Weather woes: The other shoe dropped

In the column for the Sept. 11 edition, I wrote about all the scary storms everywhere else and hoped the other shoe would not drop.

Well, didn’t it drop! When our area received microbursts and wind gusts upward of 60 miles per hour (or more some say), it is really frightening. And the odd part was that all the local media stations mentioned — in advance — was there was a high wind warning and then on to more politics.

Usually, if thunderstorms are lurking, the TV screen shows little maps and all kinds of warning colors and we are all urged to go to the basement.

There were no maps, no colors — and suddenly, whammo! As of this date (Sept. 17) thousands in the tri-county area are still without power. Massive trees were twisted and thrown to the ground, or simply uprooted. The landscape looked eerily like a bomb had struck — but only in certain spots.

I was so blessed. None of my precious trees was downed, but branches and leaves were everywhere. And although the power did go out about 9 p.m., it came back on at 2:15 a.m. (I jumped out of bed, wide awake, to wonder about the terrible noise — it was the television coming back on!)

Yes, the other shoe did drop — and let us hope there are no more.

* * *

If it weren’t for the golden arrows falling from the birch tree, if it weren’t for the pink and purple New England asters blooming at the roadside, if it weren’t for the silent mornings, if it weren’t for the glistening cobwebs knitting the grasses together, it would still be easy to see that summer is a has-been.

Seedy-looking cardinals still trying to grow their crests are gluttonous at the feeding board. Apache and Toby are already fuzzy and come in with little sticktights in their manes and tails.

Every flowering crabapple tree is absolutely loaded with fruit and even the ancient shagbark hickory in the pasture is offering bounty to squirrels whose cheeks are stuffed as they scamper to find a suitable storage place.

Old-timers always said when the mast is heavy a hard winter lies ahead, and the first woolly bear caterpillar I saw was almost half black.

Boughs of the Keiffer pear tree are so heavy I’ve had to prop up as many as I can — and I’ve read something interesting about this hybrid fruit.

According to the 44th annual report in 1889 of the Ohio State Board of Agriculture (a fascinating book loaned to me), the Keiffer is an excellent variety.

W.W. Farnsworth said, “My wife put up several cans of Keiffer pears a year ago this fall. I told her we would open them some time when we had horticultural friends present. It so happened that Mr. Terry and Mr. Cushman called and we opened a can and we all pronounced them first class.”

Although they are slow to ripen, if stored for perhaps six or more weeks in a dark place, they are excellent eating.

A Mr. Palmer said, “If I were going to plant a pear orchard today, I think I would plant more Keiffer than any other.” So there, all you folks who didn’t want my bumper crop of Keiffers all these years!

* * *

Rick Blakeslee, the talented farrier who has literally kept my Toby on his feet despite horrendous laminitis these past six years, has every right to be proud of his 6-year-old Quarter Horse mare, Lady Dandy Breeze.

“Bug” competed in team penning and ranch sorting for Quarter Horses at the recent Kentucky State Fair and was in the top 10 for senior open division in the United States.

Rick and his wife Kim have only been campaigning Bug since last December — she was Quarter Horse Rookie of the Year for Ohio in 2007 — and she has traveled to Quarter Horse shows far and wide, accumulating 47 points.

She is the only horse in Ohio to qualify for the Quarter Horse World Show in Oklahoma in November, although that’s a little too long a haul, Rick says.

* * *

If you are asked if you want to see yourself, without makeup, in the full glare of sunshine, before a television camera, just say no!

PBS did a special on the renowned artist Clyde Singer, and came to interview me as one of the “old folks” who knew him.

I did know Clyde, and had interviewed him many years ago, and that’s what they wanted me to talk about. So I did.

But they were all so pleasant and friendly — one confessed he loved Farm and Dairy and didn’t realize I wrote for it! (He’ll read me now!)

* * *

Remember when the nastiest thing you could say to one of your childhood friends was, “You think you’re smart!” I shudder to think what children today say to a friend they’re mad at.

And remember when any reputable professional person — doctor, dentist, lawyer, etc. — would be disgraced if they advertised. How times have changed!

About the Author

A lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley, Janie Jenkins retired in 1987 as a feature writer and columnist at the Youngstown Vindicator. In June of that same year, she started writing her column, "On My Mind" for Farm and Dairy. She loves all animals and is an accomplished equestrienne. Local history is also one of her loves, and her home, the former Southern Park Stables, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. More Stories by Janie Jenkins

One Comment

  1. Pam Frenz says:

    Dear Janie, As always I loved your column. I rarely use a computer, so this is a milestone. Take care, I’ll write on the real mail soon. Your regular reader, Pam Frenz

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