Friday, September 25, 2009

Rains this week could help fall colors

I live in Rolla and work about 25 miles away in St. Robert. I leave early in the morning and drive I-44 but coming home in mid-afternoon, I drive as much of old Route 66 as I can. The scenery is still beautiful, despite some land development along the way.

Trees are hinting at fall, with a few hints of yellows and golds. There are some reds on vines. We got rain this week, so maybe that will boost the sugar production in the leaves to give brilliant colors by the peak of the fall color season, which is mid-October.

The Missouri Department of Conservation has a journal of fall colors if you're interested.

Nothing Tastier Than Missouri Apple Picked From the Tree

By David Burton
University Extension

Missouri was once one of the leading apple producing states in America. The world famous Haseltine Orchard near Springfield actually led the way along with other smaller orchards throughout southwest Missouri.
Missouri still produces about one million bushels of apples every year.
“There is nothing tastier than an apple picked right off the tree. This time of year in Missouri, that is a fairly easy thing to do,” said Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist, University of Missouri Extension.
Apples can be canned, frozen or dried. They can be made into apple butter, jelly, juice, apple sauce and delicious homemade pies.
Jonathan, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious are the three most commonly grown apples in Missouri but Gala, Fuji, Winesap and Rome Beauty can also be found in the state.
The Jonathan apple has been grown in Missouri for over 150 years and is the most widely grown apple in the state. Harvest for Jonathan apples usually starts the first of September.
“Jonathan is crisp, juicy and tart and considered to be the best all-purpose apple. It is great to cook and bake with and can be a great part of a sack lunch,” said Roberts.
Golden Delicious apples are juicy but mild flavored. They are naturally sweet so are great to eat right off the tree.
“Golden Delicious apples are also good for pies, apple sauce and fresh salads. In Missouri they are ready to pick toward the end of September,” said Roberts.
Red Delicious apples are best eaten as the whole fruit. They are usually harvested starting in mid-September. One apple has only about 80 calories and around four grams of fiber.
Fresh apples need to be stored in a cool place to help keep them fresh and prevent rotting. A good apple should be bright, crisp and juicy.
“It is best to maintain a temperature of 32 to 40 degrees for the best results for apples. Be careful not to get below 32 degrees because freezing will deteriorate the apples quickly,” said Roberts.
Just beware, apples that ripen in late summer do not keep as long as apples harvested later in the fall.
“In Missouri, Fuji is the apple that keeps the best. If stored properly it will retain its crisp juicy texture for several months,” said Roberts.
For more information on nutrition issues, go online to or contact Tammy Roberts at (417) 682-3579.
For more information about Missouri's apples, go to

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fall is the Time to Attack Chickweed in Yard and Garden

By David Burton
University Extension

Homeowners complain more about chickweed every spring. Unfortunately, homeowners forget about it by fall which is when steps should be taken to eliminate it from home lawns.
The good news is that it is possible to plan control strategies once a person understands the life cycle of chickweed.
“Chickweed is a winter annual that germinates from seed during the fall, matures and produces seed late next spring then dies in early summer,” said Jay Chism, an agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Barton County.
In perennial flower beds, mulch will provide resistance to chickweed invasion this fall.
“A number of annual weeds like chickweed require light for germination. That means a three- or four-inch mulch layer around plants with bark mulches should provide protection against these weeds,” said Chism.
In annual beds and vegetable gardens, surface compost mulch applied in the fall -- with a plan to incorporate it prior to planting next spring -- may also help prevent seed germination.
“After compost is tilled in to the garden and spring planting is completed, mulch will greatly discourage weeds. Plus, mulch provides other cultural benefits. However, don’t be surprised if a few weeds sneak through. Some hand weeding may be expected,” said Chism.
Winter annuals in the lawn are also common. A few dandelions, chickweed and henbit generally appear unless good cultural practices or herbicides are applied.
Good cultural practices, like a planned fertility program and a thick stand of grass, will discourage annual weeds. A good thick lawn, mowed at the correct height, will reduce light, which reduces chickweed in turf.
“If an herbicide application is needed, the most common pre-emergence material will contain Dimension or Gallery. They must be applied before the winter annuals germinate,” said Chism.
A post-emergence material like 2,4-D, Trimec or Ortho’s Weed Be Gone Max can be highly effective when applied during a warm period in early November.
For more information, or answers to your specific lawn and garden questions, contact Chism, at (417) 682-3579 or the Greene County Master Gardener Hotline at (417) 862-9284.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Economic Development in Missouri

