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.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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