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.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • 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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