Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Native plant enthusiasts discover “miracle” orchid

By Jim Low
Missouri Department of Conservation

CAPE GIRARDEAU–Like any kind of hunting, hunting for unusual plants involves an element of luck. In the case of Missouri’s newest species, the plant was lucky not to get squashed before it was discovered.

Members of the Missouri Native Plant Society gathered in southeastern Missouri April 18 and 19, visiting sites with rare and unusual plants. Everyone was excited about the variety of sedges – grass-like plants that thrive in moist areas – they were seeing.

Then the group’s attention was captured by a patch of large whorled pogonia – an imperiled orchid – in full bloom. It was as if Paris Hilton showed up on the French Riviera. Before long, the area was mobbed by unusually well behaved botanical paparazzi.

Waiting his turn to photograph the celebri-plants, Justin Thomas noticed a tiny wildflower perched on a hummock nearby. He took the opportunity to snap a few photos of it. Not much later, the field trip ended, and Thomas headed home.

Later that night, he took a close look at his photos and got the surprise of his life. Instead of the common coralroot or cranefly orchid that he expected, he found himself staring at a Southern twayblade orchid (Listera australis). The species had never been documented previously in Missouri.

The time was near midnight when Thomas made this discovery. Nevertheless, he phoned the motel where he knew a few die-hard botanists were staying to continue their field trip. Native Plant Society Board Member Paul McKenzie got the call.

“I was awakened to hear the phone ring by my bedside,” McKenzie recalls. “Justin apologized for calling so late and for not letting other members know about his discovery sooner. I told him that for a report of a new genus and species of orchid to Missouri, I would not care if he called me at 2:30 a.m.!”

The next day, McKenzie and other Native Plant Society members, including Missouri Orchids author Bill Summers, found the Southern twayblade plant again and concurred with Thomas’ identitification. McKenzie still marvels at the discovery.

“Given its tiny size and the fact it was within 20 meters of the one population of Istoria (whorled pogonia), it was a miracle it was not accidentally stepped on Saturday. It is truly amazing that Justin spotted it, especially given that it was missed by several excellent botanists who have a knack for finding rare species.”

McKenzie said an exhaustive search failed to turn up any additional Southern twayblade plants. But he notes that if more than 30 accomplished botanists failed to detect the plant Thomas found in plain sight, others might be hiding nearby. Wild orchids do not bloom every year, making detection even more difficult.

For more information about the Native Plant Society, visit missourinativeplantsociety.org/.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Don't miss a chance to see/hear The Link Family

We had a wonderful time with The Link Family at our church, Macedonia Baptist, last night. The family has grown in number and ability since the video we posted yesterday from YouTube was made. The children are even better musicians now than they were in that video, which was made a couple of years ago.

My wife, who isn't in the best of health, was able to go to the concert. She loves kids and young people, so she was thrilled by the performance. She loved the brief talk by banjo-picker Ben just before the last song, "I Surrender All." Ben told about picture of God's grace at the crucifixion: Christ in the middle, one thief who mocked him, one thief who believed in him. God's grace is available, but it must be accepted.

Delaine said if her health and family finances would allow, she could follow that family all over the country listening to them: "I could easily be a Link Family 'groupie,' " she joked on the way home.

They are from Lebanon, Missouri, but they travel all over the United States and Canada. They're full-time in the music ministry. If you get a chance to see them, don't miss it. Go to their website for a schedule; they might be coming to a venue close to you.

Here's another YouTube video from a couple of years ago:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday sermon in song

Here's The Link Family, a family band that will perform bluegrass music at 6 tonight at Macedonia Baptist Church, north of Rolla. Admission is free; an offering will be taken. A fellowship time with refreshments will follow the performance. To get to the church go north of Rolla on Highway 63 about 5 miles, then turn right on Old Highway 63 at the rock quarry. Go down that road a mile or two and you'll see the church on the right. Get there early to get a good seat. This band is fantastic!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

"If you don't love Jesus, go to hell!"

ByR.D. Hohenfeldt
Managing Editor, Ozarks Almanac

Our Sunday School class out at Macedonia Baptist Church is studying Galatians this quarter, and, boy howdy, it is some powerful stuff.

