Saturday, January 31, 2009

February Bible readings

Here are the daily Bible readings for February. Keep following our monthly guides to read the Bible through in a year.

1: Psalm 40-42; Luke 21:20-38
2: Psalm 43-45; Luke 22:1-20
3: Psalm 46-48; Luke 22:21-46
4: Psalm 49-50; Luke 22:47-71
5: Psalm 51-53; Luke 23:1-25
6: Psalm 54-56; Luke 23:26-56
7: Psalm 57-59; Luke 24:1-35
8: Psalm 60-62; Luke 24:36-53
9: Psalm 63-65; Acts 1
10: Psalm 66-67; Acts 2:1-21
11: Psalm 68-69; Acts 2:22-47
12: Psalm 70-71; Acts 3
13: Psalm 72-73; Acts 4:1-22
14: Psalm 74-76; Acts 4:23-37
15: Psalm 77-78; Acts 5:1-21
16: Psalm 79-80; Acts 5:22-42
17: Psalm 81-83; Acts 6
18: Psalm 84-86; Acts 7:1-21
19: Psalm 87-88; Acts 7:22-43
20: Psalm 89-90; Acts 7:44-60
21: Psalm 91-93; Acts 8:1-25
22: Psalm 94-96; Acts 8:26-40
23: Psalm 97-99; Acts 9:1-21
24: Psalm 100-102; Acts 9:22-43
25: Psalm 103-104; Acts 10:1-23
26: Psalm 105-106; Acts 10:24-48
27: Psalm 107-109; Acts 11
28: Psalm 110-112; Acts 12

Friday, January 30, 2009

February Gardening Calendar

Weeks 1-4
Water evergreens if the soil is dry and unfrozen.
Inspect summer bulbs in storage to be sure none are drying out. Discard any that show signs of rot.
Take geranium cuttings now. Keep the foliage dry to avoid leaf and stem diseases.
Weeks 2-4
Sow seeds of larkspur, sweet peas, Shirley poppies and snapdragons where they are to grow outdoors now. To bloom best, these plants must sprout and begin growth well before warm weather arrives.
Weeks 2-3
Seeds of slow-growing annuals like ageratum, verbena, petunias, geraniums, coleus, impatiens and salvia may be started indoors now.
Week 4
Dormant sprays can be applied to ornamental trees and shrubs now. Do this on a mild day while temperatures are above freezing.
Start tuberous begonias indoors now. “Non-stop” varieties perform well in this climate.

Weeks 1-4
Season extending devices such as cold frames, hot beds, cloches and floating row covers will
allow for an early start to the growing season.
Start onion seeds indoors now.
Run a germination test on seeds stored from previous years to see if they will still sprout.
Don’t work garden soils if they are wet. Squeeze a handful of soil. It should form a ball that
will crumble easily. If it is sticky, allow the soil to dry further before tilling or spading.

Weeks 2-4
Sow celery and and celeriac seeds indoors now.

Weeks 3-4
Sow seeds of broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage indoors now for
transplanting into the garden later this spring.
If soil conditions allow, take a chance sowing peas, lettuce, spinach and radish. If the
weather obliges, you will be rewarded with extra early harvests.

Weeks 1-4
Check fruit trees for tent caterpillar egg masses These are laid on twigs in tight clusters that
resemble an oblong brown lump of gum wrapped around the stem. Prune off these twigs or destroy the
eggs by scratching off the clusters with your thumbnail.
Inspect fruit trees for tent caterpillar egg masses. Eggs appear as dark brown or gray collars
that encircle small twigs. Destroy by pruning or scratching off with your thumbnail.

Weeks 1-2
Collect scion wood now for grafting of fruit trees later in spring. Wrap bundled scions with
plastic and store them in the refrigerator.

Weeks 3-4
When pruning diseased branches, sterilize tools with a one part bleach, nine parts water
solution in between cuts. Dry your tools at day’s end and rub them lightly with oil to prevent rusting.
Weeks 3-4
Begin pruning fruit trees. Start with apples and pears first. Peaches and nectarines should be
pruned just before they bloom.

Weeks 1-4
When sowing seeds indoors, be sure to use sterile soil mediums to prevent diseases. As soon
as seeds sprout, provide ample light to encourage stocky growth.
Repot any root-bound house plants now before vigorous growth occurs. Choose a new
container that is only 1 or 2 inches larger in diameter than the old pot.
To extend the vase life of cut flowers you should:
1. - Recut stems underwater with a sharp knife.
2. - Remove any stem foliage that would be underwater.
3. - Use a commercial flower preservative.
4. - Display flowers in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Brown votes to keep salaries at current level

By Dan Brown
District 149 state representative

This year, the Missouri Citizens’ Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials recommended a cost of living increase for all elected officials and judges as well as an additional $1500 increase for associate circuit judges. House Concurrent Resolution 5, sponsored by Rep. Mike McGhee, R-Odessa, rejects the recommendations of the Commission and holds the salaries of elected officials at their current level. It’s always a sticky situation when legislation is brought to the House Floor concerning pay raises for elected public officials. However, considering the economic hardships our country is facing, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would support an increase in pay for public servants. I don’t think it is fair to ask for an increase in my salary while many of you may be struggling to make ends meet. Because it was the right thing to do, I voted to support this resolution and hold salaries of elected officials at their current level.

