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Shelton Mason County Journal
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Mason County Journal
December 11, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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December 11, 2014

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Thursday, Dec. 11,2014 - Mason County Journal - Page A-19 MASTER GARDENER My Facebook page was alive over the weekend with folks making the trek to local Christmas tree farms to choose the family tree. It was fun to see the faces of the families in the fields with barns, livestock and scenic views in the background. We are so fortunate to live in a county that has so many fami- ly-owned and run tree businesses to visit. Washington State University is researching needle loss in commonly grown tree species in the Northwest. By JEANNE REHWALDT We have all experienced the mess that falling tree needles can make in our liv- ing rooms. Most of us know that we need to be sure to cut the butt end from the tree before putting it into the tree stand. Keep the tree well watered, and never let the water drop below the bottom of the tree. By doing this, we help the tree stay hydrated and help it to re- tain its needles. So to help tree buyers, WSU re- searchers are using a $90,000 grant to study the effect of ethylene on needle retention in species com- monly grown in the Pacific Northwest. Gary Chastagner, a professor of plant pathology at WSU, has stud- ied Christmas trees since 1980. He's made a career out of Christ- mas tree research, and he said needle loss is a huge concern for the industry. "There's some research that indi- cates ethylene exposure can cause nee- dies to drop prematurely on balsam fir trees," he said. "We don't grow those in this area, but we want to see if the gas impacts our trees." Ethylene is a colorless gas, pro- duced naturally in plants, that is olden used in agriculture to trigger ripening in fruits. Chastagner started this line of re- search when the grant funding came through in October, so results aren't yet available. In the meantime, he en- courages consumers to keep their trees well watered throughout the display season to minimize needle loss. WSU has about 15 acres of Christ- mas trees, including a number of see GARDENER, page A-28 Mason County PUD 3 honored 12 winners of its recent art and photography contest. The contest's theme was 75 Years of Electricity. PUD 3 Manager Annette Creekpaum, center, poses with winners, from left, Judah Holzgrove, Laurene Ekse, Pat Denney, Annabelle Gammons and Linda Gale Houser on Nov. 25 at the PUD. All 12 winners received $50 prizes. Winners not pictured are Jessica Carey, Jessica Colson, Tucker Hill, Mackenzie Milligan, Sherry Simon, Sheila Phillips and Tyanna Mazie Soliz. The contest was open to all ages. The artwork will be on display in the PUD 3 commission chambers until October 2015. Photo courtesy of Mason County PUD 3 HARSTINE ISLAND NEWS e e he drive leaving the island continues to be a little bumpy along Pick- ering Road. Judy and I had to laugh at the creative writing on the bump signs. I guess it showed a little frustration. Lots of for-sale signs for Christmas trees are directing us to where we can buy one. We went to a tree farm at the southern end of the island and picked one out on Thanksgiving weekend. As we drove through the farm in our pickup, the grandkids yelled out when they saw a tree they liked. There was a lot of yelling. And with the help of those same grandkids, we now have the tree up, ornaments dan- By MIKE CALLAGHAN gling and lights sparkling. Traditions -- we have many of those on the is- land. On Thanksgiving, we have turkey dinner at the hall. Now we have Christmas Day dinner in the works. The Harstine Island Community Club puts the dinner on. Well, more ac- curately, volunteers from the commtmity club who are willing to donate their valuable time put the dinner on. That could be you next year. Anyway, this is a side- dish potluck, meaning the club provides ham, scalloped po- tatoes, coffee and tea. All you need to do is bring a dish that complements the ham. Dinner will start at 1 p.m. Christmas ton High School Performing for grazing from 8 p.m. to Day. For more information, Arts Center. Or you can hear 11 p.m. Swing Fever will play call 426-0266. only the Harstine Island Choir from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Another island institution at 3 p.m. Dec. 13 at St. Hugh Tickets are $20 each if you is the Harstine Island Corn- Episcopal Church in Allyn. So buy before the dance or $25 munity Choir. It is ready for go and enjoy some wonderfulapiece at the door. You can its annual December concerts, music to help get you in the get them from Jim Irish, who This season, its members are holiday spirit! can be reached at 426-0266, singing with Masterworks Get ready for some island and Fresh Start Deli, 2810 E. Choral Ensemble. They have excitement on the last day of Spencer Lake Road. had wonderful success singing 2014. Volunteers will have a The island sewing group with the ensemble in the past New Year's Eve Dance at thewill meet at Judy Callaghan's and look forward to performing hall. As usual, volunteers have home Tuesday. If you are in.- with them again this season, organized and planned this terested in sewing and would As I've previously men- wonderful event. The big band like to meet with this group, tioned, they will be singing a sounds of Swing Fever will be you are invited. The sewing wonderful collection of Christ- performing and swinging us group will meet from mas favorites. This concert is all into 2015. The band has10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All you need not to be missed. You will have played the New Year's eventto do is bring a sewing project an opportunity to hear both many times, which is alwaysand a lunch. choirs and piano four-hands fun, a little rowdy and definite- (that's two people playing the ly entertaining. There will be Mike Callaghan lives on same piano at the same time) a buffet set out in the kitchen Harstine Island. He can be at 3 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Shel- area, and it will be available emailed at sobadog@msn.com