Saturday, February 28, 2009

Paul Harvey dies at age 90; heard on radio here and everywhere

For some reason, when I was a kid, I used to think that Jesus would come back before Paul Harvey died. The radio commentatator has been on the air for as long as I can remember.

Yahoo News, quoting the AP, reported the following today:

Paul Harvey, the news commentator and talk-radio pioneer whose staccato style made him one of the nation's most familiar voices, died Saturday in Arizona, according to ABC Radio Networks. He was 90.

Harvey died surrounded by family at a hospital in Phoenix, where he had a winter home, said Louis Adams, a spokesman for ABC Radio Networks, where Harvey worked for more than 50 years. No cause of death was immediately available.

He has at least one Missouri connection. The now-defunct Autos of Yesteryear/Memoryville body shop worked on a car that he said he courted his wife, Angel, in. I believe the car also was on display in the museum.

I seem also to remember him talking about the Ozarks every now and again; I don't know if he had a cabin in the hills somewhere or not. Perhaps someone can enlighten us.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Missouri musicians

Here's The Dillards from Salem, Missouri, singing "Dooley" when they played The Darling Family on the Andy Griffith show. For a more recent version, click here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Timber for Sale: What you should know before contacting a timber buyer.

By Brian Hall, Resource Forester
Department of Conservation

Have you ever sold a house or car? Did you know an approximate value of that item prior to selling? Did you do some type of research on this item or hire a professional for a value appraisal? If you are considering selling timber, do you know the value of your timber or the long-term impact to your forest when harvested?

Selling timber can be an enjoyable and profitable experience or a complete disaster. The difference between the experiences is you. Most of the time you will only get one opportunity at a timber harvest on your property. Unlike your house or car that can be replaced in a short period, trees in the Ozarks take several decades to grow into merchantable size.

There is a tried and true process of selling timber. First, educate yourself about forest management. Do as much research as possible, allow sufficient amount of time to gain knowledge about sustainable forest management. There are several valuable educational tools at your disposal; Missouri Department of Conservation, U.S. Forest Service, Missouri Forest Product Association, and the Consulting Forester’s Association are just a few. Make visits to your local public lands for examples of timber harvesting techniques. Remember, if forest management is implemented incorrectly, the effects can last for centuries.
Second, have a forest management plan and follow it. Willa A. Foster said, “Quality is never an accident, it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” A forest management plan is a valuable tool for making short and long-term management decisions. A forest management plan is designed around your objectives and the land’s capability. Management plans are typically valid for 10 to 15 years.

After educating yourself, and developing a forest management plan, now it is time to sell your timber. This sounds like a drawn out process, but the process is critical in achieving the desired outcome. Following this process will most likely shorten the time between harvests and increase the profits on future harvest. Now who does not want more money while providing a healthier environment? There are many more benefits to managing your forest for sustainable yield, improved wildlife habitat, and lowered probability of wide-scale effects from natural events, such as drought, fire, and insect and disease outbreaks. You probably have heard about the red oak borer infestation and the effects it has on the forest. Managing your forest properly can reduce the impact of this and other natural events.

Third, have a timber harvest agreement. Make sure the timber buyer is following the agreement during the harvest. This is your only defense of any wrong doings. You may have sold the timber, but your ownership of the property is still intact, and you will be left with the aftermath, not the buyer. Also, check for information relating to timber taxes. This will allow you to make a more prudent decision on when it is best to harvest for your financial situation.

Not knowing what your trees are worth will only benefit one person, and most likely that is not you. The Department of Conservation can assist landowners with sustainable forest management. We will provide technical information about long-term forest management, but cannot determine the value of your timber. Consulting foresters are there to provide several types of forest management services, timber appraisals, and timber sales are just to name a few. Interview several consulting foresters and choose one best for your situation.

For a complete listing of Missouri Consulting Foresters, log onto

For more information about Forest Management go to the Missouri Department of Conservation webpage at or call me at (573) 368-2590 ext. 22.

For additional information about forest management, check out these helpful web sites:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My blood runs cold

I ran across a story titled "Why Is California So Weird" that made chills run up and down my spine. It made the hair on my neck stand up.

Really, the whole essay was a pretty boring rundown of California's weirdness, and an attempt to explain it. But what made my blood run cold was this ending:

If the rest of the country thinks California weird, let them remember that she is merely their offspring. She both bears the marks of her parent and is an earnest of the nation's future. As California is, so shall all become.

Let our sister states regard this, and tremble.

This is why I'm not so keen on Californians moving to Missouri. I'm afraid it will hasten the Californication of a beautiful state.--RDH

Monday, February 23, 2009

Here's another musician from Missouri

Sheryl Crow, native of Kennett, Mo., graduate of the University of Missouri, expert on the use of toilet paper.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Build a terrarium this winter

