Gardener's Grapevine 2011.06.15

Written by David Green.

On Saturday women from our church went to Shalom Tea Room in Sylvania, Ohio. We had a great time and it was very enlightening. We had tea and a light lunch. They served many varieties of tea and it was interesting to see what was used to make the different kinds. The Garden Club has been there also.

One thinks of tea and tea leaves, but some tea is made with absolutely no tea leaves. We had a lovely dessert tea called strawberry kiwi that had no tea leaves and actually had rose hips in it. Tea has been a staple in societies around the world for thousands of years. This tea room offers a theme every month for its luncheons and one of the ones slated for this summer is an African tea. Sounds interesting to me!

On the way home there were four generations of my family in the car—my grandmother, aunt, her granddaughter and myself. We got to talking about gardening and how people eat different things.

My grandmother, Katherine Wollter, remembered her mother, Hila Eldridge, cooking dandelion greens in the spring. She would point at the one she wanted and my aunt would use a kitchen knife to remove it. They had to be picked before the blooms started to form as that was when they were the most tender to eat. These were washed and cooked much like greens or wilted lettuce is today.

I remember eating with my great-grandparents once and they were all excited about having dandelion greens for lunch. One bite told me all I needed to know—yuck! Bitter to an extreme must be an acquired taste. I asked why they would choose to eat something so very unpleasant. My grandmother replied that in those days there weren’t lettuces and such at the grocer’s, so they ate what was  available. After a long winter of eating what was put up in the cellar, fresh greens were a treat. I think a Snickers is a treat, or a fresh homegrown tomato, not my arch enemy weed Number One. I cut these out of my lawn with a vengeance in the spring.

Lucas Johnson, our next door neighbor, had a desert tortoise growing up. It started out the size of a half dollar and from the beginning had a passion for dandelions. He never cared if it was flowering or not, he was in tortoise heaven with a bunch in his enclosure. Unfortunately, he got out one summer and disappeared, never to be seen again. He was a neat pet and we all miss him. I never look at a huge dandelion without thinking of him… and then I dig it out as fast as I can!

  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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