Gardener's Grapevine 2013.04.17

Written by David Green.

Wow, what an insanely busy week this past one was for Art and me. There is a saying that we plan and God laughs. Well, he must have been roaring with laughter this week. I started out thinking last Sunday that the week would be a breeze due to my doctor being out three of the five days, leaving lots of catch-up time with a concentrated effort of getting ahead. Friday I think I actually heard God laughing.

For those of you who don’t know, I am a nurse at Maumee Ob/Gyn for Dr. Kristal Ward. Each doctor has their own nurse who is responsible for keeping the wheels turning.  With all this said you can probably all see why the peas are not in the ground yet. I just can’t wait to play in the dirt, but the closest I got this weekend was raking the church grounds of winter debris and getting the thatch out of the grass.

Every year I like to assess the overall condition of the church grounds and get a general idea of what needs attention. The major need I can see is mulch spread in a few places and the boulevard is a mess. It will have to be replanted with grass. Not such a major amount of work. I enjoy working outside at our church; there is a peaceful feeling to it. The Congregational Church is very old, very beautiful inside and out and whoever planned it out did a nice job. The landscaping area is not very large so it accents the building without taking away from it.

​I, like a lot of other people, have a little Irish in my background. My kids would tell you it comes out in my temper. Not sure that’s true, but we’ll go with it. My husband would tell you it comes out in the red in my hair. I don’t know but I do know that I have a pretty strong interest in Ireland and my son is in love with it since his graduation trip there. He says the country epitomizes peace, tranquility and a simpler way of life. I don’t know about that when they are noted for having fiery tempers.

The reason for this little side trip to the Irish is that I read a great article this week on potatoes and the Irish dishes made from them. The Irish are known for potatoes and from the sounds of it they know how to do them right.

Here is a recipe for “Irish Champ,” a different take on mashed potatoes: 2 pounds of boiling potatoes, ½ cup nonfat milk, 1 bunch of green onions or a scallion in ¼ inch pieces, one pat butter, sliced or grated cheddar or Jarlsberg cheese. Cover potatoes with water, cook, then drain. Put the onions, milk and butter in a container and cook on the stovetop or in microwave until heated through, but do not boil. Mash potatoes with hand masher and add onion mixture. The final step is to stir in the cheese. It is traditional to leave potato lumps so avoid using a mixer to mash potatoes.

Another variation of this is called “Colcannon” and the only difference is to add 2/3 cup of kale, cabbage, collard greens, swiss chard, spinach, etc., with tough stems removed and chopped into spoon size pieces, steamed or sautéed. Greens must be patted dry. These are added to the champ with the onion milk mixture. It looked delicious in the picture.

The final recipe was for Spuds 'n Swedes. Peel 2 pounds of potatoes and 2 cups of rutabagas, dice both into half-inch chunks, cover rutabagas with water and boil 10 minutes. Then add potatoes and more water and cook 20 minutes or until done (stick a fork in, if it goes in easily, they’re done). Drain and mash a whole lot. Heat ½ cup milk and ½ medium leek with tough green leaves removed and white part diced together and heat until hot, not boiling. Add this to potatoes and stir all together. Serve with poached eggs or fried sunny side up eggs. The potatoes are put in a bowl with the eggs on top. I plan a little Irish food trip soon and hope you will, too.

  • 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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