Page 1

Welcome Published by Mi~Life In The Sticks, LLC Po Box 1251 Fowlerville, MI 48836 517-521-4536 Publishers: Melissa and Ron Howard Melissa Howard Editor / Creative Director 517-521-4536 Ron Howard Co-Editor / Sales Manager

Kelly Howard 517-518-0910

Sales: Photographers:

Ron Howard

Kelly Howard Melissa M. Howard.

Owner / Editor:

Designers: Melissa Howard

Article Editing:

Janice R. Armstrong Keri Zillmer McGruder

Article Submissions: Mandy Tefft-Blauer Marion Cornett Sue Kretchman Charles Lanning Melissa M. Howard

Melissa M. Howard

Co-owner / Editor: Ron L. Howard

Other contributors this month include: The National Garden Bureau Michigan United Conservation Clubs MSU Extension Service

Cover: Melissa M. Howard

Please feel free to contact Vivid Perspective for your publishing & graphic design needs. We have capabilities to publish press/media kits, business directories, business cards, brochures, fliers and much much more. We can also design your corporate identity to include logo’s and letterhead. Contact us for a quote. ©2011 Mi~Life In The Sticks. All rights reserved. Al though some parts of this publication may be reproduced and reprinted, we require that written permission be obtained in advanced. Individual images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. Every effort has been made to ensure the information contained in this publication is accurate. Neither Mi~Life In The Sticks,LLC nor Vivid Perspective, LLC may be held liable for errors or omissions. Free lance writers and photographers are welcome to submit work. Please visit us online to download submission information.

Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 3

Route Marker

We b b

Fo w l e r



ville Howell

Outdoor Adventures 20 What’s Your Adventure? Melissa M. Howard

Set Foot In

Country Road


Lead In





Publisher’s Post Your Letters

Ask the Past Master

The Local Yokel

Papa Turts! So Hot It Hurts!

14 Town Draw Fowlerville R.F.D.

Questions for professionals

Page 4 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

Looking for contributors

Tillage 22


Conventional Versus Tillage



Hoof Maintenance The 4-H Youth Develpment Program



2011 Year Of The Tomato

Melissa M. Howard


The Family Tree





Trading Post


The Back Door

The Feedbag


Note Book Pages

Heartfelt Stories

(Auction) Classified Upcoming events

Daily Grub Upcomig food spotlights

Shop Talk

Home Spun

41 The Workshop A Piece Of Work


Sewing /Crafts

(closing article)

Coming Soon!

Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 5

Step Foot In

Lead In

very day she died, and even after. The three horses I have left came up and sniffed her. Hopscotch, her granddaughter, began to scream. She kept calling out beyond Chianti, into to the trees hoping to hear an answer. Another mare, not related, but part of the herd stood by her as if she were guarding her. Her son, Sonny,who obviously already knew, stood off in the distance away from the turmoil. I had never experienced anything like this before. I could hardly believe what I was witnessing. After my failed attempts of trying to quiet Hopscotch, and clear my own veil of tears, Sonny walked up. He sniffed at her head and called out to the woods, then turned and walked back to the front of the paddock. The other two mares began to run around and call out, as if in a panic. Chianti was put to rest the next day, and so our new heard felt very empty! Depression seemed to want to creep in on all of us. After it was over, my mind began to spin. This is the last of many Melissa M. Howard It’s February, cold and wet, maybe in the upper 20’s. The previous earlier losses. I had a failed marriage, difficulties surrounding my adult children, lost my job, then my home. My grandmother passed week teased us with some mild weather which melted the previous snow that dumped on us over several weeks. The snow was now gone away and was buried the day before my wedding. Although I cherish and the winds that blew, dried the ground up fairly quickly. No sooner that weekend now, at the time it was an emotional roller coaster! I had already started thinking about doing a magazine, as this is did I start to enjoy this unusually balmy weather, the snow decided another ambition I’ve had for quite a long time now. The concept of a to return to the ground with a winters worth of snow in just one day! magazine met with many roadblocks. At the time my mare had died, Unfortunately, I had just made an appointment to have the local vet come out and have a look at my old mare, Chianti, that had suddenly was ready to give up on the attempts to push forward. I kept saying to myself, “What’s the use?” took a turn for the worse. For some reason, when that horse laid down, when she spared me In just a few weeks her robust physique was now melting away, and from the agony of having to have her euthanized, it made me think. It her appetite was not what it should be. made me think of all the struggles I went through, and the things I had The following day I was informed by the vet that she had a bad tooth, as well as the issue we faced the previous year with her weight. lost, and how all of it would have been a waste, or no use, if I were to give up! We were not sure what was causing it, but suspected some internal One of the main reasons I want to do this magazine came up when cancer issues. Chianti decided it was time to give up. Trying to coI was working at one of the big box chain stores, in an attempt to save ordinate the efforts needed to euthanize a horse, is not an easy task. my home. While working at this store, I became fully aware of just Chianti ended up lying down to die before the vet ever came. By the how many people were struggling as I was. It started to infuriate me end of that week my beloved horse was no longer to see how people were being treated because of the misfortunes they with us. had to face, not only from others in society, but from some employThis was a very difficult time for me, as this was the horse that ers that took advantage of these misfortunes. As time went on, many taught me everything I know about horses. I dreamed from the time I was a small child, of having a horse. It took a long time and a lot of started falling into many similar circumstances. It’s interesting how the perspective changes when the shoe is on the other foot! work to realize that dream. Chianti was my teacher to the Working as a cashier, I have seen women come through my line Page 6 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

with big rings and fancy jewelry, designer bags, and nails and hair that I need at the big box chain, although the profits are only going in one were obviously done at the salon. These people would make complace, and its not in your community! Most of the product is made ments about the others that preceded them in line. Then when they overseas, our out of the country. Yes, they may employ a few people in would go to pay for their order, they would pay with a bridge card, the community, but that is by far, any kind of support for that commudoing what ever possible to keep it from being noticed by anyone nity! If anything it takes away more than it promises to give. standing near by. Now it did not anger me that these women had to pay with state aide. They or their spouse may have lost their job and Shop smart, support your community, friend and neighbors. The had children to feed, it was the attitude that got to me. Everyone has only way to get by is being available to each other. If we only buy what rough patches. Some more than others, but just because you may have we make, they will have to put ourselves back to work. things, does not make us a better person. I want this magazine to help express concerns and attitudes from The buck stops here! the common folk. I don’t want surveys and polls. I’m not looking for the opinion that someone has developed because of what they have I would also like to extend a very gracious Thank You to everyone been told or led to believe is the truth. I want real stories, about real who made this magazine possible. You are what “makes”, people, and what they have to do to live in this country, The Land of Mi~Life In The Sticks. This includes our the Free, and The Home of the Brave! advertisers, who took the chance and People struggle everyday to make ends meet. To build a business, have faith in whatwe are doing! to raise a family to farm their land. Weather it’s 100 acres or 2, if you choose to live in the sticks, it says something about your character. I began to ask myself, with all that I have lost, all the struggle that I had gone through, what could I do to use this to make things better From the staff of Kern for someone else? How can my experiences, and doing this magazine Road Veterinary Clinic make a difference in anyone’s life? I will tell you. What I have begun to realize is this, the things in our lives are not important. Things come and things go. So do people. The relationships we have with those people or animals are more important than any thing could ever bring. During the period of not having my own home, we’ve had to rely on family. The many years and things that gradually separated family is now bringing families together. It’s not easy either. Everyone has grown accustomed to the comfort of things rather than family. My hope is that in doing this magazine, we can provide inspiration and true stories of everyday people in our small rural communities that rely on each other and become successful people who struggle against all odds to make a difference, who develop innovative ideas and projects to help themselves or others with ways to get by or improve upon their life. I also want to stress how important it is to support our small busi- Thank you for stopping in... nesses. They are the backbone of our communities. They are our Ya’ll come back now! neighbors and friends. When you spend your money here, you are giving back to your community. You may spend a little more, but isn’t your neighbor worth it? Isn’t your family worth it? I can pick up what Editor/Designer of Mi~Life In The Sticks, LLC

Melissa M. Howard


Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 7

Scuttlebut Because this is our first publication, in place of letters, we will include some questions that were asked of us as we put together this publication. We look forward to hearing from you. In future issues we will post as many letters as we can with your questions, comments and suggestions for future content.

venience stores.You might even try your local Chamber of Commerce. To get a complete list of vendors go to:

Why did you decide to do this kind of magazine? Because I am a country girl at heart.There is no place else I’d rather be. Now marWhat towns do you plan to profile? ried to a “Good Ole Country Boy,” Life We want to profile small towns across in the sticks is a way of life for me! I was lower Michigan.There are a lot of little brought up surrounded with Nature, “nook and cranny” towns that have won- hunting, fishing, art and photography. derful attractions and events. Most of Visiting several family farms and the famthese towns have small independent and ily closeness is something I will always family owned establishments that carry cherish and miss. I would love nothing quality, unique, American made products. more than to bring this kind of living Making them visible to you is one of our back to our families! main goals. In addition to town profiles, we will also want to profile a specific Will you be offering subscriptions? person that has somehow contributed to We hope to soon. Because of postal rates, their community, or is making a name for we have to establish a large enough dethemselves. mand for the magazine so we can offer subscriptions to you.Your feedback and Where will we be able to find this magazine? suggestions are very important for this As of this writing we are still compiling very reason. this list. We will post locations of the magazine distribution sites on our web- How many copies will be printed? site. Some of these places will include We are printing 5,000 copies our first tack and feed stores. Family restaurants, issue. We will increase our printed copcoffee shops and small grocers and con- ies as demand requires, so please let Page 8 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

us know where you would like to see Mi~Life In The Sticks. If you were unable to get your hands on a printed copy, you can see Mi~Life In The Sticks on the web, at

Send your questions or comments to: Mi~Life In The Sticks Scuttlebut P.O. Box 1251 Fowlerville, MI 48836

Ask the past Master We are looking for professionals that would be willing to contribute to our question and answer section of “Ask The Past Master”. Send in ;your questions on something that you haven’t found the answer to, or for a current project you are working on and we will do our best to find you a pro! We welcome all fields and questions as long as they are appropriate to the magazine. You don’t have a position with a degree, as long as you have the experience to back you up. This is a great way to promote your business and get everyone to know who you are. This is also a great place to find that lo-

cal professional that can help you our, or steer you in the right direction.So drop us a line. Let us know if you would like to tak part in this opportunity or send us your questions.