Paul of Tarsus wrote this to the new Christians at Galatia: "If anyone preaches a gospel different from what I preached to you all, he can go square to hell!" (That's my translation, but I checked an interlinear and a Bible dictionary and I think it's spot on.)

Whew! That is very strong and judgmental, isn't it? You don't hear that kind of preaching nowadays. I love our pastor, but I can't imagine him saying that--ever! Can you imagine your preacher or any other preacher saying that nowadays? I doubt it, for it would make people uncomfortable and would alienate them.

The closest I've found to that kind of preaching in modern days is a country music song by Billy Joe Shaver called "If You Don't Love Jesus, Go to Hell." That is quite strong and judgmental, too isn't it?

Now that the apostle Paul is in heaven, only a country music singer has the guts, gall and unmitigated temerity to say "If you don't love Jesus, go to hell." (You can read an interview with Billy Joe Shaver at http://nightlight.typepad.com/nightlight/2007/09/billy-joe-shave.html.)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Proper Pressure and Heat Essential for Canning Food Safely

By David Burton
University Extension

In order to be able to assure food safety, meats, poultry, seafood and vegetables should always be canned in a pressure canner according to Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

Tomatoes and pickled products are the exception because of their acid content.

“Temperatures in a pressure canner reach at least 240 degrees. This high temperature is necessary to assure the safety of the product,” said Roberts.

Pressure canners will have a dial gauge or a weighted gauge. It is important to follow instructions specified for each because they register different pressures at the same setting.

Up to 2,000 feet of sea level, dial gauges are operated at 11 pounds of pressure. Above, 2,000 feet of sea level, adjustments should be made for dial gauges.

A weighted gauge is operated at 10 pounds of pressure at an altitude of up to 1,000 feet. At altitudes above 1,000 feet, higher pressures are needed.

“The reason it is critical to know the altitude at which you are using the pressure canner is because as altitude increases, the temperature at which water boils decreases. Lower boiling temperatures are not as effective at killing bacteria,” said Roberts.

To adjust, processing time or pressure must be increased.

To see a map of sea levels of Missouri Counties, look on the web at http://muextension.missouri.edu/explore/hesguide/foodnut/gh451.htm.

Roberts also recommends that you use jars specifically designed for home canning. Jars that were not designed for canning may not seal properly and may break because they cannot withstand the high temperatures of canning.

“The lids consist of a flat metal disc with a sealing compound around the edge and a band that goes over it to keep it in place. It is important to follow manufacturer’s instructions on preparing the flat for the jar,” said Roberts.

Porcelain-lined zinc lids and bail-type lids used with a rubber ring are no longer recommended.

“The last thing to consider before preparing the food to be canned is the recipe you are going to use. It is critical to use only tested recipes to assure the foods will be safe,” said Roberts.

The Ball Blue Book is a reliable resource. University of Missouri home canning guide sheets are online at http://muextension.missouri.edu/explore/hesguide/foodnut/index.htm. The National Center for Home Preservation can be accessed at www.homefoodpreservation.com.

There is also still space available in several canning classes being taught in Greene County during the month of July. Call the Greene County Extension Center at (417) 862-9284 or visit the county website at extension.missouri.edu/greene.

Five on Friday--plus a bonus

If the presence of barbershop singing (either for performing or for listening) in Missouri is important to you, here are five websites that might interest you:

Boonslick Chordbusters

Show-Me Showboaters Barbershop Chorus

Heart of America Chorus

Ambassadors of Harmony

Heart of Missouri Chorus

And here's a bonus: Central States District

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Get the Best Results Freezing Your Garden Produce

By David Burton
University Extension

For gardeners that want to preserve their fresh home-grown produce but don’t want to can them, freezing is a viable option.

“Freezing food is easy and not nearly as time-consuming as canning. In most instances color, flavor, and texture are also maintained when produce is frozen,” said Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist, University of Missouri Extension.


Blanching is necessary to inactivate enzymes and for freezing success.

“The enzymes are proteins in the plant that help with the ripening and maturing process. If produce is not blanched, this maturation process can continue (at a very slow pace) in the freezer,” said Roberts.

To blanch vegetables, they are placed in boiling water or steamed for a given period of time and then placed in ice water.

To find out exactly how long each vegetable needs to be blanched download the MU Extension guide sheet on “Freezing Vegetables” at extension.missouri.edu.

