Taxes, Axes and Pie

Newsletter 7 – Tuesday, April 17, 2012

You’ll love your garden … It’s our promise!

Bye – Bye Tax Man…hello refund (or not)

Spring is here and the tax man is gone

Open House this weekend

The taxes are filed and tax refunds will be coming soon.  Yeah!  Let’s celebrate this weekend.  Come on out to our Open House and have a hot dog and popcorn on us from 11 – 3 PM on Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22. 

Friends, flowers, food and tax refunds, it doesn’t get any better! 

We can’t wait to see you this weekend!

I’m a little worried about this year’s income tax. I think I made it out wrong.
I’ve got thirty-five cents left.

Dull doesn’t do It

America’s Best Flowers is always trying to find ways to make your gardening experience easier and more enjoyable.   Don, from Universal Saw & Tool Sharpening, will be here both Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22, from 10 AM – 4 PM, and will, for a nominal fee (collected by Don), sharpen those dull garden tools.  Look for our signs in the parking lot directing you to the drop off area. 

Don will be able to sharpen most items while you are enjoying your time at the greenhouse.  For more difficult sharpening Don may need to take your items back to his shop.  They may then be picked up at America’s Best Flowers the following week.  You’ll like Don, he’s a pretty sharp guy!

This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met herbivore.

Cool and warm weather crops

There’s a difference?  You bet there is.  The weather has been extraordinary for preparing vegetable and flower gardens, but keep in mind that all plants and seeds are not created equal.  Care still needs to be taken.

Mid-April is a good time to plant cool weather plants such as radish, lettuce, carrots, spinach, beets, peas, onion and potatoes.  Cole crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kohlrabi can be planted now, too.   

If you want to extend your harvest plant these crops in two week intervals.

Now is a good time to do the indoor seed planting for warm weather crops.  We have potting soil, seed trays and a large selection of seeds to get you started.  Seeds planted in the next two weeks will be ready to put in the ground by the end of May.  Planting a seed tray is a great family project.  Wait till you see the look of amazement on the face of your child when that first sprig of green appears.  Priceless!

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.

The grass is always greener, or is it?

By Marty Robbins

Landscape and container plantings are featuring more grasses, both perennial and annual varieties.  We have several new varieties this year.  Pennisetum, Vertigo is bright mahogany/maroon foliage on a highly vigorous plant.  Red Bunny Tails is a dwarf purple fountain grass that is perfect for containers.  Looking for an unusual perennial grass?  Check out Northern Sea Oats.  It grows 3 to 4 feet high in sun to shade with moist well drained soil.  Seed heads are excellent for drying.

We do not seem able to check crime, so why not legalize it and
then tax it out of business.

Will Rogers

We need you in Columbus

We are looking for a special person to work at our new satellite location in Columbus.  Do you have plant knowledge, customer service and cashier experience?   Are you looking for a short term seasonal job?  We need the right person to work Saturday and Sunday from 9 – 6 PM, Wednesday and Thursday, from 12 – 8 PM and Friday, from 4 – 8 PM for approximately 6 – 8 weeks.  If that is you, please call us at 608-222-2269.

They told me I had type A blood, but it was a type O


America’s Best Flowers wants you to succeed, so if you have gardening questions send an email to our Operations Manager, Al Lunde, at  Al will get back to you promptly.  We want to be your go-to-greenhouse for answers.

`til next week,
    ~ Shirley


A businessman was near death and made arrangements for his remains to be sent to the Internal Revenue Service with the following note:
"Now you have it all."

Upcoming Events

Sat, Apr 21 – Sun, Apr 22
Open House

Free hot dogs and popcorn from 11am to 3pm. Come see all of our new beautiful plants.

Sat, Apr 21 – Sun, Apr 22
Universal Saw & Tool Sharpening

10am – 4pm Get those tools ready for easier gardening.

Fri, Apr 27 – Sun, Apr 29
St. Vincent de Paul’s ‘Pick-A-Pack’ Event

Come out and donate a $1.99 pack of tomatoes or Lady Bell peppers for their gardens. The veggies will be used for their Community Food Pantry. For every 4 pack sold, America’s Best Flowers will donate $.50 towards the SVDP gardens.

Sat, Apr 28
Earth Day Celebration

FREE children’s activities 10am – 2pm Bring a white T-shirt to paint, make seed balls, plant cat grass, and more.

Sat, Apr 28 – Sun, Apr 29
Arbor Day Celebration

Receive a FREE Black Hills Spruce with purchase, while supplies last. Limit 1 per family.

