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Gardener's Grapevine 2015.10.28

By JO ERBSKORN

Every week I read something new in gardening, which is nothing special, most gardeners do this. Some weeks it is a rarity to read anything, let alone search for something new. This past week wasn’t difficult at all, it was right there in our Observer.

I enjoyed reading about the couple growing peanuts. I never knew they would grow in the north, and to be honest, I never thought about it as it wasn’t something I wanted in the garden. We have, however, seen peanut fields in Georgia. I don’t know what they do to dig them all, but I’m sure it’s quite a process. I enjoyed reading about the process our local couple has used to get their crop up and going. It reminded me of how early settlers planted their crops and propagated the next year’s crop by saving seed. I’m sure the pioneers had some long hard winters were it was tempting to eat the seeds when what they had preserved was running short. Thank heavens that’s not an issue any more.

This past weekend Art and I took our grandson on a fall fun day. I don’t know who had more fun, him or us. We started the day at the Toledo Zoo. They have a program for children to trick or treat. It is a great safe way to let little ones have some fun. What I found really interesting is that every trick or treat station is manned by a local business, but the zoo put the restriction on the sponsors that they could only give out treats made from palm oil not from clear cut rain forests. Apparently a lot of the candy companies are using palm oil from this source and ruining a huge ecosystem and the home of hundreds of animals including the orangutans. We are a world away from the rain forests, but yet it does still affect us.  Thank goodness someone is bringing this to our attention.

After the zoo we traveled to Gust brothers farms over the border in Michigan. This is a really outstanding experience for little ones and very enjoyable for adults, too. They have a working farm that has cows that can be fed hay and apples. There are other farm animals, pumpkins, vegetables, fruit, fresh donuts, cookies, cider, a hay ride and tons of picture opportunities. What I love about going there, besides the excitement and wonder on my two-year-old’s face, is how clean it is and how the kids see exactly where their food comes from. It is obvious from the cleanliness of the barn and the lack of large amounts of animal food or a milking parlor that these animals are brought from another farm to this one for the purpose of this event.

Power washing a barn inside and out has got to be a large undertaking. Our grandson, Max, found out that pumpkin patches are very big with lots of choices for a little guy. He also discovered that the cows, no matter how soft and friendly, showed their appreciation for the apple he gave them by licking his entire face and hair. He was not really impressed with this show of appreciation. I watched him and wondered if he really got it that cows are something totally different  from his friend Gracie the dog. Gracie licks him, but not with a tongue as big as his entire face. Hopefully, taking Max to farms and letting him help in our garden will foster a new gardener in our world.