Gardener's Grapevine 2012.09.05

Written by David Green.

The Fulton County Fair was this past weekend. It is in my opinion the best fair around. One of the reasons I feel that way is cleanliness. They keep the place tidy and spruced up. In Art’s family the fair is a big deal. His father went every year of his life. When Art and I started dating I couldn’t understand the desire to go to the fair more than once. What do you do? I’d ask. Visit and see the exhibits and eat was the answer.

As the past 30 years have passed, our children have been in 4-H at that fair, we’ve both worked and made friends all around the area, and now even I get excited about the fair. It’s just plain fun. I get so excited to eat the crazy fattening food and see all the people I worked with or knew from my days as a nurse in that county. 

Let’s talk about the food. No other time of year do I eat an éclair funnel cake. It’s deep fried dough covered in powdered sugar, a huge glob of bavarian cream, and drizzled with chocolate. Two forks please…Art has to help me with this. We carry this crazy blood sugar raising mess around and check out the animals that by the way will be on someone’s dinner table next week, the grange produce and canning entries, and the art exhibits.

The Grange is a place a lot of people don’t even pay much attention to, but as a gardener, it is one of my “must sees.” When Morenci was mostly a farming community the Granges were hugely popular. It was a social meeting place for farmers and anyone in the local area that had an interest in their activities. There aren’t many Granges left.

I like looking at what the members have grown. They show huge pumpkins, squash tomatoes, and just about anything else that can be harvested. They also display their talent at canning. Their jars look so beautiful lined up and shiny. I always see something that looks like it would taste great.

The Granges also display a lot of sewing, particularly quilts of all sorts of things.  A few years back I took some old quilts to Sauder Village to have them evaluated as possible donations. The lady who met with us showed us a quilt from the Morenci Grange that was raffled off many years ago. It had embroidered sections like a Dresden plate pattern and inside each piece was a name of a grange member. It was fascinating to see some very familiar names from days past. 

This week I will be canning tomatoes and thinking of all the gorgeous cans of food lined up for show at the fair. One new thing I’m going to try with the rest of the green beans is “Dilly beans.” It’s a recipe to pickle green beans from a lady my daughter works with. They sound so good. After the fair is done it is always nice to get home to my fresh organic produce and low fat diet. There is only so much éclair funnel cake a person can stand…at least ’til next year.

  • 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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