Archive | May, 2013

May/June 2013 Issue

May/June 2013 Issue

Welcome to Summer Fun!

You can read the new issue here.

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Denton County Master Gardener Garden Tour

Denton County Master Gardener Garden Tour

“Living Green with Style” is the theme of the Denton County Master Gardener Association’s 2013 Spring Garden Tour, which will be from 9 am until 4 pm on Saturday, May 12th.  Seven gardens, both public and private, are on this year’s fund-raising tour, including two in Southlake, two in Flower Mound and one each in Highland Village, Lewisville and Carrollton.

In Highland Village, you will enjoy the cleverly incorporated outdoor living spaces for entertaining family and friends. Water conservation is maintained throughout the landscape by using a sprinkler system with drip lines and supplementing municipal water with rain barrels. A private home garden in Flower Mound uses raised beds to add a stylish touch to the landscape, while solving challenges caused by poor soil or erosion. A private home in Southlake demonstrates how to practice sustainable landscape management and still enjoy family activities in the yard. This 1.6 acres at the southern tip of Denton County has transitioned from a wooded lot to a family-friendly landscape.

Pollinators are a vital part of the ecosystem and need safe havens, such as the special Pollinator Garden within the 2,000-acre Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area. The garden grows along the edge of two hiking trails and features plants that have been selected to enrich the landscape and provide a refuge for pollinators. A Garden Tour ticket or a gate fee is required to visit the Pollinator Garden, children under 14 are free when accompanied by adult with a ticket.

Bring your family for a nature walk through the 700-acre Bob Jones Nature Center in Southlake. The Center’s landscape showcases the beauty of native plants and will inspire you to use them in your own yard. The plants are drought, sun, and shade tolerant. Entrance to the Center is free, so if you want to visit this garden only, no tour ticket is required.

Standing 50 feet above the surrounding countryside is 13 acres of wildflowers and native prairie grasses at The Flower Mound. In fact, the city itself was named after the mound, which is protected by the non-profit Mound Foundation. More than 175 species of wildflowers have been found there. Admission to The Flower Mound is free, so if you only want to visit this garden, no ticket is required. The Mound is near the corner of Flower Mound Road (FM 3040) and Long Prairie Road (FM 2499).

A tranquil residential garden in Carrollton will motivate you to create your own backyard sanctuary. Inspired by nature, this small landscape integrates rocks, plants and water to form a peaceful oasis in the middle of suburbia.

Garden Tour tickets are $10 in advance and may be purchased online at Day of the tour tickets are $12 for to all gardens or $5 for a single garden. Children under 14 do not require a ticket. Local nurseries will provide door prizes for the event. The Spring Garden Tour will be held rain or shine. Cameras are welcome. Proceeds from the tour fund public educational projects and programs throughout Denton County.

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From the Spice Rack…Healthy Herbs:  Vanilla

From the Spice Rack…Healthy Herbs: Vanilla

by Kathe Kitchens, co-owner of Bestemor Herb Farm

Mosquito spray…not your first thought of vanilla?  But yes, it’s an excellent mosquito repellant.  Mix 1-2 tablespoons with 8oz natural alcohol of your choice (potato vodka, everclear, etc. but NOT isopropyl – too drying) and mist yourself all over.  It has to be real vanilla, not imitation and not mixed with anything else (some brands add sugars).  You’ll smell like a sugar cookie and the mosquitoes will leave you alone! Add a little sesame oil for an extra skin softener and natural sun block, or a few drops of lavender essential oil, a blend that works better for some people.  Be aware that it doesn’t repel ticks or fleas, just the flying blood suckers!

The vanilla bean is the pod or fruit of a tropical climbing orchid vine native to the rain forests of South America and now grown in Madagascar, Indonesia, India, Puerto Rico and the West Indies.  While buying local is always our recommendation, this spice will have to be an exception due to our climate.  Real vanilla is one of the world’s most expensive spices but highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way.  Of course, it is also one of the most sought flavorings in the world for ice cream, chocolates, baked goods, liquors, liqueurs, creams and other delicacies. Unripe pods are harvested at 5-8 inches in length after they have gone from green.  Dried until dark brown, the pods can be stored and remain strong in flavor for 3-4 years.  Preparation of true vanilla extract requires chopping the beans into small pieces and infusing them in natural alcohol.  Whole beans can usually be found in a local shop, and certainly purchased online.

A health benefit of vanilla in aromatherapy is reducing stress or anxiety and aiding weight loss by triggering the release of serotonin.  Vanilla contains high levels of antioxidants and anti-fungal components, and vanilla essential oils are used in cosmetics and personal care products.  It is very important to use real vanilla extract with no added sugars to get the full benefit of the product.  A few drops in warm water will calm an upset stomach, and research indicates that the primary compound vanillin inhibits the development and growth of cancer cells in breast tissue.

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Crime Prevention Tips

by the Denton Police Department

The Denton Police Department believes teamwork is the key to effectively reducing crime. Everyone must commit themselves to addressing public safety issues and crime prevention measures. These crime prevention tips can help citizens develop skills in the areas of home security, marking and securing valuables, and making their homes less of a target for criminals.

If You Are At Home
•    Keep doors and windows locked.
•    Consider how much of your residence you are exposing to people passing by on the street when you have your curtains open.

