Thursday, April 30, 2009

National Teacher Appreciation Week

By Dan Brown
State Representative
149th District

On National Teacher’s Day, thousands of communities take time to honor their local educators and acknowledge the crucial role that teachers have in making sure every student receives a quality education. The week of May 3-9, 2009 is an especially important time to recognize the effort that has been put forth to educate Missouri’s youth. Our educators have a vital role in preparing our children for future success. Working together, teachers, parents and communities play a crucial role in making sure every child reaches their potential. There are three schools districts in the 149th District; each is filled with great teachers who are committed to providing a quality education for our children. I have a special place in my heart for teachers because my daughter and daughter-in-law are teachers in our district.

I wish each and every one of them continued success and good luck as they utilize their knowledge and teaching methods to instill the skills necessary for our students’ success. Their role as a teacher inspires and encourages others to strive for their goals and dreams. What an awesome opportunity for us to congratulate our teachers as they celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week.

Teachers in Rolla, Saint James, Newburg, Edgar Springs and in communities all across the nation will be in the spotlight on National Teacher Day, as students, parents, school administrators and the general public learn how teachers are making great schools for every student. Few other professionals touch as many people as teachers do. National Teacher Day is a good time to learn about the contributions educators make to our community every day. Tuesday, May 5, 2009 is National Teacher Day. Thank a teacher for making schools great!

This week 4th Graders from Wyman Elementary School and Harry S. Truman Elementary School visited the Capitol. Despite the rain, I hope they found their trip to Jefferson City both interesting and enjoyable.

As always, please feel free to contact me either at 573-751-5713 or at

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How to start a community garden

Interested in starting a community garden in your town?

New from University of Missouri Extension: "Community Gardening Toolkit."

Learn more and access resources online at

Includes information on starting a community gardening, MU Extension gardening resources and resources, and documents and forms that can be individualized and used.

This guide is intended to be a resource for gardeners, garden organizers, Extension staff and other agency professionals who want to start a new community garden, enhance an existing garden or help community members start and manage their own community garden.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Statewide Survey of Land and Cattle Owners Reveals Pasture Rental Rates Statewide

A popular question asked of University of Missouri Extension specialists is, “what’s pasture renting for?”

In order to provide a good answer, every couple of years the University of Missouri Extension agricultural economics staff conducts a statewide survey of land and cattle owners to determine the range and averages of pasture rentals.

“As expected, most rates have increased since the last survey,” said Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The statewide survey was conducted in 2008 with over 200 responses involving pasture rates.

The greatest response came from persons who rated their pasture as good which is less than four acres per 1,000 pound cow per year. The average value was $29.95 per acre per year. The range in reported values was from $10 to $65 per acre.

The fair/poor pasture average rate, which requires more than four acres per cow per year was $22.34. The range was from $7.50 to $40 per acre per year. Only a few reported timber pasture with an average rate of $7.03 per acre.

A few respondents did indicate they rent pasture on a per head per month basis. The average for that was $9.44 per cow-calf per month. The range varied from $4 to $27 and the average time on the pasture was 7.1 months.

A 2009 review of nine Great Plains states shows their average monthly charge per cow-calf was $16.80. The 11 states west of the Great Plains ran slightly higher at $17.40 per unit.

“Those prices indicate why Missouri continues to have a comparative advantage for running beef cows,” said Cole.

Missouri did drop from number second to third in the state ranking for beef cows as of January 1, 2009. Oklahoma squeezed into second ahead of Missouri by about 40,000 cows.

“Part of Missouri’s reduction in number likely can be attributed to favorable corn and soybean prices which resulted in land being taken out of pasture. Don’t be surprised if Missouri doesn’t move back into second behind Texas in a couple of years,” said Cole.

Complete information about farm land rental rates can be found at the nearest MU Extension Center or online at

“The MU Extension guide should not be used as the sole basis for determining your rent, but it may provide a reference as you consider the factors unique to your situation. The acres of land available for rent (supply) and the number of tenants wanting to rent for cash (demand), as well as production costs and market prices, can affect the amount of rent negotiated,” said Cole.

For more information, contact any of these MU Extension agronomy or livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Tim Schnakenberg in Stone County, (417) 357-6812; Jay Chism in Barton County, 417) 682-3579; John Hobbs in McDonald County, (417) 223-4775, Brie Menjoulet in Hickory County, (417) 745-6767, Eldon Cole in Lawrence County, (417) 466-3102; Gary Naylor in Dallas County, (417) 345-7551; or Dona Funk in Cedar County, (417) 276-3313.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Income Tax Reduction

By Dan Brown
State Representative
District 149

This session, our largest priority has been the Family Recovery Plan. This legislation plan was designed to give our citizens relief in the harsh economic climate. There are four parts of the Family Recovery Plan: Taxes, Jobs, Energy, and Healthcare. This week, the House passed House Bill 64, which seeks to reduce income tax. We believe this will aid in stimulating the economy and provide much needed tax relief to Missouri families and small businesses.

At the federal level, reducing an individual’s income tax has proven to be very successful. In the 1920’s, presidents Harding and Coolidge slashed tax rates by more than 50 percent and the gross domestic product - the measure of national wealth - rose at an annual rate of almost 1.5 times the previous rate. In the 1960’s, presidents Kennedy and Johnson also proved lower taxes meant higher growth by cutting top tax rates from 91 percent to 70 percent. When these cuts were enacted in 1965, growth and private investments increased dramatically. Then, in the 1980’s, President Reagan once again proved this correlation by cutting taxes. During Reagan's two terms he cut taxes across the board and the gross domestic product growth averaged 3.2 percent compared with 2.8 percent in the eight years preceding his election.

We are looking forward to a similar achievement at the state level. HB64, sponsored by Representative Lipke, has two main provisions that will reduce taxes. The first provision will provide savings for all Missouri taxpayers by increasing the amount of federal tax an individual can deduct from their state taxes. We increased this deduction from $5,000 to $7,500 for an individual and $10,000 to $15,000 for a married couple. This will also help small businesses across the state, seeing that approximately 50 percent of small businesses pay their taxes as individuals. On the surface, this change may look like a loss of revenue to the state, but a reduction in income taxes is normally followed by an increase in collection of capital gains taxes. The second part of the bill will allow income to flow back into family budgets. The bill raises dependent exemption to $1,600 -- which has not changed since 1998 when it was increased from $400 to $1,200. By increasing the exemption by $400 per child, Missouri families will be able to keep more of their income to pay for necessities.