By David Trinklein
Associate Professor Plant Sciences

The cold days of winter force gardening enthusiasts to peruse their hobby indoors and terrariums represent an ideal way to accomplish that goal. A
terrarium is a tightly closed clear glass or plastic container filled with
small plants. It also has come to mean an open, transparent container for
growing and displaying plants. Terrariums are most useful for small plants
that do not adapt well to normal home atmospheres. When properly planted
and located, they provide a way to grow many plants with minimal care.
Transparent containers for growing plants date back 2,500 years ago to
ancient Greece. However, the terrarium as we know it is credited to Dr. N.
B. Ward of London. Dr. Ward was interested in growing many types of ferns
in his backyard but had not been successful. While studying a sphinx moth
emerging from the chrysalis he had buried in moist earth in a closed
bottle, he was amazed to see a seedling fern and some grass growing
inside. He watched them grow for four years, during which time not one
drop of water was added, nor was the cover removed. This led to
development of "Wardian Cases," which were large, enclosed containers for growing delicate plants in the home or transporting precious plants over
long distances.
The terrarium most often used today are small ornamental versions of the
Wardian case. We recognize two different types of terrariums: closed and
open. Closed terrariums are more traditional and retain more humidity than
do open ones. The latter, however, do provide higher humidity for plants
than do dish gardens. Open terrariums and dish gardens require more
frequent watering, but danger of disease buildup is reduced.
Critical to the establishment of a successful terrarium is the selection
of an appropriate container. A terrarium container must be made from a
transparent material such clear glass or plastic. As long as it is clear,
almost any type of container may be used: empty fish bowls, fish tanks,
brandy snifters, old glass jars, jugs, bottles, etc. Additionally, there
are containers specially designed for use as terrariums. All closed
containers should have transparent covers. Containers with small openings
also are satisfactory. Containers with large openings without covers can
be used but will require more frequent watering to maintain the high
humidity needed by some plants.
The growing medium for terrariums also is important. It must be
biologically inert, well drained and high in organic matter. Prepackaged
peat-like mixes sold at garden centers and nurseries or where plant
supplies are sold are excellent choices. Adding fertilizer is not
necessary, since most packaged mixes contain a starter charge of
fertilizer; plus, plants in terrariums should not grow rapidly to keep
from "outgrowing" their container. Light fertilization with a houseplant
fertilizer may be done after plants are established.
Plants are the "jewel in the crown" of terrariums and many different
plants are suitable for use. Plants that have a low and dense growth habit
usually are best. Don’t mix plants requiring widely different conditions.
Terrarium plants differ relative to optimum light and temperature
conditions. Those plants requiring medium light should be placed in good
light near a window, or receive supplemental artificial light. Terrariums
with this type of plants should be placed within several feet of a bright
window, but not in direct sun. Few plants tolerate low light for extended
periods. Those terrarium plants that tolerate low light will tolerate a
location no more than about 10 feet from a bright window. Plants requiring
high light are not frequently used but should be placed close to a window,
often in direct sun. Cacti and succulents are examples of the latter. Do
not put closed containers in full sun.
Since most terrarium plants are tropical in nature they require warm
temperatures. A night temperature of 65 F degrees is ideal for this type
of plant; day temperatures normally should be about 10 degrees higher.
"Cool temperature" is a designation that primarily fits woodland plants in
woodland terrariums. These plants should have night temperatures about 50
to 55 F degrees. In the home these temperatures may be difficult to find,
but placed on a window close to the glass with a drape pulled behind them
at night, a pocket of cool air will develop during the winter. Day
temperatures also should be cool but are not as critical. Table 1 lists
some of the more popular terrarium plants along with their light and
temperature preferences.
When designing the terrarium, combine plants for variation in size, color
and texture. Since terrariums usually are viewed from one side, the soil
should be sloped for viewing from that side. Plants also should be
arranged so that taller plants are toward the back. A low, coarse-textured
plant is often desirable for a dominant focal point near the front. Don’t
build a collection of variegated or unusual plants. They compete with each
other and don’t give a unified pattern. Use rocks, sand, wood and other
natural materials to create cliffs, rock ledges, dry stream beds or lush
tropical forests. Hills and valleys will make the scene more interesting
than a flat surface.
Once all necessary materials have been obtained, it is time to construct
the terrarium. In general, about one quarter of the terrarium’s volume
should be used for the growing medium and drainage material. Charcoal and
pebbles should be placed in the bottom of the container for drainage.
These may be mixed together, but the charcoal usually will be most
effective if placed in a half-inch layer above the layer of gravel,
crushed pots, marble chips or other drainage material. Sphagnum moss,
placed over the layer of gravel and charcoal, prevents the growing medium
from sifting into the drainage area.
Next, add the growing medium. It should be slightly moist so as not to be
dusty, but not too moist that it is sticks to the sides of the container.
For most containers, a growing medium minimum thickness of one and
one-half inches is necessary to provide suffi cient volume.
To assemble the terrarium, take the plants from their pots and remove
extra growing medium to expose the roots. Trim off any leaves that are
yellowed, damaged or show any indication of disease or insect damage. Trim
off some roots from plants that were extremely pot bound. Promptly place
the plant in the container, so that the exposed roots do not dry. In the
closed container, try to keep foliage from touching the sides of the
container. Leaves touching the glass will collect water and be more
subject to rot.
After planting, mist over the plants to wash off any growing medium that
sticks to leaves or sides of the container. If the medium was properly
moist at planting, heavy watering will be unnecessary. The water misted
over the leaves is adequate to settle the medium. Don’t cover the
terrarium, and repeat the misting after one day. Allow the container to
remain open until the foliage has thoroughly dried. Then, if the terrarium
is the closed type, apply the cover. Watch the newly-planted terrarium
closely for several weeks for signs of diseases or other problems.
As stated previously, plants in terrariums should not grow rapidly.
Therefore terrariums seldom need fertilizer. Don’t plan any fertilization
for at least a year after planting. If after the first year the plants are
yellowish and seem to lack vigor without any other apparent problems, a
light fertilization may be necessary. Use a water-soluble houseplant
fertilizer at about one-fourth the rate recommended for normal
houseplants. Do not allow any of this fertilizer solution to be left on
the foliage.
Although a terrarium is designed for growing plants indoors with minimum
care, it is not an inanimate object. Some plants will thrive, others may
die. Occasionally it will become necessary to remove certain plants or add
others. When adding plants, take all precautions described for planting
the new terrarium. It is always possible to add new problems when adding
new plants.
Table 1. Plants suitable for use in terrariums
Common nameScientific nameLightTemp
African violet Saintpaulia spp medium warm
Aluminum plant Pilea cadierii medium warm
Arrow-head plant Syngonium podophyllum medium warm
Artillery plant Pilea microphylla medium warm
Asparagus fern Asparagus plumosus med.- brt.warm
Baby tears Helxine soleirolii medium warm
Begonia Begonia spp medium warm
Bird’s nest SansevieriaSansevieria trifasciata hahniiany warm
Bloodleaf Iresine herbstii bright warm
Chinese evergreen Aglaonema spp low - med.warm
Coral berry Ardisia crispa medium warm
Creeping fig Ficus pumila medium warm
Croton Codiaeum variegatum bright warm
Devil’s ivy (Pothos) Epipremnum aureum medium warm
Dwarf gloxinia Sinningia pusilla medium warm
Dwarf pomegranate Punica granatum nana bright warm
Emerald Ripple Peperomia caperata medium warm
English ivy Hedera helix medium cool
Flame violet Episcia cupreata medium warm
Foam flower Tiarella cordifolia med.-
Gold dust dracaena Dracaena godseffiana medium warm
Goldfish vine Columnea microphylla medium warm
Heart-leaved philodendronP. scandens oxycardium medium warm
Maidenhair fern Adiantum cuneatum medium warm
Miniature peperomia Pilea depressa medium warm
Neanthe bella palm Chamaedorea elegans medium warm
Nerve plant Fittonia spp medium warm
Oxalis Oxalis spp bright warm
Piggy-back plant Tolmiea menziesii medium warm
Podocarpus Podocarpus macrophylla medium warm
Pink polka dot Hypoestes panguinolenta bright warm
Prayer plant Maranta spp medium warm
Rosary vine Ceropegia woodii med.- brt.warm
Sander’s dracaena Dracaena sanderiana medium warm
Satin pellionia Pellionia pulchra med.- brt.warm
Spider Aralia Dizygotheca elegantissimamed.- brt.warm
Spider plant Chlorophytum comosum lowmed. warm
Strawberry begonia Saxifraga sarmentosa medium warm
Swedish ivy Plectranthus australis lowmed. warm
Table brake fern Pteris spp medium cool
Tahitian bridal veil Gibasis geniculata medium warm
Var. ovalleaf peperomia P. obtusifolia variegata medium warm
Venus fly trap Dionaea muscipula bright warm
Watermelon peperomia Peperomia sandersii med.- brt.warm

Friday, February 20, 2009

Here come the Califoreigners!

Fellow Missourians, get ready to meet some new neighbors. Californians, the sons and daughters of Midwesterners who went west to find a more prosperous life, are leaving that state and heading east, looking for cheap land.

Here's an excerpt from a report in USA Today titled "In California's meltdown, misery has a long reach":

California's troubles have been fueled by an influx of illegal immigrants who place increasing demands on social services. They have helped to boost the state's overall population even as it loses thousands of residents who are leaving for other states.

In each of four years prior to June 2008, more people left California than moved in from other states, a reversal of a decades-long trend in which the state took in more than it lost.

The U.S. Census reports that California's population rose despite the population outflow, from 34 million in 2000 to 37 million in 2008, because of an increase in births and foreign immigration, legal and illegal.

