Practices get underway for fall sports Jays soon to begin quest for SHAC title Western Brown to hold Meet the Teams Night and OHSAA parent meeting Aug. 8 Norville F Hardyman Carol J Tracy James Witt Ripley officer receives commendation for quick action Bicentennial at Ripley First Presbyterian RULH welcomes new school principals Aberdeen’s Police Dept. continues to grow Mary F McElroy Broncos out to defend SBAAC American Division soccer title Bronco 5K to take place Aug. 5 EHS volleyball team ready for new season Michael C Cooper Raymond Mays Harry E Smittle Jr Mary A Flaugher Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Rickey L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5 Teams compete in memory of Randy Fulton Mike W Smith Roger Helton David A Borders Timothy E Argenbright Joseph W Sherrill Frances K Pedigo Water distribution plans for Ripley move forward Historic Trapp and Wilson building sold RULH graduate wins HFR Scholarship Blanche Malblanc Pauline L Kirk Over 70 take part in 11th Joe Myers 5K Classic Lions Club 4th of July Festival brings outdoor fun to Ripley ODNR reminds visitors to swim safe this summer Changes in high school track and field/cross country rules include school issued and approved uniforms Betty L Philpott Judy B Williams Billie J Russell Remembering Ravye 25 attend volleyball camp in Fayetteville Western Brown hosts Pee Wee Football Camp Eugene L Baumann RULH selects Wilkins as new superintendent Corps of Engineer to study erosion issue in Ripley More funds available through Revolving Loans Jack Hamilton Charles L Glover Maxine M Stires Western Brown youth basketball camps a success Leto to represent Team USA in Australia Broncos hard at work in preparation for fall season Eastern approves bowling team Phyllis Ruth Lois A Manley Eddie L Carr Thomas L Carnahan Cameron Barkley Walter J McGee Gary J Graham George D Johnson Walter F Crawford Jr Charles E Meranda Jr Historic home in Ripley is sold following renovations Hyde finds home at Midway Youngsters work to improve on hoop skills at Eastern basketball camps Sizer named All-District Honorable Mention Western Brown’s Barnes earns All-State, All-District honors Local players compete in SWOFCA Ron Woyan East/West All-Star Game 6th annual Ravye Williams Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament set for June 24 Clarence E Teal Rosie B Poe Monard C Boots James P Conrad James T Dinser Scott J Swearingen Eastern’s Farris earns award for top 2-point field percentage in Ohio Georgetown’s Seigla earns All-District honors OHSAA announces 2017 football regions and playoffs format Western Brown volleyball camps a success with over 100 in attendance Rigdon finishes high school running career with 10th place finish at state track and field championship meet Grace E Fite Students speak out in support of Skinner Ripley Council to pay half the cost for Air Evac services John McGee Timmy Burson Patricia A London

Prickly beauties best seen at a distance

The first time I observed the beautiful yellow blooms of the Eastern Prickly-Pear Cactus, I was on a plant rescue for the Heritage Garden at the Ohio Governor’s Residence. Large clumps were blooming everywhere along a runway close to a small airport in northern Ohio.

A few years ago, fellow OSUE Brown County Master Gardener volunteer Susan Barber shared a “start” of the prickly beauty and added a warning, “Don’t ever handle this without heavy gloves.”

I planted the cactus close to a weeping crabapple tree and soon realized I had made a serious error. I would check on the cactus every time I got the mail and would find the stems scattered and pulled up from the ground. After a closer look, I discovered deer tracks around the area. The deer were walking on the cactus to reach the crabapples. The only good news is that they may have left with a few spines in their legs.

My patch of cactus has never grown too big because of my deer “buddies,” and a few times as I have weeded around it, I accidentally touched the stems and they penetrated my cloth gloves. I spent the next few days applying liquid white glue to my fingers trying to eradicate the spines. Now I admire these beautiful yellow flowers (sometimes with red centers) from a safe distance.

Last year, the Wednesday Weeders at the Governor’s Heritage Garden enjoyed learning about cooking prickly-pear cactus. I have to admit that I will probably never try it at home after suffering through those few little spines embedded in my fingers.

Robert L. Henn, author of “Wildflowers of Ohio,” describes Eastern Prickly-Pear (Opuntia humifusa) as being recognized more often by its distinctive stems rather than by its flowers. The stems are large, flattened, jointed pads, three inches wide, and are covered with needle-like spines and tiny barbed spines that are difficult to remove from the skin. This is the only native cactus growing east of the Mississippi River. It is a rare plant in Ohio, listed as a potentially threatened species by the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves and is a native to Ohio.

Prickly-pear cactus can be found in select sites throughout Ohio and thrives in dry, rocky, sandy areas such as dunes, prairies and shores. June and July are the months you can catch this prickly beauty in bloom.

I can’t believe that it is almost time to talk about our July list of gardening tasks. My tomatoes have grown a foot with all this rain and heat. It is time to tuck the vines back inside the cages and check for signs of disease. It might be time to start the weekly preventative treatment with fungicide.

Don’t forget to email your gardening questions to OSUE Brown County Master Gardener volunteer Mike Hannah at mhannah2@msn.com.

Faye Mahaffey is an OSU Master Gardner volunteer.

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