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Finding a Lost Family By Melissa McCance


real-life story can be so full of twists and turns that you’d reject it as unbelievable if it were a movie plot. How Betty Richard found her siblings after decades of separation is one of those stories. And, like countless “once upon a time” tales, this one also has a happy ending.

Betty’s life had a mysterious beginning. She was born in January 1931 to a Toledo family with six children. Her mother was divorced and working three jobs to provide for her family. She had kept the pregnancy a secret from the other children, sending them to bed early that night when she went into labor. Once Betty arrived, she was wrapped in newspaper and placed in a box. A woman came from Monroe, Michigan, collected the newborn, and took her to a farmhouse in Monroe. From there she went to a couple who had placed a newspaper ad looking for a baby. Although the couple had good intentions, the wife’s significant mental illness made it impossible for them to raise Betty. The wife’s parents took the baby in and raised her from then on, and, to simplify things, gave her their last name although it was never legally changed. Betty flourished in her grandparents’ care and remembers her growing up years as being very happy. “I had a wonderful life,” she says, smiling. Betty grew up and married Glenn Richard. They had two children, a son and a daughter. Their son wanted more information about the health history of his family and began asking his mother about her birth certificate. At first, Betty resisted but finally agreed to show it to her son. It revealed some interesting things and raised some questions! The grandparents who raised Betty knew a last name connected to her birth family but had never given her details. The birth certificate showed that it was her biological mother’s maiden name and also gave her married name. The space listing the father’s name held one that was completely unfamiliar. Betty, her husband, and their children finally concluded that her birth mother made up a father to avoid having the baby’s birth certificate marked with the term “bastard”—a harsh but common practice at the time if a child was born to an unmarried mother. The whole family had started getting curious about Betty’s birth family and began doing some searching. One night in 1985 when they were all at the Toledo Chi-Chi’s having dinner, they realized 26

they could just try checking the phone book for the unusual last name that was part of her biological mother’s history. Amazingly, there were three listed! Phone calls followed and Betty discovered she had located several of her siblings. Some were cautious at first, understandably suspicious of someone coming out of nowhere claiming to be a sister, but plans were finally made to meet. Betty relates that she stood in her driveway, birth certificate in hand to prove who she was, more than a little anxious. Would they accept her? Would they want to know this long-lost sister? All doubt was erased when the women coming to that first meeting nearly burst out of the car and came running up the driveway, arms open to hug the sister they never knew they had. Over time, Betty connected with her four sisters and two brothers and they discovered that there must have been many times when their paths had crossed without any of them knowing it. Eventually, Betty met the woman who had driven from Monroe the night she was born to collect her and take her to her adoptive parents. Betty reports that the woman would not reveal the name of Betty’s birth father, so one piece of the puzzle remains a mystery. Despite that, Betty enjoyed the years she had with her siblings and newfound extended family. Her daughter Beth laughed as she described going to the family reunions and being surrounded by people who looked like her mother, her brother and herself—people she’d never met until she was an adult. The story of how Betty Richard was reunited with her siblings is, indeed, an amazing one. Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction!




COLDWELL BANKER Denny Groves and Associates

By Sarah Gray

Coldwell Banker Denny Groves and Associates recently celebrated three of its realtors at the 2017 Hillsdale County Board of Realtors awards meeting in December. Becki Jaegar was named Realtor of the Year Christine Bowman was named Rookie of the Year Mary Brandeberry was given the Lifetime Achievement Award. Becki Jaegar