Mi~Life In The Sticks Ask The Past Master P.O. Box 1251 Fowlerville, MI 48836 or by email at:

Your Ad Here!

Put Ask The Past Master in the subject line

or by email at: Put Scuttlebut in the subject line

Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 9

Country Roads

Papa Turts

T he L o c a l Yo k e l

So Hot It Hurts!

Fowlerville has a brand new flavor, and it’s called Papa Turts Hot Sauce. It’s not for the faint of heart, as the bottle says,“Papa Turts – So Hot It Hurts.” It packs some fiery heat, but it’s the flavor that will keep you coming back for more. The product made its big debut in Fowlerville this past February at Curtis Grocery. It has since expanded to the shelves of Save-On, and the tables of the Olden Day’s Café and The Bloated Goat. Papa Turts Hot Sauce can also be found behind the counter at The Feed Bag, Da Shoe, and Danny’s Pizza. You may have seen Papa Turts himself recently at the Chili Cook-Off, downtown Fowlerville. Vanessa Srock, a local Fowlerville-ian, wrote on the Papa Page 10 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

Eugene, Oregon. After a few years there, the then family of three decided they would be happier closer to their own families, and back in a small town “where everybody knows your name.” The Tefft-Blauer’s now have two children, and have lived in Fowlerville for the past five years. For the past two years, the couple has worked hard to develop their business, Papa Turts Hot Sauce. “It’s definitely not something you can do overnight,” said Blauer. “We had no idea what we would have to accomplish before actually being able to sell the sauce,” he added. Their dream started with a garden full of hot peppers. “We love spicy food, and wanted to try to grow several different varieties to use while cooking. We had no idea just how many peppers we would end up with,” stated Tefft. Unsure of what else to do with them, Blauer started making small batches of hot sauce. “The reviews were great so we just kept making it and adjusting the recipe until we got this amazing product,” said Blauer. They quickly found out that the FDA and Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) have very specific guidelines for producing and selling food products to the public. Matt had to take a Better Process Control for Acidified Foods class at Michigan State that was offered very infrequently. “We found out in November 2009

that the class had already taken place in October of 2009,” Blauer stated. They then had to wait almost an entire year for him to take the class. He also had to hire a Process Authority, a person that helps to develop safe food practices and gives their stamp of approval for licensing. They were then told that the hot sauce could not be made at their home and must be made in a commercial kitchen. The couple also owns a FedEx Ground business, and Pam’s Gourmet

Turts Facebook page,“Papa Turts is the bomb, is served proudly at the Bloated Goat in Fowlerville, MI, and will soon be served in our home. And shipped out to my family in Seattle, as well. Gotta’ getcha’ some!!” Owner Mandy Tefft said,“It’s really caught on here in town. We’re delivering a new case almost weekly to Curtis’.” She added with a smile,“But that’s a small town for you… word travels quickly!” Mandy Tefft, and her husband, Matt Blauer, Owners of Papa Turts Hot Sauce, know the benefits of living in a small town. Tefft grew up in Fowlerville but moved away after graduating from high school. Blauer grew up in Huntington Woods, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, but a close-knit community that has a small town feel. The couple met in Kalamazoo while attending college. After college they moved to Seattle, Washington and felt swallowed up by the enormous city. “People were not as friendly as they are here,” said Tefft and the couple eventually moved to Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 11

To Go in Brighton, Michigan, is a frequent stop on Matt’s delivery route. Pam agreed to let Matt use her kitchen one day per weekend for a set amount of rent per month. After the kitchen was inspected by the MDA, and the proper paperwork and licensing fees were submitted, Papa Turts Hot Sauce was finally licensed to sell their product to the public. The couple also had their basement inspected for hot sauce storage, and after paperwork and another licensing fee, they were approved. They found out that turning their basement into a commercial kitchen would be easier than expected, and plan to do so over the next couple of months. Once the Tefft-Blauer’s paid the yearly fees and were finally licensed, they had other costs to consider. They had to purchase and register a specific barcode, create a website, find a bottle supplier, a habanero pepper supplier, an artist to design the label, and stores to carry the hot sauce. The couple considers their website a “work in progress,” and were surprised at the amount of work that goes into getting a website off the ground. They had to find a website domain registry, web host, web designer, and have the site set up for a pay pal account. Blauer said,“Each of the steps we have taken have been costly. It’s hard because you want to make a living doing this, and we all know you need to spend money to make money… You keep pushing forward because you really believe in what you are doing, and you just have to hope Page 12 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

that you will come out ahead in the end.” They plan to eventually sell the FedEx Route and focus on expanding their business, adding more flavors of sauce. Blauer stated,“We have a Smoked Pepper Sauce in the works that is not quite as hot, but it’s made with chipotles and sun-dried tomatoes, and the flavor is awesome.” In the meantime, their focus is to supply more stores with the product and get the brand to be more widely recognized. The couple said their “big dream for the future” includes purchasing one of the empty factories in town, converting it to produce sauce, and being able to hire people within the community. One unique thing the couple is doing with the hot sauce is letting customers create custom labels for their own businesses to use as advertising or promotional products, or for special events such as family reunions or bachelor parties. They have an artist in Los Angeles that they work with, but you could also use your own artwork. Home-

town Bicycles, LLC, in Brighton, Michigan has just partnered with Papa Turts to create a custom label hot sauce. Shaun at Hometown Bicycles plans to give bottles of the sauce away as a promotional item when customers come in for tune-ups, etc. Bottles of Papa Turts were recently given away as wedding favors at a wedding in Colorado. Ira Sweetwine of Denver, Colorado wrote on the Papa Turts Facebook page,“I gave away over 250 bottles of Papa Turts Hot Sauce to our guests at our wedding and they are all still talking about it! There is none other like it on the planet! Full of flavor and perfect heat.....” Blauer has also done special label bottles of sauce for bachelor parties of several of his close friends. “It makes a great keepsake bottle even after the hot sauce is gone,” said Tefft. If you are wondering where the Papa Turts name came from, there is a story behind the sinister looking turtle on the label. Blauer is a self-proclaimed dreamer, and starting in high school his friends began calling him Turtle for being a little slow to catch on and always in his own little world (and not moving forward when the stoplight turned green). After his daughter was born, his friends started calling him Papa Turts. When the couple was looking for a name for the tasty sauce, one of their friends suggested they call it “Papa Turts – So Hot It Hurts.” And the turtle on the label was born shortly thereafter. The hot sauce is currently available for purchase at Curtis Grocery in Fowlerville, Michigan, Save-On in Fowlerville, Michigan, Pam’s Gourmet To Go in Brighton, Michigan, and Flame To Fire in Hartland, Michigan. You can begin looking for the new flavor in the next couple of months. The couple encourages anyone who wants to see Papa Turts Hot Sauce at a specific store or restaurant to ask them to carry it. The contact information can be found on their website at The Tefft-Blauer’s added,“We have had so many people tell us that they love our hot sauce, that they are ‘addicted to it’ and ‘put it on everything!’ We are so happy to share our passion for flavor with others.” Beautifully written and submitted by Mandy Tefft-Blauer, Co-owner of Papa Turt’s Hot Sauce, So Hot It Hurts!

Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 13

Fowlerville R.F.D

Town Draw

slew of items sent through the mail service. In the spring of 1900, G.L. Adams of the The Fowlerville ReBy Marion L. Cornett view announced,“The prospects for the free mail delivery Editor and Compiler of The Fowlerroute in Conway are very good. Mr. Rambo has completed ville Chronicles all his work, the petition is endorsed by congressman Sam. W. Smith and is now up to the government for a final decision. “Before 1896, there was no rural delivery A special agent will inspect the route in a few days and upon system. Farmers’ organizations, espehis recommendation it will probably soon be established. In cially the National Grange, were active in a letter to this office last week, congressman Smith says he is getting Congress to provide money for free delivery of mail anxious to furnish his district with the free rural delivery, and to rural areas. In 1896, the first rural deliveries were made in another column in this issue we publish the conditions in West Virginia. The system was called Rural Free Delivery under which it may be secured.” (R.F.D.). The number of delivery routes increased during the The southern part of Conway Township would be the inearly 1900s. In 1917, the service was extended to most rural augural route for the outlying areas around the village. It was areas.” This short synopsis, from the World Book Encyclopedia, at this time that the government inspector and Fowlerville’s only gives a glimpse of the whole story behind the formation Postmaster Cooper created the route, rode it a few times beof the rural free delivery service offered to farmers and outlyfore giving approval, and then decided it was one of the best ing residents across the country. beginning routes created for the area. To begin, let’s put a few things into perspective. In 1890, Two short months later, another article showed up in the over 41 million people lived outside of villages and cities; local newspaper announcing the appointed carrier, F.N. Parapproximately 65 percent of the population having to trek sons, as well as the established route. The article and a map of into town on a regular basis. That is, if they were interested in the southern portion of Conway Township (Fig. 1) follows: “A what mail might be waiting for them at the centralized post new free mail delivery route has been established in Conway, office in their area. the necessary requirements of the government post office It was this thinking that U.S. Postmaster General John Wanadepartment having been complied with. F.N. Parsons of this maker, a merchant himself, logically rationalized that it made place, has been appointed carrier, and the new service will go more sense to have one person deliver mail than to have 50 into operation June 4, 1900. Following is the route affected people ride into town to collect their mail. He also cited how by the service: Starting from the post office at this place, the businesses could expand their markets through more timely route will go north to Benjamin school house, east to church, advertisements and information, and possibly help the youngnorth to J.B. Fuller’s, west to Jerome Pettey’s, north to end er generations to feel not quite so isolated on their farmsteads. of road, west to Hoag’s corners, north to Cole school house, Fowlerville was, and still is, an agricultural community and west to Dawley’s corners, south to Tunis Sherwood’s, west to may well be representative of what it was like across the Brown school house, south to David Burrier’s, east to H. Benjacountry with the advent of this new service. In the year 1900, min’s corners, south to E. Grant’s, east to Grant school house, rural free delivery service began in the area surrounding this south to Jos. Allen’s, west to E.A. Sawyer’s, south to Henry mid-Michigan village, initially with one route. Finally, a farmer Trouten’s, east to end of road, south to J.M. Potts’, and will and his family did not have to wait until someone could get to terminate at this place.” the post office in the village – possibly only on a once-a-week This initial route was chosen through information obtained basis and probably less in the winter months – to send and on petitions distributed to the residents in the countryside, receive packages, letters, newspapers, money orders, or any Page 14 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

(Fig. 1. This map is from the early 1900s but still indicates the route by a heavily-marked dotted line.) asking for statistics such as how many members in each family, how close the farms were in relation to each other, nature of the roads (preferably passable), and how far an individual farmer would be willing to travel to receive his mail; i.e., a mile to a crossroad or even another cluster of farms. By distilling down this information, it was decided that no route would be less than 20-25 miles and would need to serve about 100 families. But the “free” part of the “rural free delivery” was a bit of a misnomer. Yes, individuals would receive their mail and could leave mail to be sent out, but each customer was responsible, as in modern-times, to provide at their own expense, a secure box alongside the road, large enough to hold a myriad of items and close enough to the thoroughfare so the carrier did not have to dismount his buggy in order to drop off and pick up mail. But, what a small price to pay for the new convenience of daily delivery.

On the flip side, it would appear the mail carriers paid a larger price. They were reimbursed for their work, usually about $500 per year, but had to provide a buggy and two horses (Fig. 2), would deliver the mail through all sorts of weather, and soon became more than a carrier. They would also provide a service of selling stamps and postal cards, had the ability to authorize registered letters, and sold money orders. The mail carriers even became weathermen when arrangements were made to daily display large weather signal signs attached to the sides of their wagons so the farmers could read them from a considerable distance. And, no doubt, they also became a friend and confidante to many isolated on farms. Like any program in its early development, it was not without its problems, though. Numerous articles found in old issues of The Fowlerville Review, would give a blow-by-blow of some of those growing pains. In June of 1900, it was reported,“Already complaints have Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 15

(Fig. 2. Fowlerville’s rural free delivery mail carriers, with their horses and buggies, in front of the post office on East Grand River.) come to this office that some persons are showing their curiosity by investigating the contents of some of the boxes along the new free mail delivery route. It may be timely to call their attention to the fact that meddling with the mail boxes along a rural free delivery route is a crime punishable by fifty dollars fine or six-month’s imprisonment. Even raising the lid, without disturbing the contents of the box comes within the ban of the law.” And,“A great many people, including the editor, labored under the delusion that a one-cent stamp was all that was required along the new rural free mail delivery route to bring a letter to anyone living in this village, and that the same amount of postage would carry a letter mailed at the Fowlerville office to any person along the line of the delivery, but such is not the case. All such letters require a two-cent stamp.” A sampling of stamps, an early 4-cent stamp and a commemorative 32-cent stamp (Figs. 3 and 4) represent what farmers and other mail recipients would anxiously wait to see coming their way down the road. At one point, even the boxes needed to be rethought. One such article indicated,“Several complaints having been made in regard to the quality of paint used on the mail boxes that Page 16 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

were sold on the rural delivery route recently by the Bond Steel Post Co., of Adrian.The company has sent a man here to go over the route and put them into a satisfactory condition. They will be repainted with aluminum and restenciled and made to appear entirely new.” Without question, though, success came quickly with Route No. 1 and by September of the first year of delivering mail north of Fowlerville, a second route was established. The local paper reported,“Free rural mail delivery No. 2 will be established Monday, Sept. 30, to start from the post office at this place. The route will be about 23 miles in length and will serve about 150 persons. Its course will be east to Fleming and then north, terminating at this place. C.D. Cogsdill will be carrier.” Unfortunately, progress such as this made some small town post offices obsolete, such as one in the very small four-corners burg of Nicholson, at the northern most end of Nicholson Road where it intersects with Lovejoy Road. It was closed in the winter of 1900. A couple of years later, the Fleming post office also was closed. By early 1901, delivery to the rural areas was now considered common, with more routes being added to the areas sur-

rounding other villages not far from Fowlerville. Interestingly, numerous articles then addressed more of the problems that would slow down what residents now expected every day. A blustery winter, with deep snow making some roads impassable, would compel the carriers to turn back, unable to deliver until another day. Or,“The rural carriers kindly request that their patrons buy stamps or stamped envelopes before mailing letters, and not require the carriers to pick the pennies out of the boxes. During the cold and stormy weather when the carriers are obliged to remove their gloves and wraps a dozen or more times during the trip to get pennies from the boxes, then come home not in the best of humor, with their fingers nearly frozen. Patrons can save much discomfort to the carriers if they will remember to stamp their own letters.” Swindlers and fakirs would prey on unwitting and anxious farmers; those now willing to do most anything to make sure their mail was never delayed. One article in The Fowlerville Review showed what lengths some would go to in order to defraud the government and the residents with,“With the advent of the rural delivery, new fields are offered the swindlers who desire to ply their vocation in the country districts. Farmers should be on their guard for them. The sharpers go over a rural free delivery route, representing themselves as agents of the postal department to inspect mail boxes and collect the rental for the same. They usually state that the inspection is necessary, and examine the box, and if in good condition, they inform the farmer that no inspector will examine it again for one year. They then touch the farmer for from $3 to $5 for the ‘inspection.’ When such an inspector calls, use your gun or bull dog.” It was hardly two years into this new delivery service around Fowlerville and statistics were starting to stack up. One carrier, C.D. Cogsdill, 60 years old, was commended for his perseverance in making 167 trips on Route No. 2 without skipping a day. His advanced age (for this time in history), bad weather conditions, nor any amount of sickness prevented him from his appointed rounds. N.F. Parsons, the first rural mail carrier, was also congratulated in the local newspaper for the following accomplishments: “N.F. Parsons, carrier on rural route No. 1, has just completed his first year and we take the following from his report, which will show something of the magnitude of his work: He traveled 8,138 miles, delivered

(Fig. 3. Early stamp.)

(Fig. 4. Commemorative stamp.) 11,860 letters, 2,357 cards, 46,914 papers, 1,471 packages, 3,304 circulars and 14 registered letters, making a total of 65,940. He has collected 8,452 letters, 897 cards, 66 papers, 164 packages, 9 circulars, 6 registered letters, 160 money orders, making a total of 9,756 pieces and a grand total of pieces delivered and collected 75,696. These figures make interesting reading for any one that is at all interested in rural delivery.” Within six months, though, of working this daily job, Mr. Parsons retired from his duties and Wilber Cobley took over his route. Mr. Cobley brought a new dimension to his travels by rigging up a charcoal stove inside his mail wagon, helping to Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 17

