Sunday, June 29, 2014

Get Out & Explore: Events and Festivals for the Week/Weekend of 07/02 - 07/06

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! We have compiled a list of festivals and events that are happening around Tennessee for the upcoming week/weekend. You will find that the listings below are divided into three categories based on the areas of the state. I hope you find the list useful. Please feel free to leave a comment if this was beneficial for you. If you have an event you would like for us to post, please let us know! We will see you on Wednesday, when we post another segment about backyard chickens. Have a fun and safe week! :)

West TN
  • July 2,   Celebrate Independence
City Park, Munford, TN
  • July 4, Ramer July 4 Parade
Downtown Ramer, TN
  • July 5, Fireworks at Quake Lake
State Route 21E, Tiptonville, TN



Middle TN
  • July 3, Independence Day Celebration
Liberty Park, Clarksville, TN
  • July 3-5,  Shadow Valley Gospel Music Festival
Shadow Valley, Fayetteville, TN
  • July 3-5, Circle E Guest Ranch July 4 Ride
50 Circle E Lane, Belvidere, TN
  • July 3,  Freedom Festival
Drakes Creek Park, Hendersonville, TN
  • July 4,  Music City July 4th: Let Freedom Sing!
Downtown Nashville, TN
  • July 4,  July Fourth Parade
Downtown Monteagle, TN
  • July 4,  8th Annual Music City Hot Chicken Festival
East Park, Nashville, TN
  • July 4, Fourth of July Celebration
Bell Buckle Park, Bell Buckle, TN
  • July 4, Fireworks Show and Community Event
Mooretown Volunteer Fire Department, Woodbury, TN
  • July 4,  43rd Annual Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival
Smithville Square, Smithville, TN
  • July 4, Fourth of July Celebration
Gallatin Civic Center, Gallatin, TN
  • July 4, Town of Nolensville Fourth of July Event
Nolensville Park, Nolensville, TN
  • July 4, Franklin on the Fourth
Downtown Franklin, TN
  • July 4,  Town of Tracy City July 4 Parade
Downtown Tracy City, TN
  • July 4,  Main Street's Friday Night Live Concert
Murfreesboro Public Square, TN
  • July 5,  Red, White and Blue Weekend
Harton Park, Monteagle, TN
  • July 5,  Pioneer Day
Cottontown Community Center, Cottontown, TN
  • July 5,  Music on Main Street's Fourth of July Weekend Celebration
Perry County Courthouse Square, Linden, TN
  • July 5,  Hallowed Ground: Lantern Tours of the Stones River National Battlefield
Stones River National Battlefield, Murfreesboro, TN
  • July 5-6, Fairfield Glade Summer Arts & Crafts Show
Fairfield Glade @the 4 way, Crossville, TN
  • July 5, Sutton Ole Time Music Hour: TN & KY Bluegrass
Sutton General Store, Greeneville, TN
  • July 5, Music on the Square with Fireworks Display
Downtown Waverly, TN
  • July 6, Giles County Antique Power Farm Machinery Show
Elkton City Park, Elkton, TN



East TN
  • July 3-5, 44th Annual Jonesborough Days Festival
Throughout Jonesborough, TN
  • July 3-4, Gatlinburg Fourth of July Midnight Parade
Downtown Gatlinburg, TN
  • July 4, Patriot Festival
Patriot Plaza, Pigeon Forge, TN
  • July 4,  July Fourth Celebration and Anvil Shoot
Museum of Appalachia, Clinton, TN
  • July 4,  Smokin' the Water Fourth of July Celebration
Lakeside/Watts Bar Lake, Kingston, TN
  • July 5, Antique Car Show
Throughout Rugby, TN
  • July 5, Front Porch Concert Series
Harrow Road Cafe, Rugby, TN

Friday, June 27, 2014

Simply Calzones

Sausage and Pepperoni Calzone

I have a real simple recipe this week.  You can break these up into snack bites or make them into a large overstuffed meal.  The hardest part is just preparing the crust or pouch, and it's not really that hard.  You can keep it real simple and use uncooked frozen dinner rolls, Pilsbury's canned rolls or package pizza crust.  If you really want do it all yourself, then make your own crust by using yeast packages specific to pizza crust.