As I have promised since we started this session, my top priority is to pass legislation that will help you, my constituents, weather these rough times. There is no question that by cutting taxes, we can stimulate the economy. That is why I supported this tax reform legislation.

Saving money on our tax bill allows more disposal income and frees up money to buy goods and services. If allowed to keep more money, we the people will spend and stimulate the economy.

This week I had the pleasure of visiting with the 4 graders from Mark Twain Elementary and Saint Patrick’s Catholic School. As always, thanks for giving me the opportunity to serve you in the House of Representatives. Please feel free to contact me with any concerns and interests at either 573-751-5713 or at

Georgia music

There's no Missouri connection at all to today's post. It's just a song I like by a singer I like. I'm a Georgia native, transplanted to Missouri. Here's another Georgia native, one a little better known who never moved to Missouri:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Redbuds are valuable ornamental trees

Redbud trees are adaptable, carefree and a colorful Ozarks native tree according to Patrick Byers, a horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“The redbud is also useful for many places in the home landscape where a small to medium size ornamental tree is needed,” said Byers. “Redbuds are a valuable ornamental tree for home landscapes, no matter the size of yard.”

The Missouri Botanical garden also lists the redbud as resistant to deer and Japanese beetles.

The main attraction to the redbud is the bloom period, which generally begins in late March in southwest Missouri and lasts for several weeks. The native redbud has lovely purple to lavender blossoms, shaped like those of the sweet pea (this tree is a member of the pea family).

There are also white flowering redbuds, and horticultural forms that have larger flowers and reddish foliage (Forest Pansy is a good example).

Redbuds are attractive during other times of the growing season: seed pods are of interest, the fall foliage is yellow, and the bark has interesting texture during the dormant season.

“Interestingly, the redbud is also an edible plant. You can enjoy the flowers in salads, and boil or pickle the seed pods when young and tender,” said Byers.

This particular tree does best when established when young and left undisturbed.

For more information on growing successful redbud trees see MU Extension guide sheet G6805, “Selecting Landscape Plants – Flowering Trees.”

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pasta recipe combines two wild seasonal treats

Hunters lucky enough to bag a gobbler and a mess of

morel mushrooms might want to try this sinfully delicious dish.

For gourmets with a strong hunter-gatherer streak, April is a month to anticipate. Wild turkeys are gobbling and morel mushrooms are popping. The following recipe works with either morels or wild turkey breast meat, but it is especially wonderful when you can combine spring’s delicious duo.

Wildly simple Turkey-Morel Pasta


§ 1 Qt. of morel mushrooms

§ 2 C. cooked, diced turkey breast

§ 2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed

§ 2 medium white or yellow onions, diced

§ 2 C. (dry) tricolor bowtie pasta, cooked

§ 2 C. heavy whipping cream

§ salt and pepper to taste

§ 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

§ 4-6 Tbsp. of grated parmesan cheese


§ Cook pasta, drain and toss with 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Cover and set aside.

§ Slice morels vertically into quarter-inch strips and wash.

§ Brown garlic in a large cast-iron skillet with 1Tbsp. olive oil.

§ Add onions and sauté until clear.

§ Add 1 Tbsp. oil and morels, and cook on medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until crispy golden on both sides.

§ Add cream and turkey and turn heat to high. Stir constantly until mixture boils.

§ Reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute.

§ Add salt and pepper. Be careful not to over-salt or you will mask the morels’ delicate flavor.

§ Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese. Add pasta and toss to coat noodles.

Serve with baguette, ciabatta or other bread to mop up remaining sauce.

-Jim Low-

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Be Cautious About What Plants You Throw Over the Fence

By David Burton
University Extension

Some house plants and shrubs contain toxins in the leaves, stems or flowers and can be poisonous to pets and livestock according to John Hobbs, agriculture and rural development specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

“Don’t throw pruned shrubs or dying house plants over the back fence or into an area that livestock, cats or dogs can reach. Be sure any trimmings or dying plants are burned or gotten rid of in a safe manner,” said Hobbs.

Homeowners need to be aware that there are several landscape plants that are poisonous to livestock. Probably the most toxic are Japanese yews.

The azalea, rhododendrons, black locust, boxwood, buckeye, elderberry, Virginia creeper, and wisteria can cause serious illness or death with sufficient amounts consumed to livestock.

“There have been several confirmed cases of cow deaths due to cows eating Japanese yew trimmings and in one case trimmings were buried in a ravine but sprouted and grew the next spring and killed several head of the farmer’s cattle,” said Hobbs.

Wilted tree leaves of the prunus family, like cherry and plum, will give off cyanide gas when eaten and then that causes asphyxiation in ruminants.

Certain house plants can be toxic especially to curious pets that like to chew on things. These pets may end up chewing and consuming parts of plants.

“House plants that can kill a pet if they are consumed are the Chinese evergreen, calla lily, dieffenbachia, croton, and elephant ear,” said Hobbs.

There are also several flowers that you would not want to throw over the fence to livestock. For example, Hobbs says caladiums, cardinal flowers, and castor beans plants will poison livestock.

“Southwest Missouri has a growing goat population and they will eat almost anything in front of them and that can be dangerous. For example, rhubarb creates hypocalcaemia or a low calcium condition which in turn, will cause kidney failure in goats,” said Hobbs.

For more information, contact Hobbs at the MU Extension Center in McDonald County, (417) 223-4775.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Growing mentor movement enriches novices and veterans alike

By Jim Low
Conservation Department

JEFFERSON CITY–The temperature hovered around 40 degrees before sunrise on the opening morning of Missouri’s youth turkey season. Ten-year-old Jack Boschert felt the wind’s bite on a mile-long trek to a blind on the edge of a field. The chill melted away, however, when two male turkeys began gobbling in the woods behind him.

“They were really quietly gobbling,” said Jack, who had never hunted turkeys before.