stave off some of the cold. Shortly after Mr. Parsons retired from his route, Mr. Cogsdill followed suit and Frank Kent began delivering mail for Route No. 2. In December of 1901, the local paper reported,“Frank Kent, R.F.D. carrier on route No. 2, had a pretty lively time with his team on Christmas morning. He put runners on his mail wagon and put on both horses. The tongue proved too short and the runners striking the heels of the horses caused them to run at a pretty lively gait. Frank did not get rattled, but ran them around the village for a time and finally succeeded in stopping the team. One of his horses was cut pretty badly about the heels.” Late the following year, owing to ill health, Mr. Kent resigned his position. The editor of The Fowlerville Review, a paper now being delivered right along with all the other mail, commented,“Mr. Kent has made many friends along his route by his courteous treatment of the patrons who will regret his being compelled to drop his work, but they will find Mr. Spencer as agreeable and painstaking and will accept the change.” And so it goes. The Rural Free Delivery system was well established around the Fowlerville area, with a third and a fourth route added within the next year. Farmers south, north, east, and west of the village were no longer as isolated as years earlier; able to receive news and letters on a more timely basis. Did this change the frequency of visits to the village? Or, did it just enhance their trips into town – with more time for visiting and socializing, shopping at the stores with the most interesting advertisements found in their local paper, and giving these outlying residents an overall good feeling of being “in the know?” Like most programs put into operation, changes and improvements have continued through the years. With the advent of the 911 emergency system, the old rural route numbers, such as “RR5, Box 10,” disappeared in favor of house numbers and street addresses. Mailboxes at streetside are so popular now, to afford more deliveries made on a daily basis, it is not just the countryside that has rural free delivery but most villages and small towns operate in this same manner. It makes one wonder if it is only a matter of time that mailboxes attached to the house, by the front door, with a mailperson Page 18 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

walking from door to door, will soon be a thing of the past and all mail delivery will be in the form set up in 1896 by U.S. Postmaster General John Wanamaker. Sources: 1915 map found on website. The World Book Encyclopedia, World Book, Inc., 1985. on postal history. Various articles from The Fowlerville Review, edited and published by G.L. Adams, 1900-1902. The Fowlerville Observer,, owned and operated by Marion L. Cornett, 2009-2011. The Fowlerville Chronicles, edited and compiled by Marion L. Cornett, Path Publishing, 2010.

THE FOWLERVILLE CHRONICLES 175 years of Fowlerville history compiled and edited by Marion Cornett.

To purchase your copy, online go to: http://www.fowlerville using the pay pal cart provided. To pick up a copy, call (517)223-8154, or email to: mcdesign Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 19

Outdoor Adventures

Please Apply

We are looking for a writer for this portion of the magazine. If you or someone you know would like to write something, please contact us! Hunting, fishing, rock climbing, or other outdoor activities. Any thing that has to do with enjoying the Great Outdoors in Michigan. Contact MI~Life In The Sticks or submit an article at or mail to: P.O. Box 1251 Fowlerville Mi. We look forward to hearing from you! Melissa M. Howard Page 20 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

Page 21 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

Tillage Conventional Versus Conservation Tillage

Conventional crop production practices that include moldboard plowing affect wildlife in several ways. First, they reduce and isolate the amount of natural habitat so that all that remains in heavily farmed areas are scattered remnant patches, wet depressions, and linear strips in a sea of cropland. Second, few native plants and animals adapt to, or can tolerate, heavily managed croplands.Third, the practices leave little food or shelter for wildlife during the winter months.The greatest impact to wildlife is the practice of fall plowing, which is often used with conventional tillage. Conservation tillage is a broad term referring to several tillage methods that maintain crop residue (stubble or other plants) on the field surface.These tillage methods reduce wind and water erosion, conserve soil moisture, and increase organic matter, which result in better soil structure. Studies have shown that conservation-tillage fields can have yields that equal or exceed conventional-tillage fields, and the practice cuts production costs considerably.The Page 22 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011


approach varies from “minimum tillage,” where about 20 percent of the previous year’s crop residue is left, to “no till”, where at least 90 percent of the previous year’s crop residue remains on the soil surface. Although not as productive for wildlife as unfarmed habitat in various stages of succession, conservation tillage is far superior than conventional tillage. Conservation tillage causes less compaction of the soil, (compaction occurs when heavy equipment and implements cross the field over and over), which has a positive effect on the soil, allowing water Melissa M. Howard to peculate into the soil instead of causing erosion and washing pesticides and fertilizers into the surface water.The soilʼs better permeability also favors soil invertebrates. Invertebrates account for 90 to 95 percent of all animal species, and play a critical role in soil health. Growers need insects, spiders, worms, snails, and nematodes because the invertebrates act as decomposers, pollinators, soil conditioners, food sources for higher organisms, and control agents for other organisms, which may be harmful. Conservation tillage overall is better for wildlife than conventional tillage. Crop residues serve as mulch, safeguarding soil from wind and water erosion while conserving soil moisture.The crop residues furnish nutrients, shelter, and micro-climates that soil organisms need. Pheasants, grasshopper sparrows, and meadowlarks will nest in no-tilled fields where residue is sufficient. Migrating waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds such as snow buntings, Lapland longspurs, and common redpolls--along with pheasants, quail, and other winter residents--rely on waste

corn, soybeans, other grains, and weed seeds for food. Vesper sparrows show a clear preference in spring and summer for foraging in fields with the most crop residue, probably because one of their favorite foods--spiders-- live in the residues. Cover is also increased and song perches are elevated. Large, open fields with no natural cover only attract a few bird species such as the brown headed cowbird, horned lark, Vesper sparrow, and killdeer. Similarly, few mammals use these open fields, such as deer and white-footed mice, voles, and ground squirrels. Many more species--and as many as five times more birds--prefer the edge over the middle of such clear fields. Consequently, as field size increases, the proportion of field edge decreases and so does the average abundance of birds per field. Road-to-road farming operations that remove old fields, woody cover, and edge habitats can lead to a huge decline in the number and kinds of wildlife. Other Conservation-minded Farming Practices Most wildlife depend on a number of habitat types for food and cover. Greater wildlife abundance and diversity are possible through management of the entire ecosystem rather than management of an individual area or species. For the greatest impact, consider the total picture--how croplands, forests, and wetlands can provide good living conditions to a variety of wildlife. If some food and cover types are available on nearby areas, best results may be achieved by providing an element of the habitat that is missing. Management is also more effective when neighboring lands are involved. Greater varieties of food and cover will result in more abundant wildlife. Here are several practices to consider. In addition, the Crop Fields chapter will have additional information. Crop rotation is a time-honored farming practice that reduces plant diseases and increases soil nutrients and yields. When alfalfa, clover and other legumes are worked into the rotation, valuable nitrogen is produced, along with insects and nesting cover for wildlife. Organic farming practices that rely on composting and manuring of fields may help improve the compatibility between crop and animal production practices and wildlife conservation. Organic farmers usually use less conventional tillage, avoid manufactured fertilizers and pesticides, have greater crop diversification, rely on crop rotations, and cultivate smaller fields. Field borders, shelterbelts, and fencerows between fields and around the perimeter of fields can help wildlife if

the borders contain grasses, legumes, and fruit-bearing shrubs. The more diversity, the greater the attraction to more wildlife species. Wider is always better. At a minimum, borders should

Melissa M. Howard

be at least 30 feet wide. Such linear borders are important for wildlife because they provide edge cover and travel lanes (corridors) between habitats. For more information see the chapter in this section on Field Borders and Corridors.Hayfields will provide desirable plants used by livestock and preferred by wildlife. Lack of vigorous growth and an increasing amount of undesirable plant species that invade hayfields may be signs of low fertility, low pH, and a need for replanting. Burning, mowing, and grazing are three common practices to rejuvenate hayfields and retard natural succession. Burning and mowing should be done before April 15 or after July 15, so nesting wildlife will be spared. Separating pastures into units and grazing them alternately will prevent over-use by livestock and allow wildlife to nest undisturbed in unused units. Grass areas next to ponds and other wetlands, where wildlife naturally congregate, should be fenced off to protect water quality and nesting wildlife. A minimum of 100 feet of perimeter protection is recommended. Hayfields can be established with either native or introduced grasses and legumes. Lands that have Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 23

been taken out of production are often planted with cool season grasses such as timothy or orchard grass, or legumes like ladino and sweet clover. Native, warm season grasses-switchgrass, big bluestem and Indiangrass--have their greatest growth in mid-summer and give landowners an option to continually mowing or grazing coolseason grasses and legumes. Planting a field of cool season and another with warm season grasses provides different heights and densities, which wildlife find attractive. Refer to the Hayfields chapter in this section for more information Other areas such as field corners, rocky and lowyield fields, eroded gullies, rights-of-way, and old orchards can be planted with a mixture of trees,shrubs, and grasses. Orchard fruit is a delicacy for many wildlife species. Ripe apples and pears attract grouse, quail, rabbits, raccoons, foxes, opossums, squirrels, skunks, and deer. Wherever fruit

rows of grain next to brushy areas increases their value during winter.The management of other areas will vary depending on what is currently there. In summary, even though your goal may be financial, studies indicate that new crop management methods increase your overhead while helping wildlife. Indeed, cropland management can be both beneficial to the landowner and to wildlife.The following chapters in this section explain a variety of management options that do just that. Last Revised: September 29, 1999 Sargent, M.S and Carter, K.S., ed. 1999. Managing Michigan Wildlife: A Landowners Guide. Michigan United Conservation Clubs, East Lansing, MI. 297pp.

