Friday, November 18, 2011

Ladies Night Out 2011

Can you believe it is that time of year again? You know... it is FaLL, which leads almost directly to WiNTer (Christmas!!!!) Here at M&M Farm Supply, Inc., we all know what that means... LADIES NIGHT OUT!!

This past week has been full of frantic fury, a plethora of preparation but most of all.... fabYOUlous FUN!!!!

For those of you that do not know what Ladies Night Out, here is a short explanation..

Ladies Night Out is an annual event that allows the LaDieS of our wonderful communities to get together over wine and cheese without the husbands or kiddos to shop, visit and just GET AWAY even if it is only for a couple hours. There are normally a few splendid sales and new products introduced.

Ladies Night was kicked off November 15, 2011 in Franklin and on November 17, 2011 Cameron hosted their Ladies Night Out!! Both nights were a BLAST & a ToTaL SUCCESS!!

Here are the Ladies of Franklin M&M Farm Supply that made this night happen!!

Now, here are the ladies of Cameron M&M Farm Supply!!

Each red and white themed night started off with blacked out, locked doors that were opened exactly at 6 p.m. The ladies waited patiently to sign in and then began their journey through the store.. and of course stopping by the wine and cheese tables! Doors were open until 8 p.m.

Homemade Sangria was served along with a choice from bottles of Moscato, White Zinfandel, Lambrusco and Texas Red. There were three types of cheese, crackers and most certainly a chocolate treat or two...maybe five ;-)

The MOST ADORABLE new MudPie baby clothing, gifts and home decor arrived just in time for this one-of-a-kind event and was only released for Ladies Night Out..

What do y'all think about this toooo cool SnoWMaN Frame! There are brand new ornaments, coffee mugs, travelin' tumblers and much much more at the Franklin and Cameron Stores!!

We also had a fantastic turnout of some LaDiEs that were just so ready to shop! Check out some of the girls just havin' a ball mixin' & a minglin' :-)

For those of you glamorous girls that did join us at either event, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We greatly appreciate your continued support! Without you, we would not be able to have such great events!! We look forward and hope to see you all back next year!

and For those of you wild or mild women that want to come next year please email to be placed on the Ladies Night Out Mailing List!


Friday, April 29, 2011


By Edwin Cooper
Hummingbirds are the tiniest of all birds iridescent (interplay of rainbow colors), with long needle-like bills for sipping from flowers. They also feed on small insects. A Field guide reports about 320 world species, a few dozen in North America and 15-18 species in Texas [the number varying among the experts].
In our part of Texas the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is by far the most common. Both sexes are bright-shining green above, the males have glowing red throats, black forked tails; females have white throats and rounded, white-tipped tails. Males in display swing through the air in a wide arc each swing accompanied by a hum generated by the rapidly moving wings.
In Texas Ruby-throated birds migrate through from March to May and return in September-December. But this varies a great deal depending on weather conditions. Some winter along the south Texas coast. They breed in the north, east and central Texas west to the San Angelo area. Their nest is a tiny lichen [small plant] covered cup saddled on horizontal branches where two white eggs are laid.
From the mountains to the beaches of Texas various types of hummingbirds may be seen, based on the season and the geography, plant life, climate and other factors.
Just to whet your appetite following are species you may have seen but not recognized: Broad-tailed, Black-chinned, Anna’s, Lucifer, Blue throated, Calliope, Violet-crowned, White eared - - and so on down the line. Peterson’s Birds of Texas is an excellent reference on all the known records of bird species in our state.
From a small dining table my wife Peggy and I thoroughly enjoy observing hummingbirds feeding and fighting just out our window. So far they have escaped every attack we’ve seen launched by a larger enemy trying to eat their nectar.
M&M Farm Supply exhibits an extensive assortment of hummingbird feeders and various liquid and dry foods enjoyed by these little feathered friends. And the hummingbirds themselves have succeeded in spotting the wide variety of blooming plants outside in the M&M plant nursery. They know a good deal when they see it.
The plants they especially like are: Mexican sage, Salvia, Bee balm, Coral Honeysuckle, Fire bush, Petunia but they will be attracted to any red, purple or pink flowering plant.

