2810[high]5: A dog-gone good time

a barking boutique.jpg

A Barking Boutique: Looking to pamper your pooch? Treat them to a spa day at the Barking Boutique where they offer services ranging from a full groom, mini groom, or nail trim. Once Fido is clean and beautiful, treat them to a delicious snack from the “Barkery Buffet”, with doggie-safe, human-grade decorated treats.


Bruster’s Ice Cream: We all know the dog days of summer are coming, and our 4-legged friends deserve a break from the heat as well. Bring Fido by Bruster’s Ice Cream for a free doggie sundae, complete with a dog treat on top.

neighborhood feed.jpg

Neighborhood Feed and Tack: Don’t let the name fool you, Neighborhood Feed and Tack is for more than just your barnyard companion. They offer popular and healthy pet food and supplies for your dog, cat, or rabbit. Prefer the company of a more exotic animal? Neighborhood Feed and Tack can order specialty food for your elephant or earth worm.


Seaboard: With ample outdoor space, you and your well-behaved pupper are always welcome on the massive patio at Seaboard. Ask for a refreshing bowl of water, and you and man’s best friend can both enjoy a cold one.


VeloPops: Matthew’s newest dessert locale also offers a delicious frozen snack for your puppy pal: PupPops! Made with a rawhide stick, dogs can enjoy their PupPop from end to end.

2810[high]5: A Walk in Purser-Hulsey Park

If you haven’t been to Purser-Hulsey Park (13201 Phillips Rd ), one of the newest additions to the Matthews parks system, we have the low down on what to expect. PurSey Park (because let’s face, it, I can’t say the name correctly to save my life) consists of a community garden and a wooded bike and hiking trail. Future build-out may include an upgrade to the entrance and parking lot, the addition of a dog park, a pond and pier for fishing, as well as a possible expansion to the community garden.

2810high5 getting lost.jpg

Getting lost in the woods: You’ll forget you’re in the suburbs. Be prepared to get lost in your thoughts.

terrain park.jpg

Wear walking shoes: You’ll want to keep going, but you can’t do it if you don’t have good shoes. The walk has some hills but it’s the tree roots you have to watch out for.


You’re walking through Matthews history: You’re first greeted by the community garden shed, a relocated outbuilding from property on Idlewild Road. Along the trails you’ll see rusty metal and worn down fences; a reminder that this property used to be a farm.

flora park.jpg

Examine the flora: You’ll see natives like club moss, wild ginger, and wild grapes, as well as

invasives (there’s no shortage of kudzu.)

rocks park.jpg

Take your cell phone and go rock hunting: If you’re a member of Matthews Rocks, post your finds!


Gardening: Sweetening the Soil with Calcium


Calcium is one of those things we don't usually talk about in terms of garden nutrients, right? I mean, you buy a bag of soil amendments and the big numbers are NPK, but what about the little guys? The minerals and micronutrients that feed soil health? I'm no soil scientist, I don't purport to be an expert, but I can recognize an improperly formed fruit when I see one. (Blossom end rot, anyone?) Funky lookin' fruits can be a sign of calcium deficiency.

Calcium is vital for sugar production in plants, it's part of what keeps your vegetables from being bitter.  

To boost my soil with a bit of calcium I fill empty milk and dairy containers with water to rinse them, but instead of pouring the water down the drain I'll pour it on a garden bed. Working in homemade compost will add micro nutrients, and the addition of bone meal should add a little extra something, too. 

baked eggs.jpg

We also have a plenitude of eggshells. After a Sunday of cooking snacks for the week ahead I generally have a small pan full.

Now, if you've ever thrown eggs in the compost bin you know they break down very slowly. When added directly to a garden bed they break down even more slowly, so they don't directly provide much calcium to your plants; something like soft rock phosphate is better suited for that.