Christine Bowman

How long have you been at Coldwell Banker Denny Groves and Associates? Becki: I’ve been in real estate since the fall of 2015. In 2016 I was Rookie of the Year for southwest Michigan and this year was chosen as the 2017 Realtor® of the Year for doubling my career sales from the previous year as well as all the volunteering that I do. Some of the services I am most proud of include the Samaritan Purse Project which helps rebuild from the flooding, being a member of the Jonesville Presbyterian Church, and a board member for Life Challenge. Christine: Just shy of two and a half years. Mary: Twenty-nine years in April. I became a realtor in 1989. In 1993 I obtained an associate broker’s license. I have maintained my career at Coldwell Banker Denny Groves & Associates as the only company I have worked through. I love the knowledge and training sessions learned through them over the years. Technology in all aspects of real estate is growing at a rapid pace and the leaders at Coldwell Banker have aided us in staying abreast on these changes. What made you want to go into this profession? Becki: I was not happy being retired. My job was a reason for getting up in the mornings, something to look forward to. In fact I still maintain my registered nurse license. Christine: Tim and Sherri Groves made me do it! In all honesty, real estate just seemed like a natural fit for me. I get to use my network, skills, and knowledge gained in my past work life in community/economic development, my strong interpersonal skills, and my gift for marketing/promotion, to effectively serve my sellers and buyers. Mary: The ability to help others in some way. Real Estate seemed to be a good fit. I enjoy negotiating. 28

Mary Brandeberry

What do you love about your job? Becki: It’s the people! I love to help them through the process of being a new home owner. I also am able to assist current home owners to move up or expand using real estate as an investment opportunity for their future. It is also a way to gain new friendships. Christine: No two transactions, customers, or properties are the same, so it’s a continual learning process. And because I don’t punch a time clock, I can still do the community service work I enjoy, like being a Junior Achievement volunteer. Mary: The interaction with people and the excitement of sellers selling and buyers finding their perfect fit for them. I enjoy the overall challenge of the job. Who is your inspiration? Becki: It was my Dad, the late Herb James, he was an entrepreneur. He always told us that he learned from “tough knocks university.” He learned from his mistakes and shared what he learned to whoever would listen. Never be afraid to try anything! If it was hard, try again and find another way to do it. Christine: It changes, depending on what I’m going through at the moment, personally or professionally. My biggest source of inspiration is my family, especially my sister Michelle and my husband Tim who are not above “inspiring me” with a reality check when warranted! I also receive constant inspiration from my small group of friends and business mentors who constantly inspire me by outwardly displaying their commitment to their family and their craft. Mary: My clients, both buyers and sellers, are my inspiration.

What are some issues facing women in business today? Becki: One issue that I still see and hear comes from men still thinking that most women cannot handle something better than they can. I believe there are more women becoming business owners and more women to men in the job market. Women are more willing to take any job and work hard and move upward in the profession. The flexibility of many jobs and the ability to work from home is something that is also beneficial to women. Christine: I find it disappointing that successful businesswomen are still often viewed as arrogant, cut-throat divas. Even more disappointing is I see this perception perpetuated more often by women than men. I’m thankful to currently work in an environment where successful women are celebrated and positively supported, by both women and men. Mary: Having to manage home, work and play. The long hours, seven days a week, including holidays and weekends. Needing to be technologically savvy and have excellent communication skills. However, patience and understanding along with being a good listener is extremely important. Coldwell Banker Denny Groves and Associates has been Hillsdale County’s Real Estate Authority since 1986. Their staff of dedicated realtors has the knowledge and experience to guide its clients through every step of the home buying or selling experience. With more than 100 years combined expertise in commercial, residential, waterfront, agricultural, hunting properties, and vacant land, Denny Groves and Associates is also a full-service real estate brokerage firm. For more information about Coldwell Banker Denny Groves and Associates or to find a home listed by Coldwell Banker visit www.homesofhillsdale.com or call 517-439- 1511. They can also be found on Facebook.

Age Laws That Affect Children When is your child considered an adult? When does your legal responsibility to provide support end outside of court-ordered support? Can your 17-year-old be forced to come home? What types of medical care can your child obtain without your consent? These questions are answered in Michigan’s laws. By Timothy Dixon Simply Hers Magazine

Timothy E. Dixon Licensed Michigan Attorney Law Office of Timothy E. Dixon 27 N. Broad St. Hillsdale, MI 49242 Ph: (517) 437-4070 Fx: (517) 437-4062