Ingredients:

Pizza Crust (options noted above)
Pizza Sauce
1/2 lb Sausage
Pepperoni Slices
1 Small Chopped Onion
8oz Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Parmesan Cheese
1 egg whisked

Recipe makes 4 large calzones.  I make my own using a yeast packet specific for pizza crust.  Just follow the package instructions.

1. Brown the sausage in a pan along with the chopped onion.  You do not need to cook the pepperoni.

2. Roll out your pizza crust into 8 inch diameter circles, or smaller for bite size.

3. On half of the dough, place the pizza sauce followed by the sausage and onion, pepperoni, shredded mozzarella cheese, sprinkle some parmesan and top off with a little more sauce. 

4. Pull over the other half of the dough over the filling and pinch closed.  You will now have a half circle shaped calzone.  Repeat until filling is completely used.  For a nice golden brown crust, you will then brush each calzone with the whisked egg. 

5.  Place the calzones on a greased baking sheet and bat for 30 minutes in a 375 degrees F oven.


Enjoy! Have a great weekend and check back with us on Sunday, when we will let you know what events/festivals are happening around Tennessee for the next weekend. If you missed this weekend's list, you can find the post on our blog from this past Sunday, June 22, 2014!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Simply Flower Garden Weed Control

Mulched Flower Garden Bed
It has been one busy spring/early summer for us around the house.  We have placed two new garden areas on the property.  One is a butterfly flower garden and the other is a mix of flowers, vegetable and fruits.  Both areas are fairly large, so simply weeding by hand is out of the question.  The best route is to minimize all weeds in the first place.  To do this, we place down weed barrier on the ground before any planting takes place.  If your location for the garden is covered with grass, you will want to cover the area with the barrier a couple of weeks before planting.  You will kill most of the grass which will make for an easier time when tilling the ground.

Once you have tilled the ground and removed most of the weeds/grass, you can lay out your weed barrier. Lay down an inch or two of mulch on top of the barrier.  If you do not have any mulch yet, then you will want to place rocks or some other heavy objects to keep it in place. After you have everything in place, you can plan out your planting area.  A pair of garden shears, gloves and shovel will be most helpful at this time.  You will use the shears to cut an "X" shape in the barrier so you can have access to the ground below for placing your plants.  Simply plant them like you normally would in any other part of the yard.  There are no crazy tricks or secrets to planting them with a weed barrier.  Just make sure that enough barrier has been cut back, so the base of the plant has room to grow.  It's really that simple.  You now have weed control for your garden and should only have minor amounts of weeds to deal with.


Weed barrier with cut out for plant.

The only other option to consider is the type of weed barrier.  The cheap barriers may not last long, so you will want to make sure to spend the money on a good barrier.  The type we use is Dewitt weed barrier since this one has a 20 year guarantee.

Happy gardening! We will see you on Friday for our Recipe of the Week!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Get Out & Explore: Events and Festivals for the Week/Weekend of 06/23- 06/29

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! We have compiled a list of festivals and events that are happening around Tennessee for the upcoming week/weekend. You will find that the listings below are divided into three categories based on the areas of the state. I hope you find the list useful. Please feel free to leave a comment if this was beneficial for you. If you have an event you would like for us to post, please let us know! We will see you on Wednesday, when we post about weed control for the flower garden. Have a fun and safe week! :)

West TN
  • June 26,   Music in the Park Music and Fireworks
Fayette Ware Football Field, Somerville, TN
  • June 28, The Way of Tea in Tennessee - Basic Ceremony
Memphis Botanic Garden, Memphis, TN