Those leaving point to an unemployment rate that hit 9.3% in December, up from 5.9% a year earlier and fourth-highest in the nation, and taxes on income, sales and gas that are among the highest in the nation.

The exodus is enough that California could lose one of its 53 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in the redistricting that will be based on the 2010 Census.

"The main thing for me is the cost of living," says Carly Meyer, 25, who is weighing a move from Lompoc, a town of walnut farms and vineyards near the Pacific Coast, to Utah. "I've been thinking of buying a home, putting some money down, and it's just about impossible in California."

Missouri is one of the states the Califoreigners have chosen, especially Southern Missouri. That's why you see land that used to sell for $200 an acre going for $2,000 an acre or more.

What are they bringing with them? California's values and lifestyle. Complaints about not enough to do, not enough malls, too much animal smells, etc. Calls for regulation of your property and your lives.

Whoopee! It's going to be fun.

Of course, we're Missourians and we can't help but be nice and neighborly. We'll welcome these folks with open arms, knowing that by doing so their presence will eventually radically change the state and we'll be saying good-bye to the Missouri we love.--RDH

Harbinger of spring could bloom this month

By Dr. Lynda Richards

Here's a wildflower with real flowers for February—one that you can go out and find if you really want to: harbinger of spring, or pepper-and-salt, Erigenia bulbosa. This member of the carrot family lives up to its common names and its scientific name. A “harbinger” is a prophecy or sign of things to come, and this tiny flower heralds spring. The flowers have white petals and dark stamens, so they look a little like “salt and pepper” among the dry leaves on the forest floor. And these flowers arise from a tiny bulb, thus the specific name “bulbosa.”
Pepper-and-salt flowers may be blooming now! If not, they will be blooming very soon in the Ozarks, surely before February is out. If you find this little gem, you may consider yourself one of the few—not because it’s a rare plant, but because you have to be there at the right place, at the right time. You will know that I am a very lazy botanist when I admit that I myself have been there at the right time and place only a couple times in my 25 years in the Ozarks.
The place is near the bottom of a steep, north-facing wooded hill along one of our major rivers like Big Piney, Gasconade , Meramec, Current, or Eleven Point. The time, of course, is February (though they may last into March). Normally at this time of year, I will be in an easy chair beside the woodstove, watching birds at a feeder in my front yard. Last spring, I got a phone call from a real outdoorsman, retired cattleman Lester Buch, who lives down J Highway near King Sink. “Do you want to see harbinger of spring?” he asked. “I found it in bloom along the Big Piney, out that road that goes on down to Devil’s Elbow.” Did I want to drive 15 miles out into the boondocks and then scramble down a steep treacherous rocky trail (and back up!) that chill afternoon, just to see tiny gray flowers on a three-inch-tall stem? Yes!
If you don’t want to do that, just open the book Missouri Wildflowers, fifth edition, 1998, by Edgar Denison. ( Denison , author of the four earlier editions, died in 1993. Out of respect for him, Denison ’s name remains on the fifth edition cover, despite extensive revision by our Missouri state botanist, Tim Smith, and other MDC workers.) Harbinger of spring is on page 2, the very first wildflower in the book. The flowering stalk shoots up to two or three inches, well before the leaves. Later, the stem will continue to grow and produce ferny-looking leaves, eventually reaching the exalted height of eight inches. Within a few weeks the above-ground parts will shrivel and become part of the leaf litter, the bulb secure underground for next year’s brief foray into the realm of the birds and the bees. An Ozarks native, this plant is also found throughout the eastern USA in suitable rich, moist wooded habitats.

Dr. Lynda Richards, of Rolla, is the retired Mark Twain National Forest ecologist and a Phelps County Master Gardener.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

House passes Teacher Protection Act

Dr. Jerry Giger, Superintendent, Jane Haskell, President of Rolla School District, Dr. Aaron Zalis, Assistant Superintendent, School Board Member Kelly Long present State Representative Dan Brown with a plaque thanking him for support of Rolla Public Schools.

By Dan Brown

State Representative

This week the House passed House Bill 96, known as the Teacher Protection Act. It changes the laws regarding school employee liability, safety practices and reporting acts of violence. It gives teachers the ability to maintain order as long as they follow established school policy. Most importantly, the bill allows school employees to focus on teaching without worrying about litigation.

One of the most important parts of the bill outlines new discipline procedures to defend teachers who use force to protect their students and property. A good teacher is one who has a disciplined classroom. The Teacher Protection Act gives teachers the ability to construct a controlled classroom without fear of frivolous lawsuits. If a student’s actions are destructive, an educator should be able to correct this to ensure student productivity and safety. That way, it allows students and teachers to focus on learning instead of classroom management.

This bill also allows all teachers and administrators to be aware of acts of violence throughout the school. Suspended students would not be allowed on school property without specific permission and would be prohibited from attending off campus school sponsored activities. Furthermore, it requires a notice of reportable offenses to be attached to an offending student's record and transcript. All of these provisions are aimed at ensuring a safe learning environment for Missouri students. In addition, the Teacher Protect Act exempts unqualified employees who refuse to administer medication or medical services from disciplinary action and exempts qualified employees from any civil liability for administering medication or medical services. Teachers should be able to take the necessary steps to protect their student’s health.

I am a strong proponent of House Bill 96. I believe every child has a right to high quality education and I will continue working to provide a safe environment for our students and school employees. Educators and administrators should be able to effectively manage their schools without fear of being reprimanded. I am thankful that the Missouri House of Representatives is dedicated to education issues and that we were able to work together to pass the bill this session.

I also wanted to talk to you about a bill that would protect Missourians from the dangers associated with the closing of Guantanamo Bay. President Obama ordered the prison to be closed by the end of the year. The destination of these suspected terrorists is still in question. This session we are considering House Concurrent Resolution 16 which would oppose the use of Missouri’s airports, highways, railways and waterways for the transportation of these terror suspects. It would also express opposition to the sheltering of these terror suspects in our State as they are being transported to detention centers. Additionally, the resolution opposes granting these prisoners asylum in Missouri. We want our citizens to know we are committed to keeping terror suspects out of our State.
I had the pleasure of visiting with many groups this week including members from the Missouri School Boards’ Association, Missouri 4-H Legislative Academy, Missouri Veterinary Medical Association, Sharon Meusch, Executive Director of the Russell House in Rolla, President Gary Forsee and Chancellor John Carney from Missouri University of Science and Technology, Carol Green, our Phelps County Treasurer, St. James City Administrator David Watkins and Rolla City Administrator John Butz.