“Blanching for the correct amount of time is important. Over-blanching can result in a cooked product with less flavor, color and nutrients. Under-blanching can actually speed up enzyme activity making the food undesirable for eating,” said Roberts.


The goal with freezing produce is to have the smallest ice crystals possible. To achieve this, the food needs to be frozen quickly.

“When foods are frozen quickly, there is a large number of small ice crystals. Small ice crystals cause less damage to cell walls,” said Roberts.

To assure quick freezing, many people set the freezer at -10 degrees Fahrenheit 24 hours before they are going to freeze food. Once the food is frozen the thermostat can be set back at 0 degrees.

“Do not to overload the freezer with unfrozen food. Overloading will result in slow freezing which makes larger ice crystals and more cell damage. Add only the amount of food that will freeze in 24 hours -- about two to three pounds of food per cubic foot of freezer space,” said Roberts.

For best results maintain a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit in the freezer. Quality deteriorates quickly at temperatures above zero degrees.

For example, the same loss of quality of frozen green beans stored at 0 degrees for one year will occur in three months at 10 degrees, in three weeks at 20 degrees and in five days at 30 degrees.

Ten months is the recommended freezer storage time for fresh vegetables.


For more information on nutrition issues, go online to extension.missouri.edu or contact Tammy Roberts at (417) 682-3579.

The MU Extension program in Greene County is also hosting a “Freezing Your Garden Produce” class on July 16.

Participants will get answers to freezing-related questions, see a freezing demonstration, taste some freezer friendly recipes, and also learn about blanching, packaging, containers, freezer burn, food safety and saving money. Each participant will also receive a free salad.

Registration information is available at extension.missouri.edu/greene or can be obtained by calling (417) 862-9284.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Japanese Beetles Bring Appetites to Southwest Missouri

The Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) is about 1/2 inch long with a shiny metallic-green body and bronze-colored outer wings. The beetle has a row of five lateral tufts on each side and one each on the last segment of the abdomen. Photos by Lee Jenkins, MU Extension.

By David Burton
University Extension

Adult Japanese Beetles are on the move in southwest Missouri and they have brought an appetite with them according to Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

These insects can quickly defoliate over 300 different types of ornamental landscape plants by eating the tissue between the veins of leaves and flowers, a type of feeding called skeletonizing.

Trees and shrubs most attractive to adults include: Japanese and Norway maple, birch and pin oak, sycamore, plums, elm and cherry trees, rose, willows, lindens and Virginia creeper. The grubs will also feed on a wide variety of plant roots of ornamentals and turfgrasses.

"Roses, crepe myrtle, grapes and the Japanese maple seem to be this beetle’s favorite food. The main concern in our area is adult beetle damage to broad-leaved plants," said Byers.

Adult Japanese Beetles are a brilliant, metallic green color, generally oval, 3/8 inch long and one-quarter of an inch wide. The wing covers are copper-brown and the abdomen has a row of five tufts of white hairs on each side. These white tufts are essential to the insect identity.

According to Byers, there are four main control strategies available to the homeowner.

Hand picking. “When the first adults arrive on a property, you can pick off these scouts (which attract more pests) and destroy them by dropping them into soapy water,” said Byers.

Use traps. “Traps are effective only when landscapes are isolated from other Japanese beetle breeding areas or when everyone in the neighborhood uses traps. Otherwise, traps attract more beetles into the area than would normally be present,” said Byers.

Insecticide Spraying. “Adults can be controlled by spraying plants. Orthene, Sevin and Malathion, are a few products for control of the adult beetle. During heavy adult activity periods, sprays may be needed every five to 10 days for effective control,” said Byers.

Plant Non-Attractive Plants to the Japanese Beetle. “Another approach to preventing Japanese beetle damage is plant selection. Mississippi State University Extension Service has a publication guide for selecting landscape and garden plants based on susceptibility to adult Japanese beetles. Get this publication online at http://msucares.com/pubs/publications/p2333.pdf or contact the Greene County University of Missouri Extension Center at (417) 862-9284.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ready, set, frog!

By Jim Low
Missouri Department of Conservation

Deer hunters do it. So do turkey hunters. Even trout anglers spend time scouting the locations of their quarry. So why not frog hunters?