Middle TN
  • June 23-28, Sumner County Fair
Sumner County Fairgrounds, Gallatin, TN
  • June 24-28,  Ashland City Summerfest 2014
Riverbluff Park, Ashland City, TN
  • June 26, Concert Between the Lakes
Charlie Daniels Park, Mt. Juliet, TN
  • June 26-28,  Lynchburg Frontier Days
Wiseman Park, Lynchburg, TN
  • June 27-28,  28th Annual Trash and Treasure Community-Wide Yard Sale
Throughout Cross Plains, TN
  • June 27-29,  Nashville Flea Market
Tennessee State Fairgrounds, Nashville, TN
  • June 27-29,  Third Bluegrass Festival
Amphitheatre, Belvidere, TN
  • June 20-21, Southern Weekend of Art
Stonebridge Park, Fayetteville, TN
  • June 28, BBQ and Bluegrass Festival
Buchanan Log House, Donelson, TN
  • June 28,  Belfast Lions Club Belfast Day
Downtown Belfast, TN
  • June 28, Duck River Cleanup in Bedford County
Greenway Duck River Park, Shelbyville, TN
  • June 28, 58th Annual BBQ
Martin's Chapel United Methodist Church, Springfield, TN
  • June 28-29, Tennessee Horseshoe Pitching Pro Tour
Montgomery County Civitan Park, Clarksville, TN
  • June 28,  2nd Annual Nashville Predators Craft Beer Festival
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
  • June 28,  Freedom Fest 2014
Ricky Woodard Park, Westmoreland, TN
  • June 28,  East Side Hootenanny
East Park, Nashville, TN
  • June 28,  Blackberry Jam Music Festival
Boyd Mill Farm, Franklin, TN
  • June 29,  10th Annual Lancaster Independence Day Parade
Highway 141, Lancaster, TN
  • June 29 - July 1,  Summer Celebration at Lipscomb
Lipscomb University - Allen Arena, Nashville, TN
  • June 29, Paws For a Cause! Pet Carnival and Tattoo-Athon
Parking Lot, Lebanon, TN



East TN
  • June 26 - July 6, People's Choice Art Walk
Downtown Jonesborough, TN
  • June 27-28, White Lightning Trail Festival
Downtown Cumberland Gap, TN
  • June 28-29, An 18th Century Independence Celebration and Muster
Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area, Elizabethton, TN
  • June 28-29,  Oakes Daylily Festival
Oakes Daylilies, Corryton, TN
  • June 28,  Front Porch Concert Series
Harrow Road Cafe, Rugby, TN

Friday, June 20, 2014

Simply Creamy Chicken & Rice

Creamy Chicken & Rice

I have spent a lot of time tweaking this recipe to fit my own taste, and I think I have finally perfected it!  At least for now since I have a tendency to always improve on recipes as time goes by.  However, for now, I think it's great and I hope you enjoy it also!

Ingredients:

2 Boneless Chicken Breasts (Shredded)
2 Cups Cooked Rice
1 Can Cream of Mushroom
1 Can Cream of Chicken
1 Can Cream of Celery
1 1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Stick Melted Butter
1 TB Pepper
1 TB Rosemary
1 TB Garlic
8 oz Sour Cream
8 oz Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Parmesan Cheese

First, you will want to submerge the chicken in a pan of water and boil for 30-40 minutes, or until no longer pink on the inside.  Remove the chicken and let cool.  Once cool, you will shred the chicken by using a fork or by pulling it apart by hand.

While the chicken is cooling, you can go ahead and cook the rice according to the instructions on their package.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, cream of celery, water, melted butter, pepper, rosemary garlic, sour cream and shredded cheese.  Mix thoroughly.  Add in the cooked rice and chicken.

Grease a large 9x13 inch casserole dish and pour the contents of the bowl into the dish. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.  I use another 8 oz and sometimes more, but whatever you feel is enough will work. 

Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.