Last week the Missouri Housing and Development Commission announced a new program for first-time homebuyers that would allow them to take advantage of the federal first-time homebuyer tax credit that Congress passed last summer. As passed, the federal tax credit was only available after the homebuyer purchased the home and applied for the credit. Under its new program, the Housing and Development Commission will provide the value of the tax credit at the time of closing to help first-time homebuyers cover down payment and closing costs.

The Housing and Development Commission’s new program provides the buyer with a short-term, advanced loan up to six percent of the home’s purchase price or a maximum of $6,750. The homebuyer then files for the federal tax credit and uses it to pay back the Housing Development Commission for the loan and service fee. It is my hope that by infusing new buyers into the market, a ripple effect will spread through the market. The first-time buyers buy their new home, the sellers in turn buy a new home, and so on, starting the market on an upward climb, increasing demand for new homes and creating jobs, both in the construction and real estate industries.

The housing market is an integral part of and a good indicator of the overall health of our economy. By providing a jumpstart to the market and helping first-time buyers enter the market, we hope to begin the slow process of economic recovery.

This week a number of folks from Rolla and St. James visited the Capitol: Barry White, Terry and Connie Douglas, Malcolm Townes and Mike Koeningstein, Amy Beechner-McCarthy, Robyn Wolf and Denny Pogue.

As always, thank you giving me the opportunity to serve you in the House of Representatives. Your thoughts and suggestions are important to me so please feel free to contact me at 573-751-5713 or by email at

Ozarks or. Ozark?

Why is it Ozarks Almanac instead of Ozark Almanac?
That's a question I've been asked a few times already, and I can see that this has the potential of turning into as big a controversy as the pronunciation of our state's name (Missourah vs. Missouree).
Here is the logical explanation:
Ozark is a town in the Ozarks, which is a geographical region.
This publication is about the entire region, not just one town, so it's Ozarks Chronicle.--RDH

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Storytelling is Ozarks tradition

By R.D. Hohenfeldt

All over the Ozarks, in diners and cafes, in barbershops and feed stores, you can find a storyteller or two.
That storyteller often likes to "tell one on" a friend who's present, or better yet, "pull the leg" of someone new to the group around the table or the shop counter.
Either way, he's carrying on an Ozarks oral tradition that has been documented in the works of folklorist Vance Randolph.
Dr. Larry Vonalt, professor of English at the University of Missouri-Rolla, says the Ozarks storytelling tradition is at the heart of the best current Ozarks literature, which Vonalt says is found in the works of Donald Harington, an Arkansas writer, and Daniel Woodrell, of West Plains.
Just what makes Ozarks literature Ozarkian?
"It's the idea of the storyteller," says Dr. Vonalt. "Both Harington and Woodrell use first person, and they like to pull your leg."
He added, "But I would say they're not making fun of readers. They're wanting readers to be in on the fun."
The Ozarks authors want their readers to be like the listeners in a cafe or barbershop who have "that sense of pleasure in hearing the story told, maybe in being in on the joke."
Books by Harington and Woodrell will be among those studied in Dr. Vonalt's Ozark Literature and Culture class that begins Jan. 10 and will meet from 6-9 p.m. each Monday throughout the semester.
"The class came out of my interest in Donald Harington's work," said Vonalt.
Three of Harington's books, The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks, The Cockroaches of Stay More and Butterfly Weed, are on the required reading list.
Also on the list are Woodrell's Tomato Red, Randolph's Ozark Magic and Folklore and Milton D. Rafferty's The Ozarks Land and Life.
Harington sets his books in Stay More, Ark., a fictitious town in the real Newton County, the state's least populous county.
The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozark is a fictional history of the Ingledew family. Two brothers, Jacob and Noah, arrive at what is to become Stay More, and settle there where their neighbors are the area's last two Indians. The novel follows the family and Stay More from the 1830s to 1970.
"It's humorous and incorporates a lot of Ozarks superstitions," Vonalt says.
In The Cockroaches of Stay More, Harington gives voices to the cockroaches, personifying them as old-time Ozarkers exhibiting such typical Ozarks traits as verbal modesty. There are two human characters, a man and a woman, and the cockroaches bring them together.
Butterfly Weed's narrator is Vance Randolph, speaking from the veterans home in Fayetteville where he died.
"Harington has a really great admiration of Randolph," Vonalt said, and the book is Harington's way of assuming Randolph's mantle as chronicler of Ozarks folklore and culture.
Harington really did meet Randolph, so it's another case of Harington mingling facts with fiction.
"He wants you to believe it's all true," Dr. Vonalt says; that's part of the tall-tale telling tradition."I tend to think of Harington's work as very playful."
Is Harington the William Faulkner of Ozarks literature? "He's been called that," Dr. Vonalt says.
But that's not quite fair to Harington. He's no mimic of Faulkner. He's an original voice from the hills.
Another original voice is Woodrell, who writes what he calls "country noirs."
"He deals more with contemporary people of the Ozarks," Dr. Vonalt says, adding that the characters are not necessarily people of high moral standards. Woodrell will include, for instance, the use of crack by Ozarkers. That's what Woodrell means when he says his works are "country noirs."
Also on the reading list is Randolph's book about Ozarks superstitions and Rafferty's general look at the Ozarks culture.
"There are other writers I'm not going to be dealing with, but students will be assigned to read these and make reports. Someone will likely read The Shepherd of the Hills," Dr. Vonalt says.
That book by Harold Bell Wright appeared in print first in 1907. It's probably the first work of fiction set in the Ozarks.
There are some other contemporary novels about the Ozarks that Vonalt will not tackle. He says they're books about the Ozarks, set in the Ozarks, but they're not distinctively Ozarkian and they're not good literature.
He goes back to Harington for that.
"With Harington, you can read it and enjoy it for the story, and for what's going on inside the story. He has a very vivid imagination."
Radio, television and the automobile have changed the Ozarks. There are still remote areas in Southern Missouri and northern Arkansas, but they're no longer isolated.
"You can live way off in a 'holler' and work in Springfield," Vonalt says.
That mobility and better communication methods mean "the idiosyncrasies we identified as Ozarkian no longer exist," Vonlat says.
Nevertheless, although they may use better grammar, storytellers are still at work entertaining their friends in the Ozarks.

