the BEACON Newspaper, Indiana 3-18web - Page 18

Page 8B beaconsports @live.com By Melanie Alexander Each April, By the women of St. Teresa Maxine Benedicta of the Cross in Bright Klump sponsor “A Chocolate Affair” that collects both Community canned goods Correspondent and monetary donations for the North Dearborn Pantry. maxineklump.thebeacon@yahoo.com Here is one suggestion for an easy-to-make pie for dessert at your own chocolate affair. This pie is one that goes “over the top” if you make a sweetened whipped cream using the “real thing.” However, refrigerated already whipped cream in a can (aka as “squirty cream” by my grandkids) is certainly easier. You can either purchase a graham cracker crust or make your own (see recipe below). Chocolate Chip Pie 1 8 or 9-inch graham cracker crust 1 ½ cup sugar 1/3 cup flour 3 eggs, beaten 1 ½ sticks butter (12 tablespoons), melted and cooled 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract 1 ½ cups chocolate chips 1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped Mix sugar and flour. Add beaten eggs and butter. Mix until well combined. Add THE BEACON chocolate chips, nuts, and vanilla extract. Pour into shells and bake at 350°. Cool before serving. Top each slice with sweetened whipped cream. Note: Be sure to refrigerate leftover pie. Graham Cracker Crust 1 ½ c. graham cracker crumbs (18 crackers). 3 tablespoons sugar 5 tablespoons butter, melted. Mix all together and press onto bottom and sides of pie plate. See you next month as I begin to think about upcoming spring days and the promise of early seasonal fruits and vegetables. Think rhubarb, strawberries along with asparagus and spring peas. By John Hawley Purdue Extension Educator hawley4@purdue.edu Garden Tips for Late Winter Months Though many seasoned gardeners have their own book of gardening magic tricks to keep things as ‘green’ as possible during the winter, many of us out there (myself included) could certainly use a hand. Purdue Extension of- fers some great tips and tricks for keeping your thumb as green as possible before the spring thaw. As we approach late winter, chances are you’ve left your plot or raised beds alone for quite a while now. That is ob- viously just fine. However, as- suming we can avoid another deep-hard freeze, it wouldn’t hurt to consider a soil test be- fore spring planting, especial- ly if you noticed a less than fruitful 2017 harvest. If you decide this might be a good idea, give my office a call, we can work on it together. Something I plan to do in the next few days is to create a sketch of my garden plans. My wife and I love fresh sweet corn, so I plan to plant quite a bit. I also want to try tomatoes for the first time, so I am doing all of the extra re- search I can to be sure it goes well. If you are experiment- ing with some different crops this season, it may be a good idea to separate them in your garden for special attention. Another good tip from the experts at Purdue Exten- sion is to routinely check on stored bulbs, seeds. Although often quite hardy, some bulbs, seeds may be susceptible to damage if left exposed to cold or moist conditions. Secure storage is also key to reduc- ing pest problems. If you have time, it may also be a good idea to test any stored seeds for germination rates. This can be accomplished by March 2018 With Ages Comes Wisdom Mrs. Dennis’ First Grade at North Dearborn Elementary  is 100 Days smarter! They dressed up as 100 year olds to celebrate. taking a dozen or so, placing them on a warm, moist paper towel, lightly covering with soil. If less than half germi- nate, it would be wise to start with new seed. At this time of year, it would also be wise to take inventory of your tools to be sure they are working prop- erly. Nothing causes a bigger headache than getting ready to go to work in the garden only to discover that your roto tiller or tractor won’t turn over. Also, be mindful of those tools often taken for granted. If your shovels, rakes, hoes, fencing are in bad shape, this would be a great time to make a stop at the hardware store for re- placements. Lastly, for those planning on cold season vegetables, it is about time to consider starting seeds indoors. Plants such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage can all be started indoors five to seven weeks prior to transplant. To learn more about winter garden topics, visit: https:// extension.purdue.edu/pages/ article.aspx?intItemID=28001 or https://www.purdue.edu/ hla/sites/yardandgarden/cat- egory/seasonal-information/ winter/ For additional information about other agriculture and natural resources topics, feel free to email me at hawley4@ purdue.edu. You can also reach my office at 812-926- 1189. We are located at 229 Main Street, Aurora, IN 47001. Look for my next article in the April issue of The Beacon! 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