Shrimp Scampi With Spaghetti And Garlicky Breadcrumbs

For those busy days when you think there is no way you can prepare dinner because you are either too tired or don’t have enough time,  think about making Shrimp Scampi With Spaghetti And Garlicky Breadcrumbs. In 30 minutes or less, you can have a delicious meal on your dinner table that will get rave reviews from those you serve it to.

Spaghetti, Scampi And Garlic Crumbs

Shrimp Scampi With Spaghetti And Garlicky Breadcrumbs

Succulent shrimp are sautéed with butter, olive oil, garlic, white wine and lemon juice then tossed with spaghetti or your favorite pasta and finished with a sprinkling of garlicky breadcrumbs that add both taste and texture to the spaghetti. The nice thing about this recipe is that if you do a little planning when purchasing your food for the week, everything you need comes from staples you have in your pantry, fridge or freezer. The Italian word “scampi” refers to a particular type of shellfish found in Italy but in the US, the word “scampi” usually refers to a dish prepared with shrimp, butter, garlic and wine that has been popular in Italian-American restaurants for years. You will often see scampi served as an appetizer along with toasted bread for sopping up the tasty sauce or served over linguine or spaghetti as an entrée. This pasta dish is so quick and easy to prepare that you should skip ordering it in a restaurant and make it at home. Both your family and pocketbook will thank you. When you have a recipe that cooks very quickly, it is important that you have all your ingredients prepped ahead of time and sitting next to your stove.

Shrimp Scampi With Spaghetti

Serves 2, adjust the recipe accordingly

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil plus an additional 2 Tbsp. for the pasta
  • 1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined (you can cut them in half if using very large shrimp)
  • 3 – 4 cloves garlic,  minced
  • 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes or to taste
  • 1 tsp. anchovy paste, optional
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 1/2 c. shrimp broth*
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced (I used 2 Tbsp. of the lemon juice)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 oz. dry spaghetti, per person (amount depends on personal preference)
  • 1/4 c. Garlicky breadcrumbs**   

*To add extra flavor, buy shrimp with the shells on and peel them yourself. Put the shells in a small pot with a cup of water and boil them until the liquid is reduced by half and use it when preparing the sauce. You could also use clam broth, if desired. **To make the breadcrumbs, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil to a small sauté pan and add 1 garlic clove finely minced. Cook about 30 seconds and then add 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (or homemade breadcrumbs) and cook until they just start to turn golden. Season with salt and pepper to taste, mix well and remove from the heat. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve a little of the pasta water that may be needed for the sauce. Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl. Toss well with 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and the lemon zest. (Keep warm if ready before the sauce is finished). In a large sauté pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook, turning once, until they turn pink, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, anchovy paste, oregano, salt and pepper to the pan and cook about 30 seconds. Add the wine, shrimp broth, and lemon juice and cook until reduced to sauce like consistency, about 5 minutes. Add the pasta and the reserved shrimp and toss well. If  the pasta seems dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water. Place the pasta into bowls, sprinkle with chopped parsley, breadcrumbs and serve.

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You might wish to serve this pasta dish with grated cheese at the table but most Italians don’t think you should combine cheese and shellfish.  I will leave that to your individual taste. All that is really needed to complete this meal would be a mixed green salad, some crusty bread and a glass of chilled white wine. Even though you may be tired from a hard day’s work, you will have a terrific dinner ready to serve to your family in short order.

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Tips On Growing Tomatoes Successfully

Growing Tomatoes Successfully is a little like raising children, they both need nourishment, a warm home environment, and tender loving care. Whether you want to grow several rows of heirloom  tomatoes in a large vegetable garden in the country or just one cherry tomato plant in a pot on your sunny patio or balcony, the requirements for successfully growing tomatoes are the same. You will need seeds, containers, a good seed starting mix, water, plenty of light, warmth, and a little of your time. After a few months, the tomato plants you have lovingly cared for like little children should provide you with a bounty of tomatoes that you can enjoy throughout summer and into early fall.

A Bounty Of Tomatoes

A Bounty Of Tomatoes

Early each spring, I like to order my tomato seeds from one of the many online garden supply companies. They have hundreds of varieties of tomatoes that are not available as tomato transplants at my local garden center. I start my seeds indoors 8 weeks before I plan to plant them in my garden. In my area of New England, that means I start my seeds on the 1st of April and plant the tomatoes outdoors around the end of May when the threat of frost has passed. If I were to sow my tomato seeds directly in my garden in May, the tomatoes would take so long to grow that the first killing frost sometime in October would destroy the plants before I could get even one ripe tomato.