Former neighbor, Mr. Bill Bugard, cutting my hay. Melissa M. Howard

trees are found, along fencerows, next to farm buildings and homesteads, in old orchards, they become centers of activity for wildlife in fall and winter. It is important to leave some old trees, which will provide cavities for a variety of wildlife. A few Page 24 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 25

Livestock As we prepare our horses for the upcoming riding season, keeping healthy hooves is always on our minds. Regardless of our chosen equine event, a lame horse is something we want to avoid and there are steps we can take to help our horses stay sound. Injuries relating to the hoof are painful to our horses.They cost more than maintenance and usually keep us from riding and often set training programs back. As a farrier for the last decade, I see lameness in the hoof that could be avoided with regular hoof maintenance. Winter is a tough time for all; barn chores, feeding, and hold-

Hoof M ai nt e na nc e

The economy has affected every part of our lives and horses are expensive yet more than worth the effort and expense. Let’s break down a yearly maintenance program using an 8 week trimming schedule with a cost of $35.00 dollars a visit. Six farrier visits a year at $35.00 a visit bringing the annual hoof maintenance to $210.00.This is inexpensive when considerations are given to the cost of a veterinarian examination, medicine, therapeutic shoeing etc. Most hoof problems can be avoided with consistent hoof care and the best part, your horse is happy, sound, and ready for summer adventures! Charles Lanning has worked as a professional farrier for the last 10 years. Charles graduated from the Tennessee State Blacksmith/Farrier School and is a certified farrier with the American Farriers Association.

ing a horse for hoof care are not enjoyable tasks when it is twenty degrees outside! This is the time to pay close attention to your horses’ hooves. Wet, muddy conditions can affect the hoof and cause problems that creep in to position, ready to sabotage those sunny day trail rides! I often hear,“my horses feet do not grow in the winter”.Your horses’ hooves grow constantly. Age, season, heart rate, and nutrition are all scientifically proven factors in hoof growth. While hoof growth is generally faster in the spring and summer, winter is often when problems begin. Maintenance is the key; your horse should be getting a “pedicure” every 6- 8 weeks; never more than 8 weeks in the winter and 6 weeks the rest of the year.This allows your farrier to look for thrush, sand cracks, bruising, flat sole, flares or anything that has the Page 26 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

potential to cause a problem. Naturally, the hoof is an awesome creation, however, many factors influence how it performs. Different parts of the hoof vary in their moisture content.The hoof wall is 25% water, the sole is 33% water, and the frog is 50% water. These approximations will vary according to environment. Hoof walls expand and contract as any other living tissue that is affected by moisture content. Your horses’ hooves do not look excessively long from the basal (ground surface) yet the hoof wall takes on moisture and spreads a little at a time flattening the sole with each day. Riding season arrives and your horse is sore as the ground dries out and now needs possible veterinarian care, pads, therapeutic shoeing etc. which ends up costing more than the 6-8 week hoof maintenance. For example we change the oil in our vehicles on a regular basis. Simply put, an oil change costs less than a new motor. The key in sound horses is maintaining the hoof capsule.

You can contact Charles by the information at the right, or you can send your questions to: Mi~Life In The Sticks Ask The Past Master P.O. Box 1251 Fowlerville, MI 48836 Questions and answers may be published in future issues. If you wish to remain anonymous or do not wish your question to be published, please state so. These questions and answers will be published in the “Ask The Past Master” section of the Mi~ Life In The Sticks.

Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 27

4H & Y outh P r o g r a ms

Melissa M. Howard

in a local 4-H group starting up in the area. Before long, we made new friends, learned a lot about caring for horses and I Pledge... even competition. About a year later, our family purchased our first horse. An My HEAD to clearer thinking older brood mare, pregnant but was previously used in the My HEART to greater loyalty handicap riding program. Between that horse and the 4-H program, I had a crash course in raising livestock and involv My HANDS to larger service ing my children. My HEALTH to better living Over many years my friends and I developed our 4H group and became co-leaders, and volunteers. Even though we are for my club, my community, my no longer part of that group, it still exists today! I learned a country and my world tremendous amount from all the people I encountered during that time. Even though my kids have grown and I am no longer personally involved, I continued to learn more and more During my childhood days, I never knew anything about 4-H. about the importance of this program and everyone’s support Had I known or had the opportunity, I think things would be for it. quite different for me today. In the past few years, I have become aware of a group After starting my own family and finally realizing my own called the Grand Equestrians. I hope to do a piece on this dreams and accomplishments, I decided to pursue the life group later this summer.The Grand Equestrians are a handicap long dream of owning a horse. In doing so, I knew I needed to riding program. Learning about this program and the one time find resources to help me understand what I was getting into I volunteered to help out, was amazing. I can’t express how and how to go about it. important these programs are. Thanks to a neighbor that had already started developing her Obviously, I believe that 4-H needs to be promoted and suphorse farm, we decided together to get our children involved ported. We can’t afford to lose this program and all it teaches Page 28 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

our children, even ourselves as adults! So much funding has already been cut and programs like the Grand Equestrians are struggling to stay around. We need this program to be promoted in schools, all schools. That way all children can learn how to become involved and take part in this essential development program. For those of you who may not be familiar, 4-H is not just about livestock and farming. 4-H has grown and developed tremendously and is an essential program

One unique model was the 4-H Urban Youth & Development Program opened on Detroit’s east side. In addition, other programs were developed, such as food and nutrition and for children with disabilities. In 1980, Michigan hosted the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Agents (NAE4-HA) conference in Detroit. Programs such as the Urban Center and other Michigan programs were featured. Money raised was used to expand global experiences such as garden building for children, updating and building new facilities and the volunteer training center. Thus focusing on the youth instead of projects and becoming environmentally friendly.

A great way to learn more about your local 4-H programs is to attend one of the many events offered though your local extension office. 4-H Exploration Days is one of these events. This event will be held this year on June 22-24, 2011. More information on this event can be attained by visiting http:// Additional information regarding 4-H and programs offered can be found at your local extension office, or by contacting the MSU Extension Campus Office at 517-432-7575. By email at or visit

for youth development. 4-H gives youth, and anyone who volunteers the opportunity to explore new ideas.This experience will help our youth Whether you become a member or volunteer, or not, be sure make new friendships and develop skills that will help them to support your local 4-H programs. 4-H is definitely a fundasucceed throughout life! mental building block in the development of our children and 4-H became organized in 1902 by local educators, along our community. with agricultural colleagues in Iowa and Ohio, to teach young farm children about home and farm management. It finally appeared in Michigan in 1908. In the succeeding 30 years, 4-H developed into livestock, canning, baking and agriculture clubs across the country.Today, business and technology programs have been established. In 1914, the USDA took leadership in establishing the National Cooperative Extension Service, which helped link these clubs across the country. By 1936, 4-H membership was one million, nationally. 4-H faced diverse populations just as our country did.Therefore programs were implemented to embrace this diversity regardless of race, ability or geography. Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 29

2011: Year of the Tomato

Who Knew? Tomatoes didn’t come from Spain or Italy? The tomato’s wild relatives originated in South America, most likely in the Andes Mountains, but the fruit was not cultivated by the Andean people. Instead, it traveled over 2,000 miles north of its center of origin to Central America where the pre-Mayan people grew and domesticated the plants.They can still be found growing wild in the coastal mountains of Peru, Ecuador, and northern Chile. Hernán Cortés and his explorers are credited with finding the tomato in an Aztec market around 1520 and transporting the seed to Spain. From there, the tomato traveled throughout Europe and across the channel to England.

Colonialists brought many plants from Europe to the New World, and the tomato was one of them.Thomas Jefferson raised them as ornamental plants at Monticello in 1781, but it wasn’t until the1800s that people in North America began to relish tomatoes as food. In 1880, James Vick’s Flower and Vegetable Catalog of Rochester, New York listed six types of tomato seeds. In that same decade Alexander Livingston of Livingston Seed Co. introduced ‘Golden Queen’, described in W. Atlee Burpee’s 1888 Farm Annual catalog as “handsome yellow slices making a beautiful contrast in dish with the red tomatoes.” Burpee listed twenty-one other tomato varieties for sale that year as well. A select few

Page 30 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

Gardening tomatoes from that era, including ‘Acme’, ‘Paragon’, and the revered ‘Brandywine’, can still be grown today.These and thousands of other tomatoes are known as heirloom tomatoes, loosely defined as varieties that have been in circulation for more than 50 years. Open pollinated tomatoes, which include heirlooms and all other varieties that grow true from seed, remain popular with home gardeners. Saving and sharing seed of the many unique tomato varieties is a labor of love for many gardeners who, along with organizations such as Seed Savers Exchange, help to maintain the genetic diversity of the species. CLASSIFICATIONS Tomatoes are classified in a number of different ways, including fruit shape, days to maturation, and color. From smallest to largest, popular fruit shapes are identified as cherry, plum, standard, and beefsteak. Cherry tomatoes, which range from ¼ to one ounce, are produced in clusters. Plum tomatoes are shaped as the name implies and generally weigh between 2 and 6 ounces, although they can be twice that. Also known as paste tomatoes, they have meaty interiors and thick fruit walls. Standardsized tomatoes weigh anywhere from 4 to 16 ounces and are round, while beefsteaks, which can be 2 pounds or more depending upon variety, are usually oblate. Grape, currant, and saladette are relatively recent tomato types. Currant tomatoes are only about half the size of cherries; grape tomatoes, ovalshaped fruits that pop in your mouth, appeared on the scene in the late 1990s.Two- to three-

