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Just Outside My Door

September 12, 2013
Elaine Cole , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

Although Autumn is not fully here, we are seeing more and more signs that it's just around the corner. Sunday I noticed the edges of the woods across the road were faintly tinted with fall color as are some of the weeds in the field. The golden rod is in its prime and the sumac trees are getting redder every day. Unfortunately there are very few drupes (fruit) on them this year. Most years they are covered with them. I don't know what happened, but probably it was caused by some kind of fungus.

There are about 250 species of sumac shrubs and small trees and they grow in subtropical and temperate regions in the world, especially in Africa and North America. It can reach the height of 3.3 - 33ft. Its leaves are mostly spirally arranged. The flowers are in dense spikes 2-12 inches long. Each one is very small, greenish, creamy white or red with five petals.

Its fruits form dense clusters of reddish drupes called sumac bobs. Some of them when dried, produce a tangy crimson spice.

Early on, sumac was mostly used for landscaping and for ornaments. Nevertheless, it has been and probably still is used for many other uses such as: toxicity and control, taxonomy, candle wax, medical use, dye tanning agent and as a beverage. I wondered how it could possible be used as a drink and discovered it's almost as easy as making lemonade. We have numerous sumac located just outside our lawn. The birds feast on its seed as long as the bobs last. The only thing I don't like about them is that the birds, and some animals, plant their seeds everywhere via their droppings. New little trees often appear in our yard and flower beds. Nevertheless, I can pull them out easily when they are small. Thus, as some times happens in life, one must often work to obtain the desired results.


September 12: Susan Bates, Henna Briggs, Kathy Crane, Jenna Paige Fisher, Hayley Helm, Chance Alan, Zachary Austin McCray, Connor James Woodburn

September 13: Kimberly Carris, Lois Cummings

September: Adrianne Baran, R.J. Boerst, David Brown, Brandon Coccarelli, Devin Putney

September 15: Chad Floyd Johnson

September 16: Jeff Mack, Linda Wengerd, Shellie Williams

September 18: Tami Baran, Rachel Crane, Gary Emory, Cathryn Gray, Hoeanna Hawley, Scott Johnson, Colleen Meeder

Deanna Sands, Kris Warner, Laura Wengere, Michael Zemeik



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