Jack, his dad, David, and their guide, Doug Schwartz, did an about-face. They had barely settled in when a third gobbler raised a ruckus across the field behind them, where they had been facing moments earlier. This lusty gobbler sounded closer, so the three hunters executed another about-face and prepared for action.

“I was really excited because it was the first turkey I ever heard really, really loud before,” said Jack.

The next 20 minutes seemed like two hours, as the gobbler answered their calls but came no closer. Then they heard another turkey, this time a hen. The gobbler quit answering their calls, though they continued to hear occasional gobbles as “their” tom followed the hen off into the distance. Heart-pounding excitement turned to the profound let-down that every seasoned turkey hunter has experienced.

Around 7:30 a.m. Schwartz decided it was time to go looking for gobblers that were not already “henned up.” Two lengthy hikes later, their calling drew a response from a gobbler. After hastily creating a makeshift blind of brush, they settled in to call. Again, the gobbler came in, but only so far.

“We heard it, and then we heard it again,” said Boschert, “and it had gotten closer. Jack’s eyes got big then, and he was like ‘Holy cow, he’s gonna come over that hill any minute.’”

Once again, the bird stopped just out of sight and would not come in. Then they again heard a real female turkey’s seductive calls and realized they had been out-henned. In the meantime, however, they had a natural encounter they never would have experienced if they had not been turkey hunting.

“A deer came out of the woods,” said Jack, “and it was attracted to our decoy, so it was coming in closer. Then another one came up from the woods and they were both walking around and then another one came up, so we saw three deer really up close.”

A few miles away, Jack’s 11-year-old brother, Charlie, was hunting with guide Steve Brenner. It was Charlie’s first time in the turkey woods, too. At dawn, they were sitting within 50 yards of a gobbler on its roost.

“I asked Charlie if he wanted to try to make that turkey gobble up in that tree,” said Brenner. “He almost got an alarmed look on his face like, ‘Oh, no-no-no!’ Real bashful, you know. But I showed him how to purr a slate call and how to make a yelp, and I talked him into it.

“He brought that striker across the slate and got a little purr, and that gobbler let loose – plumb crazy. Then I said, ‘Okay, give him a yelp,’ and it was the same thing, the turkey really responded well. That boy was grinning from ear to ear. He was eating it up.”

Brenner thought it was “a done deal,” that the gobbler would fly down and come directly to Charlie’s gun, but he also knew that gobblers have a knack for doing the unexpected.

“He flew out of that tree and made a bee line across the field,” said Brenner. “He gobbled at us, but he was on a mission and he knew where he was going. We heard him gobble on the next ridge.”

Like his younger brother, Charlie covered a lot of ground trying to find turkeys. By 11 a.m. his interest was flagging. Then Brenner spied three hens and two gobblers, and the hunters were able to sneak within 60 paces of them.

“Those birds put on a show for us,” said Brenner. “Charlie watched with binoculars for about 45 minutes while the toms strutted around and the hens did some pecking-order stuff. It’s hard to call gobblers away from hens, so we tried calling the hens to us. When that didn’t work we tried to flank them by running around the side of the hill to try to get ahead of them but they got spooked. The woods were really dry, and it would have been hard for even one person to do, much less two.”

The Boschert brothers ended the day tired and turkeyless, but they are excited about hunting on their grandfather’s farm during the regular turkey season April 20 through May 10. They were among 10 young hunters who took part in the first Governor’s Invitational Youth Turkey Hunt, sponsored by the Missouri Legislative Sportsman’s Caucus, the Conservation Federation of Missouri, the Missouri Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and the Missouri Department of Conservation. Of the 10, only one managed to bag a turkey.

The Governor’s Hunt was among several similar events that took place during Missouri’s youth turkey season this year. Participants in other mentoring events brought home as many as eight gobblers, but turkey hunters measure success more in thrills and stories than in number of turkeys shot. By that standard, the young hunters had an ample harvest of thrills and stories.

The Conservation Commission established the youth season in 2001 to encourage mentorship. The weekend season in early April allows adult hunters to devote their full attention to young protégés. The youth season comes early enough to let turkeys mate unmolested and return to normal behavior patterns before the regular turkey season opens.

The Conservation Commission gave mentorship another boost last year by establishing an Apprentice Hunter Authorization. The $10 authorization is not a permit. Rather, it allows potential hunters 16 and older to buy hunting permits for two years without taking hunter education.

While the benefit of mentorship to novice hunters is obvious, mentors themselves say they get at least as much as they give.

“If a youngster asks me to take him turkey hunting I’ll do anything I can for him,” said Brenner. “It’s exciting to see a kid get all worked up. I love it, man. It’s great.”

Missouri also has youth hunting seasons for deer, waterfowl, quail and pheasants. Individuals as well as hunting and conservation groups increasingly are taking advantage of these mentorship opportunities. Following are reports on a few events organized around these opportunities.


The Ozark Greenways Thunderin’ Gobblers chapter of the NWTF in Greene County took advantage of the youth season for the first time last year and pulled off a near-impossible feat. All eight participants bagged gobblers in spite of wind, freezing rain, sleet and snow – weather that would have kept all but the most avid adult hunters indoors.

Building on that success, the Thunderin’ Gobblers expanded to 19 young hunters this year. Again faced with less-than-ideal weather, they still brought home a surprising eight gobblers. In five cases these were the first turkeys taken by the hunters.


The MHHF, whose motto is “Introducing Youth to Hunting,” held two spring youth turkey hunter education clinics this year, one at Lake Lotawana and another at Missouri City. The events introduced 13 youths ages 9 to 13 to turkey hunting through classroom and live-fire training followed by hunts. One of the participants bagged his first turkey.

The MHHF also is planning fall hunter education clinics for disabled deer and chuckar hunters and for trappers. It is working on a hunter education clinic for families of armed forces members in the St. Joseph Area.


Turkey hunting mentorship is not confined to the spring season, nor to youths. Last October, Dave Murphy invited two adult turkey hunting novices to the Clark County farm that his great-great-grandfather homesteaded more than 150 years ago. Murphy, executive director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri, says he can think of no better use for the 376 acres than introducing others to the thrill of turkey hunting.