This past winter I've been saving the shells from hard boiled eggs and grinding them up. I've also been taking the shells from other eggy exploits and sticking them in the oven to bake when I'm cooking dinner. My theory is to kill off unwanted bacteria and dry the shells out for storage. Next I grind them up in the food processor. In the end, I have something that looks like this: 

baked eggs after.jpg

The texture ranges from a fine dust to gritty bits that look like pulverized shells on the beach. If you want an even finer texture just process them a little longer. The powder will be more readily available to the plants and the larger grit will slowly break down and give the earthworms a healthy treat.

It's not revolutionary, but I get a little excited about free garden solutions. Do you save your eggshells? What's your favorite free soil amendment?

Avoid the Summer Injuries

More injuries occur during the summer months than at other times of the year.

With the warm weather approaching, people are getting outdoors and becoming more active. Accordingly, the health care profession is gearing up to start treating summer-related injuries. Adults and children are both getting outdoors and being active more with the changing of the seasons and whenever people are more active, the more likely they are to get hurt. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “More injuries occur during the summer months than at other times of the year. In addition, injuries are much less frequently reported near the end of the calendar year.”

One of the reasons for Spring and Summer injuries is the quick transition from being indoors and inactive to being outside and exercising. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments are not used to producing and transmitting force which can result in either traumatic injury (like a sprain) or an overuse injury (like shin splints). Either way, you could be trading your summer of fun in for a summer of Physical Therapy.

Here are two ways you can do to help avoid summer injuries:


This is the #1 way to help avoid injury during activity. It doesn’t matter if it is yard work or a pick-up game of basketball, spending five minutes could save you weeks of recovery. Warm-ups not only prepare your muscles to contract better, they also improve your nervous system function, cardiovascular health, and will actually help you perform your task at a higher level. So if you are looking for a leg up in your backyard ultimate frisbee game, take the time to warm up If you are unsure about what a proper warm-up routine looks like, here is a good instructional video from YouTubers TheLeanMachines.

Spend 3 weeks going slow

If you are trying to get back into shape over the summer months and have been inactive for a long time, then you should spend the first three to four weeks doing lighter weight and lower intensity during your workouts. This may sound like a long time, but the biggest threat of injury comes with going to hard too soon. It is better to take three weeks and let your body accommodate to the workload. Remember, health is cooked in a crockpot, not a microwave.

Summer should be about fun, vacations, and activities. Avoid a trip to your local doctor by taking the time to avoid injuries before they happen!

jeremiah (1 of 1) (1).jpg

Dr. Jeremiah Morgan is a licensed Chiropractic Physician as well as a Certified Active Release Technique provider. He currently practices in Downtown Matthews at Pro Active Chiropractic.

2810[high]5: Volunteerism Builds Community

One of the many things that makes Matthews great is the community spirit, the space where volunteerism thrives. We today we give a High[5] to five volunteer opportunities.

2810 high 5 brace.jpg

Brace YMCA: The Y needs volunteers for all sorts of things, from administration duties to helping at Camp Boomerang, giving your time helps others thrive.

2810 high five habitat.jpg

Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity: With Habitat the volunteeer needs abound. Work on the build sites, in the ReStore, or with the administrative team. If you feel more comfortable working from home, sometimes there are opportunities to provide meals for the builders.

2810 high 5 farmers market.jpg

Matthews Community Farmer’s Market: Show up early and buy your weekly groceries, then fill in a volunteer slot. The Market needs help with the Community House, morning set up, noontime take down, and more.

2810 high 5 fire.jpg

Matthews Fire Department: Certainly more demanding than the other volunteer roles, but volunteers for the fire department are essential for the safety of Matthews.

2810 high 5 police volunteer.jpg

Matthews Police Department: Another essential role for the safety of Matthews, Citizen Volunteers for the police department are trained for directing traffic, security patrols, and resource support to officers. If that’s too much action, you can help at the front desk or data entry.

