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home : opinion : opinion June 24, 2016

7/29/2013 3:23:00 PM
Publisher's Column What happened to summer?

This past week has been an interesting week. It started with a visit from our newest grandson, number 11 on the grandchildren list, an occasion that brought all the area family to our home for the weekend. As we have a small house, we had tents set up for the overflow, which worked out well, although the morning rain Saturday (July 20) awakened the campers and drove them into the house.

Our grasshopper invasion continues in full force. The Semaspore organic protozoan grasshopper killers I tried don't seem to have done any good, although I was warned it takes time-which we don't have. The little beggars have stripped the potato vines down to vegetarian skeletons. They have chewed half the row of onions down to the ground and about half the sweet corn down to stubble. They are even eating the habanaro pepper plants, which I figured would be safe from anything. I finally broke down and got some Sevin, but that doesn't seem to have slowed them down either.

It reminds me of many years ago when I lived in a duplex in Minneapolis. We had mice in the building who raced around in the ductwork. I started putting dCon in our ductwork, and it worked at first. Then the mice apparently adapted to it. After a while, they would eat the dCon, stagger a bit and then run off. They got to be some of the healthiest mice I've ever seen. They drove us out.

The grasshoppers won't drive us out but I'm feeling a similar frustration with my attempts to control them.

Tim, the postmaster in Dodge Center, told me he also has a grasshopper problem in his garden in Owatonna, but he has a solution. He also raises chickens, so he is enclosing his garden and is going to turn the chickens loose in the garden to feast on grasshoppers. Sounds like a win-win solution to me-get rid of grasshoppers and turn them into chicken meat.

Our chickens are too young to turn loose in the garden at this point. I thought about inviting the grandkids and great-grandkids over to catch grasshoppers to feed to the chickens-they had a great time catching fireflies-but there's no way they could catch enough to make it practical. I did try catching a few myself. It's harder to catch young grasshopper than you would think.

Fortunately there was a lot happening this week, so I was able to divert my attention from grasshoppers for a while-Hey Days in Hayfield, Survival Days in West Concord and "Dogsbreath Deveraux, the Dastardly Doctor" at the Mantorville Theatre.

The chicken dinner at the Hayfield Fire Hall was a big hit. The hall was pretty much filled when we got there and there were two long lines waiting to be served-one waiting to buy tickets and the other waiting to pick up their dinners- but the lines moved really fast and the food was great.

We had breakfast Sunday morning at the West Concord American Legion Hall fundraiser for Chad Finne. Chad was there helping to serve and is recovering from the accident in which he was injured as a fireman. They served some very delicious sausages along with scrambled eggs and pancakes.

Saturday night we took in the melodrama at the Mantorville Theatre. It was totally entertaining. One of our interns, Alexa Nash, played six different characters, all patients at the clinic where the dastardly Doctor Deveraux practiced. Around the office, Alexa seems quiet and reserved, so it was fun seeing this different side of her so obviously having a ball and completely unreserved.

Summer seems to have become rather a short season. I almost turned on the furnace Saturday. Temps this week are forecast to stay under 80°F and northern Minnesota has frost advisories warning to cover plants. This might be a good time to plant spinach and broccoli. Who knows?

Have a great week.

Larry Dobson

Claremont Service

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