Starting Tomato Seeds

Starting Tomato Seeds

I plant the seeds in a light seed starting mix, water and cover the containers with kitchen plastic wrap. The seeds don’t need light to germinate but they do need warm soil so they need to be placed near a warm sunny window, on top of a refrigerator or special heating mats made for seed germination. This year I put them in a closet where the TV cable box provided the seeds with constant warmth. The majority of the seeds germinated in 5 days, much faster than in the past when I’ve placed them near a sunny window.

Tomato Seedlings Under Florescent Light

Tomato Seedlings Under fluorescent Light

The seedlings need 12 to 16 hours of light so once I saw tiny green sprouts, the plastic wrap was removed and they went under a fluorescent shop light. The light needs to be adjusted as they grow, staying about 3 inches above the plants. If you grow your seedlings by a sunny window, be sure to rotate the pots daily so that the plants will grow straight.

When the tomato seedlings are 3 or 4 inches tall and have their second pair of leaves, they go out to my potting shed to continue to grow. The potting shed is heated because the young plants need to be kept at about 65 to 70 degrees until they are ready to go into the garden. The shed gets lots of natural light from north and south facing windows and a skylight in its roof but I still use a fluorescent light over the young plants.

Now that they are 4 inches tall, they are ready to be transplanted into 4 inch pots. After carefully removing the little plant from its original growing cell, I gently loosen the roots at the base and around the sides of the root ball with a thin bamboo skewer. This will allow the young plant to quickly adjust to its new pot. Since the tomato stem can develop roots, each seedling is replanted right up to the lowest set of leaves. I continue to use the light seed starting mix even when potting up to a 6 inch pot as it lets the roots spread easily compared to regular potting soil which is denser and more compact.

Transplant Into 4 And 6 Inch Pots According To Growth Rate

Transplant Into 4 And 6 Inch Pots According To Growth Rate

Even though you plant all your seeds at the same time, you will notice that each seedling may grow at a different rate and they will have to be transplanted according to how quickly they grow.

Tomato Plants Being Hardened Off Outside The Potting Shed

Tomato Plants Being Hardened Off Outside The Potting Shed

You might call me an over protective parent as my tomato plants have spent their short lives protected from the cold, winds and rain in the warm, sunny potting shed. Because of that, they won’t do well if they go straight into the garden without being “hardened off”.

Harden Off The Tomato Plants Outside For Several Hours Each Day BeFore Planting In The Garden

Harden Off The Tomato Plants Outside For Several Hours Each Day BeFore Planting In The Garden

About two weeks before I intend to plant the tomatoes in the garden, I carry the plants outdoors for a few hours a day for a week, setting them in a sunny but protected spot that doesn’t get too much wind. During the second week, I leave them outside for most of the day if the weather is nice. I put them back in the potting shed in the late afternoon and water them well before placing them back under the lights. At this stage, some people leave them out over night but I don’t. There is always the threat of an unexpected storm that could blow them over and break them or worse yet, critters that would love to munch on their tender young leaves. No, they overnight in the safety of the potting shed.

Tomato Plants Happily Growing In My Heated Potting Shed

Tomato Plants Happily Growing In My Heated Potting Shed

By slowing acclimating them to the outdoors, my tomato plants should then be able to withstand the hot sun and strong breezes once they are planted in the garden.

The New Hampshire Garden Is Ready To Be Planted

The New Hampshire Garden Is Ready To Be Planted

The soil in the garden has been tilled and amended with aged manure and peat moss. Now I’m just waiting for the days to pass until I can safely transplant the tomatoes one last time at the end of May into the sunny garden at our New Hampshire home. Hopefully, I’ll have a successful growing season without too many challenges from nature and have a bountiful crop of tomatoes.

I wish you the same because the rewards of growing your own tomatoes from seed or starter plants bought from your local garden center will be evident with your first taste of a freshly picked vine ripened tomato. It doesn’t matter if the first tomato picked goes into a BLT sandwich, is simply sliced and drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt, or chopped and tossed with pasta, olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs, the flavor is outstanding.

Just remember that the secret to a great tomato is to grow it yourself and I hope my tips will help you grow tomatoes successfully.

