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.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
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    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
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    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    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.
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    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.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.
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