By Rep. Dan Brown
Missouri District 149

As we face one of the worst economies our nation has seen since the Great Depression, job creation remains a top priority in the House. Thousands of Missourians wake up each morning unemployed and unable to provide for their families. In fact, this week we learned that Missouri’s unemployment rate is the highest it’s been since 1983 and only ten points away from being at an all time high.
As legislators, it is our job to turn this trend around and work to build our economy and put our citizens back to work and that is exactly what we have done.
Last February, the House passed House Bill 191, expanding the Quality Jobs Act, which has proven past success in Missouri. One of the main purposes of the Quality Jobs Act is to provide incentive programs that seek to attract business to Missouri, and in turn, boost the job market. After passing through the Senate in May, HB191 was signed into law and became the top accomplishment by the General Assembly in 2009.
This week, the Director of Economic Development stepped down, leaving one of the most vital cabinet positions with an interim Director until the position is filled. This concerns me, especially when considering our current economic state. Right now, job creation is crucial and not something we should leave in limbo. It is my sincere hope that the Governor acts quickly to fill the position so that we may continue on the fast-track to economic prosperity.
As we approach the 2010 session, economic development will remain one of our top priorities. We look forward to seeing a strong head at the Department of Economic Development so that we may work with the Director to improve Missouri business and create jobs for our citizens. I realize many of you are without a job or know someone close to you who is without work. You can be certain that we are working diligently to remedy this problem. As the national economy begins to build itself back up, House Republicans will make sure Missouri is ahead of the game.
Again, thank you for your concerns. This is your State government. Help me keep it that way by keeping me informed. Please feel free to contact me at 573-751-5713 or by email at

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Missouri music

Missouri music by Big Smith, of the Springfield area. I like this song so much, I have to play it three or four times a week. I've never seen them live; I wish somebody would book them for a performance in Rolla.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wilson was right about Obama

Well, it turns out that the South Carolina representative who shouted "You lie!" to the president the other night was right.

MSNBC reported Friday that the White House issued a statement clarifying whether illegal immigrants would be eligible for the government healthcare insurance:

The question, as we all know, arises from the Wilson "You lie" outburst, and the core claim that notwithstanding specific bill language barring illegal immigrants from participating in the "exchange," as a practical matter, there is no way of verifying the citizenship of applicants -- which is the current state of play. Republicans say that then means illegal immigrants would end up being enrolled in plans -- bill language or no bill language.

Today, for the first time as far as we know, the administration is backing a provision that would require proof of citizenship before someone could enroll in a plan selected on the exchange.

Here, the administration also concedes that hospitals would be compensated with public funds for the care of undocumented immigrants.

Wilson was right. The president was not telling the truth.

Wilson should not have apologized for telling the truth.

