Saturday, July 31, 2021 was gorgeous: light clouds, a breeze to move them slowly across the sky, and cooler, drier temperatures. If the scheduled “Create a Floor Cloth for Your ‘Cabin'” workshop had happened earlier in the week, the acrylic paint applied by 10 textile artists to rug-worthy canvas would have puddled in the humidity. As it was, it didn’t. And just look at the participants and their work in action in the Seitz Family Pavilion.
While we can’t offer you workshop or supplies (maybe next year?), here’s TQF Board President Laura’s recipe for one of the snacks provided. There were also fresh strawberries and hot coffee, but you’re on your own there.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats [quick oats will work in a pinch]
2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet, milk chocolate, or a mixture)
[Optional] ½ cup dried cranberries or cherries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 in. pan with cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl beat together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth and light.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla.
In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients: salt, baking soda, baking powder, flour, rolled oats, 1 cup chocolate chips, and cranberries, if using.
Add to the butter mixture and stir until combined.
Spread the cookie dough into the prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining cup of chocolate chips on top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
[Optional] Scatter chocolate or vanilla melting wafers over the surface while the bars are still warm, allow to soften, and spread by criss-crossing a fork lightly through the melted chocolate.
I think it will always thrill me to overhear someone asking someone else if they have ever been to The Quarry Farm, for people to talk about the animals, birds, gardens and the clarity of the stream. Not everyone will turn over their yard to goats, roosters, and geriatric pigs, but gardens—the riotous kind filled with a variety of native flowering plants—and trees can make birds and clear water more common. This region’s native grasses and trees have long, branching root systems that hold the soil like a strong net. Have you ever pulled English Ivy? This non-native is tenacious and fast-growing but you can remove a large patch with one pull, so shallow-rooted and interwoven is this European transplant. In contrast, ever tried to pull a Common Milkweed in its entirety? Best of luck.
Old Man Sycamore in the north floodplain of the nature preserve has a hollow base that provides shelter to who knows how many creatures each night and during winter’s worst. As shallow-rooted landscapes topple across Northwest Ohio, he and the 300-year oaks withstand wicked flood currents and down-bursts. As the floodwaters recede, the forbs at his feet grasp run-off silt and soil. Within 36 hours, Cranberry Run is clear again.
You hear a lot about native plants these days. Big-box stores as well as local nurseries stock a variety of plants labeled as native. Keep in mind that native doesn’t always mean native to here. Also, ask your green-grower what kind of substrate your plants are potted in. Mass-marketed plants are often potted for long shelf lives, their roots sandwiched in neonicotinoid-laced soils that wreak havoc on bees and other beneficial insects.
Remember that part about riotous gardens? Variety is the spice of life. Some native plants can be invasive without other native plants to keep them in check. The Quarry Farm Gardener finds it necessary to parcel out starts of Coneflower every now any then, as well as Menarda (Bee Balm). Much is made of the benefits of keeping Common Milkweed for the Monarch butterflies. Without Ironweed, Coneflower, Asters, and Common Hackberry trees to watch over them all, who will feed and shelter Comma, Question Mark, swallowtails, and the Hackberry Emporer butterflies? And without Jewelweed and its orange orchid-like flowers nodding on the riverbanks and floodplains, how will I ever be rid of this confounded poison ivy rash?