Gardener's Grapevine 2012.07.04

Written by David Green.

Sunday afternoon finds me on the side porch in a wicker chair with a glass of lemonade and a passed out old labrador at my feet. It’s hot and so is she.

I love laptop computers, you can take them anywhere. Art is working on the arbor and gates to our new garden fence. Delight Gillen told me she didn’t like my new fence because she couldn’t see my vegetable garden. I think that was the point in putting it up and to keep a vegetable-stealing lab (who especially likes tomatoes) out of it.

What a hard summer it has been so far for our gardens. We have two apple trees and they are dropping their fruit from lack of rain. Being an OB nurse, it reminds me of when a pregnant woman is dehydrated, and it will actually cause her to go into labor as her body tries to preserve itself. Basically the tree is doing the same thing. It is so stressed it drops its fruit in an effort to save itself. I’m not seeing this action in the pear tree, however its fruit is turning color much earlier this year.

Art and I went to our favorite Chinese restaurant Saturday in Swanton. As we were driving the back roads I was looking the fields and yards over. The wheat is mostly in now. A few farmers were finishing up as we went by, but for the most part even the straw was baled. It was a beautiful harvest—big full heads all golden colored.

It is not, however, going to be a good year for the corn for some farmers. We saw corn tasseled out that was only two to three feet tall. Some of it was beginning to burn and dry up, others had leaves very tightly curled and pointed skyward like it was begging for a drink. Art and I were commenting about how hard it will be for the farmers if the corn is poor. I know our area is the beginning of the corn belt, but it isn’t much better west of here either. A poor yield will drive food costs up yet again and that includes the meat animals that eat the corn. The cost of ethanol fuel will also rise.

Art and I water our gardens, but not the yard. I can’t see watering something that comes back no matter what happens unless it’s actually set on fire. Does it not amaze you how our yards can be rock hard dry and the buckhorn is as green and healthy as ever? It’s kind of like life, the things we cherish and want to be around often wear out or leave, and those we wish would leave are around forever. I don’t know which of Murphy’s laws that is, but it must be one of them.

I have a butterfly bush I planted probably ten years ago and it throws babies every year. I’ve given away many of them. If I untied that bush I bet it would be six feet or better across. When another butterfly bush popped up this spring on the corner of the side porch, I assumed it was a baby of my other bush. I didn’t really want it there, but it wasn’t hurting anything so I left it. This week it started blooming and has the largest blooms I’ve ever seen. They are at least a foot long. My other bushes produce blooms about four to six inches long. It is a very nice bush so it can stay.

As I sit here, the hummingbirds are very busy at my hanging baskets. They move so rapidly that if you didn’t know what they were you would miss them.

  • 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.
  • Front.rest
    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.
  • Front.green Screen
    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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