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Almondine or Amandine

Almondine or Amandine, is a fancy name for a simple food preparation that can change a bland and boring dish into something special. Trout almondine or amandine, (the spelling depends on if  you are American or European) and sole almondine are often found on menus at restaurants in Europe. These two fish are delicate in flavor and lend themselves perfectly to this classic preparation. Both dishes are usually served very simply with buttered new potatoes and haricot vert. Another popular almondine dish is green beans almondine, where browned butter toasted almonds add a wonderful flavor and crunch to tender, young green beans.

After spotting fresh flounder at my local fish market, I decided to prepare flounder almondine. However, you can prepare this dish using any thin, mild tasting, white fish filets such as trout, sole, snapper or tilapia that you have available in your area.

Flounder Almondine

Flounder Almondine

You may think that cooking fish at home is difficult but it is just the opposite, it is easy. To insure that your fish is moist and delicious, just remember to not over cook whatever fish you are preparing. Essentially, this is a recipe for fish that is lightly floured and pan-fried in olive oil and a little butter and then  sauced with a classic butter sauce in which slivered almonds have been browned. A little squeeze of fresh lemon adds just enough acidity to balance the butter. This fish dish comes together very quickly and is perfect for a weeknight dinner. Although easy to prepare, I believe your family or friends will love it.

Flounder Almondine

Serves 2, adjust the recipe according

  • 2 or 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Wondra or flour for dusting the fish
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 or two flounder filets per person, depending on size
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1/4 c. sliced almonds
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Season each side of the flounder generously with salt and pepper. Lightly dust the fish with Wondra or flour and shake off any excess. Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter has stopped foaming, add the flounder (depending on the size of the filets, it may be necessary to cook the fish in two batches). Cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Turn carefully with a large spatula and cook about a minute more. You want to be careful not to over cook the fish as the filets are thin. Remove to individual plates and keep warm.

Drain out the oil and wipe the sauté pan with a paper towel and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan. When the foaming has subsided, add the almonds  to the pan and cook until the butter and almonds are just beginning to brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the flounder filets. You can garnish your fish filets with chopped fresh parsley or slices of fresh lemon, if you wish, then serve.

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When I serve a dish that is basically brown, I like to make sure that I add some color to the plate. As you can see, I served the flounder almondine with parsley potatoes and tiny green beans that were sautéed in olive oil and garlic.   Steamed asparagus, sautéed spinach or a green salad would also be good to serve with the fish. This weeknight meal came together in less that 30 minutes and was anything but ordinary. If you get a chance to try a fish or vegetable served almondine or amandine style, I hope you will enjoy it.

 

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Burger Tacos With Chipotle Mayo

Burger Tacos With Chipotle Mayo are perfect for Cinco de Mayo celebrations with your friends or taco night enjoyed around your kitchen table with your family. Now you are probably wondering…is it a burger or is it a taco, actually it is both. A burger taco is something you might envision having on a street corner in one of the border towns on either side of the US/Mexico border. While not really Mexican, it is a combination of the two country’s food cultures. Think of it as a Mexican hamburger. Imagine a juicy beef patty that is seasoned with Mexican spices and fresh cilantro stuffed into a warm flour tortilla. It is then topped with fresh pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, Jalapeño jack cheese and drizzled with chipotle mayo. One bite and it is like a fiesta of flavors in your mouth.

Burger Tacos With Chipotle Mayo

Burger Tacos With Chipotle Mayo

Burger Tacos With Chipotle Mayo

Serves 2 (2 tacos per person) adjust the recipe accordingly.

Burgers

  • 3/4 lb. ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. chipotle Tabasco*
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place the ground beef in a mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients for the burger patties. Combine the ingredients but don’t over mix or burgers will be tough. Divide the mixture into two portions and form into patties. Make a depression in the center of each patty to keep them flat when cooked. Cook in a skillet or grill pan until desired doneness. Remove to a plate and let rest for a couple of minutes then cut each burger in half.

Tacos

  • 4 flour tortillas (6 inch taco size)
  • 2 cooked burgers, each cut in half
  • shredded lettuce
  • shredded Jalapeño jack cheese
  • pico de gallo made with chopped fresh tomatoes, onion, jalapeño peppers and cilantro seasoned with lemon juice, salt and pepper
  • chipotle mayo made with 5 Tbsp. mayonnaise mixed with 5 tsp. chipotle Tabasco* and 1 tsp. lime juice, salt and pepper to taste

Warm flour tortillas in a dry skillet over medium high heat for about 30 seconds on each side. Remove and wrap in foil to keep warm if not using right away.

