July 5, 2013

Cat Tales: My apple tree can do the splits but I can’t

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The wind and rain only half woke me last Thursday morning. Thinking it was only a small storm, I turned over and went back to sleep.

When I left for work, there were a few limbs in the yard, but there always are after a storm.

When I got to work my editor wanted me to write a storm story. Was it that bad? I thought. I didn’t see any trees down along Ky. 363, the road I travel to work and back. I found out more than 3,000 homes in Laurel and Clay counties were without power and a tree had fallen into a house in East Bernstadt almost hitting a child.

When I got back home, I looked around the house and my tomato cages were still standing and what few vegetable I have planted in my garden seemed to be all right.

On Friday morning my mother said she noticed a tree limb that looked like it had fallen off the crab apple tree that was way in the back of the house. I looked out the kitchen window, but I couldn’t see anything because another apple tree was in front of it. I went to the bathroom window to get a better view. I could see only part of the crab apple tree, which was a large limb that had fallen.

On Saturday morning, I didn’t have to work so I went to the back where the limb was to survey the damage, and to my astonishment a huge crab apple tree had been split into three almost equal pieces. One huge limb was on the left, one on the right, and one was still standing straight up. The tree wasn’t uprooted. It just looked like it was sliced up. Since it is full of apples, I’m going to leave it as it is because if the roots are still intact, the apples may get ripe. Nothing else around the tree was damaged. No other trees were harmed. It was probably the wind and the weight of all those apples that made it do the splits.

Last year I didn’t have any apples because a frost in April killed all the blooms. This year, I had all five apple trees sprayed a couple of times and they are full of apples. I’m surprised only one tree was damaged.

All of this rain we’ve been having for the past three months has been good for the blueberries. I picked more than enough for a pie and I still have more to pick as they get ripe. I’ve already eaten some with shortcakes. Last night I make a blueberry pie with gelatin, similar to Jerry’s Strawberry Pie, except made with blueberries instead of strawberries. The blue gelatin (Berry Scary) made such a beautiful pie, I hated to dig into it. It was delicious and so easy to make.

 I buy the dough that is ready to bake. There are two rolls of dough but I only use one at a time. I always use a small, 6-inch pie pan so that I have dough left over to bake and use on top of the pie.

For those of you who missed the Jerry’s Strawberry Pie recipe in a previous column, here is the same one, but with blueberries because they are in season now.

In medium size pan, put in 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and three tablespoons cornstarch. Cook while stirring until mixture thickens. Take off burner and add 3 tablespoons Berry Scary. Cool. Stir in two cups blueberries, pour into baked pie shell, and cover with extra pieces of crust. Top with whipped cream if desired.

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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