Enjoy! Have a great weekend and check back with us on Sunday, when we will let you know what events/festivals are happening around Tennessee for the next weekend. If you missed this weekend's list, you can find the post on our blog from this past Sunday, June 15, 2014!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Simply Drying Herbs

Dill, Parsley and Oregano
Hello everyone!  I hope you are having a great week so far.  Today, we are going to discuss drying herbs to use in our recipes.  It may seem like a lot of work, but actually it's not.  All you need is string, paper bags and of course, the herbs.  Drying your own herbs is a great way to reap the fruits of your own harvest.  Your recipes will have a more robust flavor from using your own! As a bonus, the herbs are free too!  First, you will just need to clip some stalks from the plants you want to harvest.  You will want to do this early in the day before the heat drys off too much of the plant's oils. You don't need to wash them unless you have used any chemicals on them previously. If you need to wash them, then pat them dry with a paper towel after the rinse. Also, remove any dead or dying leaves from the plants.  Next, you will bundle them together and tie them snugly with a string and place them upside down in a paper bag. Now, they're in a snuggie!  Yes, it was a bad joke, but I couldn't help myself.  Make sure to put holes in the bags so air continues to circulate.  By doing this, it will keep any mold from forming due to any moisture.  Finally, you will hang them in a warm dry place outside from the kitchen.  Usually, they will be ready in 2 weeks.  If they have not completely dried, then allow another week to pass and check again.  After they have dried, then you will want to store them in an air tight container.  The herbs will last you from 6-12 months.  See, its not difficult at all.  Have a great day and check back with us on Friday for the Recipe of the Week.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Get Out & Explore: Events and Festivals for the Week/Weekend of 06/19- 06/22

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! We have compiled a list of festivals and events that are happening around Tennessee for the upcoming week/weekend. You will find that the listings below are divided into three categories based on the areas of the state. I hope you find the list useful. Please feel free to leave a comment if this was beneficial for you. If you have an event you would like for us to post, please let us know! We will see you on Wednesday, when we post about drying herbs from the garden. Have a fun and safe week! :)

West TN
  • June 21,   47th Annual Savannah Lions Club Royal Tennessee Walking Horse Show
Hardin County Fairgrounds, Savannah, TN
  • June 21, Michie Community Summer Bash
Michie City Park, Michie, TN



Middle TN
  • June 19-21, Lafayette Hillbilly Days
Key Park, Lafayette, TN
  • June 19-22,  Summer Solstice Celebration
Long Hungry Creek Farm, Red Boiling Springs, TN
  • June 19,  Summer Extravaganza, Alzheimer's Association Benefit
Grace Healthcare of Franklin, Franklin, TN
  • June 20,  Hickman County Relay for Life
Hickman County Ag Pavilion, Centerville, TN
  • June 20-21,  Putman County Shrine Club Annual Rodeo
Cookeville Fairgrounds, Cookeville, TN
  • June 20-21,  Cumberland Plateau Antique Tractor and Engine Association 19th Annual Show
Cumberland County Community Complex, Crossville, TN
  • June 20-21,  Sixth Annual Ardmore Truck/Tractor Pull
John Barns Park, Ardmore, TN
  • June 20-21, Southern Weekend of Art
Stonebridge Park, Fayetteville, TN
  • June 20-21, 2014 Jefferson Street Jazz & Blues Festival
Various Venues, Nashville, TN
  • June 21,  RC - Moon Pie Festival
Downtown Bell Buckle, TN
  • June 21, Middle Tennessee Daylily Society Annual Daylily Show and Sale
Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville, TN
  • June 21, 13th Annual Lynchburg Motorcycle Rally
Wiseman Park, Lynchburg, TN
  • June 21, Excursion Train to DelMonaco Winery
Tennessee Central Railway Museum, Nashville, TN
  • June 21,  Generations Gala
Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center, Manchester, TN
  • June 21,  Fish Fry
Sam Davis Lodge, Smyrna, TN
  • June 21,  Tap Root Farm Ranch Rodeo
Lynnville, TN
  • June 21,  Lynnville Blackberry Festival
Downtown Lynnville, TN
  • June 21-22,  Intergalactic Bead Show
TN State Fairgrounds, Nashville, TN
  • June 21,  Taste of Music City
Public Square Park, Nashville, TN
  • June 21, Rose Mont Festival
Historic Rose Mont, Gallatin, TN
  • June 21, East Side Hootenanny
East Park, Nashville, TN



