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.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • 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.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.

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