Missouri’s frogging season opens at sunset June 30, but waiting until then to take flashlight and gig in hand surrenders an important advantage to the slippery amphibians. Frogs are intimately familiar with the approaches and escape routes to their favorite perches. Smart froggers level the playing field by checking the lay of the land– or swamp – beforehand.

Scouting can be as simple as sitting in a lawn chair at your favorite frogging spot, taking note of where big male frogs are calling. Obsessive froggers have been known to skulk through a 40-acre marsh mapping individual frogs’ precise locations with GPS waypoints. Either way, scouting helps avoid wasted time and effort locating frogs and the best ways to reach them in the dark.

Getting your feet wet before the season opens offers distinct advantages. You can bring along pruning shears and remove low-hanging branches that block access to remote spots. You also can discover how close certain frogs will let you approach and which direction they habitually jump.

Beyond the obvious advantage of improving your chances of success, scouting out frogging spots a few days before the season is a pleasant excuse to spend time outdoors on early summer evenings. And your presence might keep the criminal element at bay.

Conservation agents know that a small number of poachers like to beat legitimate froggers to the punch by jumping the gun on the season, and more than one frogger has arrived at his or her chosen spot on opening night only to find it nearly empty of keeping-sized frogs. If you observe illegal frogging, you can report it using the toll-free Operation Game Thief Hotline, 800-392-1111. Reports can be made anonymously, or you can leave contact information to qualify for a cash reward if your report leads to a conviction.

The limit for frog hunters is eight bullfrogs or green frogs in the aggregate daily, and 16 in possession. The period for counting limits ends at midnight each day. Consequently, froggers can legally take a limit of frogs between sunset and midnight June 30 and then catch another limit after midnight on July 1. To do this legally, you must keep the first eight frogs separate from those taken after midnight. Also, remember that individual hunters must keep their frogs separate and identifiable from those of other froggers.

The Wildlife Code of Missouri permits taking frogs on either a hunting or a fishing permit. With a hunting permit, you can take frogs with a pellet gun, longbow, crossbow, hand net or with bare hands. With a fishing permit, froggers may use hands or a hand net, a gig, a longbow or hook and line. Frog hunting is legal – and most effective – at night with an artificial light.

The bullfrog is North America’s biggest frog, measuring up to 8 inches all scrunched up and ready to jump. A good-sized bullfrog can weigh well over a pound, much of which is legs. Green frogs are more modest-sized, topping out at about 4 inches long when sitting. Though not as large, their legs taste just like those of bullfrogs.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Vision for Missouri outdoors emerges from summit meeting

By Jim Low
Conservation Department

In a historical echo, Missouri conservation leaders met in Columbia May 28 and 29 and hammered out a vision for the state’s outdoor future. Outdoor education, water conservation and connecting families with the outdoors topped the list of priorities that leaders agreed should guide conservation for the next three-quarters of a century.

The meeting mirrored one that took place in Columbia 74 years ago. On Sept. 10, 1935, sportsmen and conservationists from across Missouri met in the ballroom of the Tiger Hotel to discuss the sad condition of the state’s forests, fish and wildlife. Before leaving, they formed the Restoration and Conservation Federation of Missouri. That organization, known today as the Conservation Federation of Missouri, spurred the development of a conservation program that remains at template for other states.

Approximately 150 people attended the Summit on the Future of Missouri Outdoors at the Columbia Hilton Garden Inn. Attendees included the directors of the Missouri departments of Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources, the supervisor of the Mark Twain National Forest, the field supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and representatives of dozens of nongovernmental organizations. Three state legislators, Sen. Frank Barnitz (D-Lake Spring) and Reps. J.C. Kuessner (D-Eminence) and Charles Schlottach (R-Owensville), attended the meeting.

The summit’s stated purpose was to chart a course for the next 75 years of Missouri’s air, water, forests, fish and wildlife and the economic and recreational and economic activities that depend on them. The first day of the conference featured speakers who framed the discussion of the outdoors in the broadest sense.

Gov. Jay Nixon kicked off the event, exhorting attendees to go beyond conservation.

“The air needs to be cleaner,” said Nixon, who received the Conservation Federation’s Conservation Legislator of the Year award in 1991, when he was a state senator. “The water needs to be cleaner and more plentiful, and more people need to appreciate the simple joy of the outdoors and the nature that we all share.

