Fine Fish Chowder   

1 pound cod fish fillets, thawed

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups whole milk

1-4oz pkg Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix  

1 ˝ cup potatoes, peeled and diced
(about 2 medium)

1 ˝ cup sliced carrots  

1 ˝ cup corn, frozen

2 slices bacon,
cooked and diced

1 cup onion, diced

Salt and pepper to taste


Sauté bacon in large Dutch oven. Remove bacon and leave drippings in pan. Sauté onion in reserved bacon fat until soft about 10 min. Add potatoes, carrots and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 min or until vegetables are cooked.

Add fish and corn, cover and simmer until it flakes easily with a fork, about 10 min. Add milk, reserved bacon and ranch dressing mix. Simmer until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.



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Branching Out with Faith Appelquist


 Questions, suggestions or comments are welcome.

Contact Faith at (612) 618-5244 or by email 


Pass the Salt


Today we have salt in overabundance; we use it to preserve food, and it tastes so good that the average American consumes more than 3 to 5 grams a day. The recommended daily requirement is 1.5 grams per day. Excess salt ends up in the blood, where it draws in water from the rest of the body, elevating blood pressure in your arteries. We are adapted to crave salt, but eating too much salt can make you sick.


It should come as no surprise that salting our earth will make it sick as well. Minnesota applies an estimated 365,000 tons of salt to metro area roadways each winter. That's TONS. Most of which will end up polluting lakes where it can be lethal to fish, bugs and vegetation. Salt can also cause damage up to 60 feet away from a road, and affect plants by either leaching into the soil or spraying directly onto leaves and stems from passing traffic.

What can you do?

  • Use salt sparingly. If you see it on dry sidewalks, sweep it up.
  • Use something other than rock salt if you need to de-ice your walks and driveway. Sand, wood ashes, plain cat litter or a calcium magnesium acetate product are good alternatives.
  • Avoid de-icing products which contain chloride as an ingredient.
  • Near roadways, avoid planting salt-sensitive species such as little leaf linden, sugar maple, red maple, crabapple, white spruce, and white pine.
  • Highly susceptible plants can be wrapped with burlap if near roads.

Extensive salt damage to yews along sidewalk



Excess salt should be swept away from dry pavement.    

For more information on minimizing salt damage to trees.


Don't Bad Mouth the Sapsucker


It is often assumed that sapsucker feeding causes trees to die. Not true. Sapsuckers are woodpeckers that bore neat horizontal rows of holes into the trunk and limbs of trees. The sap that flows attracts insects that they eat. This sap is extremely diluted (it's mainly water), maybe 2.5% sugar. Nectar on the other hand is 25% sugar. But one can't live on sugar alone (I've tried it, it doesn't work), so sapsuckers are after high-protein, high-fat insects. They dip the captured insects in the sap and eat that or feed it to their young.


Trees are just fine. These wounds are quickly scabbed over and rarely does this kill the tree. Trees that are already stressed or in decline for other reasons may be set back by bacteria or fungi that enter the wound.


So if you do find the telltale signs of sapsucker damage, consider yourself lucky. These birds are doing good, eating a huge amount of blood-thirsty mosquitoes and other pests in
the garden. 


What is the best way to attract woodpeckers to your yard? Answer: a Suet feeder.

Neat horizontal rows of sapsucker feeding.
These will seal over and not hurt the tree.


Sapsucker Photo Credit: Carrol Henderson, DNR      

For more information on this unusual bird - the Sapsucker.
Thanks for reading. Happy Planting!


Faith Appelquist

President & Founder


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