On a golden October day last year, Murphy was joined by three first-time hunters and two guides. One was Robert Howland, a carpenter from Mexico. Murphy was his guide. The second novice was Francisco X. Aguilar, a professor of forestry at the University of Missouri – Columbia. His guide, Travis Scott, is a regional field supervisor for the NWTF. The third hunter was Louie Delk, president of the Conservation Employees’ Credit Union in Jefferson City. His guide was Conservation Department Resource Science Field Chief Mike Hubbard, who formerly worked as the agency’s top turkey biologist.

Aguilar and Scott had difficulty finding turkeys on the warm, muggy autumn day. When they finally did locate a flock, it was foraging in a cedar thicket. The two hunters had frequent sightings, but could never get close enough to the birds for a shot.

Delk and Hubbard knew each other through the credit union. “Louis said he would like to try turkey hunting, and that was all it took. I told him I would take him,” said Hubbard.

Their hunt – like most – involved a lot of walking. That was fine with Delk, who was glad for an excuse to be in the autumn woods. At one point Hubbard spied a pair of turkeys in an adjacent field, and Delk ended up shooting a jake – a juvenile male turkey. But for him, the best part of the hunt was spending time outdoors with an expert outdoorsman.

“Walking around with Mike was an absolute treat,” he said. “He could point out plants and animal behavior that I would have missed otherwise. I just found it fascinating.”

Delk, who had never hunted anything before last fall, says he is hooked. He completed hunter education and bought a shotgun so he can hunt on his own if necessary. For the time being, however, he says he still is “at the mercy of my hunting companions,” continuing to learn.

“I would never have bothered with hunter education if I had not had the opportunity to first go out as an apprentice with someone and experienced how much fun it was. At 38 years old, I wasn’t going to go out in the woods on my own looking for turkeys.”

Hubbard, who has been hunting since he was a teenager, says he now spends only three or four days out of the three-week spring turkey season hunting on his own or with other experienced hunters. The rest of the time he is with his two sons or with his wife, Kathy. He says his first responsibility each spring is to help her get a gobbler.

Hubbard offers three words of advice about mentoring novice hunters -- just do it.

“You’re going to get a lot more rewards and enjoyment out of it than those who you take out. It’s a way of experiencing that excitement of being a first-time turkey hunter again. There is nothing like seeing that passion for the sport kindled in another person.”

Mentorship is close to Murphy’s heart, too. Like most turkey hunters over 50, he had to teach himself to turkey hunt. Missouri’s first turkey hunting season did not take place until 1960 and was open for only three days in 14 counties. Consequently, there were few experienced hunters to pass on their knowledge to young baby-boomers.

“Teaching someone else to hunt is one of the best things you can do for your own hunting,” said Murphy. “Not only does it let you relive the excitement of your first turkey hunts, it helps ensure the future of hunting by bringing up the next generation of hunter-conservationists.

“Besides,” he said with a laugh, “I might need a younger person to push my wheelchair into the woods when I’m 90!”

Monday, April 20, 2009

Increasing Public Involvement in Judicial Appointments

By Dan Brown
State Representative, District 149

Over 60 years ago Missourians became fed up with the corruption in our judicial system and took steps to shed light on the process of appointing judges. In 1940, the State adopted a plan for appointing circuit judges, appellate judges and the justices of the State Supreme Court. Known as the Missouri Plan, it worked to change the appointment method from backroom deals to a structured and fair process. However, the appointment of these judges in Missouri is not as open and balanced as it could be. There is still room for improvement.

The Missouri Plan establishes a commission to review potential candidates for appointment. It then provides the Governor with a list of three nominees to choose from within a 60 day period. If not, the commission has authority to choose the appointment. Once a judge has served in office for at least one year, he or she must stand for retention at the next general election.

In the House, we believe changes are needed to make the system more transparent and balanced. House Joint Resolution 10, which passed the House this week, would put the proposed changes to a vote of the people. Currently, because of its make-up, the commission is heavily influenced by the Missouri Bar. It is made up of a Supreme Court Justice, three members of the Bar and three members of the general public. HJR 10 increases the number of commissioners on the Appellate Judicial Commission to include an additional member of the public. In addition, each member of the commission would be subject to Senate confirmation.

HJR 10 also provides the Governor with more choices in the selection process. Under the current Missouri Plan, if the Governor does not see one of the three nominees as being a solid candidate, the commission has no obligation to provide additional choices. Under the proposed changes of HJR 10, the Governor would be given four names from which to choose and has the ability to reject the list and ask for an additional four choices.

Allowing a broader range of nominees when choosing such an important position is highly beneficial. Being careful and selective when appointing these Judges should be a top priority. The Missouri Plan has been left with room for progress and we believe HJR 10 is a clear answer.

House Bill 658 and 706 has been third read passed in the House. I sponsored HB 706 which makes available unused tax credits to the dairy industry. Hopefully this will help prevent the loss of the dairy infrastructure in Missouri. Loss of the dairy industry in Missouri means about 26,000 jobs lost and much higher milk and dairy prices in the store. I am working with my colleagues in surrounding districts to help stabilize the beef and port industry. Agriculture is at a critical phase of existence in Missouri. We must try to lower input cost and stabilize severe market swings. I want Missourians to be able to buy milk, eggs, cheese, beef, pork and grain products that have been produced in Missouri.

We have had a very busy two weeks in the House of Representatives and have sent a lot of legislation to the Senate for their consideration. Hope the legislation we pass is helpful to the citizens of Missouri and does not infringe on our lives or stifle businesses.

