to Rounders. The ball was tossed by the “bowler” to the “striker,” who struck it with a club and attempted to complete the circuit of bases without being hit by the ball. Americans played a version of Rounders called “Town Ball,” which dates back to the early 1800’s. In this game, the first team to score one hundred “talleys” won the game. In 1858 the rules were formalized as the “Rules of the Massachusetts Game of Town Ball.”

“Base Ball” Occasionally, early 19th century American newspapers would mention games listed as “Bass-Ball,” “Base,” “Base Ball,” “Base-Ball,” “Goal Ball” and “Town Ball.” The first known printed record of a game that was slightly different from Rounders and resembled a game closer to Baseball, is from an 1829 book called The Boy’s Own Book  in which the game is referred to as “Round Ball,” “Base” and “Goal Ball.” A crude field diagram was included with specific locations for four stones or stakes (bases), that were arranged in a diamond. The article described how to “make an out” as well as how to get “home.” The word “party” was used to describe a team, and the team at bat was called the “in-party.” Each party pitched to themselves, bases were run in a clockwise direction and players could be put out by swinging and missing three pitched balls or by being hit with the ball while moving between bases.

The Olympic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia – Perhaps the first town ball club to adopt a constitution was the Olympic Ball Club of Philadelphia, founded in 1833. It was formed by combining two associations of Town Ball players. One of the Town Ball associations may have begun play in the spring of 1831, in Camden, NJ on Market Street. The original group included only four players, playing “Cat Ball,” but eventually the number of players increased and the Saturday afternoon gathering usually included between fifteen to twenty players.

The constitution was first published in 1838 and consisted of 15 Articles. Duties of the Board of Directors, Members, and Captains were described. Practice days and a fine structure were also outlined.

Birthplace – Elysian Fields is widely considered the birthplace of baseball as the first officially recorded, organized baseball game was played there on June 19, 1846. The game used Alexander Joy Cartwright’s rules and was played between the New York Base Ball Club and the Knickerbockers.

Dimensions
The first written mention of the dimensions of the bases was mentioned in the 1857 playing rules. It was specified that the bases were to cover one square foot, made of canvas, painted white and filled with sand or saw-dust. All bases were to be fastened to the field at each corner. Third and first base were to be turned so that a line from home would go through one of the corners and exit the other and the center of the base would be 30 yard from home base. At this time it was not written that foul lines were to be drawn on the field. Second base was to be set so that the 30 yard mark from third and first would rest in the center of the bag and the base was to be placed so that one side would be parallel with the front line of the pitcher’s line. The bases had a “belt” that wrapped around the center and then through a metal loop which was attached to a wooden spike that was driven into the ground. The metal spike was concealed underneath the base.

Beginning in 1860 a Foul Ball Post was to be placed 100 feet from both third and first base in line with home base. The post was used to help the umpire judge whether a batted ball landed in fair or foul ground. In the narrative of the Beadle’s Dime Base Ball Player Henry Chadwick suggested that the correct size of the bases should be 17 inches by 14 inches. It is not known if bases these dimensions were ever used.

When the National Association was formed in 1871, it adopted the same rules used by the National Association of Base Ball Players regarding the bases and foul lines. Added was the rule that no fence could be erected within 90 feet of home base, unless it was to mark the boundary of the ground. If a pitched ball touched that fence, without hitting the batter and passing the catcher, all base runners advanced one base.

The NL, in 1880, named the 15 foot line the “Coaches Line” and the 50 foot line the “Player’s Line.” These lines were now required to be extended to the limits of the grounds. The American Association of Base Ball Clubs, which began operation in 1882, used the same layout of the bases, Foul Ball Lines and Foul Ball Posts as the NL.

When the National League and American Association used the same rules starting in 1887, two changes took place. Third and first bases moved seven and one half inches, toward second base, so that they were entirely in fair ground. Also the 30 yard mark fell upon the back rear corner first and third base. So not only were the bases in fair ground they were now also inside the 30 yard box on the diamond. The runner’s line, outside of the first base Foul Ball Line now extended 3 feet past first base.

In 1889, a rule was instituted that stated that a batted ball hit over a fence less than 210 feet from home base entitled the Batsman to two bases.  When the National League and American Association became the National League and American Association of Base Ball Clubs in 1892, the distance for a batted ball to be ruled a double was increased to 235 feet from home base.

