Gardener's Grapevine 2012.02.01

Written by David Green.

Welcome to winter in Michigan. The wind is blowing, the snow is flying, and I’m very pleased to see it all from inside my warm home.

Yesterday I was visiting with my grandmother, Katherine Wollter. She is a grand lady with insight into many diverse parts of life that I don’t normally think about. I love to hear her thoughts on both the present and the past, as she has lived in Morenci her entire life and spent a great deal of it employed for the A&P grocery company.

She worked at the original A&P grocery when it was in the Village Inn building prior to moving to the current grocery store location. She is one very interesting lady with a lot of class, so when she said that if she had lived out west in pioneer times with the months of wind constantly blowing it would have driven her to insanity, I was a little taken back.

My grandmother never stops expanding her mind, so my thoughts were hunker down with a  stack of good books and let the wind blow all it wants. When I started to verbalize this, she gave me one of those “think about it” looks only she can give, which makes me want to crawl under the table.

It’s pioneer times…very few books, no TV, computer, radio and next to no paper. The wind blew sand in around the windows and doors constantly, and the noise was incredible. Okay, Gram, you win and I don’t want to live back then either if I can’t at least have a stack of good books.  No wonder they made such beautiful quilts and clothing. What else was there to do?

Looking at the snow covered lawn I am thinking of the moles. What an ugly creature God made, but like all other things in this world they come very well equipped with the necessary items to survive. They have claws for digging, an advanced sense of smell to compensate for their lack of eyesight, and a not so discriminating diet, all in one ugly little package. They are insectivores. Yes, they love grubs, but also earthworms, insects and any other invertebrate. They will tunnel a long way to get what they want and can destroy a lawn very quickly.

My grandmother was cultivating a very nice family of them for awhile, then we treated the lawn and it helped. We had some two years ago that arrived from our neighbors to the west. We could actually see where they tunneled under the road and popped up on our side. We have such great and giving neighbors! Really, they are wonderful folks who we like very much, but I’m sure they were glad to wave goodbye to the pests.

My husband turned into Bill Murray in Caddy Shack with these crazy rodents. We applied poison bait and set traps, and my well-educated husband would be out in the yard mumbling to the moles about their eminent end of life.

I did a little research on getting rid of moles. Most people think that getting rid of grubs will do it, but most ideas and products don’t work. According to what I read, the only way to eliminate moles is to put down poison bait and traps. The traps do not trap them, they kill them. Traps are great if you can figure out which runs are the current ones in use. The poison bait most wildly recommended is a product called Tom Cat. Whatever you try, be prepared for a long fight with these animals as they are not easily controlled even with the proper equipment.

  • 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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