East TN
  • June 19-22, Kuumba Festival
Various Locations, Knoxville, TN
  • June 21, Big Kahuna Wing Festival
World's Fair Park, Knoxville, TN
  • June 21, Front Porch Concert Series
Harrow Road Cafe, Rugby, TN
  • June 21,  Knoxville Pridefest
World's Fair Park, Knoxville, TN
  • June 21-22,  Roan Mountain Rhododendron Festival
Roan Mountain State Park, Roan Mountain, TN

Friday, June 13, 2014

Simply Cheeseburger Macaroni II

Cheeseburger Macaroni
I am always changing up my recipes by adding a little bit of this and taking away a little bit of that.  It's a continuous learning, or growing, experience.  Recipes have a life of their own and should evolve to meet your own family's taste!  So, I am sharing a new twist on an old recipe I have.  I actually like this one better, but the ole tried and true is still good when you want something basic.  The recipe is definitely family size, so you can tweak the recipe if it's only the two of you.



Ingredients:

1 1/4 lb Ground Beef
4 Cups Milk
5 TB Cornstarch
1/2 Stick of Butter
1 lb Velveeta Cheese
3 TB Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tsp Dill Weed
2 Tsp Basil
2 Tsp Garlic Powder
2 Tsp Black Pepper
1 Large Onion Chopped
2 14.5 oz Diced Tomatoes (drained)
1 Box of cooked Large Elbow Macaroni
1 Package of Crumbled Saltine Crackers
1 8oz Package of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese


Cheese Sauce:

Pour the milk into a sauce pan and thoroughly mix in the cornstarch.  Mix in the butter and Worcestershire sauce and heat over medium on the stove.  You will want to regularly whisk the mixture as it heats so it will not stick to the bottom.  Once the mixture begins to boil and thicken, reduce the heat to low-medium and add the Velveeta cheese.  After the cheese melts into the sauce, you will then add the dill weed, basil, garlic powder and black pepper. You can also go ahead and prepare the large elbow macaroni while you make the sauce.

Prep:

Brown the beef and drain the grease.  You will then place the beef in a large mixing bowl and add the drained diced tomatoes, chopped onion, cheese sauce and cooked macaroni.  Mix well.  Pour the mixture into a greased 9x13 inch casserole dish.  Top with the crumbled crackers and then the mozzarella cheese.  Place into a preheated 375 F degree oven for 30 minutes.




Enjoy! Have a great weekend and check back with us on Sunday, when we will let you know what events/festivals are happening around Tennessee for the next weekend. If you missed this weekend's list, you can find the post on our blog from this past Sunday, June 8, 2014!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Simply Medicinal Plants

Yarrow with white blooms
The stores carry a lot of different medicines for our ailments, but why not keep it natural and use plants that you can grow in your garden?  From soothing toothaches to calming your upset stomach, an assortment of garden plants can be handy and save you money.  We have several around our home including yarrow, mint, witch hazel, toothache plant and chamomile.  Yarrow has been used for thousands of years to treat bleeding and fight infection. Typically, you will use it in a tincture or tea made from the dried leaves and/or flowers when using to fight respiratory infections, cramps or inflammation.  If you need to treat a wound, you can soak a cloth in a strong yarrow infusion and apply it to affected area. You can chew on the roots to help with a toothache also. However, instead of ripping up the plant for the roots, we can simply use the flowers and leaves of the toothache plant.  The flowers create a tingling and numbing sensation when chewed and will also cause increased salivation with an added cooling sensation of the throat.