My main goal is to represent my constituents by carefully considering what is best for Missouri when legislation is brought to the House Floor. As we continue to make progress, I will keep you posted and welcome any suggestions or opinions you may have. Please feel free to contact me at 573-751-5713 or by email at

Trail trees of the Ozarks

Indians bent trees to making living signs

By Mike Walker

Road signs, billboards, and maps are crucial to find a service or location, and it would certainly turn into a real adventure in Missouri without knowing the way. Signs today are much larger than they were 70 years ago because increased speeds make reading the message a much shorter experience. Signs on major roadways are overused, and many go ignored because the displayed message is not important to the reader. As signs evolved, logos were introduced, which allowed the reader to selectively identify and determine in a split second the specific type of food, fuel, or other services offered.
American Indians, long ago, had similar needs when traveling and used signs to lead them throughout the trails of Missouri. A natural approach was used offering a long lasting and interesting item to find while traveling. Without understanding what to look for, many drive by these signs without noticing them.
American Indian trail trees may be the remains of Missouri's first "living" signs, standing silent and unrecognized for many years. While little has been written about the trees, many people know of their existence, but others deny them and state they only occur naturally.
Early settlers have always left some type of sign to mark a significant feature. Blaze marks were used to mark property lines and roadways. An axe or broad knife was used to slice away a section of the tree's bark. Major roadways have significantly changed in the last century with the exception of our secondary roads. Along these secondary roads is where you will find the majority of trail trees.
In the early days before Europeans arrived, American Indians followed game for food. Larger game, such as deer and elk, left trails throughout Missouri by taking the easiest route on ridges and spurs; a twisting winding route was not of importance or likely noted because it was easier to travel. Likewise, American Indians knew to follow these paths of migration leading to areas of necessity; for example, a game-feeding area became a hunting area. Along the way trail trees were constructed to point to springs, low-water crossings, caves for shelter, and areas to gather medicine. The result of all this traffic became a trail, similar to what we use today in the form of roads.
Early settlers did not mind the twisting, turning trails we have in Missouri because they traveled at a snail's pace on horseback. In sharp comparison the speeds at which we travel today on Interstate 44 from Rolla to St. Robert is a good example of the change that has occurred over time.
Previously, Interstate 44 was a series of twisting s-turns, and two years ago it was re-routed along this section to provide a straighter roadway. Interstate 44 was a former trail leading early settlers from St. Louis westward. After the introduction of the horse came wagons, then motorized traffic appeared in early 1900. The need to have two-way roads thus widened the trails. Modernization was bad for the trail tree; an undetermined number have been cut down because these natural signs were no longer needed and the historical importance was not understood.
Trail trees have been referred to as language trees, bent trees, thong trees, signal trees, and Indian marker trees, depending upon the graphical part of the United States where they have been found. Elaine Jordan wrote "Indian Trail Trees," the only book on the subject. Jordan has found and documented more than 300 trail trees in northern Georgia.
The Central District Garden Clubs of Missouri previously affixed small white metal signs next to trail trees in Missouri. Two trail trees with signs can be found near Indian Bridal Cave outside Camdenton and Lake Saint Louis. Trail trees exist in Pulaski, Texas, Phelps, Camden, and Laclede counties. Of those identified, all are white oak. The oldest and largest have been found in Texas County, though hundreds more wait to be discovered.
Not all bent trees are considered trail trees because a tree falling upon another in the forest can bend it to mistakenly resemble a trail tree, though it is missing other indicators, including:
* Predominate bump or nose. This is a very significant feature and is the result of the tree being topped (top section of the tree removed). This stops the tree from growing as a normal one would, then the sapling tethered to the ground allows the branches to grow skyward rather than horizontally. This bump has been duplicated in design several times leaving different configurations, some with single, double, and triple vertical risers. Bumps on the tree can appear in other areas other than where the tree was topped.
* Located near roads or trails. The American Indians traveled upon our current roads, used trail trees, and left signs for future reference.
* Typically white oak. American Indians knew of the trees' hardiness, longevity, and ability to withstand bending.
* A final and true discriminator would be to find a trail tree pointing in the direction of another trail tree of similar diameter and construction. A series of four of these trees lead to a fording site on the Roubidoux River in Pulaski County.
The surrounding area where trail trees are found may provide information from the past. As the loggers of Missouri harvested timber and clear-cut many areas, they had no use for a bent tree and possibly knew of their significance, so some trail trees were left.
Finding trail trees is easiest during the winter when the majority of leaves have fallen; it also helps after it snows because snow will fall and rest upon the horizontal areas of the tree discriminating it from other trees. In a given area the largest tree in diameter may be the trail tree, or the trail tree may be surrounded by short-leaf pine, as it grew in place of the previous oaks that had been deforested. Trail trees with leaves on can be found by using an approach used by hunters. Look deeper than normal and search for horizontal lines. Most vertical lines appear naturally by foliage growing toward the sun. Train your eyes to look at objects horizontal.
Oak trees die from the inside; the hollowing of the inside weakens the tree, and it falls over. A good example of this is located on Fort Leonard Wood and can be seen along Oklahoma Avenue. This tree was cored in 2002, and the installation forester determined that it was at least 152 years old, though not all of the rings were counted because it is hollow. This tree has cracks on both sides allowing you to see through the tree. Five trail trees have been located on Fort Leonard Wood so far; all have a predominate bump, are located next to a road or trail, and are White Oak.
Until you have seen a trail tree up close and examined the bumps and bends, it is difficult to understand or describe the greatness it beholds; photos do not give it justice.
Many of the remaining trail trees are located on private property, and the land owners' permission must be gained before viewing them any closer than from the car. Trail trees in Missouri are quickly vanishing due to modernization and the widening and straightening of our secondary roads. Because of their age, the majority may not last another century. If anyone has seen or found a trail tree in the Pulaski County area, contact me at or 573.759.3908.

Mike Walker lives in Dixon and works for the Quality Assurance Element, United States Army Engineer School Fort Leonard Wood, has a BA in history, and has studied and researched American Indian trail trees throughout the Ozarks of Missouri since 1997.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bald Eagles spend winters in the Ozarks

By Jason Braunecker
Phelps County Conservation Agent

During winter months, the Missouri Ozarks provide an excellent opportunity to view our national symbol, the Bald Eagle.
Bald Eagles migrate south and winter in Missouri to find food in the normally unfrozen lakes and streams that are numerous here. These eagles usually arrive in December and return north to their breeding grounds in Canada and along the Great Lakes in late February.
Missouri is the leading state for wintering Bald Eagles with more than 2,200 bald eagles being reported. As a matter of fact, Missouri’s wintering Bald Eagle population is ten times larger than the summer nesting population of 200 Bald Eagles.
The wintering eagles are sociable, usually forming loose flocks. This gives many Missourians an opportunity to see multiple eagles in a small area.
This is definitely true for Missouri’s Trout Parks. Maramec Springs in Phelps County and Montauk in Dent County offer the public an opportunity to view these magnificent birds. The abundance of food at these trout parks will often attract as many as eight to ten eagles at a time.
If you plan to visit these parks with your family, warm clothes, binoculars, and patience are needed. If you are unable to travel to one of these trout parks, look in trees, particularly sycamores, and high in the sky for soaring eagles near a river or a lake
Bald eagles have a wing span ranging from 6 to 8 feet which is much larger than any other hawk or vulture you may commonly see. Look for both immature and adult Bald Eagles. Immature Bald Eagles do not have the distinct white head and tail feathers that the adult Bald Eagle displays. The immature has a darker head with some faint white stripes usually on the body and wings. It takes four to five years for an immature Bald Eagle to become an adult.
One important point to remember when trying to view the eagles is that they are wild and are state and federally protected. The Bald Eagle is listed as threatened in the United States and endangered in Missouri. The federal Eagle Protection Act gives additional protection to Bald Eagles as well. Give the Bald Eagles some space when you are trying to view them in their natural environment.
It is important to recognize the struggle the Bald Eagle endured in the past to truly appreciate the populations of wintering Bald Eagles we now have in the Ozarks. The pesticide DDT was heavily used in the mid 1900’s which led to a dramatic decrease in Bald Eagle populations. Bald Eagles ingested DDT through the fish and other animals that the Bald Eagles ate. The DDT thinned egg shells which led to failed nests. The banning of DDT use in the United States in 1972 has led to a healthy and growing Bald Eagle population throughout the United States and Canada.
Missouri took additional measures to increase Bald Eagle populations through a reintroduction program in the 1980’s. Current management efforts since the reintroductions include surveying and monitoring birds an nests, saving existing nest trees, leaving buffer zones around nest trees, and establishing trees along streams and reservoirs.
The Missouri Department of Conservation would like your help identifying new Bald Eagle nest sites. Active summer nests or any illegal activity involving Bald Eagles should be reported to the Missouri Department of Conservation by calling your local conservation agent or MDC Office.
For more information about Bald Eagles go to the Missouri Department of Conservation webpage at or call me at (573) 265-0052.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