Super Geek Out – (if you are building one in the backyard) Here are the exact specs:
Each Baseline                                     90’
Home to Second                                 127’ 3 3/8”
Home to Front of Pitching Rubber      60’ 6”
Home plate to backstop                      60’
Home plate circle                                26’
Dugout from Foul Line                        15’
Home plate to Left/Right Field            320-350’
Home plate to Center Field                 400+
Pitching Mound Diameter                   18’
Pitching Mound Height                       10”

I love this one… The pitcher was held accountable for “unfair” pitched balls in 1863, and the umpire was instructed to call these “balls” after warning the pitcher. After warning the Pitcher and calling three “unfair” balls, the batter was entitled to first base and any runner occupying a base also advanced one base whether forced or not.

With the Start of the first professional baseball league in the United States, The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, the batter was given a large advantage for the 1871 season. He was allowed to call for a “high” or “low” ball. A “low pitch” was a ball delivered by the pitcher that was between the striker’s knees and his waist and passed over Home Base. A “high pitch” was a ball delivered by the pitcher that was between the striker’s waist and his shoulders and passed over Home Base. The striker was also allowed to step forward in the act of striking as long as he was still astride the three-foot line and was not to stand closer than one foot to Home Base.

In 1872, the second season of the National Association, Home Base was required to be made of white marble or stone and placed even with the ground.

In the National League in 1885 Home Base was to be made out of white rubber or stone. The batter’s box was moved to six inches from Home Base and its size was increased to six feet long by four feet wide. The American Association changed the composition of Home Base to only white rubber but the batter’s box remained three feet wide and six feet long, one foot from Home Base.

When the National League and American Association followed the same rules in 1887 it was stated that Home Base was to be made out of whitened rubber only. The batter was no longer allowed to call for a high or low pitch and a fair ball was one that passed over some part of Home Base and was between the batter’s knees and his shoulders.

In the National League in 1900, Home plate is converted to the present-day pentagonal shape, 17-inches wide.

Now you know – “batter up!!”

 

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DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.
As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))  
Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Sticky

Look closely. Next time you get a piece of fruit check out those really little stickers. They’re really works of art!! Read all about them below.

It’s that time of year when I really enjoy fresh fruit from the supermarket.  Not only the strawberries or apples (but I must admit the apples are amazing lately), but the variety of oranges, grapefruit, and pineapple that arrive from Florida, California, and Mexico.  Jackie and I love to make a fruit salad, mixing whatever we pick up from our local grocery store, and combining the flavors – there’s something special about fresh grapefruit juice … especially when added to some of my favorite adult beverages!  I was noticing the tiny little stickers on each of the fruits, and then hit the internet to find out more.  Where did these come from, how do they get the tiny UPC code on them, who designs the stickers and keeps track of all the vendors and all the codes?  I found some great info about the stickers (never knew the stickers have become collector’s items) and worldwide coordination of markings and wanted to share.  Special thanks to fastcompany.com, cbc.ca.bonappetit.com, YouTube and Wikipedia for the info. Squeeze away!!