To assemble the tacos, place one half of a burger cut side down in a folded tortilla and top with shredded lettuce, cheese and pico de gallo. Drizzle with chipotle mayo and serve.

*If you can’t find chipotle Tabasco in your area, you can substitute canned chipotles in adobo sauce and adjust the amount to suit your taste.

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This recipe is just a suggestion of how to build your burger tacos. Use your imagination when it comes to creating your own version. Depending on your taste, make your burger taco as mild or as spicy as you like. If you don’t want to make fresh pico de gallo, by all means use your favorite jarred salsa. For my dinner, I went to the Mexican side of the border and served an avocado and tomato salad with my tacos but you could be thinking of the US side of the border and serve your burger tacos with french fries or fried onion rings. One thing that I know will go great with this meal, no matter which side of the border you are thinking about, is an ice-cold Dos Equis beer or a freshly shaken margarita served in a salt rimmed glass with a squeeze of fresh lime. If you a planning a Mexican meal, you might also like one of the following dishes.

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros

Pozole Verde

Pozole Verde

Pozole Verde

Pozole Roja

Pozole Roja

Pozole Roja

Chicken With Green Mole Sauce

Chicken With Green Mole Sauce

Chicken With Green Mole Sauce

Mexican Meatloaf

Mexican Meatloaf

Mexican Meatloaf

All of the recipes that I have shared with you today are full of delicious Mexican flavors. Whether you are planning a Mexican dinner to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this year or just want a meal filled with the bright colors and tastes of Mexico, I hope you try the burger tacos with chipotle mayo or one of  the other dishes that I have suggested. Buen apetito!

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A New England Bathroom

New England style has long been popular in both the design and decor of homes throughout America. No matter where you live, one room where this classic design can often be found is in bathrooms. Typically, a New England Bathroom will have a wainscot of white painted bead board, wide pine floors, pedestal sinks and claw foot tubs and my home is no exception. Since bathrooms are one of the most frequently remodeled rooms in a house, I thought you might enjoy seeing what our guest and master baths look like after we restored our historic country farmhouse in New Hampshire.

When I tell people that our house was originally built in the 1730′s, I’m sure their first thoughts are of an interior with creaky floors, cracked plaster walls and old-fashioned plumbing. That would pretty much describe our house when we first bought it but after a five year restoration,  guests visiting our home are pleasantly surprised to see that our historic house retains its classic country charm but has been adapted to modern use.

There is a common thread in all the bathrooms in our home and that is chinoiserie. The Chinese artistic decoration was popular in the middle of the 18th and 19th century in New England. Clipper ships would leave the ports and travel to Europe, the East Indies and China and return with their ships laden with exotic goods. In homes throughout New England, you would find Asian inspired fabrics, wallpapers, rugs and blue willow ceramics. You will see that I have used many of these elements in our bathrooms.

The guest bathroom has been divided into two rooms with a connecting door that can be locked. This is very convenient when we have several guests staying with us and they are all trying to get ready at the same time in the morning. One room contains the toilet and a pedestal sink. The other room contains a shower and a large marble topped vanity. All the cabinetry and woodwork in our home was made on site by a craftsman that specializes in restoring 17th and 18th century homes. The vanity was built like a piece of furniture from hand planed wood, mortise and tenon joints and wood pegs. It  has hand forged “H” hinges and antique porcelain knobs. The rooms have bead board wainscoting that is painted a creamy white and the walls have coordinated Asian inspired wallpaper.

New England Style Guest Bathroom Is Divided Into Two Separate Parts

The Guest Bathroom Is Divided Into Two Separate Rooms

New England Style Guest Bathroom Marble Topped Vaniety

Guest Bathroom With Marble Topped Vanity

I designed our master bath in much the same way as the guest bathroom in that it is divided into two rooms. My husband’s side has the toilet and a large walk in shower. There is a tall marble topped vanity built in the style of a Chinese Chippendale piece of furniture. It is painted in a bold red color, decorated with gold leaf and glazed. A window looks out onto the orchard and gives lots of natural day light. Just below, a window seat was built to hide necessary plumbing.