Design and build a deck, Part 2

Tasty pawpaws abundant in Ozarks this fall

A wild Missouri fruit - known as pawpaw – can be a nutritious and tasty treat for anyone lucky enough to find them at a farmer’s markets in the Ozarks this fall.
“Pawpaw season is late August to October,” said Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist, University of Missouri Extension. “They really are a refreshing tropical-tasting fruit.”
Pawpaws are the largest edible fruit native to North America. The fruits vary in size, shape, flavor, and color, but are generally three to six inches long by one to three inches wide.
Some fruits can weigh as much as a pound or more. The oblong pawpaw fruit has lots of seeds, is very perishable and can easily get torn up during shipping.
The flavor is unique but often compared with banana, mango, and pineapple. But according to Roberts, the fruit is still pretty rare, unless you have a tree on your land.
Andrew Thomas, horticulture research associate with the University of Missouri, is conducting experiments at Southwest Center near Mount Vernon, Mo., to determine whether pawpaws can be profitably produced and processed.
The pawpaw tree is small and attractive with long, droopy leaves and striking, deep purple flowers that appear in early spring.
"Pawpaw trees grow all over Missouri along streams and in shady conditions, especially in southern Missouri. Although wild pawpaws produce good fruit, as with most native wild fruit trees, there is tremendous room for horticultural improvement,” Thomas said.
Thomas is doing the pawpaw study with identical plantings at Missouri’s Southwest Center, the Missouri State University Fruit Experiment Station in Mountain Grove, Mo., and The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Poteau, Okla.
“A pawpaw is green in color but gets lighter as it ripens. The color of the fruit is not the best way to judge if it is ripe. If the fruit is easy to pick from the tree, if the skin gives when you gently squeeze it, and if it has a strong pleasant aroma, then it is ripe,” said Roberts.
Once a pawpaw is ripe, it only lasts a few days at room temperature. That makes this fruit a real challenge for commercial development.
It can be kept for up to a week in the refrigerator. According to Roberts, it can also be stored in the refrigerator as a not fully ripe fruit for up to three weeks and then taken out and allowed to ripen at room temperature.
“Pawpaw can be pureed and frozen for later use once the skin and seeds are removed. They can also be frozen whole,” said Roberts.
Nutritionally, a pawpaw is similar to a banana according to Roberts.
“The pawpaw has a little bit more vitamin C, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc and a little less carbohydrate and potassium than the banana,” said Roberts.
A pawpaw also has 10.4 grams of fiber (we need about 25 milligrams of fiber each day).
Pawpaw trees thrive in fertile, well drained, slightly acidic soil. In Missouri, they are often found along river and creek banks.
Kentucky State University lists several recipes using pawpaws including pies, custards, cookies, cakes, quick breads and even ice cream. The University also has a website that provides other detailed information on the pawpaw at
For more information on nutrition issues, contact Tammy Roberts, a nutrition and health education specialist, at (417) 682-3579.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Five interesting websites and a bonus

Five interesting websites or blogs, not necessarily related and not necessarily about the Ozarks or Missouri:


Cahokia Mounds

Legal Ruralism

The Daily Yonder

The Rural Populist

And a bonus:

King Arthur: History and Legend

Take Care with Weed Killer near Flowers and Shrubs

By David Burton
University Extension

Home gardeners with active weed growth often go in search of chemical products that will kill the weeds but leave flowers and shrubs unharmed.
According to Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension, these types of products do exist but they are not his first recommendation.
“For the backyard gardener, I prefer hand weeding and mulch in favor of chemical control. But, I know some circumstances may warrant chemical help. However, you may be limited on what you can use around flowers and shrubs without damage,” said Byers.
For grassy weed problems, products such as Ornamec and Fusilade II (fluazifop) and Poast (sethoxydim) may control grassy weeds without damage to most broadleaved plants according to Byers.
Poast may be used with most food crops to control grassy weeds as well. However, most post emergent herbicides that control broadleaved weeds have the potential to damage desirable broadleaved plants through foliar contact or absorption through the root system.
“Once undesirable weeds are removed, chemical control options may be increased by using pre-emergent herbicides,” said Byers.
For the home gardener, Preen is a common product containing trifluralin that may be effective in clean weed free beds.
No matter the product used, Byers says to be sure and read the label on any chemical product for proper use and other precautionary statements.
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, September 10, 2009

I rescind my earlier commendation

Rep. Wilson from South Carolina apologized for speaking the truth to Abu Hussein last night during the Great Leader's speech.

I take back what I said. No guts.

You don't apologize for the truth unless you're a coward.

Something in the water

The number of young, single girls at the store in which I work who get pregnant is amazing to me. There are 100 employees on average and on any given day, six of them are pregnant.

I believe ignorance is the problem.