“I ask you to go beyond what people did when they got together the first Conservation Commission 75 years ago. If we aim that high and work together, then in a room much like this, after all of us are long gone, there will still be a group of empowered and impassioned leading Missourians who dedicate their time and resources to passing this planet on as a better place than they found it.”

Nixon emphasized the importance of getting more Missourians involved in outdoor pursuits related to nature. He also noted the need for conservation groups with diverse and sometimes divergent interests to focus on shared values.

Following Nixon’s address, Yale University Professor of Forestry and Environmental Science Stephen R. Kellert spoke about why outdoor experiences are critical to Americans’ individual, physical, social and economic wellbeing. University of Missouri Professor Larry Brown spoke about how Missouri’s social geography has affected the state’s natural resources.

Before the summit, organizers surveyed influential Missourians about outdoor recreation and conservation. Survey results provided a starting point for discussions about top outdoor priorities.

On the second day of the conference, attendees separated into working groups based on interest in the following topics:

· Water

· Air

· Plants, animals and habitats

· Outdoor mentorship

· Conservation Funding

· Education

· Public land

· Private land

· Leadership structure

· Stakeholder input

Each working group developed a list of important conservation actions for the next 75 years. During the final summit session, the working groups presented their lists to the full group, and all attendees voted on the entire list. The top 10 priorities emerging from this process were:

1. Teaching Missourians about the outdoors

2. Ensuring clean, abundant surface and groundwater

3. Connecting families and communities to nature

4. Supporting and funding outdoor resources and activities

5. Conserving plants, animals and habitats

6. Acquiring public lands for outdoor uses

7. Helping private landowners

8. Ensuring clean air

9. Developing an organizational structure for outdoor leadership

10. Promoting stakeholder input

Conservation Federation President Glenn Chambers said the consensus that emerged from the gathering of conservation leaders was “Get the message out that quality, healthy outdoors is essential for life.”

D.J. Case & Associates Marketing Research Director Dan Witter said the message he carried away from the gathering was, “We as a people may be able to survive without the outdoors, but we will be a terribly impoverished people – spiritually and physically – if we track that direction. In other words, 10 out of 10 people need the outdoors, not just hunters and anglers, but everybody.”

The Conservation Federation organized the summit in cooperation with Audubon Missouri, Bass Pro Shops, D.J. Case & Associates, the George C. Clark Missouri State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Missouri departments of Conservation and Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy and the Missouri Association of Municipal Utilities.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Some Texas music

No relation to Missouri or the Ozarks in today's post, unless you count my wife, who lives in Missouri with me but is a native Texan who really likes this song and this singer, Ben Kweller. I like the kid's voice, too, and I like this song.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Conservation areas are made to order for “staycations”

By Jim Low
Conservation Department

Missourians looking for ways to make outdoor adventures affordable this summer need look no farther than their back yards. With more than 900 conservation areas, lake and river accesses, natural areas, nature centers and shooting ranges around the state, the real challenge is narrowing the choices to a manageable number.

Many Missourians are opting to explore their own state this year in response to high fuel prices and economic uncertainty. Such “staycations” can be just as exciting (and more relaxing) than long-distance trips.

Conservation areas (CAs) scattered across Missouri’s 114 counties offer something for every outdoor preference. Birdwatchers, geocachers, hunters, anglers, campers, paddlers, backpackers, day hikers, bikers, horseback riders, dog trainers and nature photographers all will find something for them on CAs. The trick is finding the right place.

To help Missourians navigate this dizzying array of opportunities, the Conservation Department provides a searchable Conservation Atlas database at www.mdc.mo.gov/atlas. You can do a “Detailed Search” for conservation areas by available activities from horseback riding to canoeing or goggle-eye fishing.

A search for “boat-in camping along the Missouri River” turns up 17 alternatives, from Atchison County to St. Louis County. Searching for areas where you can bicycle reveals 49 options, from Bollinger County to Buchanan County.

To minimize travel time and expenses, you can narrow such searches to a particular region or county. For instance, the eight-county St. Louis Region has 33 CAs that accommodate canoeists and kayakers. Regional searches enable “staycationers” to put together two-week holiday itineraries that let them sleep in their own beds every night.

