Hello sunbeams, and happy Friday!

Welcome back to the Good To Grow site, and thanks for being here.

We’ve got a great panel coming up for you today. Let’s start by saying hi to the Experts. Hi Experts!


“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You’re so cute! From left to right, that’s Andy Williams, Tim Thackaberry, EZ Ed Johnson, Dottie Correll and Lewis Casey. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here. (Tim’s unavailable this week.)

We’re settling in to April here in Albuquerque. Most of the fruit trees are finished blooming, the tulips are out in full force. I’ve got Irises blooming throughout the gardens. And of course, it snowed for a few seconds the other day.

Our beloved Experts have been on a long break, they are settling back into their roles. Here’s the question I decided to ask them this week:

Q. Did you pull any pranks for April Fool’s Day, or did you hear of any that you want to try next year? (Or, just tell us a story.)

Expert Andy, start us off, will you?

A. I’m not one for April Fool’s Day because I don’t like to get my own or someone I know’s blood pressure up.  But I almost became victim to it this year.  Every year the Motley Fool publishes a rather dramatic April Fool’s article.  They just publish it much like they do every other day of the year.  This year they sent out an article that basically predicted economic catastrophe by April 16th.  And it was compelling in that they used a number of graphs from which they developed theories pointing to leading indicators.  After I was about 80% through the article, and considering how I was going to hedge my investments in case of such collapse, it hit me.  It was April 1st and they had once again succeeded in spreading a bit of panic throughout their readership.  In the past they’ve done similar things including news to the positive of a “can’t miss stock” that was going to soar 2000% or so and people would go try to buy the stock only to find out it didn’t exist.  The Fools are a tricky bunch.

A. When I was sports editor at the University of New Mexico newspaper, we had an April Fool’s issue. I decided to donate my page to the news section and took the day off. The next morning I discovered they had written my obit under the headline: Easy Ed Fouls Out.

A couple of days later I went to interview a tennis player. She looked at me in horror and said: I thought you were dead.

A. Early in my daughter Cindy’s career as a soil scientist with the Forest Service, she was stationed in Sitka, Alaska.  The O’Connell Bridge connected Japonski Island to the main town on Baranof Island, Sitka.  (you might know an Irishman would be involved!) Next to Japonski was the small island of Kruzof, which hosted the supposed dormant Volcano of Mt. Edgecumbe.  Following is the absolute true story of one of the top April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of all time.  Cindy knew of the culprits involved.


Mt. Edgecumbe After Porky Lit It

Photo: Charcoal Island Photography

Here’s the way we heard it…

On Kruzof Island, about 13 miles west of Sitka, Alaska, sits Mt Edgecumbe. The extinct volcano is 1300 feet in height and covered with snow about eight months of the year.

On April 1, 1974, a clear, beautiful morning, Porky Oliver Bickar of Sitka woke up early to see Mt. Edgecumbe through the window in all its glory. Porky whispered to his wife, Patty: “This is it. We’ve gotta do it today.” Patty smiled sweetly, kissed Porky on the forehead, and said, “Don’t make an ass of yourself.”

Porky rushed to his shop (you can see the name of his shop on Old Blue) and started calling helicopter charters. He called three charters, but when they heard his plan they respectfully declined. One said he was afraid of a white-out (snow), but since the weather was absolutely clear that didn’t wash. Finally, with the help of Harry Sulser, the owner of Sitka’s Pioneer Bar, Porky struck pay dirt with Temsco’s Earl Walker in Petersburg. Although his chopper was fog-bound, Earl loved the idea and said he would be on the way to Sitka as soon as he could see one more telephone pole.

In the meantime, Porky made up two manila rope slings about 150 feet long…each holding about 50 old car tires. He also gathered up a batch of oily rags, a gallon of sterno, a lot of diesel oil, and a dozen smoke bombs. (He didn’t want us to mention where he got those. OK, Pork.)

When Earl and his chopper arrived at the old PBY and Goose turnaround (Sitka didn’t have an airport then), Porky, Earl, Larry Nelson, and Ken Stedman first loaded up the incendiaries. When Earl and Porky got off the ground and hovered the chopper, Larry and Ken hooked one sling of tires to the chopper and off they went toward Mt. Edgecumbe (with FAA “legal” clearance, of course).

Within just a few minutes, Porky and Earl were flying over Mt. Edgecumbe. They could see for miles–just water and islands–with Baranof Island to the east and the open North Pacific to the west.

Porky and Earl dropped the tires into the up-til-now extinct volcano, then swung around and set the chopper down. Porky got out and unloaded all the fuel…just the right stuff to make a lot of black, smoky fire.

When Earl lifted off headed back to Sitka for the next load of tires, Porky stacked the first load in a big circle, poured on the fuel, and started to spray-paint a huge message in the snow with 50-foot letters: APRIL FOOL. When Earl returned and dumped 50 more tires into Mt. Edgecumbe, the two boys finished the arrangement…set the whole mess ablaze…and happily headed back to Sitka.