2810[high]5: Places to Practice Yoga

Matthews may not have a dedicated yoga studio, but there are plenty of opportunities to get your Savasana fix. We’ve rounded up a few, but if you know of more, share them in the comments!

chris robertson yoga.jpg

Matthews Community Center: Fit a work out in over your lunch break with Chris Robertson on Mondays from noon to 1 p.m. 100 E McDowell St, Matthews

mandi yoga.jpg

Lifetime Fitness: Join Mandi Murrow Brown on Tuesday evening at 7:15 p.m. for heated Vinyasa yoga. Email Mandi for more info. 9915 E Independence Blvd, Matthews


Stumptown Park: Elinor Edvi Miller will guide you through Vinyasa and deep stretch yoga Fridays at 9:30 a.m. on the stage in the park. 120 S Trade St, Matthews

brace yoga.jpg

Brace YMCA: With classes for every skill level every single day, there’s bound to be a class for everyone. You’ll have to have a monthly Y membership, though. 3127 Weddington Rd, Matthews

whelchel yoga.jpg

McDowell Arts Center: Practice yoga while surrounded in art, Katrina Whelchel leads slow flow yoga in the arts center on Thursdays from 6 to 7:15 p.m. 123 E McDowell St, Matthews

Spring Plant Sales: Creating your native garden

Photo by Debbie LeBlanc Foster

Photo by Debbie LeBlanc Foster

If you're a gardener this time of the year is like Christmas all over again!  Lots and lots of native plant sales where you can get your fix.

Two of my very favorite sale are at Wing Haven and UNCC at the McMillan Greenhouse.  Both have excellent selections of plants and, great for beginners, knowledgeable people to answer your questions. Both have a Membership Day the day before the sale opens to the public.  Believe me, it's worth it to join!  Just show up the day before and pay the membership fee.

Wing Haven's sale started Thursday, April 4th and runs through Saturday, April 6th.  Hours are 9-5.

UNCC is next week, from Thursday, April 11th (12-3) through Saturday, April 13th (9-3). 

You'll see perennials, groundcovers, vines, shrubs and trees, along with annuals.  And there will be plants for sun and plants for shade.

Get there early and follow signs for parking at each location.

See ya there!

Photo by Debbie LeBlanc Foster

Photo by Debbie LeBlanc Foster

Chicken Keeping: The Rules and Regulations

Photo by Debbie Chopas

Photo by Debbie Chopas

In the age of DIY everything, the popularity of small-scale homesteading, and a reflection on simpler pastimes, chicken-keeping has been gaining popularity over the past decade. Chickens are funny birds, and watching their fluffy waddles can make for a relaxing afternoon. If you’re thinking about getting poultry this spring, though, familiarize yourself with the Town regulations. Knowing the process will save you a lot of headache if your neighbors aren’t on board with your fowl friends.

First, know where to build your coop and how large to make the structure. According to Town Ordinance 91A - Animals, § 91A-42. PERMITS FOR FOWL, EQUINE, CLOVEN-HOOFED ANIMALS, ETC, before purchasing or adopting your chickens, you need an inspection by Animal Control, a division of the Matthews Police Department. Only one permit is required per household, no matter how many birds you have, and that permit must be renewed annually. Animal Control will check to make sure your new hobby won’t make your neighbors sick or unreasonably unhappy. Many of the guidelines are good to follow just because they will keep your birds healthy.

For your neighbors’ sake: Your coop and run must be at least twenty-five feet from the adjoining property line.
Build a castle: The chicken house must be at least 18-inches in height and well-ventilated. You can have up to 20 chickens per acre, but you must have a minimum of 4 square feet of floor space per chicken.
No piles of poop: The run must be well-draining, kept clean, and free from objectionable odors.
No free-ranging: Your chickens must always be confined within the run.
You’ve got to bag it up: The town is specific about handling poop. All droppings and body excretion shall be placed in a fly-proof container and double-bagged in plastic bags.

All in all, it’s a relatively easy process to get the permit, then it’s up to you to stay on top of following the rules. The reward of fresh eggs makes the small hassle at the front-end well worth it.

Creating a Wildlife Habitat, Part V: Sustainable Practices and Certification

Image courtesy National Wildlife Federation

Image courtesy National Wildlife Federation

Hope you've enjoyed this series on how to create wildlife habitats in your yard, school, place of worship and business.