Please continue to inform me of your opinions and concerns about government and legislation. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Chamomile packs a big punch in small package

By Delaine Litman-Hohenfeldt

If you are yearning to try something new this spring in the garden, try chamomile! With its easy maintenance, versatility, and fragrance of sour-apple candy, chamomile packs a big punch in a small package!
Chamaemelum nobile is the versatile, short, evergreen perennial herb better known as chamomile, Roman chamomile, or garden chamomile. Chamomile is a member of the same family as daisies, asters, and sunflowers and produces small, sweet-smelling, aster-like, white flowers with yellow centers in June and July. The word chamomile itself comes from two Greek words, chamos (meaning ground) and melos (meaning apple). This indicates that the Greeks found the plant growing close to the ground and they thought its flowers and foliage had an apple-like scent.
It is the fragrant flowers of the chamomile plant that are used for teas when in full bloom, and it was chamomile tea that Peter Rabbit’s mother gave him to calm him after he narrowly escaped from Mr. McGregor. Chamomile tea has been a popular herbal remedy throughout the ages. Rob McCaleb, President of the Herb Research Foundation in Boulder, Colorado estimates that more than one million cups of chamomile tea are consumed each day around the world. This likely makes chamomile the most widely used herb tea.
In Medieval England, chamomile was used as a strewing herb. Pieces of the plant were placed around the house and on the floor as the trendy way to keep out negative magic and to freshen up the home before the days of Oust and Febreeze. Chamomile was chosen because of its pleasant scent when walked upon and its reputation for being an excellent insect repellent. This herb was also one of several popular dream herbs such as passionflower, yarrow, bay leaves, pot marigolds, and mugwort, and was used in dreampillows, dream teas and special baths before bedtime to prevent having nightmares.
Today throughout most of the world chamomile is commonly used as a medicinal herb. The governments of 26 countries actually recognize chamomile as an official drug due to the powerful essential oils that are extracted from its flowers. In Europe the herb is commonly used for wound healing, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, sedative, and anti-inflammatory.
Chamomile has also been used for tinctures, hair rinses, bath additives, rubbing oils, and other home remedies in the holistic treatment of a wide assortment of ailments including blocked tear glands, expelling worms, insomnia, anxiety, digestive problems, arthritis, canker sores, and irritable bowel syndrome. For more information on holistic remedies and preparations go to On the top of the right hand column on their home page it says “Most Popular Destinations.” Click on “Herbs” there and “Search by Common Name” under the letter C for chamomile.
Chamomile can be grown in most of the U.S. and is hardy to zone 4. It remains short only reaching 5 to 12 inches tall. Its feathery grey-green leaves and daisy-like flowers are deer resistant. It is not particular about where it grows, doing well in sandy, loamy or even heavy clay soils as long as they are well drained. Chamomile has no preference for acid or alkaline soils and can do well in either. Poor soil is fine for this plant. It likes a semi-shady or sunny spot and can stand slightly moist soil or periods of drought once established. Chamomile will self-seed and can be propagated by division.
For the garden, chamomile has many uses in addition to being grown as an herb. It makes an excellent, attractive ground cover under trees and around shrubs to hold moisture and prevent weeds. A cultivar named ‘Treanague’, after the estate where it was discovered, does not flower. This makes it ideal for use in lawns, along walkways and in stone paths. As Shakespeare wrote in King Henry IV, part 1, “Though the chamomile, the more it is trodden on, the faster it grows,…” Chamomile can be used in a lawn that will have light traffic or as edging plants for flower beds and mowed.
If you are a veggie gardener, you might want to try planting chamomile as a companion plant among your cucumbers, cabbage, and onions to improve their flavor. Growing chamomile is considered to be a tonic for anything planted in the garden. However, some people that are allergic to ragweed may be allergic to chamomile when touching the plant, drinking the tea, or using any form of herbal remedy.
Chamomile is a naturally high source of sulfur and a good fungicide for preventing damping off when starting seeds. To make a chamomile fungicide spray, place ¼ cup chamomile blossoms in a heat-proof glass bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water. Cover and let steep until cool. Strain through cheesecloth and pour into a spray bottle. Spray can be used as needed on newly planted seed starting soil and seedlings to prevent damping off. Use any time a white fuzzy growth appears on the soil of seedlings. Liquid can also be used as a seed soak prior to planting. Leftovers will keep for about one week before spoiling. If fresh chamomile blossoms are not available, dried ones may be purchased from most health food stores.
After all your gardening chores are finished and you are ready to rest your tired, aching muscles in a hot tub, may I suggest trying a nice relaxing chamomile soak. There are two versions listed below, one for the guys and one for the ladies.
Take 10 oz. chamomile blossoms and cover with 3 cups of water.
Steep for 20 to 30 minutes.
Add 1 cup to bath water and soak.
Place 4-6 oz. chamomile blossoms and ¼ cup powdered milk in a muslin bag or double layer of cheesecloth. Tie tightly.
Brew in 3 cups of water for about 15 minutes.
Add liquid and bag to bath water and soak.

Friday, April 17, 2009

TEA Party in Rolla Saturday

The Rolla TEA Party will be held from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, April 18, at the Lions Club Park. Click here for more details.

Homogenizing Missouri

By R.D. Hohenfeldt
Managing Editor, Ozarks Almanac

One of my favorite web forums is the Missouri Forum on In fact, I waste too much time there, reading and posting.

I'm usually about halfway ticked-off by the time I quit reading through the new posts about life in Missouri. Most of the folks who frequent Missouri Forum are non-Missourians who think they want to move to Missouri or they are fairly new residents who are trying to get more non-Missourians to move to Missouri.

Scattered in amongst them are: 1) former Missourians who think they might want to come back to Missouri sometime, 2.) people who moved to Missouri and found they didn't like it and now want to get out, 3.) people who moved here and plan on staying, but would like the place better if every small town had a huge shopping mall like the one they used to go to back when they lived in the city.

In other words, most of the people who post on Missouri Forum don't know what they're talking about. And the forum is moderated by a guy who lives in Indiana. Figure that out.

Then, there's a handful of people like me, lifelong Missourians who don't want to go anywhere else, who like Missouri the way it is and don't want it to be transformed by all the non-Missourians moving here. We try to set these city idiots, citiots, straight. I try to keep people from moving here without doing a load of research first. Others stress the need to visit several times at different seasons; they also urge people to rent for several months before committing to buying property. It doesn't help. They won't listen. After all, they're from the city, and that makes them so much more sophisticated and intelligent than us.

I've had to ask the Lord to forgive me for mocking and making fun of some of the non-Missourians who moan and wail because the town they chose to live in doesn't have opportunities for "serious shopping."

That seems to be what city folks like to do the most, "serious shopping." They're so stupid they can't figure out that a town like Rolla, population around 16,000, doesn't have enough people to sustain a Galleria or a Battlefield Mall.

