Archive for September, 2017


Fruit Drop with Young Hachiya Persimmon Trees

Author: Meera, September 21, 2017

My three-year-old Hachiya persimmon tree was loaded with fruit but recently went through a huge fruit drop. Possibly the long stretch of triple-digit summer heat coupled with the tree not getting enough water may have caused this problem. Young trees are more prone to fruit drop than trees that are mature.

 

 

Succulent, sweet, and juicy, these hachiya persimmons are worth waiting for

Succulent, sweet, and juicy, these ripe hachiya persimmons have a jelly-like texture

 

 

I find the fruit drop disconcerting because Hachiyas are my favorite persimmons. It did the same thing last year.

 

 

Each autumn, I wait with anticipation watching the fruit and checking it often until October for ripeness. This fruit is highly astringent so must be eaten ripe. The fruit texture  is like jelly with a sweet and slightly spicy flavor.

 

 

Besides the fruit, what I like about this persimmon is that it becomes a showstopper in the fall with red, gold, or yellow leaves. During winter, the fruit hangs on the tree like ornamentation.

 

 

These persimmons need another month to ripen to that telltale bright orange color

These persimmons need another month to ripen to that characteristic orange color

 

 

The Hachiya trees are not much bothered by pests or disease. They require at least a half day’s sun and well drained soil. These trees grow to 15 to 20 feet tall. They make great landscape trees and the fruit is a wonderful bonus.

 

 

 

 

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If you enjoy reading about growing fruit trees or heirloom plants or trying delicious recipes or keeping bees and chickens and you like a mysteries, check out my Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries from Kensington Publishing in NY. They’re available online and in traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

 

This new novel is available Sept. 26, 2017

A HIVE OF HOMICIDES is the newest offering in the Henny Penny Farmette series; available Sept. 26, 2017

 

 

 

 

Currently, A HIVE OF HOMICIDES is a featured title in Barnes & Noble’s September promotional BUY 3, GET 1 FREE sale.

 

WHAT IS THE BUY 3, GET 1 FREE OFFER?

 

Everyone who buys a Kensington cozy mystery from the B&N in-store display or any Kensington cozy mystery from BarnesandNoble.com between 9/5/17 – 10/5/17 and registers their purchase at http://sites.kensingtonbooks.com/kensingtoncozies/BN/ will:

 

–     Automatically be entered into Kensington’s “Cozy Mystery Bonanza” sweepstakes for a chance to win a $300 value gift basket. One grand prize winner will be selected after the sale has concluded.

 

–     Automatically receive a free Kensington Cozies recipe booklet plus a download code for the novel A STORY TO KILL by Lynn Cahoon after the sale has concluded.

 

 

*                    *                     *

 

DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE FREE DRAWING AT GOODREADS.COM.

 

Win a signed copy of A Hive of Homicides along with a gorgeous reversible apron and a set of 2 chicken napkin rings. Enter before September 26 for a chance to win.

 

Reversible apron features a floral backside. Ties make it totally adjustable.

Reversible apron features a floral backside. Ties make it totally adjustable.

 

 

See, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33911114-a-hive-of-homicides?from_search=true

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pie to Welcome Autumn, Plus a Few Apple Facts

Author: Meera, September 15, 2017

Autumn officially arrives next Friday, September 22, 2017. That means peak apple season has begun and nothing says “fall” like an early-autumn apple pie.

 

A little egg wash on the crust renders a beautiful golden color

A little egg wash on the crust renders a beautiful golden color

 

 

Here’s my easiest apple pie recipe.

 

COUNTRY APPLE PIE

 

 

 

Ingredients:

 

6 cups apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

 

3/4 cup granulated sugar

 

2 tablespoons butter

 

1/8 teaspoon salt

 

1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

 

2 tablespoons flour

 

2 unbaked pie crusts (homemade or store-bought)

 

1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water (to make an egg wash)

 

 

Pie ready for top crust

Pie ready for top crust

 

 

Directions:

 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit

 

Combine sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmegr in a large bowl and mix well. Stir in the apples. Spoon the apples into a pastry-lined baking dish or pan. Cut the butter into small pieces and distribute over the apples. Place the second rolled-out crust over the pie. Snip off the excess crust and cut a design into the top crust to create a steam vent. Flute crust edges. Use a pastry brush to apply the egg wash over the top crust.

