Thursday, October 29, 2009

Refrigerator Temperatures are Important for Food Safety

By David Burton
University Extension

To assure food safety, a refrigerator should maintain temperatures at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit according to Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist, University of Missouri Extension.
“The danger zone in which illness-causing bacteria can grow and multiply is 40 degrees to 140 degrees. The closer temperatures are to the middle of that range, the faster bacteria grow and multiply,” said Roberts.
Bacteria can still multiply at 40 degrees (just at a very slow rate).
“That is one reason why it is recommended you use or throw out leftover food within four days of preparation. Raw poultry and ground meat should be used in one or two days,” said Roberts.
The best way to make sure a refrigerator is at or below 40 degrees is by using a refrigerator or appliance thermometer.
To check the temperature in a refrigerator, place the appliance thermometer (which can be purchased at hardware and some grocery stores) in a glass of water in the middle of the refrigerator and wait five to eight hours.
“If the temperature is not 38 to 40 degrees after 5 to 8 hours, adjust the temperature control and then check again,” said Roberts.
After the refrigerator temperature has been adjusted, the thermometer can be removed from the water and stored on the rack in the middle of the refrigerator.
According to Roberts, a clean refrigerator works more efficiently than a dirty one.
Drips and spills should be cleaned immediately. Surfaces should be cleaned with hot, soapy water and then rinsed.
The front grill of the refrigerator should be kept free from dust. This allows air to flow freely to the condenser. The condenser should be cleaned with a brush or vacuum cleaner several times a year for better efficiency.
“Once you clean the refrigerator set it at 40 degrees or below. By doing this you are assuring the safety of food for your family. Energy conservation is an added benefit of keeping the parts clean,” said Roberts.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Know the Facts Before Buying, or Selling, Firewood

By David Burton
University Extension

Many people who buy cordwood for their home wood stoves admit they don't understand the transfer process. Some dealers talk in terms of a "rick," a "rank" or a "pickup load."
Others mention a "face cord" and still others talk in terms of a cord or fractions of a cord. Sometimes the definitions vary from dealer to dealer and from locality to locality.
“We would like to think that most dealers are honest and the transaction is fair. But this is no way to run a business,” said Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist, University of Missouri Extension.
Schultheis shares here the most common questions he receives about buying and selling firewood, along with his answers to the questions.
Q: Homeowners with wood stoves are stocking up on firewood for their winter heat supply. I understand there is a state law governing how firewood is bought and sold?
A: Yes, by state law, firewood must be sold by the cord or fraction of a cord, and it must be accompanied by a bill of sale in accordance with requirements of the Missouri Department of Agriculture's Division of Weights and Measures. Rick, rank, face cord, truckload and pile are not legal units of measure for sale of firewood.
Q: How much is a cord of wood?
A: A cord of wood measures four feet high, four feet wide and eight feet long, totaling 128 cubic feet. Any combination of these measurements is fine as long as they total 128 cubic feet when the wood is stacked in a compact manner.
Q: What’s the easiest way to measure a stack of wood?
A: A simple way is to measure the length, width and average height (all in inches) of the compactly-stacked pile of wood. Multiply these three figures together and divide the result by 220,000. The answer is the number of cords. Multiply this number by the dollar cost per cord to get the price the buyer should pay.
Q: Any other tips on getting a fair deal when buying firewood?
A: First, don’t pay for the wood until it has been stacked and measured by both the buyer and seller. Second, get a receipt with the seller’s name, address, phone number and vehicle license number, along with the price, amount and kind of wood purchased. And third, if a problem with a seller cannot be resolved, contact the Missouri Department of Agriculture's Division of Weights and Measures at 573-751-5639.
Q: Where can I get more information on buying and selling cordwood?
A: Contact the nearest University of Missouri Extension Center and ask for MU Guides G5450 and G5452, which give details about buying and selling cordwood, and about the burning characteristics and heat content of various woods. Or contact Schultheis at the Webster County Extension Center, (417) 859-2044

Monday, October 26, 2009

Get ready now for what comes later

When I was a young man, my Sunday School teacher asked us how we coped with tragedy. I had to confess that I'd never experienced real tragedy or loss. He said it was coming and that I'd better get prayed up and rooted in the scripture so I could handle it when it happened.

He was right.