There are several age-related laws in Michigan that affect parents and juveniles. One such law obligates parents to support their child until the child turns 18 years old. In contrast, another law enables the child to move out of their parents’ home against his or her parents’ wishes at age 17. If this happens, law enforcement will not force the child to return to the parents’ home unless the child is in danger or in an unsafe or unhealthy environment. Another Michigan law provides that a child reaches the age of majority at 18 years old which is when the law considers the child an adult. This does not mean, however, that the child is treated as a minor in all circumstances before turning 18 years old. As stated above, a child can choose to leave the parents’ home against the parents’ wishes when he or she turns 17 years old. Also, there is a long list of serious crimes that allow for the automatic jurisdiction of an adult court for juveniles when they are between the ages of 14 through 17 years old. A third Michigan law enables a 16- or 17-yearold juvenile to be emancipated from the parents either by a juvenile filing a petition filed with the probate court or by operation of law. Emancipation through the operation of law


occurs when a minor is validly married, turns 18 years old, or when the minor is on active duty with the armed forces of the United States. Once emancipated, the 16 or 17 year old is treated as if he or she has reached the age of majority. A fourth Michigan law enables a female minor to act as if she has reached the age of majority when consenting to prenatal and pregnancyrelated healthcare. Even so, the health service provider is required to inform the minor that the putative father, minor’s spouse (if married), parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis may be notified for medical reasons. This notice is permissive by the health service provider and not an absolute requirement. In addition, male or female minors may act as if they have reached the age of majority when consenting to medical treatment when infected or professing to be infected with a sexually transmitted disease or HIV. Similarly, as above, the health care provider may inform the minor’s spouse (if married), parent, guardian, or person acting in loco parentis for medical reasons regarding the treatment given or needed. A fifth Michigan law enables a lawsuit to be brought against a minor for necessaries of life. In addition, minors may be sued for other obligations when there has been a willful misrepresentation of age and for costs associated with medical care for which they are legally enabled to consent.

In Pursuit of Happiness and Pyrex

By Diane K Clow Sewist and Long Arm Quilter Eversew Quilted


Early in October 2017, another of my retirement dreams was realized. I was officially an antique booth vendor. Now I could put the hours spent at auctions and estate sales to good use! My 5’ x 5’ space in an Allen antique mall specialized in vintage and antique kitchen utensils, linens, and Pyrex. Each weekend is spent in aggressive bidding for unique vintage items, then tenderly loading them into the truck to take home and lovingly wash, repair, and price. Last week we (yes, we—my husband collects wood molding planes, anvils, and wooden clamps) attended a Lenawee County auction. Okay, we hit two auctions and spent the day in keroseneheated pole buildings in sub-zero temperatures bidding on all kinds of stuff. I had my eye on a box of china which included six Fire King milk glass gold rimmed saucers and waited until the auctioneer worked through the isles of treasures. This auction represented four estates, one of which included a huge number of restaurant dishes. We’re talking about that heavy china stuff you find in old-timey diners, typically found in solid white, cream, or with a band of color on them. And, there was lots of it. When my china box came up for bid, the auctioneer decided to include it as a “times lot,” which means if they put multiple boxes together, you’re bidding on and buying all the boxes in the lot. Well. Guess. What. You got it. Yours truly ended up with the china! And a box of 223 restaurant china condiment cups. The ones in which the diner would individually serve your catsup and mustard or dressing. They were tan and ugly. And there were 223 of them. Worse, they had each been priced for $2 with masking tape stickers stuck on the bottom. So, I had to soak them, fifty

at a time, in hot soapy water and then scrape the masking tape from every single one. This created the need to call out the big guns. I text my friend Jill the Pinterest Queen, sending her photos of the box of condiment cups and asking, “What the heck am I going to do with these?” Jill soon responded with the findings from her research. She reminded me that handily I have a daughter getting married in June. They could be used as votive candle holders. We could mark the wedding date on the bottoms, tie raffia around the candles, wrap them in pretty tulle and give them as guest gifts. Only problem, daughter Kelly had other guest gifts ideas. The nerve! Jill and I madly text back and forth, volleying ideas fast and furious. They could be ugly ring holders. They could promote smoking and be mini ashtrays. We could break them up and use them for creative mosaics, if only they weren’t all the same tan color. They could be touted as mini clay targets for skeet shooting. My final response was that once it was dark, I could bury them in the backyard. Unfortunately, with the recent cold spell, the ground was frozen solid. So, they still sit. In a box. In the meantime, I’ve acquired a second vendor booth in Allen. This one is a huge 8’ x 5’ allowing for even more treasures and the need to attend more auctions! For you, dear readers, if you can come up with viable uses for 223 restaurant condiment cups, I would love to hear your ideas. Especially those that will keep Jill and me in stitches!