Note: Dr. Larry Vonalt passed away several months after this article was published in The Ozarks Chronicle in January 2005.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sleet and cold

By R.D. Hohenfeldt
Managing Editor, Ozarks Almanac

It's about quarter to 7 on Monday night here in Rolla, and it sounds like it's raining outside, but it's really sleet. The temperature is 19 degrees. The weatherman says we're going to continue with this winter storm through tomorrow. It's supposed to stay cold through the rest of the week.

My wife and I just had a tasty hot supper of meatloaf, peas and mashed sweet taters. My belly is full. The house is warm. I am fixin' to go sit at the kitchen table and pick my banjo for about an hour before going to bed earlier than normal. I've got to get up about an hour earlier than normal because it's going to take awhile to clear the ice off the car and I'll have to drive slower than normal to get to work.

We've had some moderate winters for the past seven or eight years, but maybe we're cycling back to typical Missouri winter weather. I don't put much stock in the man-made global warming theory. I think the weather changes, but always swings back. The man-made global warming crowd is just trying to grab power and money. I've been called a fool, a nitwit, naive, childish, simple, ignorant and uneducated for believing that, but I am entirely unrepentant for my opinion.

In the good old days, snow canceled school

By R.D. Hohenfeldt

Back yonder in time, back on Harris Road in Greene County, the days between Christmas and New Year's Day were a mix of sadness and contentment. The end of Christmas, especially the end of Christmas music on the radio, brought the sadness, but the realization that we had a week of no school, no homework, no studying and no tests, brought contentment.
Those days brought hope, to. The Hohenfeldt children hoped, prayed even, for a New Year's Day snow that would require Superintendent Schatz to call off school at Republic.
Now, now, don't tut-tut or tsk-tsk me. I know you were hoping and praying for the same thing at your own school, way back yonder in time and geography, whether it was in the Ozarks or in some other region prone to snowfalls. And if you're a student reading this today, I know that you have some hope in your heart right now for enough snow to cancel school.
The Ozarks have seen some changes in the way cancellation news is disseminated. When I was a kid, we listened to to the radio early on snowy mornings to find out if school was canceled. By the time my little brother was in school, we could also watch for a list on television. Nowadays, parents and children have another option to learn about cancellations; they can check the internet.
Snow cancellations were necessary for our mental health, I think. At Republic school in the months before Christmas, we had mini-vacations in September for the district teachers meeting and in October for the state teachers meeting. Then in November we had Thanksgiving. But without snowfall, we were looking at no vacations, except for Lincoln's Birthday and Washington's Birthday in February, from New Year's Day through Easter break. When you're a kid, that expanse of time is like looking at a desert with no oasis.
So we prayed for snow.
Snow without school gave me time for long stretches of unbothered reading, as well as an opportunity to play in the snow with my brother and sisters. It also gave us children free fternoons for walking across the way to Grandma and Grandpa Hohenfeldt's house where we would spend an hour or two playing Scrabble, Sorry or Troke with Grandma. (Does anyone else remember Troke?)
We lived way off the beaten path back on those days and our dirt road was never plowed by the county. Nevetheless, my father never failed to make it to work in his barbershop on College street in the run-down West Side of Springfield. He, my mother and I would get out and shovel part of the snow drifts away, then Mama would get in the car and steer while Daddy and I pushed. The car would break a trail for a ways until it reached another drift. Then we'd shovel some more, push some more, break through some more, over and over again, down Harris Road, then down the county's farm road (also unplowed), until we reached the state-maintained section that was plowed. Daddy would head off to work and Mama and I would walk back home to brew some sassafras tea.
I'd sip that tea, draw a chair up close to the stove, read a book and let the contentment roll over me.--RDH