 

Pie with egg wash applied and vents cut in is ready to bake

Pie with egg wash applied and vents cut in is ready to bake

 

 

Bake for 10 minutes. Cover crust edges with aluminum foil to keep them from burning. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Crust will be golden brown and juices will be bubbling.

 

 

FACTS ABOUT APPLES

 

1. Apples were known in the ancient world; they’ve been around for 3,000 years.

 

2. Apples thrive in a temperate climate and are grown worldwide.

 

3.  There are roughly 7,000 varieties of apples worldwide, all members of the rosaceae family.

 

4. Washington state produces half of all U.S. apples.

 

5. Science shows that apples are rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and C, are high in fiber, and  and aid in lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure. They can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

 

6. Some of the best-loved apple varieties include: Braeburn, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, and Rome.

 

If you want to know which apples are best for baking, eating fresh, making into sauces, or freezing, see, http://bestapples.com/varieties-information/varieties/

 

 

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If you enjoy reading about delicious farm recipes, growing heirloom plants, or keeping bees and chickens and you like a mysteries, check out my Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries from Kensington Publishing in NY. They’re available online and in traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

Murders at a N. California winery is a catalyst for ex-cop turned farmette owner Abigail Mackenzie

Murders at a N. California winery are the catalyst for ex-cop turned farmette owner Abigail Mackenzie to search for a killer

 

 

 

Currently, A HIVE OF HOMICIDES is a featured title in Barnes & Noble’s September promotional BUY 3, GET 1 FREE sale.

 

WHAT IS THE BUY 3, GET 1 FREE OFFER?

 

Everyone who buys a Kensington cozy mystery from the B&N in-store display or any Kensington cozy mystery from BarnesandNoble.com between 9/5/17 – 10/5/17 and registers their purchase at http://sites.kensingtonbooks.com/kensingtoncozies/BN/ will:

 

–     Automatically be entered into Kensington’s “Cozy Mystery Bonanza” sweepstakes for a chance to win a $300 value gift basket. One grand prize winner will be selected after the sale has concluded.

 

–     Automatically receive a free Kensington Cozies recipe booklet plus a download code for the novel A STORY TO KILL by Lynn Cahoon after the sale has concluded.

 

 

*                    *                     *

 

DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE FREE DRAWING AT GOODREADS.COM.

Win a signed copy of A Hive of Homicides along with a gorgeous reversible apron and a set of 2 chicken napkin rings. Enter before September 26 for a chance to win.

 

See, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33911114-a-hive-of-homicides?from_search=true

 

 

 

 

 

Reversible apron features a floral backside. Ties make it totally adjustable.

Reversible apron features a floral backside. Ties make it totally adjustable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Exciting News and Hot Deals for Mystery Lovers

Author: Meera, September 5, 2017

Welcome September! I’ve got lots of exciting news for this month. First, A HIVE OF HOMICIDES, the third novel in my Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries, comes out on September 26. I’ll be doing a giveaway on Goodreads.com. But there’s more . . . .

 

 

“Lester’s sensitive portrayal of Abby’s struggle with her wounded psyche raises this traditional mystery above the pack.”–Publishers Weekly

 

The newest offering in the Henny Penny Farmette of cozy mysteries

The newest offering in the Henny Penny Farmette of cozy mysteries

 

 

 

 

This month marks the launch of an  exciting Barnes & Noble/Kensington Publishing “BUY 3, GET 1 FREE” sale throughout September. And my novel, THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE, is among the cozies featured! And there’s still more.

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone who buys a Kensington cozy mystery from the B&N in-store display or any Kensington cozy mystery from BarnesandNoble.com between 9/5/17 – 10/5/17 and registers their purchase at http://sites.kensingtonbooks.com/kensingtoncozies/BN/ will be automatically entered into Kensington’s “Cozy Mystery Bonanza” sweepstakes for a chance to win a $300 value gift basket.

 

-        The grand prize ($300 value)

 

-        Kensington Cozies Digital recipe book

 

-        A STORY TO KILL by Lynn Cahoon

 

One grand prize winner will be selected after the sale has concluded.

