Friday, April 27, 2012

American Idol 2012 (Prediction Poll for May 3)

In the past, we have done our own zRoundtable poll -- with good results in predicting winners (and contestants who might be eliminated).  For the 2012 American Idol, we are now down to the Final Five.  Please vote for your favorite Idols -- and we'll post the results before next week's result's show.

Out top five (in alphabetical order).  Please vote for your favorite Idol here.

  • Hollie
  • Jessica
  • Joshua
  • Phillip
  • Skylar

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sharpening Your Cooking Knives

Are your good cooking knifes getting dull?

Make sure you "hone" your knives with a "steel" regularly....   Here's a good link on how to "hone" your knife and keep the edge sharp.

and sharpen your knives once in a while with a knife sharpener.  Honing ensures the micro-edge of the knife is sharp/not folded on itself (unfolded).  Periodic sharpening removes a weak edge and shapes a new, stronger, edge.

Some people prefer to use an electric sharpener like this highly-rated Chef's Choice sharpener.  However, we don't like the amount of metal that these machines remove from our good knives.

Note that knives that never need sharpening (often serrated knives) -- do, in fact, need to be sharpened.

Here is some good information on knives:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gardening: Hardy Perennials

Along with lawn care, here is a list of some of our favorite hardy flowering perennials.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lawn Care: 2012 Notes

We had a mild and relatively short winter in the northeast US -- so we are preparing our lawn earlier than usual this season.  We have already laid down lime -- and fertilizer this year.  Here are some notes from previous blog posts.


Fertilizer Tips

  • The fertilizer serves double duty: it fertilizes the grass and kills the weeds.  
  • It's best to lay the fertilizer down when the grass is still damp: either during the early morning (so the morning dew catches the fertilizer) -- or after it rains. 
  • The wetness helps the weed killer stick to the leaves -- killing the weeds.
  • You do NOT want to lay the fertilizer down before an expected rainstorm or else much of the fertilizer will get washed away.  
  • Do not lay the first feeding of the season down until it is consistently in the 60's.  You want the fertilizer to help grass when it is growing.  

Other Lawn Care Tips

  • Mowing: Depending on the weather (temperatures, amount of rain, etc.) -- try to mow at least once a week. Cutting often (and not too short: rule of thumb is less than 1/3 of the blades of grass) leads to healthier grass.
  • First mowing of the season: this first cut of the season should be on the short side. The shorter mowing will encourage the roots and grass to wake up and start growing.
  • Water: only as needed. Again, this depends on your location and climate. If you need to water: water deeply and only once week or so (if there's no rain). Infrequent, but deep waterings will promote deeper roots and stronger/healthier grass (as opposed to frequent/shallow watering). Some people measure the water (putting out cans to see how much water the sprinkler is putting out) and aim for 1 inch per week. The best time to water is early in the day (avoids heat/evaporation).