Gardener's Grapevine 2011.11.16

Written by David Green.

Friday after work I had to run some errands. First, a stop in downtown Blissfield to pick something up at the cable company. Being the “non-techno geek” that I am, I was in a huge hurry to get away from the guy helping me. He kept asking questions that seemed to be in another language.

As I hurried away as fast as possible, glad to have the torture over, I looked downtown Blissfield over and it is beautiful at twilight. The businesses are all decked out in Christmas splendor. There was a beautifully decorated large décor and collectibles store in front of my parked car. They were having a holiday open house. Their windows showed decorations from nature, both real and faux, with lots of lights and glitter. It beckoned me in, and what a joy after my last stop.

This was a shop after my own heart. They incorporated all the things that I love—nature, old repurposed items from furniture to little items, collectibles and lots of vintage. They had trees made from real tree branches decorated with lights, vintage ornaments, little birds and garland. Every corner pulled me in to something new.

I love old Christmas ornaments, especially my grandmother’s. They tell stories. So I purchased two that reminded me of hers, and thought to add to that every year.

Nature is such an important part of my life in every season, and to see all the old things incorporated with touches of nature was wonderful and put me in the mood to decorate my own home. I was singing Christmas carols and thinking of all the fun things to do for Christmas, such as gather pine cones from the neighbor’s yard and holly from my bushes to put in swags over our archways. I also use feathers from my daughter’s first pheasant hunt many years ago.

Using nature in your home just adds warmth to the season. We will go after a live tree after Thanksgiving. Smell is an important part to setting the mood also, and bringing in natural things provides that.

So while I was singing carols and smiling with thoughts of Christmas beauty, I was driving into Adrian. As I walked in the doors of a local retail store, what to my wondering eyes and happy mood did I see? A huge sign flashing, “44 Days to Christmas.”

I went from walking in a winter wonderland with plans of fun decorations to, “Oh my God! I’m behind the eight ball and better start moving.” I promptly informed the door greeter that I did not appreciate that, and he laughed saying he had heard it all day long. So move the sign and let me go back to gathering pine cones.

As I left church Sunday, Monna Dwyer was on her porch and called me over. She offered me many different herbs from her garden, which were still abundant. The leaves had covered them so the frost did not touch them. There were some beautiful rosemary branches which came home to be placed on a roasted chicken. There was sage and oregano which I set to drying. It was amazing to see these herbs doing so well so late in November and after such a hard frost. If you haven’t tried fresh herbs in your cooking, you should, it kicks the flavor up to an amazing level. Time to start planning an herb bed for spring. 

  • 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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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