New Friends, New Stories

Home & Garden Show Highlights

It may not be official until this Friday but if the weekend turnout at the home and garden show is any indication, then spring has indeed sprung here in the heart of Appalachia.

Thousands packed the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in search of a new planting technique, new lawn mower or new cooling system. From the simple (free Zinnia seeds) to the sublime (hot tub heaven), the 9th annual H & G Show seemed to have it all.

For my part, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting many of you during my Saturday and Sunday visits, even the woman who said I looked "way" younger in person now that I had lost 20 pounds! (Editor’s note: I still wear some clothes from the 1980s, a sign that my weight has remained constant during my 25 year TV career.)

In fact, I relished in the chance to make lots of new friends this weekend, like Marcia Chapman, a transplanted Marylander, who runs a thriving landscape business out of Alum Creek. “Give me plenty of rainy nights and warm sunny days this spring to get the grass growing and keep my business brisk”, Marcia implored after reporting 4 inches of wet snow last Friday.

Mary Ellen Dennison is one of many who said she has a sixth sense about winter forecasting. “When the cold hits around my birthday (Oct 18) then I know we are in for a harsh winter”. This year it hit after election day, so Mary Ellen prepared for the long cold winter ahead.

I also met a lady who asked to remain anonymous who is a gardener, and was the former sole provider of basil to Rocco’s restaurant in CK for 3 years. “Basil needs warm weather, so you can’t plant it until after the last frost”, Mary Ellen reminded me.

Anna Jo May of Ashland is a flower gardener who prefers to use the almanac, not my forecast to plant her geraniums, “no offense Tony”. None taken Anna Jo but remember, “I have watched it frost as late as May 20th and this may be a late frost year”, I countered!

As far as the winter snow and ice storms, I came across some real neat stories. Lana Wilbur of Oak Hill Ohio said. “A big tree fell on our house, but the roof had so much snow and ice on it that the blow was absorbed by the snow and the falling tree did no damage”.

Lana’s hubby Dave is a hay farmer and he told me about new “squisher” equipment that can dry a wet bail of hay after a rain.

In Ripley,WV, Ada Grace Dodd tells me the winter storm hit Sycamore Creek especially hard. Tree limbs galore were felled at the Bracken Links 9 hole golf course. Ada promised to send me a nightly e-mail with the temperature from Ripley!

In South Shore, Kentucky, Blaine Bently ows a hardware store on Mian Street. "Kerosone heaters went like mad when folks lost powe", Blaine told me. Blaine's daughter Brooke proudly wore her Greenup Musketeers JV basketball jersey.

The Green Clover 4-Hers from Green Township in Scioto County included Makayla Akers and Lindsay Allen. The girls worked the petting zoo all weekend. They also promised to send me an e-pic so when I get it, I will post it!

Penny and Victoria Kanouse have relocated here from the French Settlement district of Louisiana having been thru Katrina, Ike and Gusta. “Gustav was the worst this past Labor Day weekend”, Victoria told me.

Penny grew up in Indiana and told me of her experience in the Great Blizzard of 1978. (Editor’s note: this was one of the great Midwest Blizzards of all time, a veritable hurricane in disguise as a snowstorm that missed our region but pummeled Dayton and Toledo to name a few Buckeye Cities affected).

Phil Ferrell of Scott Depot said “we are tired of winter and ready for spring. I have a small garden and watch John Marra give his green thumb tips”.

Christy Maynard of Kermit brought her pretty daughter Christine by the booth to get a shiny red balloon. Christine enjoyed throwing snowballs at her dad last week (they had 4 inches of snow) and sledding all winter.

Mark Coleman of the Power Equipment shop in Barboursville told me buisness was very good and people were in a spending mood. "They came ready to buy.

So many new friends, so many neat stories; to me, a non gardener, that’s what the H & G show is all about! So you see, even though the vernal equinox is this Friday at 7:44 AM, to me spring has already arrived!


More stories to come and hopefully some pictures after dinner.
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