You also can choose to focus your search on available facilities and services, including visitor centers, picnic areas, pavilions, wildlife viewing blinds, boat rentals or primitive campsites. You might choose to spend your vacation visiting all 18 Conservation Department nature and visitor centers around the state.

Or you might want to focus your search on natural features, such as lakes, ponds, glades, forests, springs or streams. An imaginary itinerary might focus on “walk-in camping” on areas with “springs” in the “Ozark Region.” This search combination turns up five areas: Carter Creek CA in Carter County, Fourche Creek CA in Ripley County, Indian Trail CA in Dent County, and Rocky Creek and Sunklands CAs in Shannon County.

Replace “springs” with “designated natural areas,” and the Conservation Atlas directs you to Angeline or Rocky Creek CA in Shannon County, Little Black, Mudpuppy or Sand Pond CA in Ripley County or – once again – to Indian Trail or Sunklands CAs.

Change the search combination to “hiking,” “springs” and “designated trails” gets you 25 choices scattered throughout the St. Louis, Kansas City, Southwest, Ozark and Central Missouri regions.

Boaters and anglers can choose from hundreds of fishing accesses on major lakes and rivers, plus small community lakes. A search for fishing lakes and ponds in the 12-county Kansas City region finds 72 such areas.

You can even filter search results by handicap accessibility, designated trails or the availability of shooting ranges.

With the online Conservation Atlas, you can plan an exciting summer “staycation” tailor-made for your family’s interests and budget. You might even find yourself taking mini-staycations throughout the year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cutting sprouts by the moon

An OzarksAlmanac.com reader named Alton writes:

I remember my grandfather having a certain day to cut the young tree suckers and sprouting persimmon bushes from his fields, something about the sign and moon was right and they would not grow back,
I thought I might find some help on this site.

Appreciate any advice or point me to the right sight for this wisdom.


Thanks for writing, Alton. You need to do that kind of work when the moon is waning--the absolute best time is in the fourth quarter--and is in Gemini or Aries. You'll need a farmer's almanac to determine which day matches those parameters. Wal-Mart or a book store should have an almanac for sale.

Anyone else with a gardening question or an Ozarks lore question? Just write. I'll do my best to answer.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Some story-tellin'

An out-of-stater who hates living in a beautiful new home on 120 acres next to the Gasconade River in the Missouri Ozarks was rejoicing this week on the Missouri Forum, because she's fixing to move back to some Florida city where she can go to the mall every day.

She complained that Missourians don't have a sense of humor. I have to disagree. Some of my friends and neighbors are hilarious and keep me in stitches. You have to understand rural humor is primarily storytelling; it's also often delivered deadpan. The funniest people I know around here use wryness, subtlety and understatements. They'll also use self-deprecating humor.

For instance, a ouple of weekends ago I had to go over to the MotoMart to get some more gasoline to finish up mowing. Ran into a buddy, another old redneck like me, and we were talking outside. Car with Pennsylvania plates pulls up and guy gets out to go inside. We howdy him, and my buddy winks at me. I figger he's planning some fun.

We continue talking. Guy comes back out; I guess he had to go to the bathroom and buy a couple more cokes.

Buddy says, "I see you are from Pennsylvania. Welcome to the Ozarks."

Guy stops and says, "Thank you, we're on our way to Branson."

Buddy says, "If you're a-lookin' fer hillbillies, no need to go plumb to Branson; you done found you a couple rightcheer." We both give him big tooth-missing grins.

Guy laughs and heads toward his Lexus, which is still running so his wife is in the cool a/c.

Buddy says, "Well, enjoy your visit, stay as long as you can and spend as much as you got. We like Pennsylvania money in Missouri. JUST DON'T FORGET THE WAY HOME, and drive carefully."

Then we both laughed real big and the guy laughed with us. He got back in his car and as he backed out apparently told his wife what my buddy said, for she rolled her window down, despite the heat, and stuck out the middle finger of her right hand.

We laughed uproariously, doffed our caps and waved as they drove off.

Pennsylvania women apparently don't have a sense of humor.

Now, did you get the joke? Did you laugh? Chuckle? Smile?