The Good Watchdog By Mary Ann Catron


y mother is 95 years old and lives in an assisted living residence in Hillsdale. She has Alzheimer’s. Although confined to a wheelchair now, she is a strong person and hasn’t given up. She often believes she is supervising the caregivers and other staff. For much of her life, she managed her family, home, and work as a single parent. Dad had a heart attack and died in 1967; Mom was suddenly widowed at 45 with four children and a dog. One of the stories I remember best from this time was my mother’s relationship with that awful dog. It is all true. It was Dad’s idea to get a dog. I was in high school then and not that interested so didn’t go with the rest of the family to choose her. When they brought her home, it appeared to me of all the puppies at the shelter, they picked the worst one. Mom optimistically named her “Lady” hoping she would be well mannered and sweet. “Ogre” would have been a more suitable name. She grew to be a medium-sized dog with a long, coarse coat. She barked a lot, shed continuously, and smelled bad. She hated delivery men, meter readers, our friends, and anyone else who came to the door during the day.

In those days our gas meter was in the basement. As he approached the back door, the meter reader called out “gas man” to alert the homeowners. That was Lady’s cue. She began snarling and growling ferociously. Before the meter reader could enter, we had to lock her in the bathroom. None of us wanted to do it because there was a good chance she would bite us, too. Once confined in the bathroom, Lady slammed herself against the door over and over while growling and barking. The door rattled; it was frightening to see and hear. The poor man had to come in our house, walk past the bathroom, and go downstairs. After he left, we kids liked to let Lady out and watch her run down to the basement, growling and sniffing where the meter reader had been. I don’t think she was putting on a show; her intentions were not good. Mom made excuses for her saying, “it takes two to tango,” meaning the meter reader had some responsibility for Lady’s behavior. If he had reacted with more restraint the first time she bit him instead of spraying her with pepper spray, explained Mom, they might have gotten along better. Mom always tried put a positive spin on Lady’s bad attitude. She said the only reason Lady bit him in the first place was because he “startled” her. I wondered how someone

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startled a watchdog. Wasn’t being alert an essential characteristic of a good watch dog? After I was away at college for a few months, Lady snarled and barked at me when I came home. Mom excused this, too, saying she probably didn’t recognize me. Luckily for me, Lady went to bed after the evening news and never got up no matter what happened at night. I just waited until after dark to go in the house. For a long time after Dad died, Lady would stop and look expectantly at the door every day around the time he used to come home from work. She missed him, too. I think he was the only person she really liked. Lady lived to be very old. Her disposition got worse as time went on, but, in spite of her quirks, Mom never considered finding another home for her. She was, after all, Dad’s dog. My brothers, sister, and I used to tease Mom, pointing out Lady’s numerous flaws and questionable value as a pet. Mom defended her to the very end, still claiming she was a good watchdog. But, if you caught her at the right moment, she would sometimes admit when her time came and she finally got to heaven, “she was going to give Dad an earful for leaving her with four kids and an awful dog.” Copyright 2018, Mary Ann Catron

