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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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