Let's add one more requirement - sustainable gardening practices. This means being aware of what you're using and under what conditions. Some people will choose to go the all organic route, while others may have a problem that may need to be addressed strategically with a chemical.

Choose the most environmentally-friendly tool for the job and follow directions carefully. Avoid spraying on a windy day because you might contaminate your food and water sources.

habitat tom klipp birdhouse.jpg

Now we’ve covered the essentials.

Food, water, cover, places to raise young, sustainable gardening practices? Check!

There's just one thing left to discuss: how to certify your wildlife habitat; it's incredibly easy. Visit the National Wildlife Federation Certify page and fill out the simple application form. There is a one-time fee of $20 which goes to National Wildlife Federation. You'll receive a personalized certificate with a number for your site, a subscription to the Garden for Wildlife e-newsletter, a one-year membership to NWF, a subscription to National Wildlife magazine, 10% off NWF catalog merchandise (great for items for your yard and gifts for nature lovers), and an option to purchase a sign designating your yard as a Certified Wildlife Habitat with National Wildlife Federation.

Speaking of the signs, I highly recommend purchasing one. It's a great way to help educate your neighbors, clients, and anyone else who happens to pass by on how easy it is to provide habitat for wildlife. Prices range from $30 to $99. Check out the joint NC Wildlife Federation and National Wildlife Federation sign below with Ranger Rick! I also added a picture of the higher-end sign.

Here's hoping that I see lots more of these signs sprouting up all over Matthews as more people jump on board!

Image courtesy National Wildlife Federation

Image courtesy National Wildlife Federation

Signs are a great way to help educate your neighbors, clients, and anyone else who happens to pass by on how easy it is to provide habitat for wildlife.

2810[top]5: Spring Flowers

By now we’ve had enough of the February and March showers (fewer April showers, please) and the gardening bug is itching. Today we have five pretty spring flowers to brighten the waning winter landscape.

azalea fiveforfriday.jpg

Azaleas: Though the knockout roses have displaced the popularity of the azalea, there’s nothing more southern than a fiery hedge of azaleas in full bloom.

Try a native variety such as Flame, Pinxter, Smoothleaf, and the rare Plumleaf, which blooms long after other varieties have faded.

Carolina Heritage Nursery has several types and is often at the Matthews Community Farmers Market.

geraniums fiveforfriday.jpg

Geraniums: Actually pelargoniums and not true geraniums, these colorful flowers popularly adorn front porches from early spring to summer.

Make sure to cover them when a hard frost is coming.

Scented geraniums have edible flowers and leaves and range from chocolate and nutmeg to orange and lemon. Dry the leaves for homegrown potpourri.

irises fiveforfriday.jpg

Irises: Native flag irises are popping up to greet the spring, with other non-native varieties trailing behind. The deepest purple varieties are nearly black, offering serious drama for those who enjoy a little bit of edge.

Have a low-lying wet area in your yard? The native Flag and Louisiana varieties don’t mind wet toes.

snapdragon fiveforfriday.jpg

Snapdragons: Not only do snapdragons add color and character to the garden, but the flowers make a gorgeous addition to bouquets for indoor arrangements.

Why Grow Them? Snapdragon puppet shows are a favorite pastime for the Burke family, move their “mouths” and make them talk!

violets fiveforfriday.jpg

Violets: We’ve already professed a love for the Violaceae family (violas, pansies, Johnny jump-ups) but right now the wild violets are putting on a spectacular show.

Pro Tip: If you don’t spray your yard or have dogs peeing on them, go out and collect the leaves and flowers for a wonderful addition to fresh salads.

Around the Table with the Burkes: It’s the little victories


…I have three small tornadoes
destroying every room immediately
after I’ve cleaned it.

