Thursday, October 16, 2014

Prepare your garden now for the winter chill

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A gardening newsletter featuring Ask & Share and our friends at HGTV Gardens

  • October Ask & Share Highlights
  • Getting Bulbs Ready for Winter
  • Cleaning and Storing Garden Tools
  • Putting the Flower Garden to Bed
  • Tips & Tricks

  • Leaves are changing color, days are getting shorter, and there's a chill in the air — all signs to gardeners that it's time to start preparing for the cold winter months ahead. Whether you're planting bulbs, raking leaves, tidying up the flower garden or cleaning and sharpening tools, there's still a lot to keep a gardener busy as the growing season winds down in most parts of the country. Check out our suggestions for easy ways to put your garden to bed this fall in preparation for a dazzling show next spring and summer.

    Ask & Share Community Highlights

    Sue asked:
    I have a mandevilla and want to overwinter it indoors. My basement is a constant 62 degrees. Can I put it there and water it occasionally or should it be kept upstairs?

    NGA answered:
    If you don't have a sunny window in which to grow your mandevilla over the winter, you can let it go dormant so it won't need light and then store in in your cool basement. MORE

    Bren asked:
    Let's share gardening myths. What are some of the zaniest tips on gardening you have ever heard?

    Bill answered:
    Bury a rusty nail under your hydrangeas and they will change color. Drop chewing gum in vole holes to kill them. Thunder in February, frost in April! MORE

    Getting Bulbs Ready for Winter
    Now is the time to get spring flowering bulbs in the ground. It's also time to dig up and store tender summer-flowering bulbs if your climate is too cold for these bulbs to overwinter in the ground. Your efforts this fall will help you experience a special show of color next growing season.

    Read the full article>>>

    From our friends at HGTV Gardens
    Cleaning and Storing Garden Tools

    Sharp blades ensure cleaner cuts when pruning and trimming. Pruners need frequent sharpening, as pruning soon blunts the blade. Good-quality models are easy to take apart, which makes cleaning and sharpening easier, and allows a damaged blade to be replaced. Knives are often better than pruners for delicate jobs, and should be cleaned, oiled, and sharpened in the same way.

    Read the full article from HGTV Gardens>>>

    Putting the Flower Garden to Bed
    It's official — fall has arrived! There's a wonderful, cool edge to the air these days that tells me it's time to prepare the garden (and myself) for a rest. My friend Cayce lives in San Jose, California, land of eternal gardening. It's a beautiful place, but I don't envy her. In my cold winter climate, I look forward to the respite that comes with the change of seasons, and I'm excited at the prospect of getting ready for it. Call me crazy, but I like having a concrete goal to reach for.

    Read the full article>>>

     NGA's Tips & Tricks
    Remove and Destroy Bearded Iris Foliage

    Iris borers, probably the most destructive pest of this flower, survive the winter as eggs in old iris foliage and plant debris at the base of the stalks. To reduce problems next spring, cut down and destroy all old leaves, stems, and any nearby plant debris after the first hard frost, when the female moths have stopped laying eggs. Put material in the trash or bury or burn it; don't add it to your compost pile.
    Mow, Don't Rake Leaves

    Want to make your life easier and help your soil at the same time? If there is just a thin layer of leaves on the lawn, chop them in place with your mower rather than raking them up. The small pieces of leaves will sift down between the blades of grass, releasing nutrients and improving the soil as they decompose. A mulching mower works best, but any rotary mower with a sharp blade will get the job done. If you have too deep a layer of leaves for this technique, collect the chopped leaves in the mower's collection bag. Use the resulting mixture of leaves and grass clippings to make some great compost.

    Keep Newly Planted Trees and Shrubs Watered

    Unless Mother Nature obliges with a soaking rain, keep watering any trees, shrubs and perennials that were newly planted this growing season until the ground freezes. This is especially important for newly planted evergreen trees and shrubs. In fact, it's a good idea to give your established evergreens a good soaking in late fall as well. Going into winter with a well-hydrated root system will help them come through the winter in the best shape.

    Join Ask & Share for more great information from the experts at NGA, our friends at HGTV Gardens, and real gardeners just like you!

    National Gardening Association
    237 Commerce St., Suite 101
    Williston, VT 05495

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    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

    Delivering Idahoan Potatoes for Thanksgiving Food Baskets

    Franklin's Interfaith Council of Churches helps the Food Pantry prepare the Thanksgiving meal food bags. Each of the twelve participating churches takes an item to prepare for the meal. The collaboration helps a great deal. Thank you!

    Attached is a photo of me delivering the 200 packages of Idahoan Instant Potatoes to the Franklin Food Pantry for their Thanksgiving Food Baskets for the needy in the area. 
    This was only possible through the generosity of donors to this ministry.
    The Franklin Food Pantry received the potatoes
    The Franklin Food Pantry received the potatoes

    Pax et Bonum
    Peace & All God's Goodness be with you

    Rev. Fr. Bob Johnnene OFD

    Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus
    Divine Mercy Old Catholic Parish
    Independent Catholic Church of the Americas
    Link to Fr. Bob's Weekly TV show
    Our Facebook page:
    Mission Web Site
    Franciscan Web Site
    ICCA Seminary Link
    Diocese Office:

    Saturday, October 11, 2014

    Elllie Fund: Save the date & please share!

