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.batter
    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.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • 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.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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