Gardener's Grapevine 2012.07.18

Written by David Green.

The break from the heat was nice, I guess. It’s funny how less than 100 degrees can feel like heaven. All this heat has baked my peas in the vegetable garden and they looked so nice. We pulled the vines this past week and the potatoes are not ready yet. All the water in the world couldn’t save them, they can’t ever take the heat. This year I think I could have planted them in February and been safe.

Weird hardly describes our weather in the past year. Anyone who knows Art and me knows we live in what a lot of people refer to as the Rutledge house. In my great-grandmother’s time, it would have been the Stanager house.

We have lived here and worked on this house the majority of our married life. We’ve found lots of things that fall into the “what the heck” category and a few “eeewwww” items such as  the mummified cat in the crawl space. We thought it crawled under there and died, but we couldn’t figure out how as it is sealed. Then we read an article in Old House Journal that told how Victorians often put mummified cats in their basements and attics to ward off evil spirits. The real catcher was that people today collect these things. Some folks just need a different hobby. Anyway, ours went to that great garbage heaven in Adrian known as the dump.

This magazine is interesting. It covers a little of everything to do with homes.  Lots of DIY, Q&A, old homes for sale, new product evals, and of course, my favorite—gardening. Just like everything in my life these days, I get to this magazine when I get to it, which is never the month it arrives, probably because I’d have to pry it out of Art’s hands first. I came home from work today and sat for a few minutes checking out an issue that I hadn’t seen yet, and there was an article in it about edible flowers.

Some of the flowers everyone knows about like nasturtiums and lavender. The article said to stuff the centers of nasturtiums with cream cheese or fold them into an omelet, as they have a peppery punch to them and add color to the table.

A new use for lavender was to grind the buds into a powder and mix one tablespoon into two cups of superfine sugar to add a fragrant flavor to many things including lemonade and whipped cream. It sounds really good. I like to fold lavender into frosting.

Flowers I did not know you could eat were cornflowers, which have an earthy clove-like taste, but cloves can be really overpowering, so I would go easy with this one. Another edible flower is daylilies. You can eat the closed buds or remove the bitter stamens and spoon chicken salad or such into the flower cup. White, cream and yellow are the sweetest varieties. 

Portulaca is a flower used to thicken soups and add vitamins to salads. It is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. The flowers, leaves, and stems are all edible and have a salty spinach-like flavor. While some flowers are edible, not all are and it would be wise to check out a flower prior to using it on the dinning table as some can be poisonous.

This week I noticed the Queen Annes Lace is blooming as is the chickory along the roadsides. Both are extremely drought tolerant. With the downturn in the economy, our ditch banks are not being mowed like in the past, so these beautiful flowers have made a comeback. If you’re bored, take a road trip and look for different wildflowers. It makes for a pleasant afternoon.

  • 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.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • 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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