Friday, April 22, 2011


By Edwin Cooper
Roses are our national floral emblem and the most readily recognized, widely grown, and deeply loved of all flowers.
The history of the rose in America actually began, as far as we know, 40 million years ago. It was then that a rose left its imprint on a slate deposit at Florissant, Colorado. Fossilized remains from 35 million years ago have also been found in Montana and Oregon. This makes the rose as native to America as our bald eagle. And speaking of native, there are 35 rose species indigenous to the United States.
No other shrub or flower will produce the quantity or quality of blooms all summer long like roses either - even the first year they're planted. In fact, you'll get fresh-cut roses worth many times the purchase price from each bush every year. All this makes roses one of the best gardening buys around.
Some varieties of roses currently on hand at M&M Farm Supply include: The Sunny Knock Out Rose [yellow flowers], The Double Knock Out Rose [red flowers], The Pink Knock Out Rose [pink flowers]. Also Cinco de Mayo [raspberry flowers], Livin’Easy [apricot –orange flowers], Red Drift [red flowers].
Planting Guide (from several sources): Step 1: Choose a sunny location with good drainage.
Step 2. Dig a hole large enough to match the existing soil level in the pot. Use well-rotted compost to amend the soil for refilling the hole.
Step 3. Remove the container, leaving the root ball as intact as possible. Place the root ball and crown at the correct ground level. Fill in the hole with the amended soil.
Step 4. Use a deep soaking to wet the roots and settle the new soil. Level off the soil as needed. Fertilize regularly during the flowering season. Water regularly until plant is established.
So, without doubt, the rose has the requisite heritage to take its place beside our other national symbols. With Congress and the President proclaiming the rose as our national floral emblem in the fall of 1986, it is appropriate to consider these and other rose facts and fancies.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Barry & Jenny Cate on Gardening & Beehives

By Edwin Cooper Just before Barry & Garry Cate were born their mother Pat Cate learned she was carrying twins and she charged into her husbands office crying, “We’re going to have twins.” The boys arrived on May 13, 1963 in Harlingen, Texas. Brother Scott was born in 1966. Their earlier schooling was in Corpus Christi and the twins were scheduled in separate classes to reduce confusion for the teachers. Later while attending Texas Tech, Barry met Jenny who was enrolled in Baptist School of Nursing in Lubbock. Later after marriage both were employed by St. Joseph Hospital in Bryan and moved to Mumford. Later they moved to Franklin to be near Barry’s mother Pat, attend Franklin United Methodist Church and enroll their children in the Franklin Schools. They live on Old Boone Prairie Road with their two children Laura and Benjamin. Barry said, “On my 35th birthday mother asked me what I wanted as a gift. I told her I wanted a colony of bees. The bee business has expanded into a modest enterprise under the title The Beeloved Honey Company. This is in conjunction with our garden project.” Barry reports that for 15 years they have done business with the M&M Farm Supply Company. “We have purchased our pecan and peach trees there along with vegetable plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and many others. We control lawn and garden pests with agricultural chemicals from M&M along with fertilizers and soil enhancing products. We’ve known Mary Stegall for many years and sincerely appreciate her advice along with that of all who manage and work there now and heretofore. They are friendly and helpful in so many ways.” Currently Barry Cate is an Intensive Care Nurse at St. Joseph Hospital in Bryan and Jenny is serving as a Labor and Delivery Nurse there. Life on their place on Old Boone Prairie Road, along with their children, is a pleasant retreat from their urgently important but challenging duties at work. Working in the outdoors relieves stress from everyday problems and the honey helps with seasonal allergies for the Cates, their friends and customers. Nature is grand indeed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ray Akins on Gardening

