Gardener's Grapevine 2012.07.18

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.

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    NICE WORK—A spider remains at the center of a web, awaiting visitors, during a moist morning last month. The was built in front of Eagle Funeral Home in Morenci.
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    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.
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    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.