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Another one from Flaherty: Something for nothing


Fri, Aug 22nd, 2003
Posted in Columnists

From what I have read in some of the more progressive garden magazines, ground covers are just as good as having grass, and if you know what you are doing, they won’t cost you a cent. A case in point; my old friend and mentor, Malcolm Mildew. Malcolm wearied of the expense and drudgery of maintaining a well groomed lawn. Malcolm maintained that it was ridiculous, if not just plain dumb, to pay a lot of money for grass seed, fertilizer, lawn mowers and rakes. Once the seed was planted, it had to be fertilized in order to grow, and then it had to be mowed when it grew too high, and then the grass clippings had to be raked and carted off somewhere. To Malcolm, it was an exercise in futility.

Now Malcolm’s plan (The Mildew Plan) is to plow up an existing lawn and replace it with plants that are self sustaining. In other words, plants that could look out for themselves, and it wouldn’t cost a dime. For starters, quackgrass; any farmer or gardener will gladly give you al the quackgrass that you can haul. Once you have the quack, place it in clumps in the center of the area that you intend to cover, and it will pretty much take it from there. Once the quack is on its way, another grass will happen upon the scene. It is called crab. Now with the quack and the crab, you have a textured ground cover, but you are not done yet. You need some color, and what you need are dandelions, with no effort on your part they will seed themselves. Aside from the color that they provide, they can be harvested. The greens are edible, either cooked or in a salad, and the blossoms can be converted into wine. As Malcolm likes to say, “You can eat, drink and be merry for nothing at all.”

If you are a bird watcher and like to feed them, Canadian Thistle is just the ticket. The plant has a purple flower for additional color; and the birds just go nuts over the seeds. You can find these plants along the roadside or in farmer’s fields, and they can be had for the taking. Malcolm recommends that you place the thistle along with some burdock on the perimeters of your property and when interspersed with goldenrod, you have a colorful and maintenance free hedge. Goldenrod and burdock can also be found along the roadside, at no cost to you.

Now if you follow those few simple directions, you will have a property, that while not exactly the envy of the neighborhood, will certainly be the talk of the County. You can, as Malcolm does .....
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Notes from a country kitchen

Fri, Aug 15th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

I know we need rain but the weather has been great for outdoor activities. Saturday we went on our annual hayride party out to Vickie and Dennis’. I helped Vickie paint the wagon a week ago and Dennis and her put in such comfortable seats and we had ..... 
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Of People, Places and Things: A look back to 1874

Fri, Aug 15th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

A friend of mine from Dexter named Dale pulled up in my driveway the other day and handed me a cardboard box that was 15 inches wide by 18 inches tall by 2 inches thick and rather heavy.

The article we ran about Fillmore County ..... 
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At Home in the Woods: In Everyones’ Backyard

Fri, Aug 15th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Urban sprawl is encroaching on the Big Woods with proposals for twelve-house and four-house subdivisions. Urban sprawl increases pollution and use of natural resources. Due to our growing population, some of this is unavoidable, but are the huge hous ..... 
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The Commute: The Blueberry Story

Fri, Aug 8th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Everyone I know, and not only teachers, thinks this summer has gone by too quickly. Since I am a teacher, the month of August is spent doing lesson plans, or at least feeling guilty about not doing them, while I’d rather be drifting on an air mattres ..... 
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Township Roads: Wild Times in the Sweet Corn

Fri, Aug 8th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Our new habitat is thirty miles closer to a city than our old home, but we are in many ways more rural than ever. It smells more like hogs here than it ever did at our old place. This doesn’t bother us too much as we expect that living in the country ..... 
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Of People, Places & Things: Local leaders are faced with difficult decisions

Fri, Aug 1st, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Governing at the local level can sometimes be very complex,” Lanesboro council member, Joe O’Connor told me the other day. “It’s not like you can hop a plane after making a vote in Washington. The decisions you make here affect your neighbors.”[Read the Rest]

Prairie Notes: The Thrill of the Hunt

Fri, Aug 1st, 2003
Posted in Columnists

There are those who grab the sports section first when the paper comes; others flip to the editorial page; I seek out the tiny part of the classifieds reserved for auction advertisements. These I read thoroughly, plotting Saturdays based upon the dis ..... 
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