Or did you get angry because you pictured a couple of hillbillies laughing at a city slicker as they tell him to spend his money here and then go home.

Now, if you are angry, ask yourself: Did that really happen or did he make it up, and is the joke really on me?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Five good resources, plus a bonus

Here are five more Ozarks-related websites I find valuable:

Conor Watkins Ozark Mountain Experience

Ozarks Studies Institute at Missouri State University

Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

Lyric Live Theater

Tour of the Ozarks

For a bonus, here's one that isn't valuable, but it is interesting: Ozarkopathy. If you're a city slicker planning on moving here, you'd better read Ozarkopathy thoroughly and find out what not to do and how not to act.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Missouri Stream Team turns 20

Members of Stream Team 151, Anheuser-Busch
St. Louis, are
among more than 80,000 volunteers
who have performed
1.5 million hours of work
to improve and protect Missouri streams.

(Missouri Department of Conservation photo)

This citizen-led conservation dynamo has room for as many Missourians as love the state’s flowing waters

By Jim Lowe
Missouri Dept. of Conservation

JEFFERSON CITY–Missouri Stream Team turns 20 this month, and if you happen to be out on a Missouri stream the weekend of June 13 and 14, you are likely to see evidence of the trailblazing organization in action.

The Show-Me State’s citizen-led stream conservation movement traces its roots much farther back than two decades. However, Missouri Stream Team – a joint effort of the Conservation Federation of Missouri and the departments of Conservation and Natural Resources – did not come into being until 1989. On Feb. 1 that year, the Roubidoux Fly Fishers became Stream Team No. 1. Since then, an estimated 80,000 citizens have formed 4,000 Stream Teams.

The program passed the 4,000-team milestone recently when a new Wal-Mart Store in Jefferson City officially adopted the Moreau 50 Access on the Moreau River. Wal-Mart encourages employees to join Missouri Stream Team through the company’s Volunteering Associates Program, which supports such efforts financially.

Although some of the state’s 4,000 stream teams have disbanded, many still are pursuing their commitment to Missouri’s rivers, creeks and rivulets more than a decade after organizing. Old or new, dozens of Stream Teams are visiting their chosen waters this month, removing litter, planting trees, checking water quality, conducting public-education events and doing myriad other things to ensure clean, healthy running waters.

“We thought it was most fitting for Stream Teams to celebrate this double milestone by doing what they do best in the places they love best,” said Stream Services Program Supervisor Paul Calvert.

Missouri Stream Team will hold an event this weekend to let individual stream teams from around the state gather and celebrate their achievements and renew their commitment to stream conservation. The Stream Team Celebration Weekend will take place where it all began, near the banks of Roubidoux Creek in Waynesville.

“We are sponsoring a cleanup and float of the Gasconade River,” said Calvert, “a cleanup of the Roubidoux, a barbecue, live music, breakfast and educational learning stations on a load of river-related topics. After dark on Saturday, we will show a new Stream Team video celebrating 20 years of progress.

Calvert said Stream Teams have formed associations that demonstrate their ability to accomplish things on a huge scale. However, their biggest achievement continues to be the cumulative difference they make working on individual streams.

“Since we began keeping records in the mid-90s, stream teams have reported performing approximately 1.5 million hours of volunteer work,” said Calvert. “The actual number is much larger, because not every stream team reports all its activities. The benefit to Missouri streams is incalculable. This is citizen-led conservation at its best.”

The most popular stream team activities are litter pickups, water quality monitoring, presentations, educational projects and tree planting. Litter pickups have removed more than 6,000 tons of trash from streams and stream corridors.

When Missouri Stream Team began, there were only a handful of reportable activities. However, as teams became involved in increasingly diverse activities, the number grew. Today the program tracks participation in 34 activities, from adopting stream accesses and photo monitoring to watershed mapping and zebra mussel monitoring.

Innovations continue. Some stream teams have concluded that while removing trash from streams is necessary, a more productive approach is to work with law-enforcement agencies to stop littering and trash dumping.

Calvert says there is no such thing as a “typical” stream team. Stream teamers come from all parts of the state and all walks of life.

“The only real common factors are a love of streams and a willingness to give of their time and energy to care for them.”

Missouri Stream Teams has three components – education, stewardship and advocacy. This is a direct result of the first Rivers and Streams Conference, which was held in 1988.