Master Bath Chinoiserie Inspired Vanity

Chinese Chippendale Inspired Master Bath Vanity

Master Bath Window Seat And Shower

Master Bath Window Seat And Shower

My side of the master bath is through a connecting door and has a claw foot tub with a chrome and porcelain handheld “British” telephone shower. I think the bathroom has a feminine feel with its marble topped dressing table, collections of crystal jars, perfume bottles and a pretty Victorian chair. Oriental carpets lay on top of pine floors in both of the rooms and give added warmth to the master bath in the winter.

Master Bath With Claw Foot Tub And Pedestal Sink

My New England Bathroom Has A Claw Foot Tub And Pedestal Sink

Marble Topped Dressing Table

Marble Topped Dressing Table In The Master Bathroom

Over the past couple of years, I’ve had many requests to see more of our historic New Hampshire home. I hope you have enjoyed seeing a couple of our home’s bathrooms. They probably weren’t what you were expecting to see in an old country farmhouse. Our home was remodeled to include all the modern conveniences that everyone wants in a home today but we tried to be respectful to its long history. Perhaps you will take away an idea from our New England bathrooms to use in your own bathroom.

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Turkey Tenderloin With Blood Orange Sauce

Inspired by recipes from the Estremadura region of Spain that feature their famous Pimenton de la Vera smoked paprika, Turkey Tenderloin With Blood Orange Sauce brings the flavors of Spain to your table. The vivid color and sweetness of blood oranges and the smoky flavor of smoked paprika from Spain are the perfect ingredients to enhance a poultry product that can sometimes be bland and dry.  This recipe is a great way to usher in spring as it is lighter and healthier than the winter comfort foods we’ve been eating over the past few months.

Turkey Tenderloin With Blood Orange

Turkey Tenderloin With Blood Orange Sauce

The smoked paprika in this recipe contributes color and flavor in both a marinade that the turkey rests in overnight and the blood orange sauce.

The Spanish Smoked Paprika Known As Pimenton De La Vera

The Spanish Smoked Paprika Known As Pimenton De La Vera

If you can not find blood oranges at your local market, navel oranges will be a good substitute although the color of the sauce won’t be quite as vivid.

The Glistening Red Orange Flesh Of A Blood Orange

The Glistening Red Orange Flesh Of A Blood Orange

If I lived in the Estremadura region of Spain, I would prepare this dish with a tenderloin from the famous black ibérico pigs that feed on nuts and acorns that give them an unbelievably rich flavor. You may live in an area where you can buy meat from a local farmer who raises these pigs and if so, prepare the dish with pork, if you wish. I have made this recipe with pork before and it is wonderful as well.  Whether using pork or turkey, I would suggest brining either meat for several hours to ensure that the meat will be very moist after cooking.

Turkey Tenderloin With Blood Orange Sauce

Blood Orange Sauce

  • 2 blood oranges (navel oranges may be substituted)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced fine
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. white wine
  • 1 1/2 c. orange juice (the reserved blood orange juice plus addition regular orange juice)
  • 1/2 tsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Peel the oranges, removing as much white pith as possible. Place a strainer over a bowl and segment the oranges, letting the segments fall into the strainer and the juice collect in the bowl below. Set the segments aside and retain the juice.

Place the oil to a small sauce pan over medium heat, add the garlic and sauté for one minute until just golden. Add the wine and let reduce by half. Add the orange juice, vinegar, paprika, salt and pepper and simmer until thickened until desired consistency. Add the orange segments and carefully stir. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Turkey Tenderloin

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 turkey tenderloin about 3/4 lb. (a pork tenderloin may be substituted)
  • 1 additional Tbsp. olive oil

Place all the ingredients except the additional oil into a ziplock bag, rub mixture over the tenderloin, remove the air and seal tightly. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably over night and up to two days turning from time to time.  Drain off the marinade, pat the tenderloin dry and let sit for 20 minutes before cooking.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place oil in a ovenproof sauté pan and sear the tenderloin on all sides for about 5 minutes. Place in the oven and bake for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on size, until the tenderloin reaches 160 internal degrees on a meat thermometer. Place the turkey on a cutting board, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice about 1/2 inch thick, plate and top with sauce and blood orange segments.

 ****

To complete the dinner, I served the blood orange sauced turkey tenderloin with Catalan spinach that was sautéed with raisins and pine nuts and roasted potatoes with fresh herbs. A glass of Spanish Albarino white wine went perfectly with the citrus flavors in this dish. The glistening red-orange colors and citrus flavors in the meal made me forget about the doldrums of the winter that just passed and had me thinking of sunny Spain.

