The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of September 12 to September 19, 2019

Talking Sports

Constituting the Best

I know the provincial view is that the best sports event of the weekend came at Gillette Stadium. Stop being so myopic. The best sporting event of the weekend took place in, gasp, New York. At Arthur Ashe stadium to be exact where the anticipated coronation of Rafa Nadal as US Open champion somehow morphed into a nearly five-hour slugfest for the ages.

In the end, Nadal eked out the 19th Grand Slam title of his career, 12 of which have come on the clay at Roland Garros in the French, by managing to outlast 23 year-old Daniil Medvedev. The Russian had alternately charmed and alienated the tough New York crowd during the first week of the tournament and as he rallied from a two-set deficit on Sunday, he was hearing lots of cheers from a throng predisposed to strongly prefer Nadal. Medvedev played so well it almost made us forget we'd really wanted a Nadal-Roger Federer final. Almost.

Bottom line: you don't have to be a huge tennis fan to appreciate how epic it was. I'm for sure not a huge tennis fan. I watch three of the four majors, skipping the Australian because it's on in the middle of the night, but I was glued to ESPN for more than four hours Sunday afternoon and evening. A legendary US Open final v Week 1 of the NFL season? Easy call.

As for Serena Williams, yeah, she lost a Grand Slam final for the fourth time since her return. So what? Just making those finals is an impressive accomplishment for a 37 year mom of a two year-old who had a very scary time immediately after giving birth. The other moms who have won on tour were under 30. The women's game is in much better shape than the men's. Lots of exciting young players.

Yes, Antonio Brown is a diva. But good for him to figure out how to play the soulless entity which is the NFL. It took a lot of posturing and absurd theatrics but I'm in favor of people being able to work where they want to work. Owners, every single one of them save one, are all very rich white guys. You think they didn't buy into the late Bob McNair's (Texans) 'plantation' sentiment? Of course they did. You think Colin Kaepernick would have been blacklisted if he'd been white? Chris Long was especially outspoken. You didn't see Howie's kid being blacklisted, did you?

Don't kid yourself.

Why should any player trust any owner? Why should labor trust management?

You know who else gets it? Bill Belichick. Belichick does his own thing too. Sometimes it's infuriating, though I really believe the whole tight-lipped media appearances are his subversive way of needling the powers that be who want everyone to read from the same coach script. Belichick got screwed by ownership too. The Browns/Ravens could have had the courtesy to tell him he wasn't coming with the franchise when it moved from Cleveland to Baltimore after the 1995 season but no, they waited until after he'd bought a house. You have to remember. Coaching in Baltimore was Belichick's dream job. After all, he'd grown up in Annapolis, interned for the Colts using Earl Weaver's office. But Art Modell screwed him. Why should he trust ownership?

Bottom line on this? Good for AB. Good for BB.

Antique News

What's Hot at Auction

I’ve discussed items that are selling well and those that aren’t in several past columns. Our August auction showed that many of the antiques and collectibles that have sold well over the past decade continue to do so. I thought I’d share some of the results from that auction in this article.

I’ve mentioned in previous columns that most furniture isn’t selling well, but mid-century modern furniture is an exception. Mid-century pieces sold very well last month. A pair of Conant Ball club chairs attributed to Russel Wright sold for $300. A dining room set with sideboard also attributed to Wright sold for $500. A mid-century Danish Teak dining set and sideboard by Bernhard Pedersen brought $1,000.

Older artwork drew strong bidding at auction. A small painting by listed artist Edward Potthast sold for $1,000 to a telephone bidder. An early 18thcentury folk art painting of a little girl went for $3,000.

Better collectibles and ephemera drew plenty of bidder interest. A 1960’s “Great Gorloo” battery operated toy went for $270. A Victorian era trade card album sold for $275 and another from the same estate brought $400.

Older superhero comics continue to sell well. The Incredible Hulk comic book issues 3, 5, and 6 brought $675, despite being well read and worn copies. A group of nine 1878-CC Morgan silver dollars topped the coins being offered when they sold for $3,100.

Sterling silver prices have been trending upward and flatware brought figures well above silver melt prices. A small ornate Stieff partial flatware set went for $925. A larger International Silver Wedgwood pattern set reached $2,700.