By Edwin Cooper

During the peak of vegetable and fruit harvesting, Ray and Virginia Akins may be seen sharing the bounty of their gardening with their many friends in and around Franklin.
Ray said, "My dad was a straw boss on the John Wall Ranch out of Brady. Times were tough then so we planted three to five acre gardens every year. We did about 600 cans of corn each year and grew sweet potatoes for ourselves and to feed the hogs. We trapped for hides to sell and ate those wild animals considered fit to eat, along with the goats, chickens and hogs we raised. About all we had to buy was salt and flour. Along with milk, cheese and honey from our bee hives we ate great.
Dad didn't want us to attend school because it interfered with our chores. Regardless I managed to graduate from Brady High School and then Southwest Texas in San Marcos where I met Virginia. It turned out that we both love gardening and plant every year.
I have been trading with M&M Farm Supply since early 1960. I had 13 cows then and bought 2:1 Meal (Salt and meal) from Pryse Metcalf. I always enjoyed discussing my ranching plans with Pryse. Today, Steve and Loren are my advisers along with other staff members. When Ruth Rinehart was at M&M she could answer any questions like Mary Stegall does today.
Through the years the store has enlarged, clothing items and the garden center have been added. I always get a friendly greeting when I stop by to visit or do business."
About five years ago Ray and Virginia gave me a tour of their garden. It had that professional care look about it, including stalks of okra some 10-12 feet in height. Ray explained, "Well, when the corn decides to quit producing it withers away. But not okra- it keeps on reaching for the sky, producing okra all the way."
Ray Adkins has had a remarkable career and many kinds of challenges since his early days on that ranch near Brady--the one where the family home was a small hay barn built of 1 x 12 inch planks, dirt floor and sheet iron windows.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Soil Preparation for Gardening

by Edwin Cooper
For successful gardening, your garden soil needs preparation and care so it will continue to grow quality plants over the summer. Otherwise weeds will take over along with invasions of obnoxious critters.
The additioon of organic matter will help the soil hold moisture, retain its nutritional values and remain workable. AgriLife Extension publications on gardening recommend that a 4" or slightly shallower layer of organic matter is beneficial, especially if added several months before planting either in spring or fall gardens. Organic matter should be added ever year, which releases its important trace elements for successful gardening.
When ready to plant, the garden should be thoroughly tilled--up to 8 inches and soil turned under. Then the soil should be pulled up and made into beds 8 to 10" high and allowed to settle for awhile. Water between the beds as needed after planting.
Planting time is now upon us. A huge shipment of vegetable and ornamental plants have just arrived at M&M Farm Supply. Also a variety of soil conditioners are on hand. Several items include Landscapers Pride Landscape Mix, a blend of soil conditioner, sphagnum, perlite and micro-nutrients. Another two include Back to Nature Cotton Burr Compost and Fertilome Peat Moss. There are many more varieties of soil conditioners available.
In 1965 I planted a few tomatoes in a hastily constructed garden in our backyard in College Station. I used fresh sandy loam soil from nearby creek bank and a bit of commercial fertilizer. Those plants grew to the edge of our roof and heavy with tomatoes. Our neighbors tired of me bringing them buckets full.
The second year the plants barely grew to my chest and produced tomatoes both small and scarce. I learned commercial fertilizer needs a good partnership with organic soil conditioner.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Tomatoes by Edwin Cooper

By Edwin Cooper

You probably know that tomatoes are the most popular edible garden plant grown in America. Though used as a vegetable, botanically it is a berry in the annual Nightshade family which also includes tobacoos, red peppers, potatoes, petunias and eggplants.
In this area tomatoes frequently are planted in early March or slightly later depending on weather conditions. The fruit ripens in mid or late June if using young potted plants. Locally they are available at M&M Farm Supply and plants are now beginning to arrive. Seed packages also are available if desired.
Some of the popular varieties planted locally include Celebrity, Big Boy, Better Boy, Early Girl, Homestead, Roma and several varieties of cherry tomatoes. If you study the commercial photos of mature tomatoes you'll be tempted to buy them all.
Our experience planting a small garden at Camp Creek has been best with a sandy loam soil mixed with lots of cottonseed mulch. The soil needs to be tilled before planting which stimulates root growth. Tomatoes do their best planted in full sunlight when that is possible.
Young plants should be planted at the same depth as they were in their containers. Some however prefer to plant them horizontally covering all except the leaves. Adequate moisture always is critically important.
If you learn that a freeze will occur while your plants are still young, covering them with leaves or opened paper sacks usually will protect them through the bad spell. Sacks need to be secured with soil around the base to hold them in place.
Late meetings are held each night by deer, raccoons, squirrels and mockingbirds (among others) deciding how best to attack your tomatoes when they begin to ripen. I had to build a fence using cattle panels, chicken wire and small mesh wire to keep those critters under control. All except for the squirrels, which can penetrate any fence constructed by mankind. As Bernest Meadors advised me years ago, "Plant enough for yourself and them, too. Otherwise you'll go around mad as a hornet."
A plate of cold slices of Celebrity tomatoes tells me Bernest was right. Plant enough for everybody! Plant the varieties of your choice. Celebrity happens to be my favorite and is a highly productive variety.