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Aligned rocks appear to be work of early native Americans

By R.D. Hohenfeldt
Managing Editor, Ozarks Almanac

It's tempting to say Brian Kridelbaugh stumbled over a couple of rocks on an Ozarks hillside and discovered a cache of prehistoric rock art not known to have existed in Missouri.
Sure, it would make a great headline: "Stumbling into the history books" or "An artful stumble."
But that wouldn't be accurate. Although Kridelbaugh found the site of the cache, he was more interested at the time in two ancient burial cairns he spotted, so he walked right past the alignment of rocks placed on the hillside and in the valley thousands of years ago by prehistoric Ozarkers.
He didn't see the rocks until the next day during a return visit with Nancy Bryant when she noticed them and pointed them out to him.
That was in 1998 and since then, Kridelbaugh and Bryant have mapped that site and scores of others and begged professional archaeologists to look at their findings.
It's taken more than five years, but the research of the amateur archaeologists is starting to be taken seriously by the degreed professionals. A scholarly paper written by Bryant and Kridelbaugh titled "Missouri Petroforms: An Introduction to the Native American Stonework of the Ozark Highland Region" was recently published in the Missouri Archaeological Society Quarterly.
"It was an accident. They call it a chance discovery," says Kridelbaugh of the site.
Kridelbaugh was out hiking in the Kaintuck Hollow/Mill Creek area of the Mark Twain National Forest when he found the two stone burial cairns in a hilltop glade. These cairns are large piles of rocks, about eight feet in diameter.
"They're everywhere. The centers have been dug out of a lot of them, so a lot of people call them doughnuts," Kridelbaugh.
Although cairns are not unusual, they're interesting enough to tell someone about and that's what Kridelbaugh did. He called Bryant and told her she needed to see the cairns.
When they went to the site and started walking back down the hill, Bryant noticed something peculiar.
"I noticed a pair of vertical stones. It didn't appear natural," she said.
She pointed the stones out to Kridelbaugh. They looked to her to be two sandstone slabs, set on edge,parallel to one another
"In my mind, it was an interesting geological feature," Kridelbaugh said.
Then Bryant spotted another pair,and then they both started looking for more of the unusual rocks.
“It was: 'Wait, there’s another, and another,'” Kridelbaugh said.
That piqued their interest enough that they returned to the site with paper, pencils, measuring tape and a compass. They started mapping the unusual stones and they started noticing that some were lined up on an east-west configuration, some on a north-south alignment and some that appeared to be random.
They went to the Rolla Public Library and with the help of a librarian found several books about prehistoric rock art: petroglyphs, pictographs and petroforms.
One of the drawings in the book was a map of a petroform site that looked almost like one of the drawings they had made of the Ozarks site. The lines between the petroforms were summer solstice and winter solstice, as well as the compass directions.
“It got spooky then,” said Kridelbaugh.
“It was an eerie feeling,” agreed Bryant.
They never again looked at a rock as just an interesting geological feature.
Petroforms, placements of rocks by ancient peoples for worship or astronomical calculations or other unknown reason, are found around the world. You've heard of Stonehenge, of course. That's a big petroform. The sculptures on Easter Island are another example.
But around the world there are thousands of smaller petroforms in stone circles and other arrangements.
In the United States, they can be found in New England, California, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Hawaii and some Appalachian states.
But there have been no records of petroforms in Missouri until Kridelbaugh and Bryant found the work of the ancient Ozarkers.
Have they really found an ancient construction site?
Kridelbaugh and Bryant have taken geologists and archaeolgists on tours of the site and they have confirmed that this is indeed a petroform.
The petroform really is a cache of rock art. It is a network of stones in various shapes and sizes. Bryant and Kridelbaugh have categorized them into nine "elements" of construction: triangular or pyramid stones, rectangular block, vertical standing stone and slab set on edge, elevated pointer, flat pointer, catcher, modifier (a smaller stone set next to a slab), four-in-a-row and ridge stone. Bryant and Kridelbaugh believe these elemental shapes were symbols for the ancient builders.
"An invisible sacred landscape" is perhaps what they symbolized, Bryant says. "They were used somehow for connecting earth and sky."
Kridelbaugh says he believes the building of the petroforms was a form of worship.
"We go to church on Sunday. They built these stone structures," he says. "This was a meaningful thing to them. The amount of work involved, the man-hours, indicates to us it was a religious endeavor. It was important to them."
The sacredness of the petroforms is also hinted at in structures that Bryant and Kridelbaugh believe represent a hawk, a bison and a serpent. For ancient peoples, these animals represented the Sky World, This World and the Lower World.
They’ve also discovered that the forms alone are not all that’s important; the shadows cast by the stones onto the ground and onto other stones also seem to be laden with symbolism and importance.
This is more than just sundial shadowing. Stones cast shadows onto other stones, and also shadows in combination with one another seem to form figures. Did these have religious meaning?
That's not the only question. In their scholarly paper for the Missouri Archaeological Society Quarterly, Bryant and Kridelbaugh list several questions they'd like to have answered:
"What group of prehistoric people created the vast quantity of stonework?
"What was the depth of their astronomical knowledge?
"Was the stonework a tradition that survived decades, centuries or millennia?
"Were the majority of the stonework sites symbolic or funcitonal?
"Is the stonework largely a visual language communicating messages or primarily designed for ritural/ceremony purposes?
"How much of the stonework is directly associated with burial customs and the stone ciarns in the area?
"Were the stones believed to be sacred or did they only become sacred after petroform construction?
"What we’re wanting to do is get an inter-disciplinary team together to excavate and carbon-date the site," says Bryant.
"There's room for six or seven Ph.D.'s to work on this," said Kridelbaugh.
Until recently, Bryant and Kridelbaugh had trouble getting most scholars to take a look at their data.
"People were extremely skeptical," Bryant said.
"Part of that was our amateur status," Kridelbaugh says.
That's beginning to change.
"The MAS article gave us credibility," Kridelbaugh says.
Adds Bryant,"They're viewing us as peers. It's made a huge difference."
Bryant has been named newsletter editor for the Eastern States Rock Art Research Association.
In March 2003, they received the New Research Award from that same association.
They've received letters of support and encouragement from archaeologists.
The amateurs' attitude toward the site might also be helping to build credibility.
"Our position is we want minimal disturbance to the sites and we want no personal gain," Kridelbaugh said. "We are really just ambassadors. we want to keep the light on the builders, not on us."
Even though the professional archaeologists are starting to take interest in the amateurs' findings regarding petroforms, there's another problem: "There's just no money for professional research. There's no funding," Bryant said.
She encourages others to start looking for petroforms. They're hard to see. Remember, no one thought Missouri had any petrofroms and Kridelbaugh walked right past that first set of standing stones and didn't see them.
But they may be all over the Ozarks, hidden in the brush. Kridelbaugh and Bryant have found many more petroforms in addition to their original site. Most are on public land, but they've been invited by private landowners to take a look at unusual rocks, too.
"Petroform hunting is something you can do as family. Kids can do it, and if they find a petroform, they really are finding something," Bryant said. "They will never look at a rock the same way again.”

