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BEHIND THE BARN WITH FARMER JOHN NB of Cambridge makes rock garden

Published: April 11, 2010 12:01 AM

Dear Farmer John, Here is an idea for your readers and you that I have never seen it before in your column. Last year, I wanted to start a rock garden but had no rocks. But I did have bricks so I made a brick garden, placing bricks randomly around my garden area and then surrounding the spot with bricks leaning on one another. I planted both flower seeds and plants among the bricks. It really looked nice and I had several good comments on it. I like to try new things. I think it makes working outside more interesting. Have a great Easter season. NB of Cambridge

Dear NB, Thank you for sharing a great idea. It is money-saving whenever we use what we have and are original. A lot of readers use a dwarf tree, a bird bath or a hanging plant on a shepherd's hook as a centerpiece for flower beds.

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Dear Farmer John, I really enjoyed the Swiss Chard I planted last year for the first time. It is well-worth the effort and easy to grow which is a plus for me. Do you like it? Keep up the good work. C of Alliance

Dear C, I enjoy all greens. Swiss chard is supposed to be good as it has vitamin A, calcium and iron. It was written about by Roman scholars and forms have been found from the Canary Islands to England. The great thing about it is that it will do pretty well in cool or hot weather, as many greens tend to bolt in hot weather.

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Dear Farmer John, Hi, still love your column although since I moved, I don't get to see it as often. Hope these recipes help. Also, I just bought my grandson a Venus Fly Trap at Lowe's Hardware. I hope this day is good to you. RW, Uhrichsville

Swedish Meatballs: 1 pound ground beef, 1/2 cup minced onion, 3/4 cup fine dried bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon parsley, 1-1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 egg and 1/2 cup milk. Mix all ingredients well and shape into balls the size of a walnut. Brown in fat. Remove balls and make gravy of 1/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix into hot fat in skillet. Stir in 2 cups boiling water and 3/4 cup sour cream. Return meatballs to gravy and cook on low for 15 to 20 minutes.

Homemade Eagle Brand Milk: Take 1 cup instant powdered milk, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup boiling water, 3 tablespoons oleo and 2 tablespoons white Karo. Put all ingredients in blender and mix till smooth. Let cool overnight. Makes 1-1/2 cups or about one can.

Dear RW, Thank you so much. It is always great to hear from readers who have moved and still keep in touch. Thank you for sharing and here are some more readers who shared. We appreciate all of you and the chance to try different recipes.

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Dear Farmer John, Here is a recipe for DY of Millersburg. Do you think Paw Paws will bear fruit in Ohio? Thank you so much. JM of Sugarcreek

Swedish Meatballs: 1-1/2 pounds ground beef, 1/2 pound ground pork, 3 tablespoons onion (finely chopped), 2 teaspoons salt, 3/4 cup fine bread crumbs, 2 eggs, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1-1/4 cup milk, 12 ounces cream cheese cubed, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon allspice and 1 cup water. Combine meat, onions, eggs, bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and allspice in large bowl. Put oil in large skillet, sauté one-inch meatballs until brown. Remove meatballs and set aside. Drain drippings reserving 2 tablespoons in skillet. Stir cream cheese, milk, water and 1 teaspoon salt into drippings. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thick. Add meatballs. Heat gently till heated through. Makes about 60 meatballs.

Dear JM, Thank you for sharing and helping. Another helper follows you too.

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Sweetened Condensed Milk substitute from MM of Millersburg -- I never tried this but this is the recipe I had. Good luck. This recipe is equal to 1 can of sweetened condensed milk. Combine 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk with 1/2 cup warm water. Mix well. Set in pan of hot water and stir in 3/4 cup white sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar. (Thank you too MM. We enjoy trying recipes and picking our favorites. I have even used two or three different recipes just to have a change of taste ... never found one that was not good. Thank you all who wrote this week ... FJ)

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JP of Kansas writes, "Love your column." (This is a compliment to every reader who has written. Thank you JP. FJ)

AD of Byesville writes -- enjoy the recipes and garden tips. I don't cook or garden a lot, but I enjoy trying new ideas and recipes. (We are alike on that so do I. Have a great day and thank you for writing. FJ)

Mrs. L of Baltic said, "I get an early start on the garden by planting and covering a row of garden lettuce, greens and plants with plastic and seal around the edges with dirt. I lose a few plants if I start early, but I always have some early salads and veggies by doing this. (Yes! A great idea and so is a cold frame or hotbed to raise greens for salads or plants. Thank you for writing ... all of you ... FJ)

T of Barnesville -- my mother used to make this for us and I still like it. It is like peanut brittle but easier to chew. Grind up peanuts fine, enough to make a cup. Then dissolve 1 cup sugar in a pan with no water. Add peanut bits and stir. Put out on a cookie sheet and cut into squares. A good treat. I have also done it with walnuts and a little peanut butter. Dear T, It sounds good. I like the idea of peanuts being ground fine.

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If you have a question, need a helping hand finding a recipe or have a good one to share, or maybe you have some hints or childhood experiences to share ... or maybe an idea how to help each other in these difficult times ... write me at: Farmer John, P.O. Box 234, Groveport, OH 43125 ... and till next week, remember happiness is to be displayed not hidden, help to be given not expected and smiles are gifts that keep on giving ... even after you walk away. Have a wonderful week and enjoy every precious moment of life.


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