bite saladettes, such as the 1999 AAS (All America Selections) winner ‘Juliet’, are larger than cherry but often smaller than plum tomatoes. Tomatoes are also categorized by maturity date.The number of days to maturity means the average number of days from planting outdoors to the first ripe fruit. Early tomatoes, generally speaking, are those that ripen in fewer than 70 days from transplanting; mid-season tomatoes ripen in 70 to 80 days; and late types require over 80 days. Fruit colors range from creamy white through lime green, to pink, yellow, golden, orange, and red. Pink, yellow, and orange are milder tasting than most red varieties. Contrary to popular belief, yellow tomatoes are not lower in acids. Rather, it is the balance of acids, sugars, and aromatics that distinguishes the taste of one tomato from another. GROWTH HABITS Tomato varieties are also distinguished by their growth habits, which may be determinate or indeterminate. Determinate tomatoes are relatively compact, and reach a predetermined height or number of fruit clusters. Indeterminate tomato plants grow, blossom, and produce tomatoes throughout the growing season.They can reach up to 12 feet tall, and produce many main stems, all of which are capable of flowering and fruiting.There is a third type called semi-determinate which is bushy like a determinate, but will set and ripen fruit over a longer period of time. Many gardeners start their tomato plants from seed, which allows them a much wider choice of tomato varieties than a garden center is likely to offer. Tomato seed should be sown indoors

about 6 weeks before the last expected frost date. Use a sterile germination mix as the growing medium, and make sure the planting tray has holes for drainage. Moisten the growing mix and sow the seeds, covering them lightly. Keep the planted tray from drying out by misting or covering gently with newspaper or plastic, and for maximum germination, warm the soil to 70 to 75 degrees F by placing the tray on a heat mat or other warm surface.The seeds will germinate in about a week. Remove the cover when most of the seeds have sprouted and place the seedlings in a sunny location. After they develop at least one set of true leaves, it’s time to move the plants to individual pots filled with soilless planting mix. Prick out the seedlings, disturbing their roots as little as possible. Make holes in the medium with a pencil and place each seedling gently in a hole, firming the soil around it. After “resting” in the shade for a day, young plants will need as much direct sunlight as possible—twelve hours a day is desirable—to keep them from becoming leggy. Gardeners often use grow lights to supplement natural sunlight. Preparing garden soil and hardening off. It is important to harden off tender plants before placing them in the garden by exposing them gradually to the harsh outdoor conditions. Put young plants outside where they will receive morning sun but be protected from wind, and move them inside at night. Continue this for about a week, and then begin to leave them outside on nights when the temperature does not drop below 50 degrees F. After a week or two, the plants should be ready to transplant.

Prepare your garden soil by loosening it deeply with a garden fork. Break large clods of soil into small pieces, and work in compost to improve the texture and add nutrients. If you have doubts about the fertility of your soil, contact your local county cooperative extension office about having a simple soil test done. Soil test kits are inexpensive, and will provide you with a wealth of information. PLANTING Tomatoes are one of the easiest garden plants to grow.They need as much direct sunlight as possible to produce the highest yield. Native to the tropics, tomatoes require warm temperatures for good growth, so wait until the nighttime air has warmed to about 55 degrees F before transplanting them. Planting tomatoes too soon will only slow them down. The best way to plant a tomato is the trench method. After loosening the soil, dig a trench and lay the tomato plant into it horizontally. Pinch lower leaves off of the stem, and allow the top cluster of leaves to lead out of the trench. Cover the root system and bare stem with soil, gently firming it where the plant emerges, and push a pillow of soil under the top stem to keep it erect.The plant will grow up towards the sun and, because the bulk of the stem is buried at a shallow level, the newly developing roots will warm up quickly.This is a boon to gardeners living where the growing season is short. Be sure to water deeply to encourage deep root growth. If temperatures drop at night, keep young plants warm with a cloche or other protective cover. Tomatoes are not frost hardy, and will

Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 31

die if exposed to 32 degrees F without protection. Continue watering regularly for about two weeks until the plants are established.Throughout the growing season remember to water the plants deeply during dry periods for as long as they are setting fruit. Established tomato plants need at least one inch of precipitation per week. PLANT NUTRITION Tomatoes need phosphorus, nitrogen, potash and minor elements. Starting your plants off with an ample shovelful or two of compost will go a long way toward making sure the soil will provide for their needs. It will also aid the soil in holding onto moisture, which will prevent problems such as blossomend rot. Many gardeners also add a synthetic or organic fertilizer. Some types, such as water-soluble granules or fish emulsion, can be applied when watering.There are also granular forms that can be mixed with the soil before planting or used as a side dressing, and time-release fertilizers, which can be added to the soil at planting time. No matter what kind of fertilizer you use always follow the directions on the label. Do not over fertilize because this will cause lush plants with little fruit set. It’s best to select a fertilizer that contains more phosphorus (P) than nitrogen (N) or potassium (K). Phosphorus promotes flowering and fruit set. CONTAINER CULTURE Gardeners living in urban environments can grow tomatoes in tubs or large patio containers. For best results select a tomato variety with a

compact or determinate habit—compact cherry tomatoes are particularly good for container culture.The container needs to be deep, at least a foot, with drainage holes on the bottom. Use a sterile growing mix, keep the plants evenly watered, and place them so that they receive as much direct sunlight as possible. Feed plants regularly with a water-soluble fertilizer, keeping in mind that nutrients will leach out of the pots faster than garden soil. During periods of hot weather, full-grown plants may need to be watered daily. HARVEST For the best tomato flavor, allow the fruit to fully ripen on the plant. Wait until it is deep red, yellow, or whatever final color the tomato is to be, because once it is removed from the vine, the supply of sugars is cut off.To harvest, gently twist the fruit so that the stem separates from the vine.Tomatoes are best kept at room temperature, and will store on a kitchen counter for several days. It is absolutely unnecessary to place a ripe tomato in the refrigerator. At the end of the season when frost is predicted, green tomatoes can be harvested and placed on a windowsill or counter. Most will gradually turn red and have some degree of tomato flavor. Placing unripe tomatoes in a paper bag will hasten the ripening process. There are several long keeping tomatoes that can extend the fresh tomato season. These varieties were bred to retain the tomato flavor for a longer period after harvest. GROWING PROBLEMS Most gardeners successfully grow toma-

Page 32 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

mended Vitamin A, 32% of Vitamin C, and a substantial amount of Vitamin K and potassium. Tomatoes are also an excellent source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that has been linked to a reduced risk of cancers. For the best tasting, most nutritious tomatoes, grow your own and eat them fresh from your garden. The National Garden Bureau acknowledges two experts who read the original fact sheet and contributed their knowledge. They are Julia Pruitt, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City, OK and Jim Waltrip, Seminis Vegetable Seeds, Saticoy, CA. We also thank Pam Ruch for her 2010 updates.

The ‘Year of the Tomato’ fact sheet is a service provided by the National Garden Bureau.

toes in their gardens without significant problems. Examine plants regularly and notice any difference in leaf color, size, or shape. If you notice holes, it probably means that there are insects eating the foliage. If an unidentified problem develops, take a sample of the leaf or fruit and contact the local cooperative extension office for assistance.The National Garden Bureau recommends rotating tomatoes and other crops in your garden on a three to five year cycle, that is, do not grow the same crop in the same place more often than every third year. When browsing through tomato seed packets in a store you may notice the letters V, F, N, or T on the description. These letters mean the plant is genetically tolerant of certain diseases or viruses. NUTRITIONAL VALUE Tomatoes provide abundant vitamins and minerals. One cup of cherry tomatoes will provide 25% of daily recom-

2010 ALL-AMERICA SELECTIONS® WINNERS Gaillardia F1 ‘Mesa Yellow’ Snapdragon F1 ‘Twinny Peach’ Viola F1 ‘Endurio Sky Blue Martien’ Zinnia ‘Zahara Starlight Rose’ Echinacea purpurea ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ Marigold F1 Hybrid African ‘Moonsong Deep Orange’ Zinnia ‘Double Zahara Cherry’ Zinnia ‘Double Zahara Fire’ Pepper ‘Cajun Belle’ Watermelon F1 Hybrid ‘Shiny Boy’

SEED SOURCE LIST FOR HOME GARDENERS The following seed companies, as of September 2009, are offering 2010 AAS Winners.The 2010 Winners will be offered by more seed companies than those listed here.The AAS website: has a retail locator section which provides some of the retailers offering AAS Winners. Many companies are offering plants as well as seed.You can also call local garden centers and ask for AAS Winners by name. William Dam Seeds Ltd. 279 Hwy 8 RR 1 Dundas, ON Canada L9H 5E1 Phone: 1-905-628-6641 Dominion Seed House PO Box 2500 Georgetown, ON Canada L7G 5L6 Phone: 1-800-784-3037 & Horti Club 2914 boul Cure-Labelle Laval, QC H7P 5R9 Phone: 1-450-682-9071 Harris Seeds 355 Paul Rd PO Box 24966 R o c h e s t e r, N Y 1 4 6 2 4 Phone: 1-800-544-7938 J . W. J u n g S e e d C o . 335 S High St Randolph, WI 53956 Phone: 1-800-297-3123 Lindenberg Seeds Ltd. 8 0 3 P r i n c e s s Av e Brandon MB Canada R7A 0P5 Phone: 1-204-727-0575 Earl May Seed & Nursery 208 N Elm St Shenandoah, IA 51603 1-712-246-1020 w w w. e a r l m a y. c o m New England Seed Co. 3580 Main St Hartford, CT 06120 Phone: 1-800-825-5477