--Originally published in The Ozarks Chronicle, January 2005

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What will new president do for (or to) Missouri?

Barack Hussein Obama became the 44th president of the United States today. What will that mean for Missouri, for the Ozarks, for Phelps County and for Rolla? Perhaps you can figure a little bit of that out from the text of his inaugural address, as prepared for delivery and released by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

OBAMA: My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. Those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers ... our found fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it)."

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

Tax everything

Here's another one from Dave Davidson, our friend from over near Newburg. I don't know where he gets this stuff, but it's always prescient.

Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table
At which he's fed.

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
are the rule

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.

Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries, then
Tax his tears.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his--uh, behind

Tax all he has
then let him know
that you won't be done
till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers,
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
he's good and sore.

Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he's laid.

Put these words
upon his tomb,
"Taxes drove me
to my doom..."

When he's gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax.

What taxes do you pay?

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax,
Fuel permit tax
Gasoline Tax (42 cents per gallon)
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Interest expense
Inventory tax
IRS Interest Charges
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service charge taxes
Social Security Tax
Road usage taxes
Sales Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone federal excise tax
Telephone federal universal service fee tax
Telephone federal, state and local surcharge taxes
Telephone minimum usage surcharge tax
Telephone recurring and non-recurring charges tax
Telephone state and local tax
Telephone usage charge tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License
Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago and our nation was the most prosperous in the world, had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.
What happened???
I don't know, Dave, but my next question is this: What new forms of taxation will the new administration burden us with?

Monday, January 19, 2009

They're keeping us in the dark about Frankenfoods

I'm pretty leery and wary of genetically modfied foods. I figure if produce comes from plants that don't reproduce "after their own kind" like the Bible says and as God intended, then something just isn't right.

A Canadian news website has this disturbing news, which doesn't make me feel any better:

(Dr.) Pusztai, a leading plant expert, was dismissed from the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen Scotland after he went public with research on genetically modified potatoes in 1998.

The Hungarian-born biologist’s contentious research on rats found these potatoes caused several health problems, including a weakened immune system and abnormal growth.

His whistleblowing was largely responsible for sparking debate in the United Kingdom over genetically altered foods, which are most commonly soy beans, corn and potatoes.

Pusztai said virtually all testing done on GM products is being done by the biotechnological farm companies that are making the goods, and are not neutral. While these companies maintain GM products are safe, the results are never released, Pusztai said.

“They’re keeping the public in the dark,” said Pusztai, who was on a speaking tour of southern Ontario.

Dr. Pusztai recommends buying from local growers. I recommend that, too, plus grow your own from heirloom seeds such as those sold by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds right here in the Ozarks.--RDH

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Keep your birds watered

I want to remind readers to keep your bird feeders and your birdbaths filled.

