Gardener's Grapevine 2011.08.24

Written by David Green.

What a beautiful August day Sunday turned out to be. We attended a birthday party picnic for my four year-old-cousin and it was just the right temperature, and except for a few sprinkles, it was sunny. 

My son returns to Michigan State University this week to begin his sophomore year of college—two down and six years to go. Both of my children are outdoors type people and huge animal lovers. My son is studying animal sciences and my daughter works on an Arabian race horse breeding farm between Tecumseh and Britton. She is literally outside most of the day and then plants a vegetable and flower garden, too. 

My son loves outdoor sports and working with the MSU animals. If it were up to these two, Art and I would have every animal on the earth as a pet.

Pets are wonderful. They lighten our mood and actually make depressed, handicapped, or ill people feel better. Animals can make our homes safer, warn us of danger, and even attack a person wishing to cause us problems.

There are dogs that are specially trained to detect health problems in their owners. Some dogs can tell when their caregiver is going to have a seizure. Pets can also cause some major problems in a garden also.

Animal urine can kill a plant or bush. Animals love to lie in tall plants to “hide,” it gives them a sense of security supposedly. If they lie in the wrong weeds it can give you a case of the itches! Noxious weeds seldom affect animals because of their fur, but poison ivy oil can sit on their fur and transfer to your skin. There is  nothing like a blistery itchy rash for making life pleasant.

Another great thing pets do is teach each other not so great habits. We raised golden retrievers for years and just like in human relationships our retrievers had their set personalities. Our female, Ginger, was sweet tempered and laid back and rarely got into mischief. Our male, Simon, got into all kinds of mischief and smiled at you when he was caught. Yes, I said smile. He had a crazy love of tomatoes and would strip our cherry tomato plant bare. We eventually gave up and planted one for him so we could have some of our own.

Some of Simon’s other little tricks were opening gate latches and doors and eating appliance knobs and things like Borax bleach and rat poison. (Believe it or not he lived through that! Thanks, Dr. Sell.)

Well, Simon and Ginger are in dog heaven, but they left our lab to carry on. Simon taught her all about tomatoes and she doesn’t care what kind they are. I can’t really blame her for her tomato fondness, as a homegrown tomato is really high on my weakness list, too.

  • 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.grieders
    ONE-TWO PUNCH—Morenci’s Griffin Grieder saved his best for last, running his fastest time ever in the 110-meter high hurdles at the state finals Saturday in Grand Rapids to finish first in the state in Div. IV. His brother Luke, a junior (right), claimed the state runner-up spot. Bulldog junior Bailee Dominique placed seventh in the 100-meter dash.
  • Front.sidewalk
    MORENCI senior class president Mikayla Price leads the way Sunday afternoon from the Church of the Nazarene to the United Methodist Church for the baccalaureate ceremony. Later in the day, 39 members of the senior class received diplomas in the high school gymnasium.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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