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.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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