It's easy to go out and replenish the seed and suet in the feeders. It isn't quite so easy keeping the birdbaths filled in winter, because the temperature drops most nights below freezing. This week, we've had days when the water didn't thaw.

Look for an inexpensive heater for your birdbath. There are several on the market. Check online and on Ebay, too.

Birdbath heaters, along with your daily monitoring of the water level, will assure the birds of having a water supply. In winter, that's as big a problem as the food supply.--RDH

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cold, cold, cold

Yesterday when I got up, the temperature on my front porch was zero. Today when I got up, it was the same.

It's 13 degrees now at 9 p.m. I think that's the warmest it has been all day.

Here's what the Old Farmer's Almanac says about January weather for the region that includes Missouri:

Jan. 2009: Temp 33 degrees (7 degrees above avgs); precip 1" (avg.). 1-6 Snow, cold. 7-15 Sunny, turning warm. 16-21 Rain to snow, then sunny, cold. 22-28 Rain, then sunny, mild. 29-31 Rain and snow showers, turning colder.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Distemper taking a toll on Missouri raccoons

From the Missouri Department of Conservation:

JEFFERSON CITY—Missourians are seeing more than the usual number of sick or dead raccoons this winter, but the Missouri Department of Conservation says the animals pose no threat to people or to properly vaccinated pets.

Resource Scientist Jeff Beringer said he is receiving a larger-than-normal number of reports of sick raccoons. Tests on diseased raccoons show that approximately 60 percent have canine distemper.

The canine distemper virus affects unvaccinated dogs, along with foxes, coyotes, skunks, minks, otters, ferrets and bobcats. It does not affect domestic cats or humans. The virus spreads through direct contact between animals or by contact with infected animals’ feces, urine or body secretions. Obvious symptoms include runny nose and eyes, cough, diarrhea and vomiting.

The raccoon (Procyon lotor) is the Show-Me State’s most recognizable furbearer, with its ringed tail and trademark black face mask. It also is one of the state’s most common furbearers. The species’ amazing adaptability enables the 7- to 20-pound animals to survive almost anywhere, from urban areas to wilderness and from swamps to prairies. They have adapted so well to changes brought about by humans that Missouri has more raccoons now than at any time in history. With an average population density of approximately 20 per square mile, raccoons number approximately 1.4 million in Missouri.

The success of the species is not always good news for individual raccoons, however. More raccoons means more opportunities to come into contact with each other, and more opportunities to spread diseases. That creates ideal conditions for spread of the canine distemper virus.

Beringer said coyotes and other furbearers also are affected by the current canine distemper outbreak. However, raccoons are particularly at risk because of their large numbers and because of their habit of denning together in hollow trees and other enclosed spaces during cold weather.

Although canine distemper is effective in controlling raccoon numbers, it also represents the loss of valuable resources. Trappers get $5 to $21 for each raccoon pelt they take to market, and some sell raccoon carcasses to people who prize them as the main ingredient for barbecued or baked raccoon.

Missouri’s annual raccoon catch is more than 100,000 animals. Trapping activity in Missouri increases or decreases according to world demand for pelts. The global nature of the fur trade is evident in pelt price declines when Eurasia experiences a warm winter or an economic downturn. This year, political and military tensions between the Russian Federation and Georgia have cut into fur prices.

The increased trapping activity that accompanies high fur prices tends to keep raccoon numbers in check, reducing the severity of distemper outbreaks.

“Raccoon numbers can vary dramatically,” said Beringer, “but where food and cover are abundant and harvest is missing, they can be superabundant. That leads to situations like we are seeing in Missouri this year. Trapping keeps the raccoon population smaller and healthier.”

Most wild raccoons live five years or less. Pioneering mammalogists Charles and Elizabeth Schwartz estimated it takes approximately 6.5 years to replace all the individuals in a raccoon population.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Protein and energy essential for healthy beef calves

By David Burton
University Extension

Adequate protein and energy are critical for cows in the last part of gestation if they are going to produce a healthy calf, according to Gary Naylor, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
"Both protein and energy are critical for cows to calve easily, produce an adequate sized calf and to produce enough colostrum to prevent disease in the calf's early life," said Naylor.
An excellent growing season has provided cattle producers with adequate stockpiles of winter forage. However, Naylor warns that as pasture is depleted and hay feeding replaces forage, the beef cow may be short-changed during a critical stage in her production cycle.
"It's important to provide two pounds of protein per head in late gestation," said Naylor.
For a 1,000 pound cow, that's 20 pounds of dry forage at ten percent protein. Studies at many research institutions have shown that cows not receiving adequate protein may have calves that are small and weak at birth (as much as 10 percent of the time).
"Energy requirements are also critical to a late gestation beef cow and are more likely to be deficient in cows fed late cut, mature forages," said Naylor.
A 1,000 pound beef cow needs about 11 pounds of total digestible nutrients (TDN). This means the hay needs to be around 55 percent TDN.
"Many of the forage tests I've seen this winter won't meet that criteria and will need supplements to meet the cow's energy needs," Naylor said.
According to Naylor, energy deficiencies are more of a long term problem. Cows that lose body condition produce smaller calves, produce less milk and will be slower returning to heat.
"The thinner the cow, the longer it takes for the cow to return to heat and get bred back resulting in prolonged calving intervals," Naylor said.
The best way to pinpoint nutritional needs is to spend $15 for a hay test.
"It could be the best money you spend," said Naylor. "Feeding a balanced ration adequate in protein and energy is the best way to produce healthy calves and maintain a cow that stays on course to produce a calf every 12 months."
For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Mt. Vernon, (417) 466-3102; Gary Naylor in Dallas County, (417) 345-7551; and Dona Funk in Cedar County, (417) 276-3313.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Watch manure piles to monitor herd health