How Stickers are applied

  • Fruit stickers, or also known as “the world’s tiniest canvases for graphic design” have been around for almost a century.  Called a PLU sticker – short for Product or Price Look Up – feature a four- or five-digit number that lets cashiers know what the product is and then how much it costs.
  • Started back in the 30’s, with growth after World War II, the intricate illustrations gave way to more abstract graphics that made use of typography and striking colors. In recent years, some companies have continued to update their brand identity via the stickers. In the 1960s the brand Filosófo, for example, once sported a paper wrapper with concentric circles, illustrated stars, and a serif typeface. Today, it features a more contemporary typeface and a pristine, watercolor-like rendition of oranges adorned with blossoms. (the stickers are shaped like leaves).
  • The next evolution was a four-digit numbering system – numbers begin with a 3 or a 4 – which means the product was grown conventionally – five-digit combinations start with a 9 (then the product’s four-digit code), meaning it was organically grown.  An 8 was once used to denote GMO products, but that was dropped a few years back as the GMO designation didn’t affect price.
  • Whether you’re buying bananas from a store in Toronto, a shop in Kentucky or a stand in Cologne, Germany, the PLU is the same. Same goes for navel oranges (3107), seedless green grapes (4022) and even passion fruit (3038 for the granadilla variety).
  • According to Jane Proctor, vice-president of policy and issue management for the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, “it’s a global system.  In the U.S., in Canada, in Mexico, in the U.K., in New Zealand, in Australia, in Norway, in Sweden — in these countries, they’re used all the way through the supply chain. And any other country that is shipping to those countries is also using them.”
  • How are codes assigned when a new variety of fruit or vegetable is created that a grower or manufacturer thinks should have its own number, they can apply for a PLU (applications cost $1,000 for IFPS members; $2,000 for non-members.  An IFPS committee meets electronically, four times a year, to decide which applications should be accepted and which shouldn’t.
  • There are now some 1,400 codes in use.  The main requirement is that the product has to be sold by at least three retailers with 25 locations or more. Letters of support from the retailers are also asked for. With the use of bar codes, scanners, and tracking data systems, grocers are able to extract detailed buying behaviors using the UPC Bar codes.
  • The main purpose of the stickers is to allow a cashier to read the code easily through a clear plastic bag, so there are some design requirements.  For stickers with only a number, the type size has to be at least 14 points, and for newer PLUs, it has to include a barcode, which should be at least 10- or 12-point font. (there is no MAX size). It should also have as much contrast as possible, with black lettering on a white background considered ideal.
  • Manufacturers are free to come up with their own designs, making some stickers a collector’s item of sorts. Around the world, fruit stickers have become a collector’s item, replete with jazzy typography, vibrant illustrations, and playful branding that goes back over a century.
  • As one of the world’s largest exporters of fruit, Spain has them in droves. Since the country started exporting oranges and other citrus fruit at the turn of the 20th century, Spain has developed a robust infrastructure producing fruit stickers, paper wrappers, and custom-printed fruit crates.
  • These little “gems” of graphic design are now the subject of a new exhibition in Madrid. Featuring more than 300 Spanish brands, the aptly named Frutas de Diseño (Design Fruits) shines a light on the colorful history of fruit branding in Spain from the 1950s onward—and the wild variety of graphics that have been used to market fruits there and abroad.
  • The exhibition is located in CentroCentro, a striking cultural venue that was once Madrid’s main post office building. It includes 250 iterations of paper wrappers, a popular way of packaging fruit in Spain, more than 100 fruit crates stacked like totems, and a board with 360 real, tiny stickers in all kinds of shapes, from circles to ovals to leaves. Most of them depict a simple wordmark, with a few exceptions like an abstract version of the sun, or an illustrated lemon cut in half. Names like “Infinita” or “La Soculente” (The Succulent) helped businesses, often small family-run affairs, stand out from the crowd.
  • Over the past few years, some companies have been experimenting with lasers, etching numbers, and brand names on the skin on the actual fruit. While in its early days, the practice might gain steam in countries like France, which banned disposable plastic packaging and produce stickers across 30 fruits and vegetables.
  • Can you eat the stickers?  The short answer is yes, but you probably won’t want to.  There is not harm, but the stickers do not break down in the body … just pass through.
  • So next time you find yourself peeling a sticker from your orange, take a closer look before you chuck it in the trash, because you may be holding one of the tiniest forms of branding ever created.

 

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Happy Easter to All

What A Beautiful Time To Rejoice In God’s Blessings.  
Happy Easter to all our KHT Friends

 

 

Beautiful

Love this time of year. Renewal & beautification at home and at the office. There’s nothing like all that fresh color popping up everywhere. Time to get your hands dirty!!!  :)))))))

Now that the doldrums of winter are behind us (please no more surprise storms) it’s time to turn to our gardens and and plan to put in some color to beautify our days. In full unabashed disclosure,  between Jackie and one of my daughters Michelle I never have to worry about what is going to be planted.  I am simply there as cheap labor and laughs!  I went online in search of the “New” Plants for ’22, and hit the jackpot with ideas from savvygardening.com.  Special thanks to Tara Nolan with her descriptions and introductions to new plants that come from an array of sources—trial garden visits, emails from growers and colleagues, presentations, seed and plant catalogs, along with her behind-the-scenes look at how growers come up with new plant introductions.  Be sure to write them down, and then go hunting at your nearby garden center.  I will say that later this year Jackie and I plan on visiting theBiltmore Estate which has some of the most beautiful gardens in the world!

