We’ve survived the shortest day, first snowfall

12/22/2012 7:33 AM

08/05/2014 10:39 PM

On the verge of Christmas, I always have miscellaneous snippets of holiday information lying about, like pretty pieces of ribbon left over after wrapping a gift, threatening to become unceremoniously outdated by next Saturday. (I’d be happy to keep celebrating the 12 days of Christmas anywhere and everywhere, but society won’t play along.)

One little gem: After I wrote about (finally) carting the pumpkins off my front porch last week, master gardener Lisa Folds e-mailed me to share her similar dislike of throwing out good pumpkins after Thanksgiving. What she does with her pumpkins when they’re still good and winter is replacing fall: spray-paints them red or green, and, while they’re still wet, randomly sprays gold on them.

“I think they kind of look like ornaments,” Lisa says.

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A realization: We survived the shortest day of the year Friday. In studying a sunrise-sunset calendar, I see that while sunsets are now getting later, the sunrises will start getting earlier on Jan. 11, with both sides of the day pulling toward daylight.

We also got our first snowfall, which went jolly well with doing last-minute Christmas cards and listening to the Bing Crosby holiday channel on pandora.com. Happy winter!

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Sedgwick County opened its recycling sites for Christmas trees on the first day of winter, and they will be open through Jan. 21. Your real Christmas tree must be stripped of all decorations before being taken to one of the sites, where the trees are chipped into mulch. The mulch is free for the taking on a first-come, first-served basis.

The locations are the same as last year:

In Wichita: Boston Park, 6655 E. Zimmerly; Buffalo Park, 10209 Hardener; College Hill United Methodist Church, First and Erie; Earhart Environmental Magnet School, 4401 N. Arkansas; Edgemoor Park, 5815 E. Ninth St.; Extension Education Center, 7001 W. 21st St.; Great Plains Nature Center, 6232 E. 29th St. North; Old Cowtown Museum, 1865 Museum Blvd.; Osage Park, 2121 W. 31st St. South; and South Linwood Park, Hydraulic and Mount Vernon.

Outside Wichita: Cheney, East South Avenue and Garfield; Clearwater, Aquatic Center parking lot; Colwich, 115 N. 3rd St.; Derby, 2700 E. Madison; Garden Plain, at the water tower; Kechi, 107 Sioux; Maize, 201 S. Park; Mount Hope, 400 S. Thomas; Mulvane, 117 E. Main; Park City, 6801 N. Hydraulic; Valley Center, Veterans Park.

K-State Extension forester Charlie Barden reminds us of other ways to use the Christmas tree when it’s time to let go:

You can place it in a corner of the deck and spread birdseed nearby, or tie it to a deciduous tree or post near a bird feeder. “The birds benefit from having escape cover nearby when hawks or cats threaten, and the dense boughs reduce the windchill on a cold night.

“… Using the little tree around the landscape requires clipping off all of the branches. Use the boughs to add extra insulation around semi-hardy perennials or to trees and shrubs that were recently planted. The leftover trunk may be used as a garden stake next spring.

“Or cut and let it dry for a few weeks, and you will have some easy lighting firewood. Just beware that most conifer species tend to spark and pop more than hardwoods, as resin pockets in the wood make tiny explosions. This can delight the youngsters, but for safety’s sake, keep an eye on the fire when burning Christmas tree logs!”

And let it snow! Merry Christmas!

About Annie Calovich

Annie writes about home and garden, including her Bit of Earth column on Saturdays. She has been at The Eagle since 1985, working as a copy editor, a nation/world editor and a reporter. She’s a KU graduate who started out at The Coffeyville Journal.

Contact Annie at 316-268-6596 or acalovich@wichitaeagle.com

Follow Annie on Twitter: @AnnieCalovich

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