A couple of weeks ago, while we were at lunch in the breakroom, one of the girls mentioned she was pregnant. My department manager said, "A lot of girls get pregnant here. Must be something in the water." Just as a joke, you know.

This girl said, just as serious as a heart attack, "No, I bring my own water from home."

That's the truth. We didn't say a thing. My boss and I just looked at each other. He shook his head. I rolled my eyes.

I thought Planned Parenthood was supposed to take care of this. Somehow, I suspect, they would blame George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, along with Fox News Channel and talk radio.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Congratulations to a man with guts

Congratulations to Rep. Joe Wilson, R-SC, for yelling "You lie" when Abu Hussein spoke tonight to Congress. That's guts. I wish more politicians had that kind of fortitude.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Getting ready for Christmas

Like a big-bosomed women's bra, I spent the day lifting heavy loads.
At the big-box home-improvement warehouse where I work, we are getting ready for Christmas. To do that, we have to clear away the summer to make room for winter. Today's task was to pull all the air conditioners off the shelves and store them while one of the managers checks this week to find stores in Texas or other southern states that need them. Air conditioners are heavy. I did quit a bit of dead-lifting today, not enough to make me a contender in a weightlifting contest but a lot of lifting for an old man, nevertheless.
Our deadline for getting all the Christmas merchandise on the sales floor is a week from Friday. That's Sept. 18, a month and a half before Halloween. Seems early, doesn't it?
We'll hear customers remark that we and the big-box discount store down the street always put Christmas merchandise out way too early. We do it because buyers want it, and we're in the business of providing shoppers what they want. That's part of customer service.
As soon as we put that merchandise out, people will start buying it. They'll buy a lot of it. Sales of Christmas merchandise will begin leveling off in November and then drop off sharply. By Thanksgiving, people's interest will switch to cut Christmas trees and our gift merchandise.
Well before Christmas, we'll be thinking about getting ready for spring.
It keeps my head spinning, trying to remember what season it is.

Lawn Renovation Best Done During September

Many homeowners think about renovating or sowing grass in their lawns during the spring. However, the odds of success are best if grass is sowed during September, according to Tim Schnakenberg, agriculture and rural development specialist, University of Missouri Extension.
The advantage of a September seeding rests in the fact that cool season grasses like fescue and bluegrass grow best in a cooler time of the year with adequate moisture.
"If they are established just prior to the fall growing period, they will have an opportunity to develop a healthy root system going into winter and can get an early start in the spring," said Schnakenberg.
Spring seedings usually have limited cool periods to grow before the season gets warmer and slows growth down.
"The real downside is that the roots are usually not as well developed when hot weather sets in, plus weeds can become competitive at that time," said Schnakenberg.
A common recommendation for southwest Missouri is to mix a blend of a turf-type fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass in a nine to one mix by weight.
"The turf-type fescue will have a more attractive appearance than the standard Kentucky 31 fescue variety and the Kentucky Bluegrass will help fill in thin areas and improve the appearance early in the spring," said Schnakenberg.
Homeowners should also take the time to soil test their lawn by submitting a soil sample to staff at the nearest MU Extension Center.
"Submitting a soil test will insure that you know exactly what the fertility need is for your lawn. This will ensure a healthier stand of grass and point out any serious fertility problems that may exist," said Schnakenberg.
For more information on variety lawn recommendations, seeding practices and care of a new stand of grass, contact the nearest MU Extension Center or visit

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day, fellow laborers!

We have a president who has never worked a day in his life, as far as I'm concerned. He's always been either a politician or an activist. Never owned a business. Never worked for a business.

The same is true, I think, for the vice president. It's true for the biggest part of the people we elect to rule our lives.

When you get down to state government, how many of the rulers and leaders actually have worked? I mean with their hands? They look down on manual labor, and they sneer at people who have no college degrees. They think they're our superiors, and that we need their leadership.

Obama, G.W. Bush, Clinton, G.H.W. Bush--they were not workers. Jimmy Carter seems to have been one who actually worked; too bad he was such a crappy president and now a crappy ex-president.

Even at the city level, I wonder how many of our leaders have actually worked.