Toothache Plant
Other plants we use are mint and chamomile. Usually, we make teas with these plants.  The mint leaves used in tea can have many positive side effects.  You can use this to soothe an aching stomach due to indigestion, reduces gas in the intestines that causes flatulence and fight bad breath.  Chamomile is very similar to mint regarding the effects.  The tea made from this plant will help you sleep and soothe an upset stomach or cramps.  It also has immune boosting properties which helps to fight off colds.  However, it should be noted that pregnant women should avoid chamomile since it may act as a uterine stimulant and cause miscarriage.

I could go on for pages about the many different medicinal plants that are out there, but that would be way too much information all at once.  So, we will definitely revisit the subject again with other beneficial plants.  Also, please remember that any plant may cause an allergic reaction, so be careful when using them externally or internally.  I hope everyone has a great day, and we'll see you on Friday for our Recipe of the Week!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Get Out & Explore: Events and Festivals for the Week/Weekend of 06/12- 06/16

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! We have compiled a list of festivals and events that are happening around Tennessee for the upcoming week/weekend. You will find that the listings below are divided into three categories based on the areas of the state. I hope you find the list useful. Please feel free to leave a comment if this was beneficial for you. If you have an event you would like for us to post, please let us know! We will see you on Wednesday, when we post about medicinal plants. Have a fun and safe week! :)

West TN
  • June 14,   Rockabilly Highway Revival Festival
Downtown Selmer, TN
  • June 14, Sixth Annual Rockabilly Antique Car Show
Selmer, TN


Middle TN
  • June 12, Jammin' with the General
Publice Square, Lebanon, TN
  • June 12-14,  An Artisan Affair
The Tree of Life, Smyrna, TN
  • June 12-15,  Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
Farm site, Manchester, TN
  • June 12,  Nashville Dancin'
Riverfront Park, Nashville, TN
  • June 13,  Spirits of the South
Downtown Springfield, TN
  • June 13-14,  Raise The Praise
Richland Park, Portland, TN
  • June 13-14,  Nashville PRIDE Festival
Public Square Park, Nashville, TN
  • June 14,  Cavalcade of Antique Cars
Highway 43 North, Summertown, TN
  • June 14, Horse Trail Ride
Coleman Staggs Farm, Ethridge, TN
  • June 14, Homeplace Pickin' Party
Land Between The Lakes NRA, Dover, TN
  • June 14,  Overton County Cruise In
Livingston Historic Courthouse, Livingston, TN
  • June 14,  Big Daddy's Classic Car Show
Daymar Institute , Nashville, TN
  • June 14,  Eagleville Diesel Trucks & Tractor Pull
TVPPA Showgrounds, Eagleville, TN
  • June 14,  The Nashville Wine & Food Festival
Riverfront Park,  Nashville, TN
  • June 14-15, Great Tennessee Air Show 2014
Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport, Smyrna, TN
  • June 14, Relay for Life of Van Buren County
Van Buren County Fairgrounds, Spencer, TN
  • June 14,  Montgomery County Master Gardeners' Garden Tour
Clarksville, TN
  • June 14,  Grange Hall Picnic
Grange Hall Cemetery, McMinnville, TN
  • June 14,  Annual Raus Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Supper
Old Raus School, Bedford County, TN
  • June 14, Cumberland Mountain Boys Bluegrass Concert
Rocky River Community Center, Rock Island, TN
  • June 16, Fourth Annual Special Olympics of Williamson County Gold Tournament
Governor's Club, Brentwood, TN



East TN
  • June 14, Pioneer Day
Downtown Cumberland Gap, TN
  • June 14, Dollywood's Great American Summer
Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN
  • June 14, American Jewelry & Bead Show
Knoxville Expo Center, Knoxville, TN
  • June 14,  Tennessee Polk Salad Festival
Harriman Riverfront Park, Harriman, TN
  • June 14,  Bledsoe County Truck & Tractor Pull
Fairgrounds, Pikeville, TN

Friday, June 6, 2014

Simply TN Hard Iced Tea

TN Hard Iced Tea
It's time for summer again!  We have had an early start here in Middle Tennessee.  The temperatures have already started to push up into the high 80's.  We all need a break from the early heat and what better way to do so than an Iced Tea...... TN Hard Iced Tea.  I am sure you will enjoy this beverage on those long hot afternoons. If you don't drink alcohol, no worries, you can nix it and still have a refreshing drink!