House takes quick action to advance job creation efforts

By Dan Brown

State Representative

I am happy to report that we are continuing to move ahead of schedule. We have already passed a bill outlining economic development and growth which part of our key initiative, the Family Recovery Plan.

The current state of our economy demands us to work for immediate results in order to help get our citizens back to work and supporting their families. The legislation we passed provides a number of economic development tools that will create good-paying jobs and help us reinvigorate Missouri.

This legislation (House Bill 191) focuses primarily on expanding our Quality Jobs Program. Quality Jobs focuses on the creation of good-paying jobs that provide health insurance benefits to workers and their families. The program has been a resounding success since its 2005 launch and is responsible for creating more than 22,000 jobs since. Currently, there are caps on the amount of tax credits that can be offered to companies that create these jobs. The bill we passed lifts those caps and increases the amount of tax credits so that more projects can be approved and more jobs can be created. In order to receive the tax credits, companies must have the jobs in place. This is a results-driven program and the reward doesn’t come until we see progress. It creates a safety-net to ensure the program is beneficial to our citizens. We are confident that Quality Jobs will bring continued success and get Missourians working again. It has already brought $2.5 billion in new investment to our State and we look forward to significant growth in the next few years.

In addition to the Quality Jobs expansion, House Bill 191 provides significant incentives to small businesses looking to grow and expand. The bill also provides similar incentives to businesses not large enough to qualify for Quality Jobs credits. With this, smaller businesses will have the same advantages enjoyed by larger companies. The bill expands the cap on our New Markets Tax Credit that has helped channel more than $120 million in investments to small businesses in low-income, distressed communities all around the state. It raises the credit cap from $15 million to $27.5 million and pushes the sunset on the program from 2010 to 2012. Small Businesses are vital to Missouri’s economic growth and this will allow us to continue a proven program that has made a significant impact on these operations.

Finally, House Bill 191 places an emphasis on assisting start-up companies and helping our research and development community to grow and flourish. One part of the bill allows up to $5 million in tax credits each year. This encourages angel investors to help start-up companies expand into full-fledged businesses. Another portion of the bill provides the Missouri Department of Economic Development the ability to issue up to $10 million in tax credits each year to offset expenses related to scientific research and development in fields such as agricultural biotechnology and prescription pharmaceuticals. We believe the credits will strengthen our research community and help promote even more of the entrepreneurial ideas that so often come from our researchers. The Quality Jobs program has produced real results for businesses across our State and I believe that House Bill 191 works to ensure further prosperity for Missourians.

We had a lot of visitors this week and I would like to thank everyone who made the trip to Jefferson City. Groups visiting this week were: Members of the Missouri Farm Bureau, Phelps Regional Homecare, Dental Hygienists, Missouri Retired Teachers Association, Midwives, and Citizens for the Missouri Arts. We also had the pleasure of listening to the St. Louis Symphony in the Capitol Rotunda where Erica Westenberg, a student at Rolla High School performed in the violin section.

Remember, this is your State government. Help me keep it that way by keeping me informed. Please feel free to contact me at 573-751-5713 or by email at

Monday, February 16, 2009

Who do we owe our future to?

If any of you folks who check in here from time to time could help me, I'd appreciate it. Here's my question:

Why holds our national debt? I mean, if the government is spending more than it is taking in, where is the money coming from?

If we're borrowing it, who is lending to us? And what have we put up for collateral? What are we putting up for collateral on this latest spending spree?

If we don't pay it back, what happens?

You don't have to write something long, if you don't want. Just point me to a reputable website.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

An embarrassing Valentine’s Day story

By R.D. Hohenfeldt

When February rolls around with Valentine’s Day in tow, the old Ozarks Boy always recalls his days as a pupil at Republic Elementary School.

Way back in those days of yore, teachers would encourage children to make “mail boxes” for Valentine’s Day. Then on Valentine’s Day (or the Friday before if Valentine’s Day fell on a weekend) the room mothers would bring in cupcakes and Kool-Aid and they’d have a party. Part of the day’s celebration included distributing valentine cards to the “mail boxes” of classmates.

Now this was embarrassing on a number of levels for the young Ozarks Boy.

His family was of extremely modest means, so there wasn’t enough money to buy nice valentines and all the other accoutrements of the day, including colored construction paper.

For a mailbox one year, the young Ozarks Boy found a shoe box that he covered with aluminum foil. Then, after using a crayon to color a piece of tablet paper, he cut that paper into shapes of hearts and pasted them onto the sides and top of the foil-covered shoe box. With a pocket knife, he stabbed a slot into the top of the box. Have mercy, what an embarrassing mess that so-called mail box was!

One year I recall that the young Ozarks Boy couldn’t find a shoe box or anything else suitable after an extensive search of his house, his grandparents’ house and the barn, so he just used a grocery sack. Using a crayon he decorated the grocery sack with hearts and urgings to “Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!” Oh, it was quite festive in an embarrassing sort of way.

Some of the young Ozarks Boy’s fellow pupils would build mail boxes that looked like miniature U.S. Mail boxes. Some would build mail boxes that looked like houses. One year a girl built a mail box that looked like a castle! It had towers, a gate and a draw bridge, and it took her three trips to bring it into Republic Elementary School from her mother’s car. The young Ozarks Boy suspected then (and still does, even as an old Ozarks Boy) that she had some parental help with the construction.

Placing his colored grocery sack next to that castle was embarrassing to the young Ozarks Boy.

To add a cherry to that Valentine’s sundae of embarrassment, the Republic teachers would combine to have a contest. Each classroom teacher would appoint two or three of the girls to go to another classroom to judge mail boxes.

Do you think the Ozarks Boy’s foil-covered shoe box or his decorated sack ever had a chance of winning a prize in the mail box judging contest with that kind of competition? The answer, of course, is no, no, no.

Valentine’s Day also embarrassed the young Ozarks Boy because he had to give the cheapest valentines available. These were valentines bought at the grocery store. Printed eight or 10 to a sheet, they were partially cut out. You’d punch them the rest of the way out, sign your name on the backs, stick them in the little envelopes provided in the pack and then put them in the mail boxes on party day.