Well, I work with my hands, and have worked with hands a lot in my life, as a tree nursery worker, a hamburger flipper, a professional butt-wiper in several nursing homes. Now I do a lot of different things for a major home improvement store, but all of my duties are manual labor. i do a lot of heavy lifting.

Happy Labor Day to all the rest of you who are accustomed to heavy lifting.-RDH

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I thought the president was supposed to be OUR servant

Here's a bunch of silly Hollywood stars pledging various things, including pledging to be a servant to President Barack Obama and to all mankind.

Personally, I pledge to be a servant to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I also pledge to become a bigger thorn in the flesh of government through e-mails, Twitter and letters. Those people, including B. Hussein Obama, are MY servants, not the other way around.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We need a Missouri version of this song

Here's a great song by a Texas songwriter. It is aimed at non-Texans. I wish we had a Missouri version. We've got too many newcomers, transplants, interlopers, immigrants and aliens moving in here, ruining this great state.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

O’Fallon man is Logger of the Year

By Jim Low
Conservation Department

Getting the most value from a stand of timber while ensuring the future productivity of the land is a challenge that Missouri’s 2009 Logger of the Year takes seriously.

Jim Zwyers, of O’Fallon, received the Missouri Department of Conservation’s top honor for timber harvesters July 25. State Forester Lisa Allen presented the award at the annual meeting of the Missouri Forest Products Association.

To receive this honor, a logger must be nominated by a professional, degree-holding forester. Zwyers’ performance was so remarkable that he received nominations from foresters in two districts.

St. Louis Region Forestry Resource Technician Jeff Bakameyer nominated Zwyers in part because he considers him “a man of good character and high integrity.”

“When he gives you his word, you can take it to the bank,” said Bakameyer. “He treats all of the land he works on, whether it is private property or public land, like it is his own and gives it the respect it deserves.”

As an example, Bakameyer cited an instance Zwyers was harvesting timber for a private landowner in St. Charles County and noticed that the land had a developing maple tree invasion. Under certain circumstances, maples can take over commercial forestland, providing fewer benefits for wildlife than the oak trees that previously grew there.

“Jim knew the landowner wanted to manage his land properly,” said Bakameyer, “so he took the initiative to tell the owner about the downside of having maples everywhere. He even told him that the Conservation Department might be able to help him pay for treating the maples. Later, he called me to be sure who the landowner should talk to for help. When we have loggers in our area preaching about the evils of maple, it almost brings a tear to my eye.”

Central Region Resource Forester Josh Stevens shares Bakameyer’s admiration for Zwyers’ commitment to customer service. He is equally impressed with business savvy that not only improves his and his customers’ bottom lines but makes better forest management possible.

“Jim cuts small diameter trees and large diameter,” said Stevens. “He sorts the logs and sells to the highest bidder, whether it be stave, veneer, pallet or firewood. He realized that being in the firewood business gave him a competitive advantage for small and defective timber. He bought a feller-buncher (an expensive piece of equipment that rapidly cuts and gathers several trees at a time) that he now uses for timber sales and timber-stand-improvement cuts at the same time. What is just as impressive is the lack of damage to soils and trees in a stand where he has worked with the feller-buncher. He gets every bit of value for the timber owner, while improving his own bottom line and protecting the resource.”

Stevens also noted a case where Zwyers helped a fellow logger who was injured on the job. “He stepped in and handled many of the other logger’s projects until he recovered. This is just another example of Jim’s selfless ethic,” said Stevens.

Logger of the Year Award recipients receive a framed certificate and a Stihl chainsaw. Candidates for the Logger of the Year Award must have completed the Professional Timber Harvester’s Training Program sponsored by the Missouri Forest Products Association and be current with the qualifications or equivalent training.

Candidates must be operating in Missouri and practicing sustainable forest management, have good forest-product utilization and follow best management practices. They must have low residual tree damage on their harvests and practice safe work habits, preferably using all available safety equipment. They must have no recent complaints or issues working with landowners and foresters on timber sales. The award honors “the best of the best” in the logging industry.