Warm Baked Apples to Enjoy by the Fire.

fireplace

Now that the weather is getting cold, you will want to find ways to keep warm. One great way to do that is by enjoying comfort food in front of a burning fireplace.   Fox Valley Tree Service offers a variety of firewood for sale throughout the year. We can deliver or you can pick up.  

Another thing we know is how to enjoy a good wood burning fire with some great eats!

One of our personal favorites for the cold weather is warm baked apples. Yum. Just thinking about the flavors makes us hungry. 

So, let’s get started on how to make these great fireside treats. 

baked applesWORK TIME: 20 minutes / TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 20 minutes
SERVINGS: 4 

  • 4 med crisp apples (6–7oz each), such as Gala or Honeycrisp
  • ⅓ c dark brown sugar
  • ¼ c graham cracker crumbs 
  • 2 Tbsp butter softened
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 c dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts
  • ½ tsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ c apple juice
  • 3 Tbsp honey 
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from ½ lemon)

 

1. HEAT oven to 350ºF. With a melon baller or paring knife, remove stem and core from apples, making a ¾”-wide cavity in each nearly to blossom end. With a vegetable peeler or paring knife, remove a ½”-wide strip of peel around the top of each apple. If the apple doesn’t sit flat, slice a thin piece off the bottom, being careful not to slice into the cavity.

2. COMBINE sugar, graham cracker crumbs, butter, cinnamon, lemon zest, cranberries, nutmeg and walnuts in medium bowl. Mix with a fork until evenly moistened. Pack filling into apple cavities. Place apples in 8” x 8” baking dish. 

3. POUR apple juice, honey, and lemon juice into a microwaveable cup. Microwave on high just until warm, about 30 seconds. Stir to blend and pour around the apples. Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes.

4. UNCOVER pan and baste apples with pan juices. Bake until apples are very tender, 10 to 20 minutes longer. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. 

 

YUMMMMMY 

 

 

Make Tree Branch Coasters by Recycling Some of Your Cut Branches.

tree branch coasters

A fallen tree limb or a freshly cut limb can be turned into useful wood coasters and given as holiday gifts or used in your home. Fox Valley Tree Service believes in recycling and reusing whatever we can to protect the environment. As a service to you, we can set a few of these branches aside or if you do not have trees in your home, call our office and we may be able to get you a few for a fee. 

You can be as creative and detailed as you want with this project.

You will need:

a tree limb

a chop or miter saw

wood stain

foam brush

Polyurethane or Craft sealer

Felt and wood glue

Any ribbons or embellishments that you want to add.   

 

Step 1) 

Carefully cut 4 to 6 slices of the tree limb approximately 1/2 inch thick.  

Step 2) 

Sand each wood slice until smooth. Make sure to get both sides and the edges if they are sharp. Remember that these will be handled often and you do not want any splinters landing in anyone’s hands. 

Step 3) 

Using the foam brush, apply the stain that you have chosen all around the top, bottom and edges of each slice. Allow them to dry. Repeat this process if you want a darker stained look. 

Step 4) 

Once the slices have dried, usually, about an hour or two, apply the polyurethane or craft sealer all over one side and the edges of each slice. Leave these to set to dry for several hours on a flat service.  Repeat this process for the other side, again waiting several hours for it to dry. 

Step 5)

Cut out felt circles to fit the bottom of each coaster and use the wood glue to secure the felt to the bottom of each circle. 

Step 6)

Optional- If you have any embellishments that you want to add, tiny gems, or perhaps even a little bug or flower to the edges, now is the time to glue these on as well. 

 

Now that they are finished they are ready to give as gifts for the holidays or to keep for yourself. The choice is yours. Enjoy. 

 

And remember, If you are looking for crafting logs or wood- Fox Valley Tree Service is the place to call. 

Common Pests Affecting Trees, Shrubs, and Landscapes

Asian Lady Bug

Although most insects provide a natural benefit to the growth, decomposition, and health of trees, shrubs, and the eath, every now and then, a pest infestation arise that threaten to destroy our beautiful ecosystem. Knowing what type of insects these are can be helpful in treating and caring for your yard. Below we have listed some of the most common types of pests in the mid-west that can affect trees, shrubs, and landscape in the Fox Valley Illinois area.

 

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer is a very common type of pest found in the mid-west. It has destroyed millions of ash trees since it was first found in Michigan in 2002. It is an exotic beetle from Asia that feeds on ash tree foliage, usually making an irregularly-shaped mark along the margins of the leaves. It also makes a D shaped exit hole in the branches and the trunk of trees.  

If you suspect that you have an Emerald Ash Borer problem, the best way to treat it is by retaining professional services to save the tree and others within the quarantined area. 

 

 
Sirex Woodwasp

Sirex Woodwasp

Sirex Woodwasp

Native to Europe, Asia, and northern Africa, the Sirex Woodwasp is a destructive pest that not only destroys Pine trees itself but, leaves a nasty fungus behind.  The Sirex Woodwasp made its first appearance in an infestation in 2004 and they bring a mortality rate of 80% to the North American Pines it has affected. 

Fast detection and professional intervention can increase the chances of saving Pine trees from this villain before it’s too late. 

 

 

Gypsy moth

Gypsy moth

Gypsy Moth

Originating from Europe and Asia, this species was accidentally introduced to the USA in 1868. The Gypsy Moth feeds on a variety of trees including ash, birch, black gum, red gum, sugar maple, oak and many others. This moth causes widespread defoliators of forest and shade trees.  

The Gypsy Moth population can be naturally maintained by the White-footed mouse. Otherwise, the best recourse for these invaders is pesticide and professional care by Fox Valley Tree Service. 

  

 

Asian Lady Bug

Asian Lady Bug

Asian Lady Beetle (aka Asian Lady Bug) 

Introduced in the 1900s by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Asian Lady Beetle was released in various parts of the country to control other insects that were harming the environment.  Although they initially did their job, the not-so-beneficial aspects of this species of ladybug began to emerge. 

The beetle can cause a variety of health problems for people inside of their homes if they find their way into the siding, windows, soffits, and vents. Some people can have allergic reactions to the Asian Lady Beetle. Allergenic reactions can vary from eye problems, such as conjunctivitis (or “pink eye”), to hay fever, cough, asthma, or hives. Reactions can be triggered by touching the lady beetles then touching your eyes, or just by being around a large or lengthy infestation. These insects can also be aggressive and bite if they land on the skin. 

Pest-proofing measures such as assuring that windows and vents are sealed properly along with professional spray services and treatment can keep these bugs from getting into your home. 

 

 

Asian Long Horned Beetle

Asian Long Horned Beetle

Asian Longhorned Beetle

As destructive as it is creepy, the Asian Longhorned Beetle first made its appearance in the USA in 1996 by accidentally being introduced.  The larva of the beetle is approximately 50 mm long. Because of this, the damage that the larva do in the wood of the tree can be fatal. 

Larvae tunnel weakening branches so that they break in the wind. Heavily infested trees eventually die. 

If you find these insects in your trees, quarantine and professional assistance is necessary. Fox Valley Tree Service can help you maintain the health of your trees.