Sat, Apr 28 – Sun, Apr 29
Container Workshop

10am – 4pm FREE soil and assistance. Create a beautiful container in our potting shed and we’ll clean up the mess. Bring in your own pots or buy one of ours.

Find us on Facebook

Our fan club is growing. Please become a fan on Facebook, and invite your friends.

A police recruit was asked during the exam, ‘What would you do if you had to arrest your own mother?’
He answered, ‘Call for backup.’

Our Kitchen

By Bev Wilson

The center of this week’s meal is a great ham and potato casserole, which can be made ahead.  Combine it with ‘smiley’ orange slices for an appetizer, steamed broccoli (or your family’s favorite veggie) and rhubarb pie.  You will have a feast sure to please. 

Ham and Potato Deluxe

Ham and Potato Deluxe

  • 2 lbs frozen hash browns, thawed
  • 3 c diced ham
  • 1 c chopped onion
  • 2 T butter or margarine
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (I use reduced fat)
  • 1 pt sour cream (I use light)
  • 1 ½ c sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 c crushed corn flakes or bread crumbs
  • 2 T melted butter or margarine
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray 9 x 13 baking pan with non-stick vegetable spray.

Saute onions in butter or margarine in a large frying pan. Remove from heat. Add soup and sour cream.  Stir well.  Add cheese.  Mix. Stir in potatoes and ham.  Spread in prepared pan.  Mix corn flakes or bread crumbs with melted butter or margarine in a small bowl. Sprinkle topping over top. Top with black pepper to taste. Bake approximately 1 hour, until browned and bubbly all over.

This can be made ahead and refrigerated.  Add topping right before you bake it.  An additional 15 to 20 minutes may be required.  Serves 6-8.

This is the recipe for the basic rhubarb pie I grew up on.  Our farm in rural Iowa had a long row of rhubarb across one end of the garden.  Every spring it was my job to watch it carefully and let mom know when there was enough up to make a pie.  Throughout the season we would enjoy many of her rhubarb pies but none compared to that first one of the year.  

You can bake your pie the night before you plan to serve it.  Cool.  Cover with foil and leave on the counter overnight (hidden under something boring), then rewarm it in the oven after your casserole comes out.  Turn the heat down to 225 and warm your pie for 10 to 15 minutes.  For real decadence, serve with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

If there is no time for baking, pick your pie up at the store.  Warmed with ice cream it will be delicious.

Mom’s Rhubarb Pie

Mom’s Rhubarb Pie

  • 4 c rhubarb slices, ½ in thick
  • 1 – 1 ½ c sugar
  • 1/3 c flour
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon, or more to taste
  • 1 Frozen deep dish pie crusts or make your own below
Crust (Makes two 9" crusts)
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 t salt
  • ¾ c vegetable shortening
  • 5-6 T ice water

Be sure to wash and dry your rhubarb before slicing.  Mix sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon in large mixing bowl.  Stir in rhubarb.

The amount of sugar required depends on how tart the rhubarb is and how sweet you like it.  Usually the redder the rhubarb the sweeter it is.  The rhubarb I grew up with was the older green variety which was tart indeed.

Preheat oven to 400.  Mix flour and salt.  Cut in half of the shortening until the consistency of coarse corn meal.  Cut remaining half in until the size of small peas (I had been baking pies for 40 years before I learned that incorporating the shortening in two ways makes an extra flaky crust). Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, using a fork to mix it in, until the dough holds together when pressed gently with your fingers.  Divide dough in half.  Roll out on flour-covered board until your circle of dough is two inches larger than an inverted pie pan.  Fold crust gently in half.  Lift carefully and line 9” pie pan.  Fill with rhubarb mixture.  Roll other crust.  Cut some slits or a design in the folded crust.  Moisten the edge of bottom crust.  Cover with top.  Trim any excess crust, leaving about ½ inch beyond the lip.  Tuck edge under and crimp.  Sprinkle top with sugar.  Fold aluminum foil strip over edge to keep from getting too brown. Bake 45 – 50 minutes, or until your filling bubbles up through the slits.  Remove foil last 10 minutes.  Cool at least 20 minutes before cutting.

Carol and Ed Knapton, owners of Americas's Best Flowers You’ll Love Your Garden … It’s Our Promise! May the Holy Spirit Guide You! God Bless
Edward Knapton says Keep on Smiling!
Sec – Treasurer Berry Hill Farms, Inc.
DBA Americas Best Flowers Garden Center
4311 Vilas Hope Road
Cottage Grove, WI 53527
608-222-2269 Fax 608-222-1234 Cell 608-698-5627