--R.D. Hohenfeldt

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Healthy Halloween is Possible with Healthy Treats

By David Burton
University Extension

It’s hard to think of Halloween as a holiday to practice healthy eating habits.
However, Halloween is a great time to set a good example and remember moderation is one key to a healthy diet according to Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist, University of Missouri Extension.
“Halloween provides a great opportunity to be a good role model. Set the example by making a healthy choice for what will be passed out at your house on Halloween night,” said Roberts.
Some examples of Halloween treats that Roberts suggests are apples, small boxes of raisins, individual bags of snack mix or pretzels, stickers, Halloween puzzles or pencils.
“Make sure your child eats a healthy meal before they go trick-or-treating,” said Roberts. “If the children are excited about going then enhance their appetite by making a festive meal.”
For example, let children make a pumpkin face by spreading grated cheese over a slice of bread. Let them make the face with black olives or other vegetables they like. Place the face under the broiler just until the cheese melts and then serve. Soup is great with sandwiches too.
“You can make a soup tureen by cleaning the insides out of a pumpkin and putting the soup inside. This pumpkin bowl could be used for fruit instead if you prefer,” said Roberts.
Balance, variety and moderation are keys to healthful eating.
“Let your children choose a few pieces of candy to have on Halloween night and then choose a few pieces each day after that,” said Roberts.
According to Roberts, children need to avoid too many foods and drinks that are high in sugar.
“If they are eating too many high sugar foods, they don’t have room for the healthy foods that contain the important nutrients they need for growth and development,” said Roberts.
Another thing to remember (when all of the Halloween candy is in the house) is that sugary foods contribute to tooth decay.
In the mouth, there are bacteria. These bacteria like to eat sugar and that produces an acid. That acid is what eats away at teeth causing cavities.
“Since we know that there is a good chance that children will be consuming sugar on Halloween, encourage them to brush their teeth often,” said Roberts.
For more information on nutrition issues, contact any of the University of Missouri Extension offices in southwest Missouri, go online to or contact Tammy Roberts at (417) 682-3579.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Specialist Says, “Begin Controlling Thistles Now”

By David Burton
University Extension

Thistles continue to be a problem in Barry County as well as other parts of southwest Missouri according to Tim Schnakenberg, agronomy specialist, University of Missouri Extension.
The good news is that fall is a perfect time for landowners to start controlling thistles on their land while they are in the young and susceptible rosette state.
“Most rosettes that are seen now will become large plants by spring next year, leading to a release of as many as 10,000 seeds per plant if left uncontrolled,” said Schnakenberg.
Missouri law says all landowners have the responsibility to keep musk thistle plants from going to seed. Schnakenberg says this region also has plenty of bull and tall thistles that can be just as invasive, though not on the noxious weed list of Missouri.
Landowners should rely on a variety of approaches to control thistle.
The most effective ways of controlling this pest are by maintaining good fertility and grazing management techniques, chemical treatment when appropriate, mowing at proper stages of growth, biological control and digging.
“There are two good times to treat thistles. When it is in the rosette stage the plant is most susceptible to herbicides like 2,4-D and Milestone. To catch the plant in that stage, spray in September and October or in the spring during late March and early April on a warm day,” said Schnakenberg.
If the plant begins to bolt it is not as susceptible and may require stronger pesticides. Products such as Grazon and Tordon also work well because they can leave a residue in the soil to kill late-emerging rosettes.
Multiple passes with a brush hog earlier in the season can be effective if timed properly. The first pass should occur immediately after the terminal bloom flower head blooms. Since viable seed can be produced within 7 to 10 days of the flower turning pink, waiting later can allow some seed to be produced and spread with the brush hog. Mowing earlier can lead to re-growth with the result of additional flower heads produced.
Most fields have had a few musk thistle flower head weevils this year that destroyed seeds in the head before they became viable. They won’t kill all thistles but they do have an impact.
“It will take all landowners working together to get a handle on this invasive weed. We will never completely eradicate them but with a persistent effort, the effect of thistles on property can be lessened,” said Schnakenberg.
For more information, including an MU Guide on the control of thistles, contact the University of Missouri Extension Center in Cassville at (417) 847-3161.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Open Cows Need Special Attention if Livestock Operation is to Make Money

