Hello Daddy-O’s, and happy Friday!

Welcome back to the Good To Grow site, and thanks for being here. Happy Father’s Day weekend to all the Dads out there!

A couple of quick housekeeping notes, I’m sorry I haven’t posted most of the week, I’ve been super lazy busy with work. I didn’t mean to leave you hanging like that.

Also, my thoughts and prayers are with the families in Colorado who have lost their homes to the Black Forest Fire. It’s heartbreaking to see so many people displaced by the wildfire. As always, my gratitude goes to the emergency personnel who are fighting blazes all over the West. My wish is for everyone to stay safe out there.

Let’s get our Panel of Experts started by saying hi to the Experts. Hi Experts!


“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You’re all 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.

This week’s timely question is:

Q. In honor of Father’s Day, please share with us a story about your Dad.

Expert Andy is up first as usual:

A.  My dad, born April 8, 1943 is still alive at the age of 70.  He is active as ever, fishing, golfing, volunteering, and going to bands and dances on the weekends.  He is full of vim and vigor, which is no doubt where I get my motivation to be active and alive.  When I grew up he was a cop, then became police chief, then chief of detectives during a mayoral transition, then ultimately city councilman and mayor of Shelbyville, IN.  He is a good man because he truly cared about the people and the community, something missing at some level of politics.  A rare breed.  Obviously it was a challenge for me to grow up in a small town of 16,000 with a prominent father.  But I think we both made pretty good due of it.  So this question is about a story and the background I just gave you is the backdrop.

When I was a senior in high school and specifically during senior week, a group of my friends and me decided to make a banner and hoist it onto the top of our high school gymnasium, a domed complex with seating for about 6,000 of the towns 16,000 men, women, children, babies and elders.  That’s what we do in Indiana, we build grand coliseums to watch the beloved sport of basketball.  A Romanesque trait.  Nonetheless, the only way to hoist said banner was to get on the roof in the middle of the night and get up there and have it proudly displayed come morning when Liza and the other students arrived.  It was a covert operation.  We wore black, borrowed a van we parked about a 1/2 mi. away and went to work.  We knew of a rickety ladder on the east side of the school which we drug into place about a week earlier.  We get the ladder up and start the move.  We have to scale another 15 ft. wall, but alas!  It has a ladder to do so.  Half of the group of 8 were up and over and then the janitorial staff heard us up above them in the supply ramp.  They yelled “get down”.  The group ran for safety.  All except for me and our valedictorian.  My logic was to stay until the dust cleared.  Turns out, there was a cop that just happened to be in the parking lot because of a call in the neighborhood of a van full of men dressed in black.  While the 6 others escaped, we sat quietly.  Then a police flashlight came ambling across the roof.  They spotted us and told us to “freeze”.  So we did.  Then promptly took the walk of shame to the police car, banner in hand.  The banner was so large it wouldn’t fit into the car so we had to roll down the back windows and place it crosswise through the windows out the sides of the car until we got to the police station.  Of course, my father’s “office” if you will.

So I have to give him a call.  It’s about midnight.  He answers, obviously asleep.  I said “Dad, I’m at the police station and need you to pick me up.”  He said he’d never do that.  But about 20 min. later he drives up.  We told him the story.  He says, “Well lets see the banner.”  So I roll it out for him.  Out roll the words “Seniors Do It Best On Top – 1984”.  All he said in reply was “Nice job, now get in the car.”  Of course about the only time I ever heard him use the “f” word was on the way home.  “You have only 2 days of high school left, don’t F it up.”  Turns out, he now tells his friends and family that his proudest accomplishment of mine is that I was voted the most popular guy in my high school class despite he being a policeman.

A. My dad passed away a little more than 10 years ago, and it’s still a little tough to talk about him. He died 2 1/2 months before my daughter was born, and so never got to meet his granddaughter. The timing of that still stirs some pretty strong feelings.

My father and I fought most of my adult life; from 16-30, I don’t think I had a conversation with him that didn’t degenerate into some kind of argument. Fortunately, we actually did make it right before he died. He came to visit my wife at the time and I for Christmas in 2002, and we had a very nice visit. I got a chance to tell him I loved him, which in retrospect was extremely fortuitous: he died 3 weeks later.

It is a cliche, but don’t wait to patch these things up. Because life is short, and the opportunity goes away with a brutal finality.

Sorry to be such a downer…

A. He worked at the family sawmill, pulling logs with the help of a mule. He went to school in patched jeans, ignoring the catcalls of some of the other kids. He took the wall of an abandoned trading post and built a seven room adobe home. He makes tables, crucifixes, bird houses and toys out of scraps of wood. He laughs with his kids, dotes over his wife and likes roasted pinons. He is Dad.


I never knew my father.  I lost him from my life when I was 6 months old.  Fortunately, I had a marvelous, doting, English grandfather, Alfred Ellis Dutton.  He was known fondly by his friends as Alf or“Dut”.  Grand father “Dut”was born in Chester, England into a family of 5 children: 4 boys and 1 girl.  He was a self made man who made his way to the USA as a young man; married a lovely Miss, Esther Juliet from Flushing Long Island. Eventually, with two partners, he established a printing and book binding business in Cleveland, Ohio.  The company is still in existence in Strongsville, Ohio.