Here's something else that city folks do: They come to small Missouri towns, looking for quaintness, for little home-town shops, lovely small-town festivals. Then, instead of spending their money to support local businesses, they head off to St. Louis or Springfield or Kansas City to shop, and they can't figure out why the small towns in which they live don't have more quaint businesses, why there are empty buildings downtown and why the city government can't fix all the potholes in the street (hint: the sales tax money is going to the big city where they shop).

The city folks on Missouri Forum get downright hostile with me, stressing that I should be thrilled that more people are moving to Missouri because it enriches the state with diversity.
Actually, it homogenizes the state, making it just like all the rest. They dilute the culture. In southern Missouri, our hillbilly twang has disappeared (well, not mine, but other people's), lots of people have forgotten the old ways of growing and preserving food, our Christian heritage is diminishing and what churches are left are worshipping in the ways of the mega-churches of California and Florida.

I think the influx of people from other states has not improved Missouri and Missourians at all.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Listen to some old-time radio broadcasts

Television is so crappy nowadays that I get most of my entertainment from books and the internet.

On the internet, I like to listen to old-time radio programs and here are four sites I recommend:

You can listen to many shows for free. You can listen to more shows and download them with donations or very inexpensive fees. also has channels or stations with old-time radio programs.

Listen to these shows and see how the folks the grew up between 1929 and 1959 were able to imagine the pictures for themselves.

Monday, April 13, 2009

How to raise tasty sweet corn

By David Burton
University Extension

Sweet corn is a home gardener’s favorite vegetable because it tastes better when it is harvested and eaten fresh from the garden.

“Sweet corn is easily grown with sufficient light, fertility, growing season and space. Successive plantings can yield continual harvest from early summer until frost if the weather cooperates,” said Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

Sweet corn may be divided into three distinct types according to genetics: normal sugary (SU), sugary enhancer (SE) and super sweet (Sh2).

“For the typical gardener looking for outstanding quality, flavor and refrigerated storage, the sugary enhancer is typically the best choice. Fresh from the garden, virtually all SE releases have eating quality that is superior to others,” said Byers.

Yellow varieties that Byers has personal experience growing and rates as “outstanding” are Bodacious (72 days), Incredible (83 days), Kandy Korn (89 days), and Miracle (84 days). Ambrosia (75 days) is a bicolor variety that is excellent.

According to Byers, the super sweet varieties should be planted when the soil temperatures have reached at least 60 to 65 degrees to insure quick germination and even stand of plants.

“Plant the kernels about one-half inch deep in cool, moist soils and one to one and a half inches deep in warm, dry soils,” said Byers.

Byers recommends planting two or more rows of each variety side by side (with 30 to 36 inches between rows) to ensure good pollination and ear development.

Irrigation is the key to controlling weeds in corn. A lack of water during critical periods can also seriously reduce quality and yield.

“If rainfall is deficient, irrigate thoroughly during emergence of the tassels, silking, and maturation of the ears. Giving each plant a side-dress of nitrogen fertilizer can also be beneficial,” said Byers.

Sweet corn ears should be picked when the kernels are fully formed but not fully mature. This stage occurs about 20 days after the appearance of the first silk strands. The kernels are smooth and plump, and the juice in the kernel appears milky when punctured with a thumbnail.

According to Byers, the pest most damaging to corn is the earworm. Unfortunately, the home gardener does not easily control the corn earworm.

Research does show that earlier plantings are not as badly infested by earworms as later plantings. Byers also recommends an insecticide like Sevin that can be applied as the silks begin to emerge.

“My advice is to counsel with the earworm and compromise how much of the ear tip they may devour. They can have an inch of the tip, but no more. Cutting the worm infected tip off at the time of harvest is not too difficult and can be sufficient,” said Byers.

Information on growing sweet corn and other vegetables is available from the nearest MU Extension Center or online at You can also get answers by calling the Master Gardener hotline in Greene County, (417) 862-9284.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter sunrise service in song

He rose, he rose, he rose from the dead.
He rose, he rose, he rose from the dead.
He rose, he rose, he rose from the dead.
And the Lord shall bear my spirit home.

One angel came from heaven and rolled away the stone.
One angel came from heaven and rolled away the stone.
One angel came from heaven and rolled away the stone.
And the Lord shall bear my spirit home.

He rose, he rose, he rose from the dead.
He rose, he rose, he rose from the dead.
He rose, he rose, he rose from the dead.
And the Lord shall bear my spirit home.

Go tell to my disciples, meet me in Galilee.
Go tell to my disciples, meet me in Galilee.
Go tell to my disciples, meet me in Galilee.
And the Lord shall bear my spirit home.

He rose, he rose, he rose from the dead.
He rose, he rose, he rose from the dead.
He rose, he rose, he rose from the dead.
And the Lord shall bear my spirit home.

Go and tell to my disciples, go and feed my tender lamb.
Go tell to my disciples, go feed my tender lamb.
Go tell to my disciples, go and feed my tender lamb.
And the Lord shall bear my spirit home.

He rose, he rose, he rose from the dead.
He rose, he rose, he rose from the dead.
He rose, he rose, he rose from the dead.
And the Lord shall bear my spirit home.

One angel came from heaven and rolled away the stone.
One angel came from heaven and rolled away the stone.
One angel came from heaven and rolled away the stone.
And the Lord shall bear my spirit home.

He rose, he rose, he rose from the dead.
He rose, he rose, he rose Him from the dead.
He rose, he rose, he rose from the dead.
And the Lord shall bear my spirit home.

Sunday sermon in song

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The mystery of the pirates and our government

The United States government is negotiating with the pirates holding an American hostage.

This is the same government that attacked the Waco cult compound, resulting in the deaths of scores of children.

This is the same government that killed the wife and teen-age son of Randy Weaver, a man who just wanted to be left alone, up on Ruby Ridge in Idaho.

Why is our government, so quick to take up arms against its own citizens, being so patient with these pirates?

I guess there is a fear that the hostage will get killed. There was no fear about people dying in Waco or up on Ruby Ridge, though.

My prediction: The hostage will die. Either our government will kill him accidentally or the pirates will kill him on purpose.

I hope I'm wrong.