On the way back, Earl asked the FAA tower for clearance, and Homer Sutter (the controller) said “I’ll bring you in as low and inconspicuously as possible…and, by the way, the son of a gun looks fantastic!” Earl set the chopper down. Mission accomplished…

Although Porky had remembered to notify both the FAA and the Sitka Police (he was a member of the police commission), he somehow forgot to notify the Coast Guard. While Mt. Edgecumbe was busy spewing out its black smoke, the Coast Guard Commander called for a chopper to investigate and sent a whale boat over to check things out. The chopper pilot radioed back to the commander that all he saw was a bunch of smoldering tires and a big April Fool sign in the snow. This was after the commander had called the Admiral in Juneau about the apparent crisis.

Jimmy Johnson, Vice President of Alaska Airlines, had also heard about Mt. Edgecumbe’s activity, and called Sitka to instruct their departing plane to fly over the mountain to give all the passengers a bird’s eye view of it all. And, in the meantime, the Sitka radio station and police station phones were ringing off the hook.

We later found out that Porky’s April Fool’s Day caper had made AP news…worldwide.

A. Recently it came to me

There are only two words that really matter to us

The plants, animals, humans and the other billions of organisms on this blue rock

One of them is the word life,

The joy of life, the time of our life, what does life mean to us, we wish long life and much joy to others

Life is what we live, how we love family and friends, what we do and how we do it,

Others lives we touch, joys we give to others because our life was lived with them, near them, because of them

If you are blessed with many years you should have walked beside many folks and your love should be long and friendship full

But what if your time upon this earth was short, days of yonder not to be, chance to dance under many a moon not to be

What if the second word death comes to soon and only your dance lasted for 12 or 14 years and then you were gone does the dance go on

A coffin is no place for youth, but yet a young one fills it, sadly there is another too

There because of foolish and reckless youth drunk, in a fast cars and several others on a ride to sadness, heartbreak  and tragedy

The child’s child of a grand old friend, She was a sweetie, loved by all, as seen at the rosary and the full full church

Life is short even if you live long days and many years

For death last forever or so we are told

But I have always loved the water, the ocean, the sea

And believe in the past I lived upon it and will again

We shed a tear for little one, May she find peace upon her sea or another dance

Wow. Lewis, first, I’m sorry for your friends’ loss. Heartbreaking. I think it’s wonderful how you found a way to pay tribute to them.

Dottie, what a great prank! That Porky sounds like quite the rascal! Thank you for sharing the joke with us.

EZ, haha, funny story. I’ll bet newsrooms are rife with pranks all year long, not just April Fool’s Day.

Andy, I think some of the best pranks are the ones that prey on the regulars. I remember several years ago listening to Native America Calling on the radio – they announced that the BIA was returning land to Natives and moving all the white people to a reservation in Arkansas, effective immediately. They said it with such seriousness and earnestness, it threw people. They had all their regular listeners calling in and saying things like, “But the BIA has never moved that fast before,” and “That’s going to ruin Arkansas for the rest of us.” It was very funny.

Aaaahh, April Fool’s, good times!

Thank you, thank you, thank you each for your contribution!

You guys continue to impress me week after week. So interesting! I find each of you charming. Thank you so much for being here!

That does it for another tremendous Ask the Experts panel. The Experts will return in exactly one week.

Let’s move on to the current puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Last week, I asked if this Schefflera was real or fake:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Let’s see how you answered:

Ivynettle of Letters and Leaves wrote, “Real!
I don’t care much for Scheffleras, but it’s pretty!”

Steph from Indianapolis wrote, “Fo real fo sho. Looks just like the one right in front of me. Luv those hearty little umbrellas!”

Claude from Random Rants and Prickly Plants wrote, “real. are you even trying? Just kidding. I’m also not terribly excited about these… much preferring plants with thorns, but they are nice and green and good in offices”

Martha from Plowing Through Life wrote, “Real! That looks like brand new, beautiful foliage.”

Tom from Midwestern Jungle wrote, “Real!”

Nicole wrote, “REAL!! I love these. They always do so well inside. I love when it’s new growth and such a lovely spring green.”

That’s six votes real, zero votes fake.

What’s the correct answer?

Let’s take a wider view.

Good To Grow, Liza's cell photo, real or fake plant puzzler

Real! With such cute baby leaves. I love how they look like little hands opening up. Sorry about the quality of the photo. I took it with my phone and didn’t realize until later that it wasn’t a very good shot.

Ivy, you were first with the correct answer, which makes you the best answerer. For being so speedy, you’ve earned the title of Premier, Swiftest, Of Quickest Standing, Fleetfooted, Fasted and Biggest Brained Grand Championette of the Houseplant Blog Universe and Beyond. Congratulations! You may multiply all the prizes by four tortillas. Well played!

You’re all winners this week. Good job! To show my appreciation for you playing, I’d like to award each of you the following prizes: One fool’s April, three pieces, 16 bonus points, a tray of pickle slices, one toasty coffee, five mint-flavored puddings, a coupon good for one tomorrow, a bouquet of Irises, an A+, 9 1/2 regular points, moondust, three floating words, four hotdogs and a bejeweled hairbrush. Congratulations, and thanks so much for playing!

Up next, a new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Are these Dracaenas real or fake?


Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section or on my facebook wall. You have until midnight next Thursday, April 18th, MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) after next week’s panel of Experts. Remember, the prizes may be imaginary but the link to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.

I’ll be back tomorrow, hope to see you here.