Dear Ask G,

I have written a story about my Granddaughter that will end in a question.

Grandma’s back yard is the place to explore. Treasures can be found when you’re a small child, with your eyes to the ground. Better than anything that can be bought at a store, none can be better than the treasures found. Hidden in a place known only to a few, small hands can’t wait to reclaim the treasure that was found. Picked clean by the ants, bleached white by the sun, this treasure is Ella’s, the best thing she has ever found. She would never leave it laying, nor forget to hide it when she is not around. This treasure would be trash to all that can’t see the value it holds when you are only 3. A small chicken bone is the treasure Ella holds so dear. Why, we can’t understand for childhood has left us and age has robed us of the treasure that are found.

My grandchildren have my old farm to explore when they visit, what do inner city children explore? Do they have the chance to find treasures?

Paula S., Vale

Dear Paula,

To country folks, residing in the city may seem a bit dreary.

Fresh air and sunshine verses asphalt woven throughout and between might give the impression the two don’t compare. Ah…but children are ever inquiring.  

Their curiosity, on high alert, constantly seeks to discover new things.

A city park is the place to start…lawns, trees, shrubs and flowers galore, offer many nooks and crannies for an inquisitive mind to explore.

Behind a park bench, on a blade of grass, or under a large spotted stone, are favorite spots for beetles, grasshoppers and roly polies to roam.

Even in the depths of mulch, where the coolness lingers, await enchanting earthworms to coil around small fingers.

June bugs, butterflies or spider webs with dew.

Treasures in the city, are many…not few.

(May all children be forever blessed with curious minds.)


How do I kill English Ivy? I’ve cut it back, poured weed killer on it and it just keeps coming back. Please tell me what I can do to destroy it FOREVER. It’s everywhere! Thanks.

Overgrown in Conover

Dear Overgrown,

Yikes, I feel your frustration. The consensus is: English Ivy is hard to kill. Especially with chemicals, because mature leaves have a waxy coating. Thus, most chemicals don’t penetrate the surface well enough to be effective. Basically, washing off during the next rain. Although ivy can be visually appealing, it’s very destructive to trees and structures.

However, there are options. “Products that contain the herbicides glyphosate, triclopyr, imazapyr or some combination of the three are effective against English Ivy.”  Reading further, I discovered products containing higher percentages of glyphosate works best. Also, killing ivy is more effective when it’s actively growing. Start by cutting vines close to the ground then wait till there are about five new leaves. Apply chemicals to the new growth and stems. Or, apply directly to wound immediately while it’s fresh. That should kill it. However, repeated applications may be necessary until the ivy is eradicated.

If you’re into the natural approach (great alternative if you have pets) then boil one gallon of white vinegar, add one cup of salt and 2 tablespoons of Dawn dish washing soap stir until salt is dissolved. Allow to cool, then pour mixture into a spray bottle and apply using the same approach previously mentioned (fresh wound or new growth). Dawn acts as an adherent allowing the concoction stick. Vinegar kills leaves while salt will kill the roots. (This works on general weeds too.)

Good luck,