“People told us then that they wanted to know what was right or wrong with water quality and stream health,” said Calvert. “They told us they wanted opportunities for hands-on work to fix the problems, and they wanted to be able to speak out about stream issues in an informed manner. We took those things as our role – giving citizens the tools they needed to do what needs to be done.”

The original Stream Team staff was bowled over by the groundswell of participation that followed the formation of Missouri Stream Team. The program’s growth dwarfed initial goals, topping 500 teams and 25,000 volunteers in its first five years. Twenty years on, Calvert and his staff continue to be amazed at the rate of growth.

“You would expect things to level off at some point,” he said, “but we are adding teams today as fast as we ever have. You have to wonder what the next 20 years will bring.”

For help forming a Stream Team or finding an active one in your area, call 573-522-4115, ext. 3591, or visit www.mostreamteam.org.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Weather report

St. Louis TV weatherguy says storms in northern Phelps County have spawned tornadoes that have moved into Franklin County. He says St. Louis will have serious storms by 9 p.m.

Here in Rolla we've had rain with some thunder and lightning.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Missouri-based missionaries banned -- in Oklahoma!

The powers that be in Oklahoma apparently don't want poor children to hear about Jesus. They've banned Christian missionaries from a Missouri-based mission from teaching about the Savior in a housing project. Here's part of the story and you can click here to read the whole report:

A Christian evangelical group that works to improve the lives of underprivileged children says it has been prohibited from conducting Bible study classes in public housing projects in Tulsa, Okla., potentially violating a Supreme Court ruling that upheld religious groups' right to the use of public institutions.

For more than 70 years, the Missouri-based Child Evangelism Fellowship has worked with underprivileged kids, not only to convert them to Christianity, but to improve their lives through education and after-school activities. In one program, fellowship missionaries visit prisons and sign up inmates' children for Bible study programs in an effort to keep them from winding up in jail themselves.

And for more than two decades, the fellowship has hosted a religious-themed summer program in Tulsa's tough housing projects, designed to keep children from falling victim to the temptations of drugs and crime.

But recently, the fellowship was told that it was in violation of a long-standing policy prohibiting religious instruction on public housing property, said Larry Koehn, who heads the organization's chapter in the city.

"They said they have a policy now whereby we can't come in and talk about God or Christ," Koehn said. "We can come in and play games and talk about moral things, but we can't mention the name of God."

If you know me, you know what I'm wondering: Would those same powers that be prohibit Black Power Islamists from teaching?--RDH

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ozarker killed in Afghanistan

A Springfield television station reports an explosion overseas Monday claimed the life of an Ozarks soldier.

The Army says Private First Class Matthew Wilson died while serving in Afghanistan.

Wilson is from Miller, Missouri and the news has shaken the small Lawrence County community.

Those who knew Private Wilson best say his loyalty was one of the things they remember most about the 19 year old. Not only his dedication to the country, but the dozens of people who helped mold him.

The students and teachers at Miller High School were hit hard this week. Their former student, classmate and friend, Private First Class Matthew Wilson was killed in the line of duty.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I listened to the biggest part of the speech President Obama delivered to "the Muslim world," and I have a prediction to make.

Here it is: He will announce his conversion to Islam before the end of his first term.

Show biz will go nuts and actors, actresses, musicians, artists, writers will jump on the Mohammed bandwagon.

Lots of sheeple who take their cues from celebrities will join the conversion movement, as it becomes "in" and trendy to be Islamic.

I know, I know. You think I'm silly. Remember this prediction. Write it on your calendar, Ed.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Variety on the radio

If you're looking for something to do in Rolla, let me suggest you just stay at home and listen to public radio KMST.

In fact, the best news is you don't even have to move to Rolla to listen. You can catch its streaming audio on the web. Click on the "listen live" button on the website.

I recommend listening Sunday nights to The Bone Conduction Music Show, hosted by Thayrone X.

I also recommend bluegrass programs on Thursday night, Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Jazz is on Friday night if you like that sort of thing.

Of course, there is classical music on every afternoon and most evenings and overnights.

Sounds Eclectic, on every morning, is very good stuff. Lots of blues. Some Missouri music.

We're very fortunate to have this variety on radio.