Cool Stuff – Pioneer Skills
“Homemade Raised Planting Beds”

Remember those nifty old crates I bought from the Roundtop antique market? Well this is what I did with them… You’ll need some landscape fabric to help you keep the drainage even in the box. That’s easy to find at a large garden supply store. Here is the box I used… it’s a larger variety, but you could also find old crates from a variety of places like: A wine […]

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“How to Make a Wine Bottle Torch”

While browsing the interwebs, I got lost in the addictive vortex they call Pinterest. If you want to see where I’ve been wasting my time you can check out my Pins. Anyhow, I saw a very beautiful wine bottle that was turned into a torch and I thought it was enchanting. Since my brother has been visiting me, and since he is the most handy person I know, we did […]

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“Fun Holiday Decorating Idea”

I went to a little soiree not too long ago to get a little better acquainted with Austin. At the end of the evening a girl in charge was trying to get everyone to take home the table centerpieces. I didn’t think much of it until I looked a little closer and saw what they were using for the vases. “I must have these!” I exclaimed across the room with […]

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“Pickled Peppers”

These are the peppers from my garden this year. You can call me Peter Piper. Thank you. The truth is, that they were planted by my brother’s mischievous friend Francesco. But Francesco dropped off the radar screen sometime in mid-summer when the weeds became unruly and it was time to separate the men from the boys and weed well into the evening. I think I still have a sunburn from […]

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“Pickled Swiss Chard”

On a scale of 1-5, how ambitious were you with your garden this year? I started out extremely ambitious. Like, I’m-the-best-farmer-in-the-world-ambitious. Then I had my ego handed to me on a platter made of corn stalk nubs, meticulously gnawed down by the chipmunks. But there were a few successes. In fact, there were many in the end. It just required a lot of weeding. A lot of weeding. A lot […]

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“How to Can Tomatoes & Other Tomato Tips”

Before I begin, I need to share a tip. I was reminded via twitter by my friend Paul over at Foodcrunch of this important summer tomato rule, so if you take nothing else away but this, I’ll be happy. If you want your juicy summer tomatoes to last longer… simply rest them on the windowsill stem-side down, rather than the commonly seen stem-side up. When I worked in my first […]

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“How to Clean a Crab & Other Crabby Adventures”

There’s a man in my hometown here in the Hudson Valley who defines the word “local.” He’s been a local forever. He is this place. He has a commercial crab operation that he runs from the pier and he brings in all sorts of blue crabs every day. He drives his truck around and it says “Crabman” on it. And he has a little hand written sign on the telephone […]

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“Homemade Elderflower Syrup”

The elderflowers are blooming. This is good on many levels. For one, flowers are just a prelude to berries. And berries are just a prelude to jelly. And elderflower jelly is something that my grandmother made as a child with her mother. I’m going to make some and bring it to Grandma Pellegrini. Now that the weather is warmer, Grandma P. can go outdoors. I paid her a visit and […]

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“How to Fix a Bee Swarm”

We had a bee swarm around here at Tulipwood earlier this week. It all happened very quickly — we were planting vegetables in the garden, toiling and sweating away because somehow we decided it would be a good idea to plant 25 varieties this year. Think it was a cold long winter? We are embracing the sun and got a bit overzealous… luckily, my brother has friends and enlisted them […]

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“Dandelion Wine”

I could show you this fully finished step-by-step recipe a few months from now, [scroll down, I’ve added the finished steps!] but what good would that be if you had to wait many months for dandelions to come back around? So instead, I’m going to give you the recipe and show you the step-by-step up to where I have it, so you can get picking in the fields and follow […]

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