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Hygge(Hoo-ga) Noun: the art of happy living Denmark is consistently reported as one of the happiest countries in the world which is pretty surprising for a country renowned for its bad weather and some of the highest tax rates in Europe. The Danish people have perfected the art of happy living. The term used to refer to this feeling is Hygge, pronounced “Hoo-ga.” The word comes from the Norwegian word for “well-being.” However, you don’t have to be Danish to practice hygge in your daily life. Here are a few fundamentals of Hyggelig living you can put into practice now. (Maybe you already are and you didn’t know it!) Relationships: Hygge places emphasis on nurturing our most important relationships, our families being foremost. When the time rolls around to clock out at work, everything you didn’t get done will be there waiting for you tomorrow. Leave work at work, pick up the kids, go home, and prepare a meal together and discuss your day around the table. Do a puzzle, make art together, or play a game. The Danish report getting together with the same few, good, closeknit friends at least once a week. Valuing a few friends rather than many allows you to form meaningful and rewarding relationships. Light: Creating a warm and welcoming ambiance in our homes is center to hygge. What better way to accomplish this than with the flickering glow of candlelight? Each person in Denmark burns 13 pounds of candle wax annually (preferring unscented). The goal is to create great pools of light in the home that make you feel cozy and relaxed. Rather than big, bright overhead lights that seem to 66

show every speck of dust and every flaw, choose floor lamps or lanterns. They even make electric bulbs that mimic the flames of a candle that you can put in your country window lights. Fireplaces are even more Hygge! Is there really anything better than sitting by a fireplace and listening to the crackling fire with a glass of wine? Food: It’s all about comfort food. The longer it takes to cook the meal, the better! So, put a roast in the crock pot with some potatoes and veggies. Roll up your sleeves and bake some homemade bread with your kids. While you’re at it . . . whip up a cake! Hygge is about indulging and creating a feeling of contentment. Not overeating so much, but allowing oneself to enjoy life a little and not be such a stickler all the time. Picking one day a week to have a lovely slice of cake isn’t out of line, is it? When you’re all done munching, wash it all down with a mug of coffee or mulled wine. Unplug: Put your phone down, shut the laptop, and stow away the tablet. Instead, put on your favorite comfy pants, a big sweater, and snuggle up with a big blanket, a cup of tea (around that fireplace, of course) and a good book. Read The Little Blue Truck to your kids for the 300th time or look through old photo albums. Have a special movie night with your family. Trust me, there’s nothing that great happening on social media, but your family and friends are with you right now. Forge new memories that will last a lifetime. You can read more in the book: The Little Book Of Hygge by Meik Wiking.

Area Shelter involved in

Pet Talk By Melissa McCance

Massive Rescue Operation Area shelter involved in massive rescue operation On December 29, 2017, Lenawee County Animal Control contacted the Lenawee Humane Society for help with seizing animals from a home in Onsted. Fifty-five dogs were taken that day, 34 of which went to the Lenawee shelter. Five days later, rescuers returned to the home to remove an additional 200 animals: 32 horses, 160 dogs, five cats, two peacocks, and one donkey. An additional 67 dogs and the five cats were taken in by the shelter. Marcie Cornell, executive director of the Lenawee Humane Society, says, “We’ve been in existence for 97 years and have never dealt with something like this. We’ve handled hoarding cases, but nothing on this scale.” Fortunately, about six weeks before the seizure Marcie had brought together representatives from the Humane Society of Branch County, Cascades Humane Society, Monroe County Humane Society, and the Lenawee Humane Society to form a shelter coalition for coordinating animal rescue and placement efforts across counties. When the size of the second seizure became known, Marcie put out the call and members from the coalition shelters leapt into action. Speaking of their part in the seizure, Marcie had high praise for her staff: “I always knew our staff was proficient, but I never knew to what degree until this.” While some of the staff was on site in Onsted, all the prep work was being covered back in Adrian. The shelter was called about 1 p.m. and the seizure team returned around 6 p.m. “The animals were photographed, vaccinated, and into kennels very quickly,” says Marcie. “People had measured the available kennels so we knew just how many animals of each size could go in each one.” The shelter needed additional volunteers, but Marcie explains that caution was necessary. “We had to be sure they weren’t friends of the woman who’d had the animals. We were concerned they’d try to sneak the rescues out of the building.” So, they relied on board and committee members along with friends and family. Once the animals were officially eligible for adoption, the shelter started with the approved adopters already on file. Each one was called, interviewed, and then introduced to three or four dogs that met the breed type or other qualities the adopter had specified. “We aren’t doing the general viewings for adoption that we usually do because it was too stressful for the animals. And, it was 72

