Hello and welcome to Queensbay. I’m Joan Altieri, the owner of The Garden Cottage right on Main Street. You can stop by anytime you need something for your home or garden. It’s a perfect place to find a special gift or pick up a little something for yourself. You’re probably wondering why I’m writing this if I own a shop, but the truth is ever since Dylan West closed down the Queensbay Crier,we haven’t had a good source of news in this town. So, I decided to get familiar with this thing called a blog, and start up my own version of a hometown newspaper. I may not be that tech savvy, but I have lived in Queensbay all my life, so I think I’m pretty qualified to tell you all about it. So that’s what this is – a little blog about all that’s happened and happens in Queensbay. If you haven’t heard of us, we’re a lovely little town out on the New England Coast. We have fine harbor, a light house, a hotel, lots of shops and a couple of festivals that make Queensbay a great place to visit or live. Queensbay may be small, but it sure isn’t sleepy. Why, we’ve had our fair share of scandals over the years. Some have been famous like the affair between movie star Savannah Ryan and Leland Sanders (If you want to find out more about that scandal, check it out here). And then there was the little something going on between Adriana Biddle and Lucas Montgomery – I don’t know who they thought they were fooling! Both ended badly but I’m happy that time has made up for it. (You can read more about Caitlyn Montgomery, Lucas’s grand-daughter here, if you want to know what I mean.) My daughter Sydney, she’s the one who got me turned onto this computer stuff. She lives down in Georgia now, but that’s a whole other story. Anyway, you can check back her for all the news that’s fit to print here in Queensbay – ha, what that really means is all the news I see fit to print, which is probably a few recipes, so decorating tips, and of course the gossip…I mean “social pages”.
Roasted Garlic & Herb Green Beans
1.5 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed (and cut if desired)
2 Tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin is best)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
Coarse salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take out a large bowl and add all of the ingredients in order. Toss the ingredients until all of the beans have been coated with the oil and the seasonings.
- Spoon the coated green beans onto a baking sheet and spread them out until they are in a single layer. Bake the green beans for approximately 5 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and turn the beans with a spatula. Then replace the baking sheet to the oven for another 3 to 5 minutes or until the green beans begin to brown and are sizzling.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven. You can either put the green beans into a bowl or add directly to the plates. This recipe serves 4.
Hello, fellow Queensbayers – it’s Joan here, ready for fall, it’s that time of year. Sure, it may be getting a bit nippy to be out on the water now, but that doesn’t mean that it’s time to hibernate! Oh no, it’s Fall – the perfect time to get out an celebrate! I asked Phoebe Ryan, our resident designer to come up with some great ideas on how to decorate your home. So I’ll turn it over to Phoebe right now:
No Halloween celebration is complete without scary decorations that can turn your home into a whole different world. Whether you want to go with a less-scary harvest-season theme, take more of a cute approach, or go all-out and make your house look like a haunted castle or graveyard, you can make all of these decorations yourself.
Here are some tips and ideas on how to decorate your home with homemade Halloween decorations.
1. Gluey Ghosts
This is a fun craft for kids, and takes a more “cute” approach. Put these little ghosts on your windows with a little white beeswax, or write on them with permanent marker to make place cards. There are lots of possibilities with these! Here’s how you make them:
On a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, make small, ghost-shaped outlines with white glue, and fill them in with glue. Allow to dry, and then peel them off the wax paper. With a permanent marker, you can make eyes or write names, or whatever else you’d like to do.
2. Ghosts and Gourds
Have you ever looked at gourds and realized how ghostly their shapes are? Gather up some gourds at your local market and allow them to dry. (Or you can purchase already-dried gourds.) Paint the gourds with white spray paint and use black craft paint to create eyes, mouths, bowties, and whatever else you like. The gourds can be upside-down or right side up.
Use the ghostly gourds to make a scary garland (drill a 1/4″ hole in the top of each gourd and run twine through), or set them up as table decorations. If you have a bay window, these would make a great ghostly gathering in the window.
3. Homemade Tombstones
These will look appropriately spooky in your yard, or in your house if you’re going with a haunted house theme. Here’s what you’ll need:
* Pieces of plywood in whatever size you’d like
* Silk flowers (roses are good)
* Wooden craft letters (RIP)
* Wooden craft numbers (to create dates)
* Hot glue
* Garden or tomato stakes, 1 for each tombstone (this is optional – use if you want to mount the tombstone directly into the ground)
* Stone spray paint
Nail the stake to the middle of the plywood, leaving about 6″ of the spiked end at the bottom. Use the hot glue to attach the roses, letters, and numbers (and anything else you come up with!). Once dry, spray paint the front of the tombstone with stone spray paint, and it will look like a carved stone.
4. Specimen Jars
Now you can use all those rubber toys in your kids’ rooms! You can also raid your local dollar store and spend a little money to collect plastic and rubber spiders, bugs, rats, and doll heads. Just put them in clear jars, fill with water that you’ve colored with green or yellow food coloring, and if you like, make some labels. Tie the labels around the jar lids with twine.
Hopefully, these ideas have inspired you to get creative for Halloween!
If you’ve been gardening all summer, you’ve likely enjoyed the fruits of your labor. Fresh vegetables, fruits or flowers have graced your dinner table in one manner or another. But now the summer is nearing an end. You may be wondering what you can do in September to prepare your garden for the coming winter and the next summer.
Flowers, Trees, and Soil
When September rolls around it is important to stop fertilizing trees and flowering shrubs. They need the year’s growth to harden off for protection during the winter. Perennials are slowing down for the winter, going into a type of dormancy, so they no longer need fertilization.
For annuals which you’ll replant in the spring, they have served their purpose. They can either be pulled up and put into a mulch pile, or mowed down and tilled under. Either option will break down the plant and add organic nutrients back into your soil.
Houseplants which have spent the summer outdoors should be taken back indoors for the winter. Before taking the plants indoors, be sure to check the plants carefully for any insects or pests. Any hitchhiking pests you take into the house may continue to thrive indoors rather than dying outdoors.
Take cuttings of plants you want to keep over the winter but can’t dig up and bring indoors. This will give you a head start on having plants for the next year’s garden. If your garden is overrun with perennials, divide and move them to enable the plants to survive and thrive.
Start planting the spring flowering bulbs you’ve purchased. This is another way to get a head start on next year’s flower beds. For bulbs which are too tender to leave out all winter – such as dahlias, caladiums, tuberous begonias and cannas – dig them up and store them until spring. Check the hardiness zones for the bulbs you want to plant to ensure they can be planted now rather than later.
For cool season vegetables, you can sow the seed directly into the prepared soil rather than growing seedlings to transplant in the spring. These would include lettuce, greens, onions, beans, peas and broccoli. Follow the instructions on the seed packets as far as how deep to plant the seeds, whether or not they need to be covered, and if so, how they should be covered.
These are a few ideas of activities you can do in September to prepare your garden for next year. If you’re new to gardening and still unsure about how best to spend September in your garden, talk with local farmers or neighbors who have gardens you admire. They will most likely provide you with all the help you need to ensure your garden will be ready for the next growing season.