My parents came for a visit last week (a “visit” where I use them for free labor and my dad’s construction expertise). I’m frantically trying to prepare my house for sale, no small task when my other half is away from home four days a week, and I have three small tornadoes destroying every room immediately after I’ve cleaned it. Mom and dad cleared more than a few things off of my list, though it still seems like there is stuff EVERYWHERE. All of the house projects made mealtime difficult, as we reached the end of each day too tired to think, so shortcuts were key to filling empty bellies this week.

norah mashed sweet potatoes.jpg

On Saturday I had a rare evening out with my friends to celebrate a birthday and see Captain Marvel. I ate what I wanted and no one stole my French fries. Travis made pork chops, spaetzle, and green beans for the kids, which my parents were also thrilled to have when they arrived Saturday night. On Sunday Grillmaster Burke made steaks.

Lightly Sweetened Mashed
Sweet Potatoes:
Cube the sweet potatoes and boil until they’re soft. Add ¼ cup of butter, a splash of milk, and a few tablespoons of real maple syrup. Mix until uniformly mashed.

After Monday’s projects – which included deck repair, door replacement, and so much cleaning – I ordered takeout. Tuesday’s exhausting to-do list was followed by a rotisserie chicken with corn and noodles.


Wednesday I succumbed to guilt over feeding my parents shortcut food, so I roasted a pork loin and squash and made mashed sweet potatoes. The secret to my sweet potatoes, beloved the family over: after boiling the potatoes until they’re soft I add ¼ cup of butter, a splash of milk, and a few tablespoons of real maple syrup. We pretend it’s still healthy – maple syrup is practically a vegetable, right?

Travis arrived home on Thursday to chicken chili (thank you McCormick packet) and cornbread. On Friday we had pasta night, with the addition of sweet Italian sausage (baked from frozen for an hour at 350 degrees, then added to the sauce).

It was a week of quick dinners, but I’m happy we managed to avoid fast food. We also managed to sit down at the table together each night (sans Travis for three of them). It’s the little victories.

Around the Table with the Burkes: Cosmic Space Odyssey

After my bout with bronchitis, I was hopeful that the illnesses were over…No such luck as my youngest came down with a nasty cold and decided the only cure was to attach himself to me like a barnacle.

norah's pumpkin bread.jpg

A common mantra among the self-help crowd is some variation on the idea that you get out of life what you put in. What goes around, comes around; self-fulfilling prophecies; positive mental attitude. So I wonder if my continuing declaration that 2019 is a rough year is making 2019 a rough year. And what does that have to do with food?

My husband took dinner duty on Saturday with grilled pork chops, green beans, and spaetzle. Sunday I made roast beef with broccoli and noodles. We’re eating a lot of noodles these days.

cosmic space rockets.jpg

After my bout with bronchitis, I was hopeful that the illnesses were over and we could get through a busy week as planned – meals, activities, and meetings. No such luck as my youngest came down with a nasty cold and decided the only cure was to attach himself to me like a barnacle. Fortunately, my mother-in-law arrived on Monday (seriously, thank goodness for excellent in-laws), and she helped immensely with my older kids and getting my house in order. I went prepackaged on Monday with a frozen lasagna from Costco that was surprisingly acceptable!

Tuesday we celebrated my sick toddler’s second birthday. I made some of his favorites in the hope he would eat some real food. BBQ chicken in the Instant Pot, corn, and (shocker) noodles. He ate virtually nothing. However, he did provide his only smiles of the week when presented with cake. Cake: the cure for everything!

One of the things on my plate last week was Teacher Appreciation Week at my daughter’s school. I’m a person who really, REALLY appreciates my children’s teachers, and as Head Room Mom, I had quite a lot planned with a fun Outer Space theme! Wednesday was dessert day and I LOVE to bake, so I made Cosmic Brownies for the teachers, and – since my oven was already on – banana bread and pumpkin bread for my family. (My banana bread recipe is a favorite, found here.) For Cosmic Brownies I made a Ghirardelli boxed brownie mix and drizzled the top of the finished brownies with white chocolate colored blue, purple, and pink. In a Pinterest-packed frenzy I also made fruit rockets from strawberries and bananas.

For dinner on Wednesday we went with beef tacos, accompanied by black beans, corn, lettuce, and cheese. Thursday and Friday we went simple with leftovers and pizza night. Another week survived. Now I’m putting out into the universe that the coming week will be amazing and all will go according to plan. Whatever works!