also stressful for our staff and for the potential adopters. The sheer number of animals was heartbreaking,” says Marcie. The shelter also needed to screen out people who were acting impulsively—a common response to news of a large seizure like this one. “That desire to help is a good one, but we can’t have the animals coming back once the initial excitement wears off.” Naturally, a huge influx of animals taxes the resources of a shelter, especially when many of the animals are in poor health. As news of the seizure spread, a flood of supplies began to arrive, some from people as far away as California. The Lenawee Humane Society has a wish list on Amazon where people can see what’s needed and shop locally or purchase the items through Amazon if they don’t live nearby. “A truck would come and fill our lobby with boxes. We’d unpack them and barely get the cardboard cleared away before another truck would arrive,” exclaimed Marcie. “It was so heartening for all of us to see the support.” And, while the supplies are wonderful and always needed, Marcie adds that cash donations are also critically important to help cover items like vaccines. When asked how she was handling the situation, shelter manager Stephanie Shay smiled and said, “One day at a time. I couldn’t see the end of it so I decided to stop looking for the end and just go day by day.” She was one of those at the seizure site and shared that at one point she had to leave the building to go outside and have a small breakdown before she could keep working. But, she believes that everyone involved has learned things from this they will be able to use as they move forward and continue in the humane society’s work. While the adoptions are happy events, Stephanie admits she feels a tug each time one of the animals leaves the shelter. Stephanie also has some important advice for anyone looking to get a pet: “Educate yourself on where your animals are coming from; demand records and proof of vaccinations. If they won’t produce them, don’t do it. And, report them. That’s the only way to keep these situations from happening.” You can learn more about the Lenawee Humane Society by visiting their website (www.lenhumanesoc.org) or checking out their Facebook page.

Better Way Day

By Laura Loveberry Elementary School Assembly Author/Speaker, Inspirational Speaker Women’s Retreats/Conferences, Caricature Artist

During my author presentation, I notice a squirming, fidgeting child in the middle of the audience. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a teacher marching towards him. I anticipate the outcome, and I want him to stay for the program. I want him to enjoy all the laughter and learning with the school assembly. This is when I spontaneously change the order of my program. No one realizes the instant change but me. Then, I immediately pull this active child out of the audience as an upfront “volunteer” for my author presentation and fully-engaging school show. He is awesome! Now that’s a great save! Kids who fidget are my favorite to support. So often they are squelched, but not this time. During this high-energy event, we actually get to celebrate his creativity for a moment. This is the part of school assemblies I love the most. I appreciate connecting to the audience and encouraging the best in others. Celebrating student strength is my joy.


In the Bible, Paul writes, inspired by God, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 NIV Bible. We can choose to be patient and kind and bring out the best in non-typical children. Do you have an active child who finds it hard to sit calmly and focus? Let’s bring out his or her creativity. Let’s celebrate the energy and enthusiasm these children offer! I am reminded today to be kindhearted. We can impact others by praying for opportunities to bless others at the start of our day. My day starts out with a prayer to bless others, and God brings me moments. I just need to spot them and follow through. Some days I miss opportunities. This day I find a beautiful blessing unbeknownst to the majority of the room. But one pint-sized squirming boy will have a big-time delightful memory to celebrate from a school author visit. Let’s be compassionate, patient, gentle, and kind. Yes, let’s pray for opportunities to humbly love like Jesus. Simply Hers readers, let’s pray to find ways to be kind to others daily. We got this. Let’s seek out the better way today.

