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.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.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.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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