Photos by Norah Burke

Photos by Norah Burke

Matthews Library Recommends: Reading for Women's History Month

In celebration of Women’s History Month, staff at Matthews Public Library have compiled a list of resources that enable you to explore the stories and experiences of women around the globe. You can also peruse the many Women’s History Month recommended reading lists available in our online catalog.

she the people.jpg

 Adult Nonfiction


Young Adult Nonfiction

anthology of amazing women.jpg

For Children

Around the Table with the Burkes: Solo Parenting

The potatoes are a treat for me; my children torment their Irish and German ancestors by hating on potatoes and, as such, I don’t make them often.

around the table march 4.jpg

I left off last week with big plans to do some freezer meals and set myself up for an organized week of solo parenting. Best laid plans…

On Saturday my oldest son insisted we throw a surprise birthday party for his best friend who a) had already had a party, and b) hates surprises. My son was not to be deterred by these facts, so I made some macaroni & cheese, threw together a veggie tray, and ordered some cupcakes. Friends brought chicken to complete the meal. We all had a great time at the party no one actually wanted to happen.

Sunday I was struck down by whatever illness is floating around my kids’ schools, so my freezer meals were tossed out the window. However, I pulled myself together just enough to put a pork shoulder in the Instant Pot with barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and cider vinegar; 90 minutes later we had pulled pork, paired with spaetzle and green beans.

My husband’s job took him to Winston Salem for most of the week, and I felt like I had been hit by a truck, so after struggling through Monday I picked up Happy Meals and called it a night. All hail the red-haired clown.

I found myself feeling slightly better on Tuesday, so I made an actual dinner of pulled chicken, green beans, and roasted potatoes. The potatoes are a treat for me; my children torment their Irish and German ancestors by hating on potatoes, and as such, I don’t make them often. Peel potatoes, cut into 1-inch squares. Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic, crushed rosemary, salt, and pepper. Roast at 425 for 20 minutes, increase to 450 for an additional 10. They’re ready when they start to brown.

around the table march 4 potatoes.jpg

Wednesday evening was spent in the company of two toddlers, so I busted out the leftovers. An unexpected benefit of being husband free is the abundance of food in my fridge. I might get away with only cooking once or twice a week from now on. Won’t that make for some interesting articles…

Travis made his triumphant return home on Thursday. A better wife would have made a welcome home dinner, this wife (who was still sick) ordered a pizza.

Today I went to the doctor and learned I have bronchitis. Armed with this information and some medicine I have higher hopes for getting my act together next week. As for dinner tonight, we have yet to have the circular “I don’t know, what do you want to eat?” conversation, but I’m already leaning pasta.

Weeks like this one remind me why a plan is a wonderful thing to have.

Norah’s Simple Roasted Potatoes: Peel potatoes, cut into 1-inch squares. Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic, crushed rosemary, salt, and pepper. Roast at 425 for 20 minutes, increase to 450 for an additional 10. They’re ready when they start to brown.

2810[top]5: Five Pieces of Beacon

The Beacon celebrates 6 months strong this week, and we took the opportunity to revisit our intentions. Presenting: Five Pieces of Beacon—a glimpse into what we cover and why we cover it. Which characteristic resonates most with you?

top 5 giving.jpg

Matthews is Giving. With hundreds of nonprofits in Matthews, the support for philanthropy is significant.

top 5 community.jpg

Matthews is Community: Through togetherness, whether familial or neighborly, recognizing and recovering the lost art of sharing the untold stories of the people around us.

top 5 history.jpg

Matthews is History: We embrace and explore the town’s rich history, celebrate our agricultural roots, reflect on our segregated past, and examine the uncharted growth carrying Matthews forward.

top 5 engaged.jpg

Matthews is Engaged: Local government is accessible to the people, for the people.

top 5 enriching.jpg

Matthews is Enriching: From environmental initiatives and personal hobbies to cultural activities, people enjoy learning and doing.