Now is the perfect time to start planning your perfect vegetable garden for the 2018 season. The seed catalogs have probably arrived in your mailbox and you’ve begun dreaming of all the possibilities. Maybe you tend to get a little carried away buying more seeds and plants than you have room for. To keep myself reined in and to avoid waste, I focus on planting garden crops we use regularly first. After those needs are met, it’s fun to pick something new to try each year. The first thing I take into account before going crazy at the garden center is our freezer and pantry inventory. Keeping up to date records of how many quarts of veggies are on the shelf helps me decide what I need to plant more of this season and where I should back off. It also practically eliminates unearthing the can of pears from 1942 at the way, way back of the pantry. For instance, last year we had a bumper crop of green beans canning almost 35 quarts, so this year I will probably only plant a half row and eat them fresh as they come on. Our bell peppers were so prolific that I will not be planting any this year!

Crop rotation and cover crops aren’t just for farmers; rotating crops can be beneficial in the garden, too! To help remember where things were the year before, I draw out my garden in my garden journal; graph paper works nicely for this as well. Heavy-feeding plants such as all members of the Brassica family (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc.) should be moved to a different location from the previous year and in their place plant beans, peas, or nutrient-rich cover crops like crimson clover and buckwheat which can be tilled under before going to seed to replenish the soil. Cover crop seed can be purchased online in different mixes according to your soil type and its particular needs. We purchase our cover crop seed from Pittsford Feed Mill in Pittsford, Michigan. The staff is always helpful and the prices are far more reasonable than can be found from web-based retailers. One other thing that has been my saving grace in the garden since having kids has been mulching. These days I don’t have much time to weed the garden and mulching with grass clippings collected

from our yard or thickly-laid straw keeps weeds very manageable. I’d rather pull 10 weeds than 1,000! I tried it as an experiment last year on one-quarter of my garden and the difference was unbelievable. Here are some fun themed gardens you can try this year! Children’s Garden: Choose plants with high fragrance, textures, and colors to encourage young gardeners. Some of our favorites include popcorn plant, sensitive plant, cotton plant, mint, and coleus. Sausage Garden (also known as the Simon & Garfunkel): sage, rosemary, thyme, sweet marjoram Perennial Vegetable Garden—plant these wonder crops once for years of bounty: asparagus, artichoke, rhubarb, strawberries, grapes, raspberries and other bramble fruit.

Garden Planning by Rachel Yoder


We’ve Got Apps for

. . . GARDENING! By Melissa McCance

Even though we’re still having cold days and are undoubtedly due for more snow, many people are already thinking about their gardens. Whether your preference is annuals, perennials, vegetables, or all three, successful gardeners know that some advance planning is a major factor in a successful end result. Doing some homework before you get into the dirt will pay off!


Technology has put a wealth of gardening information at our fingertips including a number of apps that help you plan, maintain, and troubleshoot your gardens. Here are some that yard and garden experts have chosen as the best cybercompanions for your gardening efforts. We recommend that you browse reviews before installing any of these apps, especially if there’s a charge for downloading. Some will be more useful to novice gardeners and some may be intended for those more experienced in keeping things growing. Garden Answers Plant ID This popular app offers plant identification, help with pests and diseases, and expert advice. Rated 4.2 out of 5. Available on Android and iOS. Garden Compass Plant & Disease Identifier You take a photo to identify a plant, garden pest or disease. Rated 4.0 out of 5. Available for Android and iOS. Garden Tags This app provides information about plants, their care, and helps identify them. Rated 4.0 out of 5. Available for Android and iOS.

Gardenate This one is for vegetable gardeners and includes information for over 90 favorite edible plants and herbs. The planting calendar shows what you can grow when and is localized to your climate zone. Rated 4.2 out of 5. Available for Android and iOS. Gardening Manager If you take gardening seriously and want an app that lets you to track your gardens’ progress and keep thorough notes, this could be the one for you. Rated 4 out of 5. Available for Android. Gardroid Designed for fruit and vegetable growers, this helpful app will guide you through selecting, planting, and tracking your garden’s progress, including keeping you notified of expected harvest dates for your goodies. Rated 4.5 out of 5. Available for Android. GrowIt! This app has been called “Facebook for gardeners.” Not only does it provide extensive information about plants, but it connects you to a gardening community where you can share tips with other gardeners and get—or give—help and advice. Rated 3.8 out of 5. Available for Android and iOS.