Ingredients:
1 Shot of Jack Daniels Whiskey
1 Orange Wedge (Squeezed)
1 Tsp of Lemon Juice
Sweet Tea

In a rocks glass (short glass), add the lemon juice, whiskey, sweet tea (I use honey from our the bee hives to sweeten the tea instead of sugar) and squeeze the juice of one orange wedge.  Put the orange wedge in the drink and you are ready to go!   Easy squeezy this weekend. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Simply Butterfly Attracting Plants




Tennessee Milkweed
A yard full of butterflies is one of the best things about living in the countryside. You get to see all the different variates flutter through the air like paper in the wind.  From Monarchs to Swallowtails, these  delicate creatures contain so much beauty, and I try to keep our yard as inviting to them as possible.  Everyone can do the same, even if you live in the suburbs or city.  It's all about host plants.  Just like  humans, they will go just about anywhere as long as there is a good meal to be had.  So, we'll go through a few of the best meals for the butterfly and some of which are used by us humans as well.

The Monarch butterfly is one of the recent ones to grace our property this year.  We got to see a mother flying around and laying her eggs on the milkweed We actually discovered the wild milkweed in an area of the property we have been clearing of brush and made sure not to disturb the plants.  The Monarchs actually prefer the milkweed plant, because the caterpillars will only eat plants that are within the milkweed family.  Once the butterfly finds a milkweed source, they will keep coming back year after year. The plant is actually poisonous too, so make sure to keep it away from your friendly four legged friends. Of course, the plant is not poisonous to the butterfly and it's actually used to keep them from being eaten by the birds.  If you find milkweed, you can easily transport it to your garden space if you like.  All you have to do is dig up the main root that the plants spring up from and replant it.  You can also buy the seeds if you don't have any in your area.  The ones we have in Middle Tennessee have beautiful balls of purple and white flowers which actually have a very nice fragrance to them.  Also, they are a perennial plant, so they will come back year after year.



Monarch Caterpillars on Milkweed

I understand that milkweed is not a preferred plant for most gardeners, so we'll now discuss the ones that everyone can pick up at the local garden store and plant.  Parsley, Dill, and Fennel are all host plants for the Black Swallowtail butterfly.  We have several of each plant around the yard, so there is plenty of food for their little babies.  Of course, if you plan on harvesting any of the dill or fennel, please make sure to not plant the two different plants close to each other or they can cross pollinate and create a hybrid next year if they reseed themselves.  A hybrid will still attract the butterflies, but will not be a good quality herb to use in recipes.  Just a little tid bit on our journey today.  Last year, we were also able to see the Black Swallowtail lay her eggs on the fennel, and I believe we counted about 14 little crawlers when they hatched.  I am really excited to see how many we get this year.  Other plants you may consider are butterfly weed (which has beautiful flowers that adult Monarch butterflies like) and butterfly bushes.  I hope you are able to plant some of these host plants this year and enjoy watching for the Monarchs or Black Swallowtails. You can't beat having an iced tea in your hand while sitting on the porch and watching the butterflies dance in the wind.  Visit us again on Friday for our Recipe of the Week!