Friday, April 10, 2009

U.S. president shows submissiveness to another country's leader

This angers me: President Obama bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia. The United States does not bow to other countries, or it shouldn't. We have been independent since 1776 and have had our own Constitution since 1789. We don't do obeisance to foreigners. A handshake would have sufficed. A handshake is a sign of fellowship and equality. If that makes me an arrogant American, so be it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Some pasture plants poisonous to cattle

By David Burton

University Extension

There are several common plants in southwest Missouri pastures that are considered poisonous to livestock according to Eldon Cole, University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist.

The good news is that these poisonous plants rarely result in deaths.

“One such plant is hemlock, a biennial that is tall growing, purple-spotted and hollow stemmed. Locally it’s often called wild carrot. It’s probably already four to six feet tall and begins its spring growth in February or early March,” said Cole.

The classic hemlock poisoning symptoms for cattle include salivation, diarrhea, nervousness, trembling, convulsions and coma.

According to Cole, the poisonous plant concern usually results when the only green vegetation for them to eat is poison, as was the case with the hemlock and the Holsteins.

“It usually takes more than just a bite or two of most toxic plants to cause problems. Livestock seem to have a sixth sense that steers them away from even attempting to graze toxic plants like hemlock, nightshade, buttercup, cocklebur, pokeweed and wooly croton.

Some limited research with other species hints that the ability to avoid poisonous plants could be learned by grazing with their mothers.

According to Cole, every year the most animal deaths from a toxic plant are caused by the ornamental shrub Japanese yew.

“It’s not uncommon to hear of some well-meaning person trimming their yews and throwing the clippings over the fence to cattle, sheep or goats. In those cases, death is almost guaranteed,” Cole said.

The University of Missouri Guide Sheet G4970, “Plants Poisonous to Livestock” is available at extension centers or online at:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Gardening questions about moles, henbit and raised beds

Trained volunteers working the University of Missouri Extension Master Gardener hotline in Greene County receive nearly 100 calls per week during the spring from homeowners and gardeners seeking informed advice.

This past week, many callers to the hotline were concerned about the impact of the freeze on their plants and trees. But there were plenty of gardeners with other concerns on their mind also.

The following are the four most popular questions and answers from the past week.

Q: I've heard about raised bed gardening but I'm not sure what it is. Do you have information that could help me understand this type of gardening?

Raised bed gardens have become a popular, especially among people with disabilities, or older people, but it is also a good way to garden if you have limited space.

Raised bed gardens have several other advantages: better drainage, higher yields, an expanded growing season, ease of maintaining and the ability to use difficult sites where gardening might not otherwise be possible.

Any MU Extension Center will have two related guide sheets on this topic: G6985 on raised bed gardens and G6956 on making and using compost.

Q: My yard has lots of weeds this spring, especially Henbit and wild onions. What should I be doing?

The most common spring weed, henbit, is actually a winter annual. It can be controlled with Gallery preemergence herbicide applied in late September or with a three-way premix postemergence herbicide applied in late fall or early spring on a warm day.

If you already have henbit you can pull it up or spray it and kill it now, but you will still have it next Spring if you fail to do a preemergence treatment in the fall.

Wild onions, on the other hand, grow from bulbs and one control method is pulling them. Unfortunately, there are no pre-emergence herbicides that will control wild onion. They must be treated with a post-emergence herbicide, and persistence is the key.

MU Extension guide sheet G6750 addresses home lawn weed control.

Q: I have some flowering bushes that have gotten really big. When can I prune them?

Not now! Spring flowering shrubs may be pruned at that time, but flowers for that season will be lost. For that reason, spring flowering shrubs are usually pruned when flowering has been completed.

Shrubs that flower in late spring and summer are best pruned in early spring. Avoid major pruning in late summer and early fall, as this may force late growth that will be damaged by freezing.

MU Extension has a guide sheet (G6870) on pruning ornamental shrubs.

Q: Help! My yard is being destroyed by moles. What can I do?

You are now alone, this is prime breeding season for moles and litters are being born in March and April which means homeowners are seeing lots more runs now.

MU Extension has a research-based guide sheet (G9440) that deals with the most effective ways to control moles.

Trapping is the most successful and practical method for getting rid of moles and eliminating their damage but you need to understand a few things about moles in order to use the traps effectively.


All MU Extension guidesheets are available at area MU Extension offices and also online at

For more information, or answers to your specific lawn and garden questions, contact one of the following Master Gardener Hotlines in southwest Missouri: Barton County, (417) 682-3579; Christian County, (417) 581-4853, Greene County, (417) 862-9284; Jasper County, (417) 358-2158; or Stone and Taney counties, (866) 357-6812.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Did my civic duty

Mine was the 57th ballot cast today in Ward 5 in the Rolla spring election. I voted at about 6:45 p.m., just a quarter of an hour until closing time. As I walked out the door of the Eugene E. Northern Community Hall, another old boy was coming in to vote. He was the 58th. If a couple more stragglers came in just before 7, the total would have been 60. Sixty votes for the 13 hours that precinct was open. That's fewer than 5 per hour.

Admittedly, there wasn't much to vote on, just a school board race. The city council candidate was unopposed. Nevertheless I had to vote because I would have felt like a bum if I hadn't. These local elections are more important than the national election. If I hadn't cast a vote for John McCain, it wouldn't have been missed, but my one vote in my precinct might make a difference in the school board election. It carries more weight, anyway.--RDH

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cold and snow

Although both Weatherbug and Weatherunderground say it's 35 degrees outside, there is a little layer of snow on top of our cars.

Missouri-born singer

Missouri singer Sara Evans, born in Boonville, grew up on a farm outside New Franklin, according to CMT:

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Good gardening day

It's a beautiful day in the Missouri Ozarks, and Ozarks Boy intends to continue churning up soil. By the end of the day I hope to have thousands of seeds in the earth.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ten Easy Houseplants for Problem Places

Some houseplants have specific needs that require constant care and attention. But thankfully, there are some other plants that have a wider range of adaptability, and can survive where many others may not.

If it is a challenge for you to grow houseplants, this week Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist, University of Missouri Extension, offers his recommendation for the 10 toughest house plants.

Cast Iron plant (Aspidistra) gets its name from its ability to withstand hardships. It is tolerant of poor light, high temperatures, low humidity and improper watering. It has dark green vertical leaves up to two feet in length.

Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema) has waxy leaves of either solid green or with variegation. It grows a foot or more tall, but may lose lower leaves and eventually become leggy. The top can be cut off and easily rooted in clean, moist sand. It is tolerant of poor light and overwatering.

Snake plant (Sansevieria, mother-in-law's tongue) has long stiff, upright spear-like leaves. The dwarf bird's nest form is also very durable. Snake plant grows best in good light, but endures poor light.

Heart-leaf philodendron, along with other philodendrons, is well adapted to home conditions. Although it tolerates moisture fluctuations, it should be kept fairly moist. Position this plant where its vines can be left undisturbed. Since the leaves position themselves for maximum light absorption in poor light conditions, moving these flexible vines cuts down their efficiency and may lead to yellowing.

Devil's Ivy (scindapsis, Pothos) looks similar to heart-leaf philodendron. Leaves usually contain yellow or cream-colored variegation. It also tolerates fairly poor light and erratic water. In conditions with good light and higher humidity, leaves develop larger and become more colorful.

Corn plant (Dracaena) is one of several dracaenas that make good houseplants. The leaves project from the main stem in all directions, and are shaped similarly to the leaf of corn. Leaves may also be banded, striped or margined with yellow or cream. In poor conditions lower leaves may gradually drop off, but the bare stem is still attractive, giving taller plants a tree-like effect.

Spider plant (Airplane plant, chlororophytum) is excellent as a hanging plant. It has long drooping leaves with white stripes. Small plants are produced on stems after flowering. This occurs after plants are potbound. Runner plants may be left on the old plant, or removed to start new ones. Leaf tips brown under low humidity or other poor growing conditions.

Ponytail palm (Elephant foot, Beaucarnae) stores water in the base of its swollen stem so it works well for people who forget to water. Although it is fairly tolerant of low light, it is a plant that needs bright light to grow and develop well. It has a tuft of long, thin leaves on top of a central stem that swells greatly near the soil line.

Inch plant (Wandering Jew, Tradescantia) refers to several different vining plants with small leaves that are most used in hanging containers. Although they are durable, vines become stringy and occasionally must be renewed by starting new plants from cuttings that root easily.

Burn plant (Aloe vera) is a plant that has gained popularity because of its apparent ability to ease damage to the skin. It is easy to grow, but needs good light. It is a durable novelty.

For more information, or answers to your specific lawn and garden questions, contact Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist, University of Missouri Extension or the Greene County Master Gardener Hotline at (417) 862-9284.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Measures to Protect You, Your Home and Your Family

By Dan Brown
State Representative
District 149

In the past, Missouri citizens were held liable for defense against intruders in their homes. Luckily, that has all changed. In 2007, legislators passed the Castle Doctrine which justifies the use of deadly force if someone unlawfully enters your home and you feel threatened. I am glad to report that this session, we are going even further to secure you, your family, and your property when break-and-enter cases arise.

House Bill 668, introduced by Representative Kenny Jones, expands the Castle Doctrine by including laws that protect your property – not just your home. The bill extends deadly force rights to land owners/leasers and eliminates the requirement to retreat from your property, which is beneficial for several reasons. It covers the base on something as simple as standing at your mailbox and being attacked by an intruder as well as cases such as cattle rustling or someone attempting to steal a piece of farm equipment. You are now able to react confidently to protect yourself and others around you.

Additionally, HB 668 lowers the minimum age requirement for obtaining a concealed carry endorsement from 23 years of age to 21. At the age of 21, Missouri citizens have reached adulthood and been granted full rights. We expect citizens of this age to be responsible enough to own a gun and use it for protection if needed. Changing the age requirement will legally allow them to defend themselves should the occasion arise.

This legislation has been filed, passed out of committee and is hopefully making its way to the House Floor for debate. We want this bill to send a clear message to criminals: if you enter a home or property unlawfully, you may be facing very serious consequences. We hope that HB 668 puts a damper on these offenses and allows Missourians to rest with a little more ease when they go to sleep at night. We believe as land and property owners, you deserve these rights. You shouldn’t be limited when it comes to your livelihood and the safety of your family. We are hard at work to make sure of it.

The last couple of weeks have been very busy. Some sessions have gone past midnight, therefore I am a little behind answering emails. Many constituents from the 149th District have visited the Capitol to express their ideas, needs and opinions. Most good ideas come from the district. The House passed a lot of legislation this week. House Bill 826 was third read and passed and is on its way to the Senate for their consideration. I sponsored this bill which allows the Department of Mental Health to keep sexually violent predators (SVP) locked up in a county jail or the Missouri Sexual Offender Treatment Center. The main purpose is to keep these sexually violent predators off the street.

House Bill 861 that I co-sponsored with State Representative David Day, from the 148th District was third and passed on to the Senate. This bill allows the Missouri National Guard to have an additional assistant Adjutant General. This will bring Missouri into compliance with current federal regulations.

I am keeping very busy, learning a lot and loving it. I again thank you for the opportunity to serve you. I thank you for your suggestions and help. It is your State government.

Start some seeds indoors--but hurry

If you are planning a large vegetable garden this year, growing your own transplants offers advantages over direct seeding.

Germinating seeds in a greenhouse, hotbed or your home can reduce transplant mortality and improve seedling vigor according to a University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist.

“The proper time for indoor seeding depends on when plants may normally be moved outdoors,” said Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “This generally ranges from four to ten weeks prior to outdoor planting depending upon the speed the seedlings grow and cultural conditions within the home.”

In order to get the best germination results indoors, a loose, well-drained and fine textured medium (soil) is recommended.

“It is best to purchase a growing media commercially that has been sterilized, eliminating various pathogens,” Byers said.

Some of the most common pitfalls that reduce successful home seeding include high temperatures, poor light and excessive moisture.

“Once the seedlings develop one set of true leaves they should be transplanted to individual pots or spaced out in flats to prevent spindly seedlings that will not develop properly,” Moore said.

If you need additional gardening and horticultural advice, or want to obtain a copy of guide sheet 6570, “Starting Plants From Seeds” or G6965 "Building and Using Hotbeds and Cold Frames,” contact the Master Gardener Helpline at (417) 862-9284, or the nearest University of Missouri Extension center.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009