Gardener's Grapevine 2012.06.20

Written by David Green.

Wow, what a hot dry week. We’ve done a lot of watering and it is still so darn dry. Sunday morning’s light showers did not do a lot due to the depth that the ground is dry.

This past Friday my son Nicholas came home for the Father’s Day weekend. He and our daughter wanted to go to the zoo in Toledo. We went on Saturday and what a beautiful day it turned out to be. Very hot, but a nice family day out and the zoo has never been nicer. The benefactors keep that zoo so very clean and attractive. I love to go to the arboretum and walk in the gardens. Most people don’t even do that when they visit the zoo. It’s all about the animals.

There were a lot of young animals, a giraffe, elephant, birds, and three baby lemurs that were so funny I could have watched them for hours. They move very fast and do antics that are funnier than most comedians.

The zoo impressed me with the level of conservation and willingness to reduce the carbon footprint. They have recycling containers all over for plastic bottles, their animal waste is composted and they have solar panels all over the parking lot, hundreds of them. It is refreshing to see a business that is as dedicated to the earth as it is to making money. If you haven’t been to the zoo I would encourage you to go, you won’t be disappointed.

In the vegetable garden this week we have peas growing like gangbusters but only because we keep watering them. The cooler evenings and nights always help. Lack of water can dry them up very quickly. The pea pods are slowing down and the shell peas are just beautiful. I picked the first batch on Saturday and they were so good steamed for Sunday dinner. If the potatoes were ready we’d have had creamed peas and new potatoes. My grandmother Katherine always makes them and they are so yummy.

The raspberries are producing and it looks like a good year. We’ve only picked enough to put on a bowl of cereal, but I know in a few days it’s going to be a crazy mess to pick. I have found that the easiest way to freeze raspberries at home is to rinse them well and lay them on paper towels to dry then put them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze them. Transfer them to a Ziplock bag or freezer container in about two hours and they will last for a year in the freezer. Fresh raspberry crisp or cobbler is awesome. 

Haven’t the strawberries been nice? Ours are not filled out enough to get very many, so we bought ours this year. They are nice but also a bit pricey. I don’t always realize the price of fresh produce because I either grow ours or purchase it locally and there are not all those fuel prices added in to get it here. The strawberry prices I did notice.

Dad came home with some beautiful blackberries, I’m not sure where they came from though. We moved all our blackberries, so this year we won’t have any. When you see produce along the road, stop and shop. It is usually from our area, priced more reasonably, and it helps our local growers keep going. I don’t normally sell our produce, but I do share it. Isn’t that what gardening is all about?

The old farmer’s saying goes, “Knee high by the 4th of July,” meaning it will be a good corn crop if it’s that high. What does waist high before then mean? That’s how tall our first planting is and every time I look at it I can taste some yummy sweet corn with real butter and salt dripping off it.

Keep watering, weeding, harvesting and caring for our world, the bounty is great.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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