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.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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