April 18, 2014

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Local Columnists


The monarchs need our help
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 3:20 PM

By Kylee Baumle

I’ve talked about the monarch butterflies a few other times in this column, so regular readers know that I’m one of their biggest fans. It won’t be long before we’ll be seeing them in our gardens again. The hummingbirds have returned from their wintering grounds and the monarchs aren’t far behind, having been sighted as far north as Kentucky.

Our recent cold weather may slow them down a bit, because they can’t fly at temperatures below 50°F, but an even bigger factor is the presence of milkweed. The caterpillars of the monarch butterfly feed exclusively on plants in the Asclepias genus.

The thought of growing milkweed in your gardens might not appeal to you, but the monarchs are in trouble and they depend on milkweed for their survival. Their habitat is dwindling due to spraying and while I understand why farmers don’t want it in their fields, roadside mowing, among other factors, is also contributing to the lack of food sources.

 
The Master Designer
Wednesday, May 08, 2013 1:46 PM

By Kylee Baumle

The long-awaited truly spring weather arrived last week and with it a venue for releasing some of our pent-up energy. The garden began waking up long before we could detect it, even though it seemed like overnight it turned green and burst into bloom.

The problem, of course, is that we try to expend that energy all at once and weary bodies and sore muscles are the consequences of our winter inactivity.

Last year’s drought, among other things, prevented us from doing some intended major redesigning of the main gardens here at Our Little Acre. So this spring has us scrambling to get most of it done before a garden club visits at the beginning of June.

 
The heart of a nurse
Wednesday, May 08, 2013 1:45 PM

By Jim Langham

As recently as this weekend, I visited a friend from our congregation in a local hospital. During the course of our visit and subsequent prayer, a nurse came into the room, at first was going to dismiss herself until our visit was over, but stayed and shared in the conversation by our invitation.

During her visit, he was gently questioned about his pain level, administered the meds that he needed and was given the opportunity to express any other needs at the time. But, what really impressed me was the friendly effort she made to connect with his concerns and interests and how effectively she was able to do that.

This week is suggested by area hospitals as, “National Nurses Week.” The thought of that immediately gripped my heart as I thought of all of the “compassionate nurse moments” I have witnessed over the years.

 
What's in my soup?
Wednesday, May 08, 2013 1:44 PM

By Nancy Whitaker

WHAT’S IN MY SOUP?

Eating is supposed to be one of the nice, pleasant things in life. We all like to partake of food that tastes and looks good. There is nothing better than sitting down to a home cooked meal and enjoying it with your family or loved one.

Dining out is also a special experience as a lot of events are celebrated in a restaurant with a good meal.

Naturally, when you prepare food or eat out, you want your food to look, smell and taste good. But, strange things can happen if you eat at home or dine out.

 
The Bodys
Wednesday, May 08, 2013 1:44 PM

By Nancy Whitaker

‘The Bodys’

There were four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job.

Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody for what Anybody could have done.

 
Simple pleasures
Wednesday, May 01, 2013 3:27 PM

By Amber McManus

Simple pleasures

Ever since having children, I realized how much I took for granted the simple pleasures I had in life pre-kids. I’m not talking about anything extravagant like the purchase or a new car or a winter vacation to Florida, I talking basic enjoyment such as watching an entire movie in complete silence. I’m talking of an uninterrupted Sunday afternoon nap. I’m talking about a warm meal on a cold and rainy evening. I’m talking about the feeling of the warmth of the sun hitting my face on a summer’s day, a ride in the country with the windows down, the smell of wildflowers, simple and beautiful pleasures of life.

 
'Fly like an eagle'
Wednesday, May 01, 2013 3:25 PM

By Jim Langham

Those of us who are still stuck in 1970’s popular music have no problem capturing the tune of the hit, “Fly Like an Eagle,” in our minds with the mere power of suggestion.

Saturday, April 27, that song became reality under the most unique circumstances. I was attending the dedication ceremonies at the Limberlost State Historic Site in Geneva, Ind., the home of famed author, Gene Stratton-Porter, famous for such children’s books as, “The Song of the Cardinal,” “Freckles,” “The Harvester,” and “Girl of the Limberlost.”

In her books, Porter built heartwarming stories on the countryside of the late 1890’s and early 1900’s, based on birds, critters and wild flowers in a large swamp area known as, “The Limberlost,” a sister swamp across the border very similar to the Great Black Swamp of our area in northwest Ohio.

 
The 'Grandma" flowers
Wednesday, May 01, 2013 3:24 PM

By Kylee Baumle

Petunias, marigolds, ditch lilies, red salvia, Ageratum, Portulaca, geraniums. What do these flowers have in common? Your grandmother probably grew them. Maybe your mother, too.

When you walk into a garden center, do you stop and ooh and ahh over them? Or do you do like I do and give them a cursory glance and walk right past them on your way to the “more interesting” plants and the new introductions?

Somewhere along the way, petunias and marigolds became boring. Ditch lilies got taken for granted. Red Salvia and purple Ageratum became cliché. Portulaca, or moss rose, perhaps bears too much resemblance to its cousin, that persistent weed, purslane. (Although purslane is a delicious salad edible!) Geraniums, which aren't really geraniums at all, but pelargoniums, have just graced one too many window boxes and garden borders.

 
Hands Down
Wednesday, May 01, 2013 3:24 PM

HANDS DOWN

One of the most important parts of our body is our hands. Stop and think of all the different things we do with our hands.

A mother’s hand can stir up sugar cookies, make pies, wash dishes, dust, mend clothing, and peel potatoes. Her hands can rock a cradle, burp a colicky baby and soothe the brow of a sick child.

A dad’s hands can plant fields, harvest, work with tools, drive a truck, work on cars, mow the lawn, start a fire and build a house.

We use our hands everyday and it is almost impossible to imagine our life without them. Our hands have been used as a way of protecting ourselves since time began. Hands can actually be considered a weapon when clenched into fists. Open hands can be used to slap someone.

 
The Croods and grandkids taught me a lesson
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 1:42 PM

By Joe Shouse

The Croods and grandkids taught me a lesson

A couple of weeks ago my grandkids asked me if I would go with them to see the latest animation movie to hit the big screen – “The Croods.” Now, I love my grandkids, but first of all, going to the movies really isn’t my thing. Going to the movies to see a cartoon is not my thing. Buying popcorn and a drinks at highway robbery prices certainly isn’t my thing; so what is a grandpa supposed to do? Well, I will tell you what I did.

 
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