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Spring Has Finally Arrived

After a very tough winter, Spring Has Finally Arrived in my part of New England. I’m sure many of you who live in the northern portion of our country thought as I did, that winter weather was never going to end. Even though the calendar said it was spring, the cold temperatures and snow stayed around way too long. Heavy spring rains have finally melted the snow and a lone crocus has popped up in the middle of our front yard.

The First Blossom Of Spring Popped Up In The Middle Of The Front Yard

The First Blossom Of Spring Popped Up In The Middle Of The Front Yard

Because of the frigid temperatures and deep snow lasting so long this winter, our fruit trees became a food source for the deer that live in our area. I felt bad as I often watched deer, struggling in the frozen snow almost up to their stomachs, searching for something to eat in the midst of our many snowstorms.

Deer Out In A Snowstorm Looking For Food In Our Orchard

Deer Out In A Snowstorm Looking For Food In Our Orchard

Our orchard is usually pruned in the winter months while the apple and pears trees are dormant. With between two and three feet of snow on the ground during February and March, pruning was delayed this year. It has only been recently that the snow has melted and that I have been able to get out in our orchard to inspect the apple and pear trees.

Once I was able to walk through the orchard, I found that almost every one of the three hundred fruit trees had the ends of their branches nibbled off or worse yet, barked stripped from their lower branches. I find it enjoyable to watch things grow over the seasons but as a gardener or farmer, it is always a challenge when you have to deal with wild animals and see all the damage that they can cause.

Damage To The Branches Of Apple Trees Caused By Deer

Damage To The Branches Of An Apple Tree Caused By Deer

Bark Stripped Off Apple Tree By Deed

Bark Stripped Off An Apple Tree By Deer

Each year, an alternating part of our orchard is pruned to remove dead wood and any damage caused by animals and weather. This year there will definitely be more pruning than normal. Pruning is also done to maintain the size of the trees in the orchard and to maximize the amount of sun and air that gets into the trees because not all growth is a good when it comes to fruit trees.

An Apple Tree In Need Of Pruning

An Apple Tree In Need Of Pruning The Water Sprouts

Water sprouts are an example of new growth that crowds an apple tree with unwanted vertical branches that, when leafed out, will reduce sunlight and take energy away from the production of apples. If left in the tree, the end result could be that the tree produces a crop of small apples. By opening the canopy of the trees, leaves will be able to dry quickly which helps prevent fungal diseases and aids in the ripening of the forming fruit.

The Same Apple Tree After Pruning

The Same Apple Tree After Pruning

You have to be on a ladder to prune anything other than the lowest branches of a tree. My ladder, specially designed for working in an orchard, is tall and stable enough for me to reach safely into the tops of most of the trees in our front orchard where I am working now. Having said that, it can be a little daunting to be on the upper portion of the ladder with a large pair of bypass loppers or saw in my hands.

An Apple Ladder Is Study Enough To Safely Prune Tall Apple Trees

An Apple Ladder Is Tall And Study Enough To Safely Prune Tall Apple Trees

With that in mind, I leave the pruning of the tallest trees to helpers. Not only are they taller than my five foot height and can reach much further up into the large trees, they are also stronger for when a large chainsaw or pole saw is required to prune one of the apple trees. Even though I might know how to prune a tree better, I try to tell anyone helping me what a good job they are doing or I will be left to do it all myself.

This Twenty Year Old Baldwin Apple Tree Will Need To Be Pruned With A Chainsaw And Polesaw

This Twenty Year Old Large Baldwin Apple Tree Will Need To Be Pruned With A Chainsaw

At the end of a day of pruning, I may be scraped, sore, and tired as I head into the house to prepare dinner but there is always a great sense of accomplishment that I have readied some of the trees for another apple crop.

Pruned Apple Trees Ready For A New Growing Season

Pruned Apple Trees Ready For A New Growing Season

As I head back out the door to prune more trees, I’ll leave you with a photo of what I have to look forward to in the near future. Let’s see, I think it there are still about 275 more trees that could use a good pruning.

Apple Blossoms As A Sure Sign That Spring Has Arrived

Apple Blossoms As A Sure Sign That Spring Has Arrived

In a matter of weeks, the orchard will be filled with the sound of buzzing bees pollinating the beautiful apple and pear blossoms. That’s when I will definitely know that spring has finally arrived.

 

 

 

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