When the weather is right, before you plant, here are some great “get ready” garden tips,:

1. Give your garden a ‘spring-clean’ – After the winter months, the garden will be in need of a good tidy-up. Sweep up dead leaves with a rake, pull out any weeds around the garden and borders, remove dead branches or plants and add these to your compost pile. In addition, late winter is the best time to prune (cutback) your plants and old flowers to remove any dead or diseased growth. Prune trees before they ‘leaf out’ to encourage new buds

2. Buy some summer-flowering bulbs and seeds – Now is the best time to order some summer-flowering bulbs which are ideal to plant in spring. Flowers such as lilies, dahlia and gladioli can be bought now to plant, and other seeds will benefit from being planted in pots indoors, before being transplanted into the soil. One can never have too many.

3. Prepare the soil – you need to get the soil ready in your garden beds. Your soil may be in poor condition due to frost from the winter, which makes it become compacted. In this case, you need to till or loosen the soil by turning it over with a tiller or spade. It’s advised to dig in a depth of 12-14 inches to work the soil and loosen it up. Add a fresh layer of mulch or compost to improve the surface of the bed.

4. Start your vegetable plot – If you want organic veggies, now is the right time to plant. Hardy vegetables such as potatoes, peas and some lettuces grow well in cool soil. Bear in mind, that as soon as your soil reaches 42-degrees Fahrenheit, you can start to sow directly outside. Other veggies you can sow include carrots, arugula, spinach, leeks and beetroots. By planting these vegetables now, they should be ready to eat by early summer.

 

Now, on to the show …

Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas) Primavera – I think this was my favorite new plant that I this year, probably because I planted it in my new favorite terracotta pot. I loved the flouncy blooms, or “flags” as they’re called, that wave above the flowers of ‘Primavera’ from Darwin Perennials. The blooms attract bees and butterflies, and the plant loved its sunny spot on my front porch area.

 

Leucanthemum ‘White Lion’ – This perennial beauty is called “the spring Shasta” on the grower’s website. Which means White Lion is a long-blooming, three-season perennial that will start its show in late spring. A new introduction from Kieft Seed, my two shasta daisy plants bloomed through the end of October in my front yard garden. Happy in full sun, it is hardy down to USDA zone 3b and extremely drought tolerant.

 

Cosmos ‘Apricotta’ – ‘Apricotta’, with its lush, pink flowers with hints of apricot and yellow are on my must-grow list. A new variety from William Dam Seeds, they will bloom through the first frost.

 

‘Frill Ride’ Bigleaf Hydrangea – I can never resist a ruffle or a frill, so out of all the new hydrangeas Bloomin’ Easy is releasing for 2022, I couldn’t resist ‘Frill Ride’. This big-leaf hydrangea features enormous deep-pink, frilly flowers. I imagine they’d look pretty stunning in a dried arrangement, too. This shrub is hardy down to zone 5 and prefers part sun (three to four hours a day of sun in the morning, with filtered sun the rest of the day). It grows to be about two to three feet tall and equally wide.

 

Easy Wave Sky Blue Spreading Petunia – Depending on the light, and I suppose, the plant (because sometimes certain growing conditions can affect the blooms), the Easy Wave Sky Blue petunia looks a lot like Very Peri, the Pantone Color of the Year. What I liked this plant was its contrast and slightly unusual blue-ish hue in a couple of my containers. The plants bloomed throughout the hot summer and into fall. They also spread nicely in a garden.

 

Suncredible Saturn Sunflower – This bright, cheerful Helianthus hybrid is everblooming, meaning season-long blooms. Part of the new Proven Winners lineup, the website suggests planting these as a living screen or along a fence. Plants reach up to three feet in height. Plants aren’t super fussy—they like rich soils but will grow in poorer soils. These drought-tolerant beauties also make great cut flowers and attract bees and butterflies.

 

Aurora Borealis Rose – I love the advances that have been made in rose breeding over the last several years to create hardy roses that have greater pest and disease resistance. This new kid on the block, from Vineland’s 49th Parallel Collection was developed really close to my home, too. I feel a certain pride when I tell people about this compact shrub. Aurora Borealis is the third rose in this collection.

 

The Velvet Fog Smokebush – I have a thing for texture, so the fluffy, soft-looking plumes of smokebushes always catch my eye. This one is pretty spectacular and apparently grows more flowers than a conventional smokebush. Clouds of pinky-red seem to hover atop the blue-green foliage of this showy shrub. Mature plants range from 60 to 96 inches (152 to 244 cm) tall and should be planted in part sun to full sun.