 

 

 

 

The second book in the Henny Penny Farmette series

 

 

ABOUT QUEEN BEE: Murder claims the life of a free-spirited friend of ex-cop and farmette owner Abigail Mackenzie after a New Age Cult leader takes over an abandoned nudist camp in the mountains near Las Flores, California. Abby teams up with the dead woman’s brother to discover the killer’s identity even as an old boyfriend in Abby’s life shows up unannounced with a hidden agenda.

 

 

 

Murders at a N. California winery is a catalyst for ex-cop turned farmette owner Abigail Mackenzie

 

 

 

ABOUT HIVE: Abby suffers emotional challenges following the attempted murder of her friend Paola Varela and the death of  Paola’s husband. She seeks help from a new doctor in town while piecing together the clues to smoke out a killer. But as Abby attempts to heal and  help Paola  recover, she unwittingly places them both in the crosshairs of the killer.

 

 

See the full Publishers Weekly review at, https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-61773-917-0

 

 

The novel that launched the three-book Henny Penny Farmette series of mysteries is BEELINE TO MURDER.

 

The debut novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series of mysteries

BEELINE TO MURDER started theHenny Penny Farmette mystery series

 

 

 

 

ABOUT BEELINE: Abby is drawn into solving the murder of the celebrated pastry chef who buys her trademark lavender honey. The search for the murderer takes her through the lives of several of the town’s eccentric characters, exposing secrets along the way until she unmasks the killer among them.

 

 

Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to stock up on your favorite cozy authors books this fall with the exciting offers from Barnes & Noble and Kensington.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Helping a Kitchen Garden to Grow in Clay Soil

Author: Meera, September 2, 2017

Under the searing summer sun, the clay soil of my farmette will grow amazing pin oaks, white oaks, and pine trees. But for a gardener like me who wants to grow  vegetables and herbs, clay soil frustrates and challenges.

 

Plants can be coaxed to grow in clay soil with help from the resident gardener

Plants can be coaxed to grow in clay soil with help from the resident gardener

 

 

 

Before planting next year’s kitchen garden in a new area of the property, I’ll have to change the soil structure now. This will take time and a lot of effort, but it will pay huge dividends over the long term.

 

Here are a few things things a gardener can do to improve clay soil.

 

1. A few weeks before working an area, mulch the area with an eight to ten-inch layer of wood chips to help the soil retain moisture and regain structure.

 

2. Use a pickax to break up the soil to the depth of 10 inches and work in composted organic material.

 

3. Avoid working the soil after a rain or when the ground is wet because the soil will ball up into unwieldy clumps.

 

4. Work in sand or perlite to create more pore space for aeration and drainage. Beware of adding too much sand; the soil becomes like concrete. Ideally, the soil should have roughly fifty percent pore space with minerals and organic matter filling in the rest.

 

5. When not growing plants, sow a cover crop of legumes to reduce weed germination, prevent erosion, and help water penetrate deeply into the soil. A legume cover crop provides plant matter that can be turned back into the soil or mowed, leaving the plant’s bio mass  in place. Legumes fix the nitrogen in the soil that will nourish the plants of the kitchen garden.

 

6. Repeat all of the above steps annually and dig, turn, rake, and water. Over time, the soil should support healthy roots of plants and give you a robust kitchen garden that will provide many tasty vegetables and culinary herbs.

 

 

A healthy garden visually delights

A healthy garden visually delights

 

 

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If you enjoy reading cozy mysteries and are interested in gardening/farming topics, keeping bees and chickens, or creating delicious recipes from heirloom vegetables and herbs, check out my Henny Penny Farmette series. All are available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other traditional and online bookstores everywhere.

 

 

 

 

Coming 9/27/17

       Murders at a N. California winery is a catalyst for ex-cop turned farmette owner Abigail Mackenzie

 

 

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY  08/14/2017 noted:
“Lester’s sensitive portrayal of Abby’s struggle with her wounded psyche raises this traditional mystery above the pack.”

 

See more at: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-hive-of-homicides-meera-lester/1125424538?type=eBook

 

 

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