If You Are Out for the Evening
•    Turn on lights and a radio/TV. It looks like someone’s home.
•    Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

If You Are Traveling
•    Get an automatic timer for your lights.
•    Ask a neighbor to watch your home, and park in the driveway from time to time.
•    Don’t forget to have mail and newspaper delivery stopped. If it piles up, it’s a sure sign you’re gone.

If You Are Shopping
• Stay alert and be aware of what’s going on around you.
•    Park in a well-lighted space, and be sure to close the windows and lock the car.
•    Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card whenever possible. Remember to get your credit card back from the salesclerks at the end of your transaction).
•    Deter purse snatchers. Don’t overburden yourself with packages. Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Do not leave your purse unattended in a shopping cart (even while you turn your back to look at an item on a shelf, etc.).
•    Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.

Protect Your Vehicle:  LOCK – TAKE – HIDE
•    LOCK your vehicle.
•    TAKE your belongings out of the vehicle. Do not leave anything in plain view (ex. Purses, wallets, GPS systems, sunglasses, holiday gifts, spare change, etc.)
•    HIDE your belongings inside your vehicle (in the trunk, console, glove box, etc.)

Help prevent your vehicle from being stolen by always locking your car and using anti-theft devices. And never leave your vehicle running while you run inside your home or a store, even if for only a minute or two.

If a Stranger Comes to the Door
Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts, and it’s not uncommon for people to try to take advantage of others’ generosity by going door-to-door for charitable donations when there is no charity involved. Ask for identification, and find out how the funds will be used. If you aren’t satisfied, don’t give. Help a charitable organization you know and like instead.

Solicitors should be permitted by the City of Denton prior to going door to door. If you have any suspicions, please contact the Denton Police Department.Solicitors may only conduct residential solicitation during 9:00 am and 6:00 pm, Monday – Saturday. Solicitation may not occur at any time on Sundays, New Year’s Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day.

And, of course, if you see someone suspicious, call the Denton Police Department’s non-emergency number 940-349-8181. If you see a burglary in progress, call 911.

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Ready for Sleepovers

Ready for Sleepovers

By Sue Nelle DeHart

Many kids spend nights away from Mom and Dad and stay with other family members, right? Nowadays it is a normal pattern to have Grandpa and Grandma outings that start at young ages. And if they are lucky, they have cousins of the same age to spend holidays and weekends with. But if kids have none of these, they depend on their parents’ perception of the “right” age for them to be able to sleep away from home.  That age will be determined by a combination of the parents and the child readiness.

A sleepover can be good way to help kids progress to the next level of their emotional intelligence. They develop skills that no money can buy and no teacher can teach. It is one of those things everyone needs to experience on their own.

Here are just some of the advantages of sleepovers:

1.    A sleepover requires flexibility. Kids are forced to leave their comfort zone and take themselves into new territory, into the unknown. With Mom and Dad knowing the trustworthy host family, a sleepover can teach the kids that they can take that risk and survive it.

2.    A sleepover allows kids to examine the differences between their family and the friend’s family. It is a great opportunity to show them different ways of living and to talk about the choices you have made as parents in running your family. These talks will actually increase the bond between you and your kids.

3.    A sleepover is a good way for kids to experience change. This is why most kids prefer to have the sleepover somewhere else, rather than invite their friends to their own house. Change is something kids need from time to time and a sleepover provides plenty of change.

4.    Sleepovers are good opportunities enhance their social skills and independence. They go into a new house with a different set of rules and boundaries and they must learn to sense what those are and to get along – and most of the time they do. Inviting friends to sleepover can teach your child to share their toys, their bed and even their Mom and Dad’s attention.

Keep sleepover short and sweet, don’t add in multiple kids, and plan the sleepover ahead. Prepare for a lot of giggling which is also part of the learning process. Somehow they learn to make giggles and laughs at absolutely nothing.  That lightheartedness is a child’s rite of passage.

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Denton Community Market

Thanks to community support and an outpouring of volunteer efforts, the Denton Community Market opened its fourth season on April 6th. The market will offer goods from local artisans, growers, producers, artists, and other local businesses. In an effort to strengthen local economic efforts, the market requires that its vendors offer products and foods made or grown within 100 miles of Denton, and invites only growers and producers who use sustainable farming practices to participate in the market in an effort to advocate environmental stewardship.

This season the market has expanded its site plan making room for more visitors and vendors as it continues to grow. The new site accommodates over one-third more vendors than last year. In addition, the market will host more food vendors and food trucks than in year’s past. And over forty vendors have been accepted to join the market so far this season.

The first Saturday of each month will feature live music performances all season long, and the summer months will feature an inflatable water slide to keep the kids entertained and everyone cool. This fall, the market will feature a harvest and holiday market to provide local options for holiday shopping.

About Denton Community Market
Denton Community Market is a local art and produce market that strives to strengthen the Denton community by providing economic opportunities for local artists, businesses, food vendors, and food producers to contribute to the vitality and livability of Denton. The market provides educational resources on the local food economy by connecting the consumer with sustainable producers who are advocates for environmental stewardship. Located at Carroll Blvd. and W. Mulberry in downtown Denton.

Denton Community Market always needs volunteers. As a volunteer, you are a key piece to making sure that the market day is a success. Shifts include morning from 8:00 am-11:00 am, and afternoon from 11:00 am-2:00 pm. Duties include set up/take down/staff info booth, sell shirts, mugs and bags, sign people up to receive updates, and set up on-site signs and flags. We would love to have your help! Contact us at

Visit Denton Community Market’s website at or on Facebook at

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