By David Burton
University Extension

For many years, television and the movies have depicted the beef cattle business as a glamorous or even romantic way of life.

But at least one important management tool of the business -- reading manure piles - isn't glamorous but can be an important part of beef cattle nutrition management.

Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension, says that when it comes to evaluating the nutritional well-being of cattle, close attention should be paid to the manure they deposit on the pasture. In fact, this skill is often stressed in the grazing schools.

"It's fairly easy to look at manure piles and get an idea about the ration quality. Coarse, mature forages move though the digestive system slowly and result in dry, hard, tall manure piles," said Cole. "In contrast, high-quality forages move right through the animal. Those droppings are softer, contain more moisture and spread out as they hit the ground."

The faster rate of passage results in more available energy for the cattle to use for weight gains, lactation and reproduction. Energy is measured as total digestible nutrients (TDN).

"A lot of hay was harvested two or three weeks later than usual in 2008 due to the rains. Thus the maturity resulted in higher levels of fiber in the hay which reduces the energy value and in turn causes the dry, hard, tall manure piles," said Cole.

Cole says a person can actually kick or dig around in the manure and see the coarse fibers.

The best way to manage around the associated poor performance with high fiber rations is to supplement with protein and/or energy.

Good quality legume or legume-grass mixed hay may serve the purpose, especially for adult cows.

"Wintering calves or yearlings may also get by with the quality hay, but a concentrate supplement is required if higher weight gains are expected," said Cole.

Mature 1,200 pound cows that will calve in the next two to three months need about 25 pounds of hay per day that runs 8 percent or more protein and 54 percent plus of total digestible nutrients (TDN) according to Cole. After calving, the requirement for the same cow jumps 30 to 32 pounds of 10 percent protein hay that runs 58 percent TDN.

A 600-pound steer or heifer expected to gain 1.5 pounds per day, requires 14 to 15 pounds per day of a ration that contains 10 to 11 percent protein and 64 percent TDN. All the values are on a dry matter basis.

"Besides examining manure, laboratory testing forages for protein and energy levels is more certain, scientific method of evaluating forages. But realistically, many cattlemen will never get around to taking a forage test so manure pile reading is the next best evaluation technique," said Cole.

For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Mt. Vernon, (417) 466-3102; Gary Naylor in Dallas County, (417) 345-7551; and Dona Funk in Cedar County, (417) 276-3313.

A time when honor was valued

Here's a little essay about President Truman, of Missouri. I checked it on and it is true.

Harry Truman, from Missouri, was a different kind of President. He probably made as many important decisions regarding our nation's history as any of the other 43 Presidents. However, a measure of his greatness may rest on what he did after he left the White House. Historians have written the only asset he had when he died was the house he lived in, which was in Independence Missouri. On top of that, his wife inherited the house from her Mother.

When he retired from office in 1952, his income was a U.S. Army pension reported to have been $13,507.72 a year. Congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and personally licking them, granted him an 'allowance' and, later, a retroactive pension of $25,000 per year.

After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and Bess drove home to Missouri by themselves. There was no Secret Service following them.

When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he declined, stating, You don't want me. You want the office of the President, and that doesn't belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it's not for sale.'

Even later, on May 6, 1971, when Congress was preparing to award him the Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday, he refused to accept it, writing, 'I don't consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise.'

He never owned his own home and as president he paid for all of his own travel expenses and food. Modern politicians have found a new level of success in cashing in on the Presidency, resulting in untold wealth. Today, many in Congress also have found a way to become quite wealthy while enjoying the fruits of their offices. Political offices are now for sale.

Good old Harry Truman was correct when he observed, 'My choices early in life were either to be a piano player in a whore house or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference.'

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's Resolutions for Ozarks Farmers

By David Burton
University Extension

Research shows that about 50 percent of all American's resolve to make some type of change or improvement when a new year begins.

The most common New Year's resolution is to lose weight while the second most common is to pay down or get out of debt.

Bob Schultheis, a natural resource engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Webster County, has several changes he would recommend as good 2009 "resolutions for area farmers."

