Gardener's Grapevine 2012.01.18

Written by David Green.

Sunday afternoon is my time to “chill” with the computer and a cup of hot tea and write this article. Sometimes life just is so peaceful. I say this as I watch our big orange tabby cat, Crankshaft, chase a squirrel across the side yard.

This cat is not aware that the squirrel is not going to be all that fun if he catches him. Squirrels bite, and extremely hard; they’re not animals that enjoy being messed with. My dad’s King Charles spaniel, Cooper, is not aware of this either and he spends his days looking out the window guarding the house from the dreaded squirrels. It makes me laugh to think of the big surprise both of these animals would get if a squirrel decided to turn the table.

I was doing some reading yesterday and came across an article in Country Living about the Farmers Almanac. I remember seeing the almanac in the home of my great-grandparents, Hila and Estel Elderdge, as a young child. I never took the time to read it though. Then one Christmas I was looking for an extra gift for my uncle Dwight Houttieker and my aunt said get him the Farmers Almanac. As I stood in line to pay for it, I glanced through this small piece of literature.

It appears more magazine than book, yet reads like an informative book. It is really quite fascinating and usually the predictions are right. Apparently farmers had been following this book for years with success.

The article I read had some interesting tidbits I thought I would share: 

The almanac was first published during George Washington’s administration. It was used by Abraham Lincoln to discount a witness in an 1858 murder trial. The hole in the upper left corner of each copy was originally intended to hang the book up in the “outhouse.” During WWII the FBI discovered the Farmers Almanac in a German spy’s coat pocket. It has only had 13 editors over the years. A printing mix up in July 1816 had a snow prediction, and strangely enough it actually did snow that summer.

This little book is really fun reading for a gardener and most times it is on the money with predictions. It is available at most places selling a big selection of magazines, and is reasonably priced at $5.99.

Saturday morning I went up to our beautiful library to pick up my weekly  books on CD. I have discovered the world of interlibrary loans—I can request my favorite authors and soon they are there. What a great thing and I can use it right at home. When you drive an hour to and from work every day, recorded books are gifts straight from the big guy himself. 

While I was there I started doing some more research on when this column started and what it was like then. I liked the newspaper back then; it was so personal. Maybe because I knew a lot of the people or just the way it was put together. It seemed like a great big Christmas letter. Who married who in extreme detail; who visited who; who was in the hospital and released.

The articles written by Maude Chase really grab me. Either the lady had a mind like a computer or she kept some very detailed notebooks. I read every one of her articles and it’s why it’s taking me forever to get any information on the Grapevine article.

I did run across some interesting ads. The A&P grocery store had lettuce for ten cents a head January 7, 1960. The seed costs more than that now. Cauliflower was twenty-nine cents a head and navel oranges were forty-nine cents a dozen. Wow! How about two loaves of white bread for thirty-five cents or eggs for thirty-seven cents a dozen? Consumers Power ran an ad that said “what works 24 hours a day nonstop for twenty cents a day?” That’s how much electricity cost then. What a huge difference 52 years can make.

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.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.
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