G e o . W. P a r k S e e d C o . , I n c . 1 P a r k t o n Av e Greenwood, SC 29647 Phone: 1-800-213-0076 Stokes Seeds Ltd. PO Box 548 Buffalo, NY 14240-0548 Phone: 1-800-396-9238 & PO Box 10 Thorold, ON Canada L2V 5E9 Phone: 1-800-396-9238 T & T Seeds, Ltd. P. O . B o x 1 7 1 0 Winnipeg, MB Canada R3C 3P6 Phone: 1-204-895-9964 Te r r i t o r i a l S e e d C o . PO Box 158 Cottage Grove, OR 97424 Phone: 1-800-626-0866 Thompson & Morgan 2 2 0 F a r a d a y Av e Jackson, NJ 08527-5073 Phone: 1-800-274-7333 Ve s e y ’s S e e d s L t d . PO Box 9000 Calais, ME 04619-6102 Phone: 1-902-368-7333 & P. O . B o x 9 0 0 0 Charlottetown, PE Canada C1A 8K6 Phone: 1-800-368-7333 w w w . v e s e y s . c o m

Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 33


Easy Hershey Bar Swirl Cake

The Feed Bag

Stitch In Time’s own Charlene Place a rack in the center of the oven and Hatfield shares One of her delicious preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable oil recipes! spray, then dust with flour.  Shake out the EASY HERSHEY BAR SWIRL CAKE excess flour.  Set the pan aside. Place the cake mix, water, oil, eggs, and CAKE: vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Blend 1 package (18.25 oz.) yellow cake mix with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 1/3 cups water 1 minute.  Stop the machine and scrape 1/2 cup vegetable oil down the sides of the bowl with a 3 large eggs rubber spatula.  Increase the mixer speed 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract to medium and beat 2 minutes more, 1/4 cup light corn syrup scraping the sides down again if needed.  1/2 cup finely chopped pecans The batter should look thick and well 1 large Hershey’s milk chocolate bar combined.     (7 ounces) Measure out 2 cups of the batter and place 1/2 cup chocolate syrup it in a medium-size bowl.  Stir in the corn syrup and pecans.  Set the bowl aside.  Break the chocolate bar into pieces, and EASY MILK CHOCOLATE GLAZE: place those pieces in a small microwave1 large Hershey’s milk chocolate bar safe bowl along with the chocolate syrup.  (7 ounces) 2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening Microwave the chocolate at high power for 1 minute and then stir until smooth; 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract return the bowl to the microwave for a

few seconds if needed. Fold the melted chocolate into the remaining plain batter until well incorporated. Pour the chocolate batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula.  Spoon the pecan batter evenly over the top.  Place the pan in the oven. Bake the cake until it springs back when lightly pressed with your finger and is just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan, 43 to 47 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.  Run a long, sharp knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a rack to cool completely, 20 minutes more. To prepare the glaze, break the chocolate bar into pieces, and place those pieces and the shortening in a small microwavesafe bowl.  Microwave at high power for 1 minute, and then stir until the chocolate has melted; return the bowl to the microwave for a few more seconds if needed.  Stir in the vanilla.  Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake, allowing it to drip down the sides of the cake.  Let the cake rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slide the cake onto a serving platter.  Slice and serve. Store this cake, in a cake saver or under a glass dome, at room temperature for up to 1 week.  (Like it would last for 1 week...I don’t think so!)  Or freeze it, wrapped in foil, for up to 6 months.  Thaw the cake overnight in the refrigerator before serving. Notes:  I do not add the vanilla to the frosting...for some reason it makes it really thick. Recipe from:  Chocolate Cake Mix Doctor.

Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 34

Your Ad Here!

VENISON SHOULDER ROAST From the kitchen of Kathy Huzarski. seasoning Hunter and extraordinary cook of one large, sliced onion many types of wild game. 1 cup of cut up celery Since venison is a very dry meat, whenever we package roasts, we put them into the elasticized netting (bought a roll from the butcher) This keeps the meat compact, for moisture. With the shoulder roast, we prefer leaving the bone in, then put it in the netting.

1 cup of cut up carrots 4 medium potatoes, cut into quarters 3 T. crushed garlic

Put roast into cooking bag. Mix seasoning according to directions and pour over roast. Lay onion and garlic on top of roast and add vegetables. Close up the bag and 1 Venison shoulder roast with bone in meat place into a roaster....cook at 350 degrees for about 2 to 2-1/2 hours...make gravy netting 1 McCormicks Pot Roast cooking bag with from the pan drippings...Enjoy! Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 35

Home Spun Stitch in Time will be celebrating 20 years of serving the community this year. Owner, Charlene Hatfield began the business

Stitch in Time - 20 Year anniversary in downtown Howell. The 20th anniversary festivities will be held during the week of May 2nd thru the 7th. The business was originally operated at 515 East Grand River in Howell. As a result of great community interest in high quality knitting supplies and classes, the business thrived. In 1996 it relo-

May 1, 1991. Charlene is a life long resident of the community. She is a certified instructor from the Yarn Council of America. Stitch in Time has been the premier destination for quality yarns, needlework and classes - conveniently located cated to an exquisitely restored home in historic Howell. This setting provides a superb gathering place for knitters to hone their skills, obtain expert advice and purchase any supplies needed. Over the years the business has expanded beyond knitting to offer classes in tatting, needlepoint, crochet, crossstitch and weaving. An exceptional amount of informational books are available. In addition to highlighting Stitch in Times’ 20 years in business, area businesses will be featured during the festivities. The support received from the community over the years has Page 36 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

been tremendous. Information about area businesses/services will be made available during this 20 year anniversary celebration. Gifts, drawings, promotional material and activities are being planned. Customers will be receiving a gift bag containing information on local businesses as well as Stitch in Time. Stitch in Time is located at 722 E. Grand River Avenue in Howell. Hours of operation are Monday 10-8, Tuesday - Thursday 10-6, Friday & Saturday 10-5. Call 517-546-0769 Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 37

The Family Tree

N otebo o k P a g e s

My family roots are in Michigan; however, both sides of my family have differing origins. Dad’s paternal family came through New York in the 1700’s, eventually settling in northern Michigan. His maternal ancestors sailed from Europe to America in the mid 1850’s. Mom’s parents emigrated from Europe in the early 1900’s.They, too, settled in Michigan, Saginaw to be exact, where my grandfather gained employment with a railroad company working on engines. Dad’s father and my great grandfather were farmers.The family homestead was in Vanderbilt. A trip there in 2008 was bittersweet. Although the road is still named Jewell (my maiden name), the farm has long since given way to being divided into several plots for homeowners. Where crops once grew under nourishment of the sun and rain, and where small herds of cattle grazed, there are now trees and homes of various sizes. The visit proved that a lot can change in approximately 90 years when dealing with land, crops and animals, raising children, and growing old. Grandpa Jewell lived to be 86. Grandma died Page 38 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

when I was 14. He stayed in their Otter Lake home for a time until health concerns required some supervised care. He left the Otter Lake house, the chickens, berry and fruit trees and moved in with one of my aunts. On occasion, for a change of scenery, he would go and stay with one of the other children. He could still drive his car during this time. Confined to two lane roads he enjoyed making the drive to one of us and stay for a week before heading back to Flint. In 1974 he took a spill down the back porch steps and a week later he died in his chair, a supposed blood clot that most likely dislodged as a result of the fall. I didn’t know my mother’s parents.They were German. As mentioned, they came to the United States in the early 1900’s. Grandpa Hillert took a job in Saginaw working on engines at the local railroad. Grandma, of course, kept up the home and cared for six children. Cancer took my grandfather’s life before my birth. Following his death, my grandmother eventually went to live with my aunt.They shared a small home together. One evening the two of them were planning to enjoy a bowl of ice cream. My aunt served grandma first, returned to the kitchen for hers and upon entering the living room found my grandma slumped in her chair. She, too, slipped away peacefully in the comfort of her home. My mother was a breast cancer survivor after being diagnosed in 1990. She lived cancer free, enjoying all that filled her life—her children and grandchildren. In the fall of 1998 her health began to decline and the fear of cancer returned, this time in the kidneys. Following a short stay in the hospital

and two of three scheduled rounds of chemo, she asked to go home to spend her final days. We brought her home on a Friday afternoon and placed her under Hospice care. She died the following Sunday—in her home. My father is 89. He was always full of life and still is, however, Alzheimer’s disease has robbed him and us of his true essence. Out of necessity, dad moved from the home he and mom built in 1954 to assisted living. Nine months after his initial move, further decline in his cognitive capabilities necessitated moving him to a secure assisted living residence where he currently resides under the supervision of 24 hour care. Because of his needs, it wasn’t an option for him to live with one of us, even though that was our heart’s desire as we watched him age and grow more lonely following mom’s death in 1999. For us children, the process of having dad make the move from his home began in 2006. In August of that year, my oldest brother and I accepted counsel from an elder care attorney and with dad in our company, he revised his Living Trust. We also began initiating conversations with dad about the necessity of making a decision for assisted living options. We met with sincere opposition on his part. (Picture arms folded across the chest, feet firmly planted) Yet, over time we persevered with our concerns. In late 2006 he relinquished driving his car (of his own accord) and gifted his vehicle to me and my husband. He continued to live on his own and in 2007 we were able to have a family meeting with him. Also in attendance with us was a trusted friend of the family, a local chaplain who knew

dad. By the time January of 2008 rolled around, not only was it a New Year, it was a new beginning for dad and our family. We moved dad to an assisted living complex within five miles of his home. Within several weeks he was flourishing again, making new friends, and actually began agreeing with us that ‘this was the right decision.’ As the months of 2008 waned so did dad’s cognitive abilities. In September, following an outing to get a haircut, he walked away from his dining room table, unnoticed. In temperatures that had reached the mid 90’s that day, he managed to walk 1 ½ miles before being brought back home by a police officer. Because of his failed capacity to recall events, we will never know who found him and assisted returning him to safety. Within a week we made yet another difficult decision. Dad was moved next door to the memory care facility owned by the same company as his previous complex.The initial move to assisted living left me feeling bittersweet; this move was a hard blow. See-

Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 39

Shop Talk ing a parent slowly fade away to the affects of Alzheimer’s is difficult enough. Add to that the additional reality of living in a memory care setting is the seeing the final chapters of a life being written before one’s eyes. Dad has thrived, for the most part, in his current surroundings. He has a smaller room furnished by the bed that he handcrafted in 1976. Family photos adorn the walls and the TV cabinet, again a handcrafted piece of furniture from his younger retirement years. His television set hasn’t been turned on very often in the last months. Comprehending a movie or the news is gone. His favorite recliner has become a haven when he’s not in the community living room or the dining area.Taking walks is a hindrance since he’s not as steady on his feet most days. Fortunately for us his quick, impish smile still forms when he recognizes us or he reacts to a comical memory. His eyes are able to light up when he focuses on a face and precious are the times he declares to me ‘you’re my kid.’ One of my father’s favorite phrases over the years has been “there’s nothing like family”. I couldn’t agree more with that declaration and as I’ve grown from the little girl who enjoyed her grandparents’ home in Otter Lake to the woman who is able to reflect on rich family values that are woven tightly in the fabric of who we have become. Consider how the woven piece of fabric contains many threads to create an intricate, vibrant pattern. Some of those threads are bright in color; others pale to bring contrast but all necessary for the finished piece.The threads in our family bear ‘colors’ such as hard work, faith, humor, and another one I didn’t see until the passing of time—care for our loved ones. How extraordinary it has been to see genuine love and care extended to my grandparents and now to my own father. The same genuine love and care that these wonderful people, especially my dad, gave to me as a child is now the baton passed to me and my brothers as we care for dad. No, he isn’t living in his home, yet he is safe and secure. His favorite chair is in his room.This is where we often find him upon arriving for our weekly visit. It’s where I hope to find him when he is called ‘home’. Page 40 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

About the writer: Susan Jewell Kretchman was born in Saginaw, Michigan. In 1989 she and her husband James moved to Fowlerville where they currently reside. Both are involved in their local church. Susan served 8 years on the Fowlerville School Board. They have two adult children, one dog and have layed to rest one chicken and numerous cats.

We are looking for a writer for this portion of the magazine, If you or someone you know would like to write something, please contact us! Tools, building, wood working projects. Do you have and ingenious invention or project you have conquered. Please share it with us! Contact MI~Life In The Sticks or submit an article at Info@MiLifeInTheSticks. com or mail to: P.O. Box 1251, Fowlerville Mi.

We look forward to hearing from you! Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 41

BackWoods In this part of the magaizine we plan to evenually have a classified section, Auctions and area events. Download our classifed form or conacact us for more information and to be sent our advertising informations package Home & Business Show / Touch a Truck Clinton County Chamber of Commerce Saint Johns, MI 5/7/2011 Kids of all ages can see police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, etc. There will also be crafts, business booths, drawings, etc. For information on Touch a Truck, call (989) 224-7248. http://www.clintoncountychamber. org/expo.php

Mesick Mushroom Festival

Mesick Area Chamber of Commerce Mesickm MI 5/6/2011 - 5/8/2011 Mesick, the “morel mushroom capitol,” pulls out all the stops for the celebration including a grand parade, carnival, largest mushroom contest and more from May 6 - 8, 2011. For more details on our event, visit the link below or call (231) 885-2679.

Chelsea Craft Show

Chelsea Community Fairgrounds Chelsea, MI 5/7/2011 - 5/8/2011 The Chelsea Invitational Craft Show returns to the Chelsea Fairgrounds Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8. This is a curated arts and craft show that features up to 100 of the areas best artisans. Beautiful, functional, and decorative work. Wearables, garden art, and items to refresh your home for spring. The Craft Invitational will share the weekend

T r adi ng P o s t

with the first annual Western Washtenaw Home Show, and entry to both events is free. Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 11am to 4pm. These shows offer a one stop expo where people can meet artists and remodelers. For more information, please contact Nancy at (248) 486-3424. html

Civil War Reenactment

Branch County Fairgrounds Coldwater, MI 5/27/2011 - 5/29/2011 Our 4th year of providing Living History to residents of Branch County and visitors from all over the state of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and beyond. This years events looks to even bigger & better than last year. More and more visitors attend each year as well as re-enactor groups that want to provide a great living history event to everyone that attends. For more information on this event, visit the link below or call us at (517) 2788032.

Curwood Festival 2011

Curwood Castle Museum Owosso, MI 6/2/2011 - 6/5/2011 The annual Curwood Festival is held the first full weekend in June in honor of James Oliver Curwood (1878-1927), who wrote 33 popular adventure novels and who built Curwood Castle in his hometown, Owosso, as a writing studio. Each year Curwood Festival hosts a celebration of the City of Owosso’s heritage with events including a carnival, arts & crafts, children’s events, two parades, a volleyball tournament, a 10K run,

Page 42 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

3-on-3 basketball tournament and much more. For the latest information on festival events call (989) 723-2161 or visit the link below.

Swartz Creek Hometown Days 2011

Flint Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Swartz Creek, MI 6/2/2011 - 6/5/2011 Come join us in downtown Swartz Creek for fun and fellowship. Hometown Days feature fine craft show, baby contest, car show, expo tent, fireworks, pony rides, petting zoo, and an entertainment tent. The theme for the event this year is country/western. For more information on this event, visit the link below or call us at (810) 348-7901

Potterville’s Gizzard Fest

Joe’s Potterville Inn and Gizzard City Potterville, MI 6/10/2011 - 6/12/2011 With a name like Gizzard Fest you can count on it definitely being FUN! This 12th annual festival is world renowned and includes a classic car show, 3-on-3 basketball, arts and crafts, carnival and lots more. Call (517) 645-2313 for more information.

Michigan Challenge Balloonfest 2011

Howell Area Chamber of Commerce Howell, MI 6/24/2011 - 6/26/2011 Join us for the state championship of hot air ballooning. It’s a weekend full of high-flying fun for the whole family, New this year is a PNC Pistons Party, a basketball tournament and Landing Zone, a creative and entertain-

ing area for kids of all ages to play, shop, eat and explore art. Enjoy thrilling skydiving jumps, dog shows, music, carnival, family entertainment, downtown activities and more. Don’t miss the fabulous balloon glow on Saturday evening and the MediLodge Fireworks on Friday night. For more information on this event, visit the link below or call us at (517) 546-3920. Fee.

Fowlerville Farmers Market

Fowlerville DDA Join us Wednesdays the beginning of May through the end of October from 2pm until 7pm. The Market is located in the 200 block of West Grand River. DDA’s new parking lot next to the Hardware Store. The new market co-ordinator is Kathy Adams 517-375-5132.

Thank you your stopping in!

J.R. Armstrong Author of “Owe It To The Wind” has been selected as a Gold winner in ForeWord Reviews’ Book of the Year Awards!

Introduces her new book ~ “Truly, Everything” now available for $14.95

In the spring of 1967, Michael and Meg promise to reunite in five years to decide if their high school romance is still alive. They fail to keep the promise and thirteen years pass before a chance encounter brings them together once again. After a life-altering accident, can their love continue amidst mystery, confusion, and deception? Visit: for ordering & store details. Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 43

I am sitting here wracking my brain trying to figure out what to do for a closing article. I want someone humorous, but that has a way with words. It doesn’t matter to me what exactly the article is about. I just want it to be light hearted or fun, hopeful and encouraging. Now I realize I have already written the opening article, and I am certainly hoping I will find my humorous writer by our next issue! Until then, I was sent this email from my mother in law, Kathy Howard. The original author is unknown, and you may have already read this, but I found it fitting to the content of this magazine. I hope you enjoy it.

The Green Thing In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized to her and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.” That’s right, they didn’t have the green thing in her day. Back then, they returned their milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

Back Door packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used wadded up newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right, they didn’t have the green thing back then. They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty, instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled pens with ink, instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

I love the look that crosses a woman's face when she puts on a piece of jewelry that makes her feel beautiful inside and out!

But they didn’t have the green thing back then. Back then, people took the streetcar and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus, instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint. But that old lady is right. They didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

But they didn’t have the green thing back her day. In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks. But she’s right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day. Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. Wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right, they didn’t have the green thing back in her day. Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a pizza dish, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for you. When they Page 44 — Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011

My Grandmother, Clara Huzarski. Melissa M. Howard Life In The Sticks - May / June. 2011 — Page 45

Mi~Life in the Sticks Magazine  

The rural lifestyle magazine for people in Michigan that are proud to live in the rural areas of this great state.

Mi~Life in the Sticks Magazine  

The rural lifestyle magazine for people in Michigan that are proud to live in the rural areas of this great state.