1. I will soil test my fields before applying lime or fertilizer in order to save money.

2. I will cut my fescue hay by mid-May instead of mid-June to maximize forage nutrient content.

3. I will test my forages before feeding to be sure the animals are getting proper nutrition.

4. I will "shift up and throttle back" my tractors and trucks whenever possible to save up to 30 percent on fuel.

5. I will clean dust and dirt on off machinery fans, motors and lights to make them run more efficiently.

6. I will not allow riders on tractors, farm equipment, riding lawn mowers or all-terrain vehicles, in order to protect their safety.

7. I will shut off running farm equipment before working on it.

Ed Browning, a natural resource engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Jasper County, offers these possible resolutions for farmers:

1. I will make my children under age 18 wear a helmet when riding an ATV and I will wear one myself.

2. I will check that all shields are properly installed and in good working order on all farm equipment.

3. This winter I will inspect and make any needed repairs to my equipment in order to have everything ready to go come spring.

4. I will check my farm-stored grain every two weeks for quality and condition.

Brie Menjoulet, the MU Extension agronomy specialist that serves Hickory, Dallas, Webster and Greene County, offers these farm-related resolutions for 2009.

1. I will scout for and attempt to control invasive weed species on my property.

2. I will implement buffer zones to help reduce nutrient runoff.

3. I will calibrate my sprayer and replace nozzles if needed

Finally, Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with MU Extension, says he would recommend the following New Year's resolutions for area beef producers.

1. I will register for my premise number.

2. I will tag my cows and calves and record birth dates of calves thus making them eligible for age and source verification program.

3. I will sell my old, cull cows before they die of old age since we no longer have a rendering service in southwest Missouri.

4. I will rotate my pastures at least once a week.

5. I will attempt to establish some legumes in my fescue fields.

For more information on these suggestions, contact the nearest MU Extension center or the following MU Extension specialists: Cole at 466-3102, Browning at 358-2158, Menjoulet at 745-6767 and Schultheis at 859-2044.

Friday, January 2, 2009

January can be a "trying" time

By R.D. Hohenfeldt
Managing Editor, Ozarks Almanac

How many of you have started reading the book of Genesis this month? I’ll bet a bunch of you well-meaning Christians have resolved to read the whole Bible through this year. Let me prophesy something: Most of you will quit before the month is over. In fact, I’d venture to say some of you have already quit.

Now, far be it from me to criticize you for quitting, and I’m certainly not judging you. No, sir and ma’am, that prophecy comes from experience.

Yea, verily, I have probably read the first five or six chapters of Genesis more than any other chapters in the The Good Book, except maybe The Gospel According to Matthew.

One December in the newsroom of the newspaper where I once labored, I “rared” back, closed my eyes and loudly and boldly declared, “Beginning January 1 and continuing until December 31 of next year, I will, I say, I WILL, read the entire Bible, the whole Merriam-Webster Dictionary and the complete works of Shakespeare, including his sonnets.”

That pronouncement was met with laughter, of course, and rightly so, it turned out. In that January, as I recall, I read a few chapters of Genesis (once again), a couple of pages of the dictionary and nary a bit of The Bard.

January is the traditional time to try to make some improvements in our lives, such as being a better Christian, a better speller and a better student of literature.

About a week before Christmas each year, I start looking forward to the New Year, thinking of it as an opportunity for a clean sweep, another chance to do better, a time of hope to reach new goals. After the glorious holiday, I spend the week until New Year’s Day thinking of what I want to do to make the following year the best ever year of my life. I resolve. I set goals. I list things.

It’s the follow-through that’s always the problem for me. I don’t know what happens, but I’m soon sidetracked from working on my goals. Things come up. Needs arise. My attention is diverted.

Will I ever change? Will I ever read the dictionary? Will I ever read all of Shakespeare? Will I ever read the Bible through?

A psychology professor once told us you predict future behavior by looking at past behavior, so I’d say the answer to those questions can be summed up in one word: No.

Nevertheless, my past behavior indicates that I will keep resolving to do better. I’ll continue setting goals. I’ll always list things I want to get done.

Well, I take a little solace in knowing at least that I’ll keep hoping. That’s better than giving up and doing nothing, isn’t it?

So, if you’ve already given up on Genesis and/or Matthew, join me as we “rare” back, close our eyes and loudly and boldly declare, “Well, at least we tried – for awhile.”

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

This poem was in the church bulletin Sunday. No author was listed, so if you're the author I apologize for using it without giving you credit. I liked it so much, though, that I had to include it in The Ozarks Almanac as we end 2008 and look forward to 2009.


He came to my desk with quivering lip; The lesson was done.
"Have you a new leaf for me, Dear Teacher? I have spoiled this one!"

I took his leaf, all soiled and blotted, then into his tired heart
I smiled, "Do better now, My Child."

I went to the throne with trembling heart; the year was done.
"Have You a new year for me, Dear Master? I have spoiled this one!"

He took my year, all soiled and blotted, then into my tired
Heart He smiled, "Do better now, My Child!"

Happy New Year to everyone. We hope you have a bountiful 2009--spiritually, intellectually and emotionally rewarding, as well as physically and financially. We pray the Lord's blessings on all who read this blog.--RDH