From the time I was a very young child, I had fond memories of my grandfather “Dut” always championing my causes – whether they be good or bad!  (Many’s the evening he “snuck” food up to me in my room, when I had been banished from the dinner table without my dinner for one infraction or another) He was my hero.  My knight in shining armor!  I adored my Grandfather and grew up in his home with his values and ethics.  At a very young age, he imbued in me the love of books and the written word; the source of wondrous knowledge and education.  He had a collection of beautifully made books, which he allowed me to access — very carefully — many printed on fine linen or the very finest of papers with gold laminate edges.  He printed special editions of many books for President Roosevelt and other notables.  I pads or “talking books” will never ever come close to the beauty of holding a book in your hand.

I can still feel the strength and warmth of my hand in his, as I met him each night as he returned from work.  He always had a secret cache of some sort for me in his right pocket, that only he and I knew about.

He was a warm, compassionate, loving gentleman – so comfortable in his own skin.  He gave me a lifetime of guidelines and examples of exhilarating paths to take.
Grandfather “Dut”, how blessed I was to have you as my life guide.  I miss you every day.  


My Father left this world in September of 1958, I was 6 years, two brother 14 and 9, two sisters 12 and 5 months

I do not remember much of him except that he wore a hat a Fedora, that is how he always appears in photos

He worked in the oil fields of Kansas and died later of injuries from an oil field accident

Uncles took us fishing and camping and gave me my first job, good men, strong men, kind men with big smiles and big hearts

Friends Dads who took me under wing

Virgil a father of nine or ten so what was one more, a good man, strong man, kind man with a big smile and big heart

Woody a father of six or seven so what was one more, a good man, strong man, kind man with a big smile and big heart

They shared all and I went when they went to the lake, show or dinner

I had not a father in my house but I lacked not for Father figure one of these good men stood in for the part many a time

They were not above a stern word, a guiding hands or a swift kick if their sons and I were being an idiot or foolish

And there was always my Mother to lead with love, teach with patience, straighten with swift hand or long switch.

Father dearest I like hats too

Thank you Mother for being both

Oh poor New Mexico how we pray for rain

Fire burn forest some grow slow maybe control soon but new ones start

We hold our breaths

When cloud come but only give us a tease and dry lightning

Please be careful out there, fire waits for no one and hold no promise but char and ash

Our forest and Bosque a no man’s land to keep the fools and fire bugs out

If anyone has an extra rain cloud please send it our way


Cool! You each had such interesting stories to tell. Thank you for sharing them! And thanks to those fathers, fatherly substitutes and grandfathers for their role in bringing us magnificent yous!

I’m so glad to hear from each of you. Obviously I know Andy’s Dad, but I didn’t know much about the rest of yours. Thanks again for sharing a bit of yourselves with us, we’re interested to know!

That does it for this week’s Panel of Experts. The Experts will return in exactly one week. They hope to see you back here.

Up next, the answer to last week’s puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

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

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

Let’s see how you answered:

Ivynettle from Letters and Leaves wrote, “Real!

A fake one could never be this detailed, or this beautiful.”

Martha from Plowing Through Life wrote, “This is real. What a beautiful yellow shade.”

Joseph Brenner wrote, “I think I’ve pulled enough spines out of my fingers to be able to recognize a real prickly pear when I see one.”

Joseph! I missed your contribution to last week’s puzzler – I’m so sorry! Please accept all of today’s prizes plus waffles for your inconvenience!

Jason from Garden in a City (Chicago) wrote, “I’d go with real.”

Claude from Random Rants and Prickly Plants wrote, “Definitely a real live prickly pear. can’t tell which species though…”

Terrence from Dynamic Gardening wrote, “This flower looks indeed real :) there are so many interesting details that it couldn’t be fake.”

That’s six votes real, zero votes fake.

What’s the correct answer? Let’s take a wider view:

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

Real! You guys are right – the real flowers are always prettier than the fake ones. More intricate, more intense colors…just overall better.

Everyone nailed it this week – great job! You have keen eyes, all of you!

Ivynettle, you have keen eyes and speedy fingers, meaning you were first with the correct answer. For being so swift, you’ve earned the following title, “Superiorly Knowledgeable about Plants, Likes Jars, Books and Small Animals, Am Beautiful, Clever, and Am a Devilishly Fast Typist, and Am Queen of the Green Universe and Beyond for the Week.” Congratulations! You may multiply all the prizes by two board games.

I’m grateful to everyone who played, so I’d like each of you to have the following prizes: Fatherly advice, five high-quality prints, 14 bragging rights, pico de gallo, a table lamp, three gargoyles, cream filling, the apple of Dad’s eye, two onion and chickpea smoothies, a dependable tomcat, one safe ledge at a dizzying height, 11 bonus points, sunglasses, three cups of steak sauce, a nice relaxing weekend, and one round of applause. Congrats, and thanks for playing!

Up next, the new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Is this plant real or fake?

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

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, June 20th, 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 with pretty flower photos for the Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day for June 2013. If any of you would like to share photos of what’s blooming in and around your house, you can email them to me and I’ll post them on the 16th. I hope to hear from you!