Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pest Invasion

A little town on I90, Genoa Illinois, will be cutting down 11% of the city's trees. The Emerald Ash Borer has been confirmed in their town. Genoa is the 80th community to confirm the existence of the tree killer. 

Some of the smaller ash trees will be removed, even before they are effected by the borer. The ash borer was first discovered in southeast Michigan and in Windsor, Canada. A tiny town east of me about 40 minutes, Lily Lake was the first confirmed place to have the Ash Borer in Illinois. 
I am convinced I had the EAB, remember this post from September, 2007?
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket 
Thinning at the top of the ash tree indicates trouble inside!! 
I had all the signs, every symptom. But the Extension says it was the native borer. OOOkkkkkk....but I cut it down, anyways. I guess the subdivision has some kind of rules that say every home must have 2 trees in the front yard, so a week after it went down, the maintenance guy came and planted the tree that remains there, still: 
October Glory
I respect what Genoa is doing, cutting down trees even though they aren't infected by the borer yet. It stops the spread and removes food from the chain, isolating the EAB where they found it. That's why it is so important not to purchase firewood where you camp and bring it home. Nor is it wise to cut wood at home and bring it elsewhere. Even if you don't see a borer, you could be giving the hidden eggs a round trip to a vacation destination where it will be free to roam and destroy ash trees. It is now illegal to bring firewood in or out of Illinois. 
Like so many of the invasive species we suffer with, the EAB is an Asian pest. Our native woodpecker loves the Emerald Ash Borer larvae, which is good and bad. The woodpeckers can do some extensive damage to the tree, going after the larvae, but if the tree is hosting the EAB larvae, it is in trouble, anyways. 

Hey, I have to get up and get going. The tshirt shop is closed for a while, but that doesn't mean I can sit around and be lazy! 
I've got tons to do! The church we attend is 30 miles from us. (we pass 4 other Lutheran churches to get there, don't ask me why!!) Making a nice dinner on Christmas Eve used to be such a pain that I would be so stressed out over the roast over cooking or the turkey drying out. No more. Now I'm making the big deal dinner on Christmas Day and trying to whip up something that is easy peasy for Christmas Eve. 
My solution??? Lasagna! I can put the Lasagna together tomorrow, put it in the fridge and be done! I always sneak some chopped spinach into my lasagna, but the boy has has declared he no longer will eat cooked spinach, of course, I need to figure out if he will be able to tell it is in there!
One of the most important ingredients in any lasagna is the cheese. Having 2 men with chemical backgrounds in the house has helped me figure out an issue I've been dealing with in cooking.
When I make macaroni and cheese or cheese soup or even lasagna, I struggled to get a creamy texture and not a chunky, chewy, stringy thing. 
Guess what? Pre-grated cheese is coated with an anti-clumping agent which prevents it from sticking into 1 giant cheese ball in the store. Ok, let me figure this out. If the shreds are coated with an anti-caking goo, how are they going to come together in my recipe?? They aren't. 
If you are cooking and your recipe calls for grated cheese for melting, do yourself a favor and grate the cheese yourself. Pre-grated doesn't want to come together to make a nice meal!
Alright, I'm off for a busy day. I hope you all have a good one!


  1. Thank you for that interesting and helpful tidbit about cheese!

    I know what you mean about invasive species. We battle many, from "Florida holly" (which is neither from Florida nor a holly) to snakes the size of alligators!

  2. It is a shame about the borer but it is sure spreading fast. I think they are taking the best steps.

    Now I know why cheese doesn't melt right. That's ok I'd rather that than grating my own. Merry Christmas!
    Cher Sunray Gardens
    Goldenray Yorkies

  3. I learned two things today. The info on the emerald ash borer is interesting, and I am so concerned it will find its way to New England. Yikes.

    And the cheese thing.. that made my day. It's good to know, like melting chocolate chips (which are formulated to keep their shape in cookies when "melted", not to melt smoothly. You can melt them into a muddy mass, but it's like the cheese, not the best result. Use the real stuff, baker's chocolate, real cheese, unadulterated ingredients!)

  4. Sissy, I learned so much from your blog. Like the others, I didn't know about the cheese thing.

    We had an infestation of bark beetles a few years ago here in New Mexico. Hate those pests.

  5. Learn something new every day! I did not know that about cheese. And I must say-UGH! Anti-clumping agents? What the sam-hill is that??? Guess I'm shredding my own from now on........

  6. Hi Sissy,
    Very informative post on a subject close to my heart. We have two Ash trees in our yard and would hate to lose them.
    I hope that you and yours have a nice Christmas.
    Blessings, Balisha


I would love to hear from you and if you can leave a comment, I will visit your blog, too!