November-December 2017

2017 Winter Photo Contest Winners

by cathym on November 17, 2017

Congratulations to our winners!

(on cover of magazine and website header)

“Persistence” by Kate Caven

A special thank you to Sara’s Garden Center for providing a gift certificate to the grand prize winner.



“Yellow Tree” by Catherine LaPointe Vollmer



“Winter Morning at the Beach” Oneida Lake by Amanda Ciarlei



“Island North” North Ponds Park in Webster by James Burdett


Pinecone Fire Starters

by cathym on November 16, 2017

by Cathy Monrad

Every December for the past ten years, a family friend has given us a lovely evergreen wreath for our front door. When February rolls around and the wreath has seen better days, I recycle the greens and stash away the pinecone decorations for crafting. Online, I found an easy and inexpensive project idea using these salvaged adornments: pinecone fire starters.

Dried pinecones
Paraffin wax or broken candles
1–2 crayons in desired color (optional)
Epson salts (optional)
Wick or twine cut to 4-inch lengths

Double boiler made from tin can and pot filled with water
Wooden skewer
Large cookie sheet lined with waxed paper


1. Tie wick or twine to top of pinecone with a knot.

2. Melt paraffin wax or candle pieces and crayon, if desired, in tin can double boiler. Stir with skewer until mixed.

3. Remove double boiler from heat and place next to cookie sheet. Let wax cool for about five minutes until it thickens slightly.

4. Grasp wick between fingers and carefully submerge pinecone completely into melted wax.

5. Hold dipped pinecone over tin can for a few seconds until dripping stops, then place on cookie sheet. Let pinecone dry for 30–60 seconds.

6. Repeat steps five and six about five to ten times until pinecone is nicely coated. If the melted wax starts to solidify too much, place double boiler back on heat until wax thins a bit.

7. If desired, sprinkle Epsom salts on the last coat of wax immediately after placing on cookie sheet.

8. Let dry completely for 24 hours.

9. To use the fire starter, nestle it between logs in your fireplace. Light the wick and enjoy!


– The pinecones must be completely dry and bug-free. The Internet has instructions for drying pinecones in an oven. Cinnamon scented pinecones purchased from a craft store would work as well.

– I purchased tapered candles from a discount store, then removed and used the wicks for step one. I melted six candles to make 12 fire starters.

– Using paraffin wax will result in a transparent look; add a white crayon to make opaque wax.

– One crayon is sufficient to color the wax.

– Epson salts add a little “frost” to the fire starter and will create a white flame when burned.


Cathy Monrad is the graphic designer and the selfproclaimed garden crafter for the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal.


Upstate Pairing: November-December 2017

by janem on November 14, 2017

Remember Cheers? The show and bar where “everybody knows your name?”

That’s what Glen Edith Coffee in downtown Rochester is all about: a quality customer experience paired with carefully crafted third wave coffee and espresso. Nestle in, and enjoy an Instagrammable vanilla bean latte with warm waffles as you work or visit.

Our recipe this month is from Glen Edith’s new location on Rochester’s Railroad Street, Boxcar Donuts and Fried Chicken. Boxcar sells unabashedly gourmet doughnuts alongside a menu of Southern-style dishes such as fried chicken and grits.

Glen Edith roasts all their coffee in-house at its Somerton Street location. The pictured cappuccino includes their in-house Ethiopian, which is both fruity and light, and the steamed milk is Pittsford Dairy whole milk.

Boxcar’s pumpkin spice doughnut is a wonderfully light offering for the fall season—warm and spicy and perfect for coffee dipping.;


Pumpkin frycake photo courtesy Clayton Panipinto

Boxcar Donut Pumpkin Fry Cake

Pair with Glen Edith’s Ethiopia–Yirgacheffe Natural Coffee

Yield: 13 donuts

2/3 cup milk
1 bag (2 lbs) powdered sugar
Pumpkin spice to taste

1 lb. (16 oz) pumpkin cake mix
.4 lbs. and .8 oz of cold water
Vegetable oil

1. Whisk together spice icing ingredients until smooth. Set aside.

2. Measure cake mix and water out by weight.

3. Pre-heat vegetable oil in pot to 375º F.

4. Pour water, then cake mix into mixer bowl. Mix at medium speed until combined.

5. Turn mixer up to high and beat until combined ingredients look like cake batter.

6. Using 1.5 oz. of batter at a time, fry each side in pot of oil for 1 minute.

7. Frost and enjoy!