Gardener's Grapevine 2012.07.11

Written by David Green.

Is everyone enjoying this crazy weather? Isn’t it out of control? This past week has been absolutely insane in the weather department and working in Maumee gives me a pretty wide access to the way weather is fickle and interesting. This week I’ve seen everything imaginable—a tornado in Springfield Township that shut the Interstate down, golf ball size hail in Toledo, 100+ degree weather everywhere, pounding rain here and complete drought a mile away.

Last week I wrote this article while on the side porch watching my husband work in the sunshine. If you remember, it was about the terrible stress the corn was experiencing from the drought. I literally sent the article to the Observer’s editor and the sky opened up in a deluge of pouring rain. I sat on the porch laughing, and Art looked at me like I was a nut (which I am) and asked what was so funny. I said if I’d known that writing about the need for rain would produce it, I would have done it sooner.

I was at the church yesterday looking the landscape situation over. To be honest, if my Aunt Pat Houttieker didn’t water it, I’d be in trouble. My work schedule makes it very challenging for me to get up there. She’s doing a great job and it’s no little feat.

We have a large planter at the main entrance. Every summer I fight with this planter so it looks nice as it gets too much sun. The plants in it fry in the sun no matter the amount of water used. This year I put more drought tolerant plants in it and they are still drying up and looking scraggly. I read where you can put a brown, non-reflective mat under the pot to keep the cement from reflecting the heat back up to the plants. Well, it’s definitely worth trying and might not look as bad as a bunch of cactus planted in the pots which seems to be the direction I’m going to be forced to go. Gardening challenges are either fun or hair-ripping frustrating. This one is becoming the latter.

On the Fourth we stayed home, grilled lunch, and enjoyed it with my father Bill Wollter and mother-in-law Betty Erbskorn. The conversation turned to the state of the crops and the poor corn crops. I mentioned that I felt bad for everyone involved, as it is going to drive food prices even higher.

My dad said that we might see the availability of beef rise as farmers cut their herd due to a decrease in availability of grain and then decrease, as the availability is not there due to the previous herd decrease. My husband added that maybe the corn stalks could be chopped for silage and still be used for feed. I have no idea if that could be done or not without ears on the stalks. My knowledge of farming is not very vast.

I am amazed at the absolute science involved in today’s farming operations. From soil testing to plant knowledge and hybridization, it is a complete science lesson all in one farm. Not to mention these farms involve hundreds to thousands of acres of land. I hope the corn can be used for something and keep our farmers from falling on hard times. Farmers are our original Americans and if not for farming, our great country would have failed long ago. Everyone thinks politicians run this country. Think again…who’s feeding the country?

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • 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.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.

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