iScape This amazing app lets you digitally plan your landscaping before you buy one plant or dig one hole. You can place hardscaping by dragand-drop and then add plants and lighting. Plus, it’s all viewable in 3D. Rated 4.7 out of 5. Available for iOS. LeafSnap Take a photo of a tree you want to identify and this app will help you figure out what it is. We’re including this one because it made several “best of” lists, but we offer the caution that it’s not actually rated that highly: 2.9-3.8 out of 5. It seems users’ experiences with the app vary widely. Available for Android and iOS. Perennial Match An important part of garden planning is making sure the plants you group together are compatible for factors like amount of sun, water, color, height, etc. This app will guide you to plant combinations that will work well together. Available for iOS.


Pure Michigan Camping Now that spring is here, it’s time to come out of hibernation and enjoy the weather! Reconnect with nature and take a camping trip to one of these beautiful destinations in Michigan.


Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Michigan’s largest state park is beloved by backpackers, waterfall-chasers, and campers alike. With nearly 110 miles of trails winding through waterfalls, streams, and endless panoramic views, the Porkies make for an extremely scenic trip. Choose from 63 backcountry campsites or a variety of cabins and yurts! The Lake of the Clouds is a mustsee, but in order to enjoy Michigan’s only state-designated wilderness fully, you have to lace up your hiking boots and follow a trail to the backcountry.

is an ideal camping location. The largest state park in the Lower Peninsula is settled on more than 26 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline with a trail system perfect for wildlife photography, birding, hiking, and biking. It’s easy to get lost so carry a map. But, if you end up on the beach, make sure to stay for the amazing sunset. For stargazing that is out of this world, head less than 10 miles up the road to Headlands International Dark Sky Park.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Stay the night atop the towering sandstone cliffs that line Lake Superior. Pictured Rocks spans 12 miles along the shore of the world’s largest freshwater lake. Whether you hike along the shoreline or kayak the waters down below, the dramatic cliffs are sure to amaze. Pictured Rocks offers three cliff-top campsites and 14 backcountry campsites. Be sure to get there in the morning, the first-come-first-served sites fill up fast!

Sleeper State Park Located in Caseville (home of the Cheeseburger in Paradise Festival), Sleeper State Park is 723 acres of forest, wetlands, sandy beach, and dunes located on the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron. Get the best of both worlds and watch both sunrises and sunsets over the bay each day or roam the trails of the ancient dune forests. Need more adventure? Those using the hiking and cross-country trails also have access to 2,200 acres at the adjacent Rush Lake State Game Area, an area of forests and wetlands populated by many types of wildlife.

Wilderness State Park With cabins to rent, a boat launch, two campgrounds, and Lake Michigan access, Wilderness State Park in Emmet County

Ludington State Park Ludington offers endless activities, but its most popular destination is the 5,300acre state park situated on the dunes

north of town. Ludington State Park is a haven for hiking and fishing. Climb the dunes for spectacular views of the forests, wetlands, and beach lining Lake Michigan or paddle the four-mile canoe trail through Hamlin Lake. Although the park is equipped with 360 campsites and 3 cabins, make sure to reserve a campsite early. They go quickly! Glamping If wilderness camping isn’t really your thing, glamping is always an option! Michigan has multiple glampsites that will satisfy your nature needs but allow you to experience ultra-comfort at night. Mount Bohemia in the UP offers cabins, yurts, and hostels to stay in while you kayak or hike. There are also yoga retreats during the summer! In the Lower Peninsula, enjoy English-style camping at Camp Buttercup just west of Ann Arbor. The English shepherd huts are handcrafted from Somerset, England, and situated on a peaceful plot of land. The owner is a certified holistic health coach and hosts multiple wellness retreats. Plan your camping trip at www.michigan.org


Profile for Angela Blake

Simply hers lr 0318  

Women's lifestyle magazine serving Branch, Lenawee and Hillsdale Counties.

Simply hers lr 0318  

Women's lifestyle magazine serving Branch, Lenawee and Hillsdale Counties.