Dill plant for Black Swallowtail Caterpillars

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Get Out & Explore: Events and Festivals for the Week/Weekend of 06/05 - 06/08

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! We have compiled a list of festivals and events that are happening around Tennessee for the upcoming week/weekend, and it looks to be a very busy weekend around the state! You will find that the listings below are divided into three categories based on the areas of the state. I hope you find the list useful. Please feel free to leave a comment if this was beneficial for you. If you have an event you would like for us to post, please let us know! We will see you on Wednesday, when we post about plants that will attract butterflies. Have a fun and safe week! :)

West TN
  • June 5-8,   X Music Austin - Circuit of the Americas
Austin360 Amphitheater, Austin, TN
  • June 6-7, Shannon Street Music Fest
Jackson Downtown Courtsquare, Jackson, TN
  • June 6, Charlie Daniels Concert
Discovery Park of America, Union City, TN
  • June 6-7, MartinFest 2014
Finger, TN
  • June 6-7, Purdy's Annual Trade Day
Purdy Community Center, Bethel, TN
  • June 7, Art of Compassion Arts Festival
Corner of Highland Ave & Lafayette St, Jackson, TN
  • June 7, Moon River Music Festival
Levitt Shell, Memphis, TN



Middle TN
  • June 5-8, CMA Music Festival 2014
Downtown Nashville, TN
  • June 5-6,  Clarksville Writers Conference
Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN
  • June 5,  Yum! Eat, 2nd Annual Food Tasting Event
East Pavilion, Nashville, TN
  • June 6-8,  Sweet Ila Mae's Barn Sale
789 Jericho Road, Quebeck, TN
  • June 6,  Main Street's Friday Night Live Concert
Murfreesboro Public Square, Murfreesboro, TN
  • June 6-7,  9th Annual Madison Bluegrass Festival
Larry's Grand Ole Garage, Madison, TN
  • June 6 - June 15,  Rivergate Mall Unique Collectibles & Hand-Made Crafts
Rivergate Mall, Nashville, TN
  • June 7,  Garden and Special Places Tour
Shelbyville, TN
  • June 7, An Evening at Elmwood Cemetary
Elmwood Cemetary, Springfield, TN
  • June 7, Fourth Annual Lewis County Summerfest
Courthouse Square, Hohenwald, TN
  • June 7,  45th Annual Antique Automobile Club of America Tim Ford Region Car Show and Flea Market
Franklin County Middle School, Winchester, TN
  • June 7,  Cut Out Cancer
Just a Cut Away Barber Salon , Smyrna, TN
  • June 7-8,  39th Annual Town and Country Tour of Homes
Franklin, TN
  • June 8,  Chalk It Up Fine Arts and Craft Show and Sidewalk Chalk Art Competition
Meridian Cool Springs Office Park,  Franklin, TN
  • June 7, Coopertown Barrel Festival 2014
Coopertown Historic District, Coopertown, TN
  • June 7, Folk Medicine Festival
Downtown Red Boiling Springs, TN
  • June 7,  14th Annual Warren Parks Children's Picnic
Warner Park Nature Center , Nashville, TN
  • June 7,  Flappers & Fellas, Gatsby Style Soiree
Historic Rock Castle, Hendersonville, TN
  • June 7,  Wartrace MusicFest
Wartrace MusicFest Grounds, Wartrace, TN
  • June 7, Fair On the Square
Lenox Village Drive, Nashville, TN
  • June 7, Woofstock 2014
The Fontanel Mansion & Farm, Whites Creek, TN



East TN
  • June 6-7, Coke Ovens Bluegrass Festival
Coke Ovens Park, Dunlap, TN
  • Now - June 8, Dollywood's Barbeque & Bluegrass
Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN
  • June 7-8, Appalachian Heritage Fair
Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park, Limestone, TN
  • June 7,  National Moofest
Historic Downtown Athens, TN
  • June 7,  Art on Main Street
Union County Arts Co-op, Maynardville, TN
  • June 7,  Front Porch Concert Series
Harrow Road Cafe, Rugby, TN
  • June 7-9, Gatlinburg Summer Apparel, Jewelry & Gift Market
Gatlinburg Convention Center, Gatlinburg, TN
  • June 7-8, Lenoir City Arts & Crafts Festival 
Lenoir City Park, Lenoir City, TN

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