Most embarrassing of all, though, was the fact that he had to give valentines to girls! The young Ozarks Boy was shy. He didn’t talk to girls and when girls talked to him, he stuttered and stammered like a fool before turning away in excruciating emotional pain.

Ozarks Boy had a crush on one girl by the name of Jeanne B. He only talked to her one time in his life. That was after the Valentine’s Day party in fourth grade, The pupils had all walked around distributing their valentines to the mail boxes. They had collected their mail from their own mail boxes and were opening them. The Ozarks Boy opened one large envelope that contained a beautiful card and a little candy heart. On the candy heart were printed the words “I LOVE YOU.” The card was signed “Jeanne B.”

The Ozarks Boy’s face turned the shade of the hearts he had colored on his grocery sack. His own heart started racing. He sat quietly the rest of the party, eating his cupcake slowly and sipping his Kool-Aid.

She loves me, she loves me, she loves me!

His heart sang.

What should he do about it?

Well, he had to talk to her. He had to let her know he felt the same toward her that she felt toward him!

After the party, the teacher let the pupils put on their coats and go out to the playground until the bell rang for the buses to load and the parents to pick up their kids.

The Ozarks Boy carried the “I LOVE YOU” heart in his pocket out to the playground. He got on a swing. He climbed on the bars. He walked around with some buddies. All the while, his heart was pounding.

The bell rang! Time was running out!

As the students lined up to go into the building to get their books and folders and lunch pails, Ozarks Boy sidled up to Jeanne B.

“’at ‘ere wuz quat a card you giv me,” the young Ozarks Boy said to Jeanne B. “Speshully ‘at ‘ere heart.”

That translates to “That there was quite a card you give me. Especially that there heart.” (It should be noted that the Ozarks Boy did eventually learn to speak and write English correctly, although he still enjoys laying on the hill talk thick when speaking to professors or city folk.)

“Well, you’re welcome, I guess,” said Jeanne B. “What was so special about the heart?”

“Wull, it sed yew luv me,” the Ozarks Boy said.

“Oh, my goodness,” said Jeanne B. “I put a heart in each card and that was the last one I had left. I almost didn’t put it in your card, but I didn’t want to be unfair. I hope you don’t think I meant it.”

“Uh, no,” said the Ozarks Boy, sidling away as Jeanne B. turned to her friends, giggling.

Crestfallen and heartbroken, the Ozarks Boy walked into the school house, into the classroom, got his belongings and then went and got on the school bus.

He looked out the window of the bus and saw Jeanne B. get on another bus.

He reached into his pocket, retrieved the candy heart, looked at the “I LOVE YOU” once again and then popped it into his mouth.

No need to waste a good piece of candy, even if you have been spurned by the girl of your dreams.

Well, the Ozarks Boy never spoke to Jeanne B. again the rest of his life.

Nevertheless, he eventually got over being scared of girls, and he did finally get married. Twice, in fact. Yes, life can be strange.

Have a happy Valentine’s Day.—RDH

Friday, February 13, 2009

Are you a fan of the Cardinals?

By Lorraine McFarland
Past President
Ozarks Rivers Audubon

When people ask if I’m a Cardinal fan, I say yes, but baseball I can take or leave! Northern Cardinals, Cardinalis cardinalis, are yearlong residents in Missouri. If you are reading this I’m guessing you probably know what a cardinal looks like (especially if you are a baseball fan) so I won’t dwell on identifying marks. Just remember that the female is duller than the male, showing red only on the crest, wings and tail.
In the Ozarks bird world nothing can compare to the beauty of a brilliant red cardinal, perched on an icy branch covered with a dusting of snow. After our epic January ice storm and two days without power or water, boredom compelled me to don my bulky snowsuit, grab the camera and venture out into a 4-degree morning. I was rewarded by a very cooperative male cardinal who graciously sat on an ice-covered pine bough while I shot multiple photos of him. This shot is the best of the bunch.
These birds are accomplished songsters. Early in our relationship, my husband asked me “What’s that bird that sounds like a spaceship?” I knew he was referring to the song of the cardinal, parts of which I agreed do actually sound extraterrestrial. Listen for yourself at, and see if you agree.
A cardinal’s diet consists of insects, seeds and fruit and their preferred habitat consists of thickets, forest edges, suburban gardens and parks. In early spring you might be lucky enough to observe the courting display; with crests fully fluffed and necks stretched out, the male and female will softly sing to each other as they sway back and forth. It takes 6-9 days to build a nest of twigs, vines, leaves, strips of bark, and weed stalks lined with hair and fine grass. A clutch consists of two to five eggs and the parents share incubation duties for 12-13 days. Hatchlings leave the nest in about 10 days and both parents continue to care for the young until the female lays more eggs, then the male takes over. One of the most interesting things about cardinals and the most fun to watch at your feeder throughout the breeding season is the older siblings helping with the care of the newly fledged young. The babies will sit on a branch near the feeder and be generally obnoxious, quivering their wings and screaming until a brother, sister or parent brings them a seed.
So, next time the Cardinals’ game gets rained out grab your binoculars and enjoy one of America’s other favorite pastimes – bird watching!

Lorraine McFarland is past president of Ozark Rivers Chapter of the National Audubon Society.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wal-Mart gets some good press, finally!

By R.D. Hohenfeldt
Managing Editor, Ozarks Almanac

A New York Post writer this week reported his trip undercover as a Wal-Mart employee. I heard about it on the Rush Limbaugh Show.

Surprise, surprise, surprise, the writer likes Wal-Mart! Here's an excerpt:

You have to wonder, then, why the store has such a terrible reputation, and I have to tell you that so far as I can determine, trade unions have done most of the mudslinging. Web sites that serve as a source for negative stories are often affiliated with unions., for instance, is partnered with the Service Employees International Union; is entirely owned by United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. For years, now, they've campaigned against Wal-Mart, for reasons that may have more to do with money than compassion for the working poor. If more than one million Wal-Mart employees in the United States could be induced to join a union, by my calculation they'd be compelled to pay more than half-billion dollars each year in dues.

Anti-growth activists are the other primary source of anti-Wal-Mart sentiment. In the town where I worked, I was told that activists even opposed a new Barnes & Noble because it was "too big." If they're offended by a large bookstore, you can imagine how they feel about a discount retailer.

The argument, of course, is that smaller enterprises cannot compete. My outlook on this is hardcore: I think that many of the "mom-and-pop" stores so beloved by activists don't deserve to remain in business.

I'm a big fan of Wal-Mart. It's an Ozarks-based company founded by a man who believed in customer service and low prices for working people.

City folks and those here in Rolla who fancy themselves to be more sophisticated than they really are look down their noses at Wal-Mart and those of us who shop there. They say that the big-box store has destroyed the business districts of towns across the country.

That's a bunch of baloney. There are lots of reasons for the demise of downtowns, the No. 1 culprits, though, are improved highways and reliable transportation. The truth is: those same people in Rolla who complain about Wal-Mart get into their motor cars every week or so and head off to St. Louis to go shopping.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Conservation training available to landowers

By Jim Low

Helping private contractors increase their effectiveness in managing land for wildlife is the focus of a workshop series at locations around Missouri this spring.