 

Aquilegia Earlybird – I don’t think I’ve even seen such a profusion of blooms all together in a columbine plant, in such a short little tidy clump. And you can see their faces! The blooms are so stunning, on all three from this series: Purple Yellow, Blue White, and Red Yellow. These plants are hardy down to zone 3a!

 

Visit https://savvygardening.com/new-plants/ to see dozens of more ideas to brighten up your garden this spring – and when things begin to bloom, be sure to send me a photo at skowalski@khtheat.com

 

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DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

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Got Ya!

Making your kids laugh is fun. (they might think you’re weird but that goes along with the territory) And April fools Day is a great day to go for it!!!!!  :))))))) 

Today, April Fool’s Day, is a day for fun and laughter – and you’ll agree, we REALLY need some fun and laughter.  Along with the typical tricks we play on co-workers or spouses, I thought I’d share some fun ideas to “get the kids involved.”  I can remember one year that Jackie and I actually moved the girls stuff around into other rooms including all of the pictures off the walls while they were sleeping, so that when they woke up they were in “another room”! The girls  loved to prank us as well.  One year they buttoned all our shirts together in the closet!  That certainly made for an interesting morning, when I was trying not to wake up Jackie before work!

The art of a good prank is to surprise someone with an unexpected event that will cause a reaction that immediately turns positive when they realize it is a joke. Pranks should be harmless – both mentally (doesn’t embarrass or cause stress) and physically (shouldn’t hurt the person or property around them).

Here are some fun, silly and harmless pranks you can pull on the kids.

  1. Tape the light switch so they can’t flip it. For younger kids, used colored tape. For older kids, clear tape molded to the shape of the switch is best. Make them wonder why the light is not moving!
  2. Decorate a sponge as a piece of cake. Coat a sponge with icing, and let it sit out on the counter. See if your kiddos can resist taking a bite.
  3. Have a note or short story appear in the toilet paper As they pull on the roll, the message pulls out, toward them. You need tape, toilet paper, and an unknowing participant.
  4. A little scare never hurts… Dig out the old baby monitor, keep the “baby” side with you, and put the adult one where your kids are. You can whisper as they are alone in a room, or as they do something innocuous, shriek at them, “Someone’s watching!”
  5. Make these meatloaf cupcake muffins. They will look like delicious cupcakes, so the kids will think they are getting dinner for dessert! (Maybe have a few actual cupcakes waiting in the wings for dessert). Why would this be considered a prank?  It sounds delicious to me!
  6. Short sheet your kids’ beds! My grandmother did this to me once when I was growing up. I climbed into bed, and only had a foot or two of sheets.  I re-made my bed, laughing the entire time!
  7. This one’s a little scary – hide in the closet with a mask on then call the home phone or their cell phone and ask the kids to go in and get something out of the closet. Then, when they came in, jump out at them.
  8. Pour cereal and milk into a bowl and freeze it. Then, pour a little milk on top to cover up the prank, and then get your camera ready for some confused little faces!
  9. Choose a silly side of an argument and start arguing with your child. Start with something like, “Stop begging!  No matter how hard you fight, I just won’t allow you to go to school.”  It catches them off-guard and then they start automatically arguing the other side. No matter what they say, keep misquoting them and pushing your silly argument. This often works well for bedtime battles, because eventually they are just worn out by the ridiculousness!
  10. Blow up a few extra balloons and remove the pillow from your child’s pillowcase and slip balloons inside.
  11. Put things inside your kid’s shoes – toys, plastic bugs, marbles – whatever is just enough to get them to laugh.
  12. Pretend you are going to work in your PJ’s.  Just come downstairs, tell them you’ve decided to dress differently, and walk out the door.
  13. Put something silly in their underwear/sock drawer – spooky bugs, toys, or anything that will get a laugh.  Tuck it under clothes so when they get dressed, out it pops.
  14. Dress backwards – have someone help you button your shirt or blouse backwards.  Don’t say anything, and when they object, argue a bit that everything’s fine.

I’m sure you can come up with other ideas – just have fun today and get some laughter going inside your house. And email me with your own pranks…pictures welcome, too: SKowalski@khtheat.com