    Save the date!

    On Thursday November 13th
    we are hosting a fundraising dinner/ comedy night
    in support of The Ellie Fund.

    The organization is important to me because they provide services
    to families within MA fighting breast cancer,
    covering things that insurance doesn't.....

    like transportation, healthy meals, child care, etc.

    Tickets are $45
    here's the link for more info and to pass along:

    If you can't join us, you can still help by making a small donation to the Ellie Fund using the link above, or by donating something for the silent auction
    (call me at 508-520-4100)

    In any case, 
    Please pass this link along
    to as many people as you feel comfortable sending to.

    We can make a big difference!
     Thank You!!!

    Invitations to follow soon...
    ellie fund
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    Friday, October 10, 2014

    "I saw people like me"

    Dan Ryan looks at an empty plate the same way a painter considers a blank canvas: a starting point for something delectable. But what was once an exciting moment for the chef is now a symbol of anxiety. He constantly worries that he cannot put food on the table. 
    After being diagnosed with advanced melanoma in 2010, Ryan, 48, a former chef at The Franklin Cafe in the South End and Gloucester’s Franklin Cape Ann, underwent several surgeries and chemotherapy that drained his family’s savings and forced him to quit his job. He and his wife, Tammy, slashed their budget to stay afloat, eventually dipping into the money set aside for food.

    Almost 60 percent of Eastern Massachusetts families have had to make the same tough decision in the last year. According to a recent study conducted by the Greater Boston Food Bank, food insecurity continues to be a growing problem in Eastern Massachusetts, with food assistance agencies seeing more needy people in the last 12 months. The increase is mostly because of sudden illness or unemployment. 
    Dan and Tammy Ryan turned to The Open Door, a food pantry based in Gloucester, to help keep their kitchen stocked and feed their three children, now ages 20, 16, and 8. Their situation transformed Dan Ryan’s perspective on who is hungry. “I saw a mother with three kids struggling, a 90-year-old woman,” Ryan says, “a guy who lost his lobster boat because he couldn’t make payments. I saw people like me.”

    screen grab of the Boston Globe article "Food pantry closes the 'meal gap'
    screen grab of the Boston Globe article "Food pantry closes the 'meal gap'

    Continue reading the article in the Boston Globe here (subscription maybe required)

    Clients at The Open Door, a food pantry based in Gloucester, are very similar to those serviced here by the Franklin Food Pantry. Thanks to your contributions of time, food, and money the Food Pantry can help our Franklin neighbors.

    Monday, October 6, 2014

    Oct. 7-13 is YMCA’s Arts Week

    Oct. 7-13 is YMCA’s Arts Week. The Hockomock Area YMCA will host a week filled with activities at its Bernon Family Branch (45 Forge Hill Road, Franklin), Invensys Foxboro Branch (67 Mechanic Street, Foxboro), and North Attleboro Branch (300 Elmwood Street, North Attleboro) to educate, inspire and connect youth. Arts Week is an annual celebration at Ys nationwide that spotlights the nonprofit’s commitment to arts programming, ensuring youth have an outlet to express themselves creatively and discover and enhance talents.

    Held in conjunction with National Arts and Humanities Month in October, Arts Week at the Hockomock Area YMCA is free to the public and will feature activities for youth to explore art and “turn up” their creative expression. Each branch will offer free art activities in their lobbies and in program areas for youth in the community to help children explore the arts throughout the week of October 6th.
    Hockomock YMCA
    Hockomock YMCA

    The Hockomock Area YMCA offers many varied art programs which include cooking, mixed media art, video production, voice lessons, and many preschool art and music classes. In addition, the Hockomock Area YMCA offers two fantastic theatre programs based out of our Mansfield Arts & Education that is open to all area communities, the Broad-Y Academy for ages 7-14, and The Theatre Institute for high school aged students. These programs provide performance opportunities ranging from musical theatre, plays, original play righting, Shakespeare, camps and many workshops. “The mission for our theatre program is to create magic for students of all ability levels and to instill a deep love for the arts that will last the rest of their lives” explains Heather Utsler-Smith, Hockomock Area YMCA Mansfield Arts Director.

    “At the Y, we are invested in helping young people recognize their potential, and providing them with an environment where they feel comfortable expressing themselves creatively,” said Michael Mahoney, Senior Program Director at the North Attleboro Branch of the Hockomock Area YMCA. “Art comes in many forms, from dance to drama and music to visual and digital arts. Whatever a child's passion, our Y offers a way for them to get involved in the arts. Join us for Y Arts Week or register for our Fall 2 classes starting October 7”.

    To learn more about the Hockomock Area YMCA’s Arts Week or the arts programs, contact Michael Mahoney at 508-643-5265 or email To learn more about our Theatre programs, contact Heather Utsler-Smith 614-581-1783 or

    About the Hockomock Area YMCA

    We believe that lasting personal and social change can only come about when we work together to invest in our kids, our health, and our neighbors. That’s why, at the Y, strengthening community is our cause. Every day, we work side by side with our neighbors in our community to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive. Reach Out for Youth & Families is our annual support campaign to provide a YMCA experience to more than 15,000 local children and families in need.