The workshops are a cooperative effort of the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Centers and the Missouri Agribusiness Association (MO-AG). Building on the success of previous Contractor workshops, the 2009 program offers training – including field work – on an expanded range of topics.

Workshop dates and topics include:

Feb. 18 in Rolla – Small business development and grassland establishment and management.

Feb. 25 at University Forest near Poplar BluffForest management.

March 3 in Hannibal – Small business development and gassland establishment and management.

March 5 in Columbia – Small business development and grassland establishment and management.

March 10 in Warrensburg -- Prescribed burning, tree planting and wetland management.

March 26 in Warrenton – Small business development and forest management.

April 15 in Chillicothe – Prescribed burning, tree planting and wetland management.

June 10 in Macon – Wetland management.

July 28 in St. Louis -- Prescribed burning, tree planting and wetland management.

August 25 in Park Hills – Small business development and Grassland establishment and management.

September 15 in West Plains – Open-land management.

October 28 in St. Joseph – Prescribed burning, tree planting, wetland management.

December 2-3 in West Plains – Prescribed burning.

Brad McCord is the Conservation Department's conservation contractor training coordinator. He said that program is not intended to produce professional field biologists. Rather, it is aimed at giving private agricultural contractors enough familiarity with wildlife management terminology and practices to enable them to deliver services to clients and help them take advantage of state and federal programs that make conservation practices affordable to implement.

"Missouri landowners have a long history of wanting to improve their land for nature,” said McCord. “State and federal conservation programs provide incentives and cost- share programs to help, but many landowners just don’t have the necessary equipment and experience. These workshops are intended to fill that need.”

As an example, McCord noted workshops that train contractors to establish native grass and wildflower plantings and maintain them safely with prescribed burns. He said other workshops will focus on forest management practices that benefit wildlife while promoting healthier forests and producing income for the landowner.

“We want these workshops to link landowner’s desires for wildlife management with well-qualified and equipped contractors," McCord said.

Pre-registration is required. For more information call 573-636‑6130 or 573-751‑4115.

Each session includes instruction on how to best implement various wildlife management techniques on private land. The programs are for businesses that deliver services to private landowners or individuals who want to establish conservation contracting businesses.

Participants receive instructional materials for each portion of the series. This year’s workshops include information from the Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Centers about developing and running small businesses.

“For existing businesses working with private landowners, the small-business advice and counseling can make the difference between being successful or not,” said McCord.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sixty pounds of standard poodle

Here's a picture for Rottlady of the Ozarks and anyone else who loves dogs. This is our beautiful girl Sophia, or as we say here in the Ozarks, Sophie. She's 60 pounds of standard poodle.

My wife took her to the vet yesterday for minor surgery. The baby had a panic attack when she started feeling the anesthesia's effects and literally started screaming. My wife said it wasn't a bark or a howl; it was a scream. She had never heard such a sound from an animal. The vet took care of everything, though, and Sophia is all right.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

One-time funding for one-time expenses

By Rep. Dan Brown
District 149

During the State of the State address, the Governor proposed using funds to not only balance the budget, but to expand Missouri’s welfare programs and add thousands of people to the State’s payroll. The House Majority does not agree with the Governor’s plan. Using one-time funds to feed and expand an ongoing program is not wise use of dollars. It simply isn’t fiscally responsible and it isn’t a good use of your tax dollars.

I believe that one-time funding should be used for one-time expenses that won’t demand continuous funding in the coming years. We have talked about several ways to use the money that would most benefit our citizens and put Missourians back to work immediately.

These are your tax dollars and we want to give some of it back to you. We think a tax rebate would be a wise way to spend a portion of the funds. This would help put money directly back into your pocket. We understand that you know better than anyone where you must spend to accommodate family needs and this would allow you that freedom.

We would also like to use a portion of the funds for one-time projects such as building roads, bridges and other infrastructure needs. First and foremost, this will create jobs. Large infrastructure projects create construction jobs that will employ hundreds of Missourians. In addition, investing in infrastructure may also attract new businesses to Missouri. A company is more likely to start a business, relocate to our State or expand if we take steps to add to our infrastructure needs.

Finally, we would like to see some of federal tax money set aside for funding of the Interoperability Contract with Motorola. This system would allow local and state first-responders to be able to communicate with each other regardless of distance or department. For instance, a police officer in Southeast Missouri could use the system to contact a fireman in another jurisdiction. Our current system does not allow for this and when emergency and disaster strikes, our emergency personnel have very limited capabilities when trying to contact one another.

You elected me to make fiscally responsible decisions that best benefit you and your families. I will fight to ensure the one-time stimulus funds are used for one-time projects. Using the federal stimulus money to expand our welfare programs and our State’s budget will only put us in the horrific financial situations of past administrations. We have worked tirelessly to prevent this in the past four years and will continue to do so in the future.

I have received a lot of emails concerning the Governor’s proposed cuts (as much as 50 percent) to the University Extension Programs. As Representative of the 149th District, I feel extension programs and specifically the 4-H Program are vital to our area youth. The Master Gardener’s Program is especially important at a time when learning to provide for our families is center stage. I am against such deep cuts and will work to prevent them from happening.

Again, thank you for your concerns. This is your State government. Help me keep it that way by keeping me informed. Please feel free to contact me at 573-751-5713 or by email at

Smooth voice, wonderful stage presence

Missouri music by Erin Bode, of St. Louis:

Friday, February 6, 2009

Who's listening to this wind chime?

Here's an Ozarks oddity, at least in my opinion it's odd: A wind chime set up in the Rolla Cemetery atop a grave.
Who's there to listen to it?
Who's it for?
This seems bizarre to me. If you don't agree, join the crowd. Rarely am I in the mainstream.

Deal safely with leftover pesticides

Labels on most household chemical products contain important information on the use and storage of that specific product.
Unfortunately, the storage and disposal information is found toward the end of the pesticide label and most homeowners admit to not reading that information.
“We probably get more calls at our gardening hotline about pesticides and how to use them, dispose of them or store them than nearly any other topic,” said Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
Options for the proper use of leftover pesticides includes: using them if you need them, giving them to a neighbor who will use them properly, or contacting the Household Chemical Collection Center (in Greene County) or other various waste districts for further directions or for safe disposal options.
Proper storage of pesticides requires owners to pay attention to the label.
First, read the label to determine if there are temperature or light requirements that impact the storage of the product. Generally, powders and granules are not affected by low temperatures, but moisture can wreak havoc on these materials.
Contact the MU Extension center in your county for any of these guide sheets dealing with pesticides: IPM1013, "Pesticide Storage," WM6000, "Safe Use, Storage and Disposal of Pesticides," and IPM1012, "Temperature Effects on Storage of Greenhouse, Ornamental and Turf Pesticides."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

More winter gardening tips

Some more gardening tips for the winter:

* Prune off limbs that have been damaged by heavy snow or ice.
* It is OK to remove heavy snow deposits from trees and shrubs to avoid breaking limbs, but do not remove layers of ice from plants. Allow ice to melt naturally to avoid injuring the plants.
* Check on bulbs you are forcing and plants you are storing in the basement for the winter. Do not allow them to completely dry out.
* Fertilize houseplants with ¼ or ½ strength fertilizer and give proper amounts of water.
* Give special attention to houseplants - provide necessary humidity indoors by setting pots on trays filled with pebbles and water, check to insects and apply insecticidal soap if necessary, and wash dust off of leaves to allow the plant to receive and process light more efficiently.
* Save wood ashes from the fireplace or wood stove to add to compost or use sparingly around lilacs, lilies, roses and asters in the spring. Wood ash helps to fertilize the garden, but it is alkaline in effect. Do not use them on acid-loving plants.
* Recycle used Christmas trees as wildlife refuge and bird feeding station. String peanuts, popcorn, cranberries and other fruits and hang them from the limbs of the trees.
* Provide a non-frozen source of water for the birds.
* Read gardening magazines and seed catalogs and make notes or sketches of new plants you want to try in the spring or new garden bed designs.
* Gather evergreens and dried seed heads and berries to make indoor arrangements or wreaths. Pine, fir, rosehips, grass seed heads, bittersweet berries and many vine branches make excellent floral materials.
* Walk the garden to look for plants that have heaved out of the ground during the freeze and thaw cycles. Push plants back down with your heel and protect them with a good layer of mulch.
* Salt from sidewalks and roadways can harm plants. Use sand instead whenever possible.
* Trees, shrubs and bulbs can be planted as long as the ground remains unfrozen.
* Turn compost pile.
* Place snow that is salt-free on top of perennials to act as an insulating mulch. Do not use snow that has been contaminated by salt!
* Practice “internet gardening” when cold weather prohibits outdoor activities. Bookmark garden plans, seed sources and plant lists so they will be handy in the spring when you need them.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Use special nails, screws, staples in treated lumber

By David Burton
University Extension

There was a change in chemical preservatives used for pressure-treated lumber available for residential use in the United States starting in 2004. As a result different fasteners need to be used when working with ACQ treated lumber according to Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
“Pressure-treated Southern pine lumber that was preserved with Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) was phased out due to public health concerns about the arsenic it contained,” said Schultheis. “The new preservatives replacing CCA are Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ) or, less commonly, Copper Azole.”
Both of these chemical treatments are perceived to have less environmental or health risks than the old CCA chemicals. However, these new chemical treatments are more corrosive to nails, screws, and any other metal fasteners or parts that come in contact with the lumber.
“The days of being able to use just any fastener with your pressure treated lumber are over,” said Schultheis. “Using the wrong fasteners could have an adverse effect on the structural performance and service life of buildings built with ACQ lumber.”
The corrosiveness of the new chemicals also means that much of the commonly-used metal siding or other parts or equipment, whether aluminum or steel, are likely to be damaged if they are allowed to come in direct contact with the ACQ treated lumber.
No carbon steel or aluminum siding or other metal should be used directly against ACQ treated lumber.
Treatment manufacturers now recommend fasteners that are Type 304 or Type 316 stainless steel, or hot-dipped galvanized that meet ASTM A153 standards. Connectors and sheet steel should meet or exceed the ASTM A653 Class G185 standard.
Never mix galvanized and stainless steel in the same connection.
“These requirements apply across the board, whether for ground contact or not, wet or dry conditions. No fasteners should be used unless they are clearly labeled as ‘Approved for use with ACQ’,” said Schultheis.
The bright-colored electroplated galvanized screws commonly available in home improvement centers are examples of fasteners that are non-approved for use with ACQ according to Schultheis.
How do you know if you have ACQ lumber? Look for either an inked stamp on the broad side of the lumber stating the lumber grade and preservative, or a plastic tag on one end of the lumber member that states the lumber grade and preservative used.
Although CCA treated lumber is still manufactured and sold for certain industrial and marine applications, including agricultural posts and poles, most lumber yards may now just carry the ACQ treated lumber.
“If you’re getting bids on a building, be aware that ACQ-approved fasteners are much more costly than fasteners used for common lumber, so the low bid may not necessarily be the best bid, if you’re concerned about the service life of the building,” said Schultheis.
More information about these fastener corrosion issues can be found on-line at and
Details about CCA lumber and its alternatives can be found on-line at
For more information on farm and home building topics, check out the University of Missouri Extension website at or contact Schultheis at the Webster County Extension Center in Marshfield at (417) 859-2044.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Some pictures of the snow

Here are some photos of last week's snow. First is Ber Juan Park, second is Macedonia Baptist Church north of Rolla and on the bottom is one of the piles of snow in the Kroger parking lot.

Be safe in the snow

I don't know if we're going to have another really good snowfall this winter, but February might be a good month to expect one. Here are some snow quotes, snow facts and snow warnings:

I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.
~Henry David Thoreau

Winter is an old Germanic word meaning "time of water"-- of rain and snow. "Wintar"- German;"Wæter"- Old English.

Winter came down to our home one night Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow, And we, we were children once again.
~Bill Morgan Jr

10 inches of snow melts down to about an inch of liquid rain.

What is the difference between sleet, hail, and freezing rain?
Answer: Hail is a chunk or stone of ice dropped from a thunderstorm. Sleet is frozen rain. Freezing rain is liquid rain that freezes to a surface such as the road or a tree.

An inch of ice is heavier than an inch of wet snow and is hazardous enough to cause power lines and trees to come down.

Question: Where do icicles most often form?
Answer: The south side of buildings

Question: What percentage of fresh snow is composed of air?
Answer: 80%

Snow Shoveling Safety

With more snow to surely arrive in the Ozarks this winter, snow shovels will most likely get a good workout. Melinda Hemmelgarn, of the College of Human Environmental Sciences at MU-Columbia warns that winter outdoor activities can be potentially hazardous to your health.

Hemmelgarn warns that the exertion of shoveling snow can be especially dangerous. Lengthy exposure to cold temperatures and breathing cold air naturally make the heart work harder. In addition to that, physical education professionals report that shoveling heavy snow expends the same amount of energy as running approximately 9 miles per hour.

"If you are over 45, sedentary, smoke, have elevated blood pressure, are overweight, and/or have a heart condition, play it safe and get someone else to do the shoveling," says Hemmelgarn.

After the first of the New Year, many people enthusiastically begin new exercise and weight loss programs. Hemmelgarn warns that snow shoveling is not a good exercise to use to start getting in shape as injury could be the result.

To lessen the chance of sustaining an injury, Hemmelgarn advises the following:

* Do not smoke or eat a large meal immediately prior to shoveling snow as these can produce additional stress on the cardiovascular system.
* Layer clothing when dressing to go outdoors so as the body becomes warm outer clothing can be removed to avoid cardiac strain from overheating.
* Cover your nose and mouth with a scarf to avoid breathing cold air.
* Retain body heat by wearing a warm hat.
* Take frequent rest breaks so as not to become over exerted.
* Reduce strain on the heart and back by bending legs slightly at the knee and letting the thigh muscles do the majority of the pushing and lifting.
* Do not fill the snow shovel with heavy snow; instead take small scoops and keep loads light.

About 70 percent of winter storm related deaths occur in automobiles. The rest are primarily due to heart attacks from over exertions such as shoveling heavy snow or from hypothermia caused by over exposure to the cold.

When winter storms strike, stay indoors and keep warm and dry. Avoid over-exertion. Your heart is already working hard in the cold to keep your body warm.