Gardener's Grapevine 2013.03.13

It’s a beautiful Sunday, and has been a beautiful weekend through and through. Yesterday Art and I went with our daughter Jacquie and son-in-law Henry to Detroit for baby furniture at Ikea. Prior to going to this giant store we made a few side stops for the fun of it and to fill our tummies.

Art and I watch a show on Saturdays called Under the Radar Michigan on PBS and in one episode they covered places to see in and around Detroit. One place was Motz’s Burgers on Fort Street. This is one of the oldest sliders restaurants in the country and did it ever live up to its reputation as the best! They serve more than sliders and it is so worth the trip. According to our group it was in a “bad area," but everyone we encountered was nice and the food was great.

Across the street was an enormous produce distribution plant. It was crazy big, as in one building was as big as our entire downtown area. With the lineup of semi-trucks and panel trucks it must have an amazing amount of produce inside. Just thinking of the growers behind all that produce made me smile. Think of the trip each head of lettuce has taken and the trip it still has until someone eats it. For being in a forlorn section of Detroit, the building did not look unclean and it had some lovely art deco stonework on the front. Eating sliders and thinking of gardening—can it get better?

We also visited a little place in Farmington Hills called Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum. It was awesome, also—one man’s collection of arcade and whimsical animated figures and machines. They included old arcade flip book picture machines, all kinds of arcade games from the 1800s forward and you could put in a quarter or two and see how they worked. It was a real trip back in time.

We then headed to Ikea and what a change. From old items that took lots of brain power to produce and make functional to the sparse commercialism of mass marketed items. Ikea has a gardening area and if you are in the market for some inexpensive, fairly good quality outdoor furniture or flower pots or things along that line, it is your go-to destination. I am not a big fan of mass production garden products. I like to repurpose or use artistic items. I stood in their garden area and thought, anyone could have a tidy neat little garden with this, but where would the individuality be?

I loved that my kids chose baby furniture that was not just in the baby section and had a bit of non-baby flare to it. The little fellow can grow with it, and with good care, take it with him when he heads off to his own place.

I spent some time last evening on the drive home thinking how yesterday’s castoffs still have meaning and use. I have had the idea for a long time to make a bench for the outside of our church out of an old bed frame. We have an area that is hard to get anything to grow in because the heat is so extreme off the concrete and sandstone. So an ornate place to sit is just the ticket, with maybe a pot of flowers off to the side that can be replenished without breaking the bank. Since I have come up with this idea I have seen so many swings and benches made from old beds.

I searched on-line for more repurposing ideas and came up with some great sites that might interest some of you that read this column. Try eHowhome and type in making garden décor from recycled junk, or homeguides.sfgate.com/reusehouseholditems, thefrugalhomemaker.com and of course the Queen of all idea sites, Pinterest.

Gardening should be fun and while the muddy spring rains and thaws keep us from the dirt, spend some time looking for an idea you can use to pop your space.

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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.
  • 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.
  • Front.eclipse
    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.
  • Cecil
    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.
  • 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.
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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.