Also noteworthy in our August auction was a 1979 Datsun 280 ZX with a little over 64,000 miles. After telephone and in-house bidding, it reached $6,500.

Jewelry was the top selling item in our auction last month. A 14-karat white gold estate jewelry pin shaped like a bee sold for $275. A platinum and diamond ladies watch went for $650. Quality loose diamonds and diamond rings led the way at auction. A ring with 3 diamonds brought $2,000, despite having been appraised as clarity enhanced. An approximately 2-carat pear shaped diamond had considerable wear but still sold for $2,900. A brilliant cut .95 carat loose diamond reached $3,000. A deep cut 1.46 carat diamond ring fetched $4,000. A loose 2.3 carat diamond that we sold had a chip. The appraisal report recommended it be recut to a smaller size because of the chip. Despite the flaw, it sold for $8,500 proving that diamonds continue to shine at auction.

I hope to meet some of you at my “Evaluating your Antiques” class at the Bay Path Evening School in Charlton on September 17th. I’ll be lecturing at the Auburn Public Library at 10:00 AM on September 21stand I’ll be back again on October 5thfor appraisals. My next appraisal event takes place at 1:00 PM on September 21st for the Finnish Heritage Society Sovittaja in Rutland. I’ll be lecturing at the Worcester Senior Center on October 16thfrom 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM. Another appraisal event takes place at the Shrewsbury Historical Society on October 23rd. Please see www.centralmassauctions.comfor details on these and other events.

Contact us at:Wayne Tuiskula Auctioneer/Appraiser Central Mass Auctions for Antique Auctions, Estate Sales and Appraisal Services (508-612- 6111),

Gardening Tips & Tricks

Revive overcrowded and struggling perennials

Fall asters
Fall is the best time to divide spring and summer blooming perennials that are overcrowded, dead in the center, failing to flower or flopping open. Wait until spring to dig and divide fall or summer blooming perennials that were not moved the previous fall.

These are guidelines that increase success, but most gardeners have found that the best time to divide is when you have the time and can provide good, proper post-transplanting care.

Use a sharp-edged shovel to dig the perennial, roots and all, out of the ground. Lift the clump out of the soil and use a linoleum, garden knife or drywall saw to cut the plant into smaller sections.

Some gardeners prefer to use two garden forks placed back to back in the center of the clump and then pry the perennial apart into two pieces. Continue the process until the desired size and number of divisions is achieved.

Discard and compost the dead center. Divide the remaining plant into four, six or eight pieces. The smaller the divisions, the longer it will take for the plants to reach mature size. Larger divisions may quickly grow, fill the space and need to be divided sooner.

You can plant one of the divisions back into its original location. Use the others to fill voids, expand existing gardens or start a new bed or border. Just make sure to match the plant with its desired growing conditions.

No matter how you plan on using the divisions you should prepare the soil first. Add compost, peat moss or other organic matter to the top 8 to 12 inches of soil. Plant the divisions at the same depth they were growing in the garden. Water thoroughly at planting and throughout the fall or subsequent growing season whenever the top few inches of soil starts to dry. Spread a layer of shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic mulch over the soil surface. Be careful not to bury the stems. Mulch helps moderate soil temperatures, conserves moisture, suppresses weeds and improves the soil as it breaks down.

Regular dividing can also help eliminate other garden tasks like deadheading, staking and replacement. Divide repeat blooming daylilies every few years to keep them blooming throughout the season. Do the same for threadleaf coreopsis.

Divide asters every year or two in the spring to keep them vigorous and control their spread as needed. Increase the vigor and compactness of Shasta daisies by dividing them every 2 to 3 years.

Peonies, on the other hand, seldom need dividing. They can remain in the ground undisturbed and blooming profusely for decades. Fall is the time to dig and divide peonies if you need to move or want to divide them to make more plants (propagate).

Don't be alarmed if your peony or other perennials fail to bloom the year after transplanting. The transplant often spends the first year establishing a healthy root system instead of flowering. Just be patient and you will be rewarded with flowers the following year.

Take advantage of the warm soil and cool air of fall to dig, divide and transplant overcrowded and struggling perennials. Your efforts will be rewarded with better looking and more floriferous gardens.

(Photo: Melinda Myers)

Melinda Myers is the author of numerous books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio program. Myers web site is