By David Burton
University Extension

Weaning time is underway in southern Missouri for calves born in the winter to early spring season according to Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
Accompanying the calf removal process, top managers scrutinize the cows and make decisions to improve their herd and its overall profitability.
“One key decision is to determine if the cows have bred back,” said Cole. “Although pregnancy testing normally is done by a veterinarian,”
Cows that did not settle in time to fit the 2010 calving season require some thought by the owner.
Did they not breed because of problems beyond their control? Was it due to her late calving and prompt bull removal after a 60 day breeding season? It might have been a disease or an injury? Fescue toxicity/heat related problems may have caused them to lose their pregnancies. It’s even possible it was a bull problem.
“Regardless of the cause, open cows need special attention. Older cows in the twilight of their career need to be sold for beef and not breeding purposes. Even that 4-H or FFA project or favorite cow may need to move on,” said Cole.
Cull cows can be kept on good pasture with some concentrate feed for a couple of months and gain efficiently. The big advantage of caring for the open-cull cow two to three months is the cow market trends up after the large runs in the fall.
“Open cows that are young to middle age, in healthy condition may be converted to fall calvers especially if feed is abundant as it is this fall,” said Cole.
A bred female should be worth considerably more next summer than she is now as an open cow.
“Once again be sure you have the feed available to properly care for them and that they do not have physical problems,” said Cole.
According to Cole, a few of the sure-fire reasons to load the culls up and sell for harvest include: consistently weans a poor calf; is crazy, hard-to-handle and a bad influence on the rest of the herd; soundness problems such as feet, mouth, eyes and udder.
For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Mt. Vernon, (417) 466-3102; Gary Naylor in Dallas County, (417) 345-7551; and Dona Goede in Cedar County, (417) 276-3313.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday websites for your use

These websites are all related to swine flu in Missouri:

Swine Flu Missouri Forum

Swine Flu Q&A

Latest Information on H1N1

Missouri Weekly Reports

Status of the Outbreak

Now, don't be stupid; you can't get swine flu from eating pork, so don't give up sausage, bacon, pork steaks, all the good stuff from the pork pig

Giving pork a bad name

Monday, October 19, 2009

Persimmons Can Be Healthy, Sweet Treat When Ripe

By David Burton
University Extension

Mid-October is the time of year when persimmons ripen and a fully ripened persimmon tastes great according to Tammy Roberts, a nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
“If your lips pucker when you hear the word ‘persimmon,’ and you wondered why anyone would ever want to eat a persimmon, then there is a good chance you haven’t eaten a persimmon when it was fully ripe,” said Roberts.
Ripe persimmons are a small orange-red smooth-skinned fruit measuring from one to three inches. American persimmon trees are native to Missouri.
The bitterness in the fruit leaves as it ripens and the flesh becomes soft.
Missouri persimmons should be picked and eaten when they are very soft but will ripen off the tree if picked before they are fully ripe.
“If you pick them before they are ready to eat, just leave them at room temperature for a few days to allow them to ripen. To speed up the process, you can put them in a paper bag with a banana or apple,” said Roberts.
Ripe fruit can be stored in the refrigerator for two to three days according to Roberts.
Persimmons can also be frozen for year-round use. Just wash and peel then cut them into sections. Press the fruit through a sieve to make a puree. For better quality, add one-eighth teaspoon crystalline ascorbic acid or one and one-half teaspoons crystalline citric acid to each quart of puree.
Missouri persimmons are so sweet when they are ripe that they need no added sugar. Pack the puree into freezer containers leaving headspace, seal and freeze.
Persimmons are high in vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C and fiber.
“Many people like them best when picked and eaten right off the tree. They can also be pureed and used as a topping for ice cream or cake. They are a great addition to rice dishes and fruit salads. Many people like to make persimmon pudding and persimmon cookies,” said Roberts.
For more information on nutrition issues, go online to or contact Tammy Roberts at (417) 682-3579.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Higher Fuel Prices Make Home Energy Conservation Popular

By David Burton
University Extension

Higher fuel prices and limited family budgets make cheap home energy conservation measures appealing.
No one thing will magically cut energy expenses a lot, but attention to many little things can all help add up to greatly-reduced costs according to Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist, University of Missouri Extension.
“Remember, you’re not actually saving any money until you have recaptured the money you spent to do the energy conservation measure,” said Schultheis.
Here are Schultheis's top ten quick payback tips for colder weather.

1. Insulate older water heaters and set back the thermostat to 120 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Cost of the insulation will be paid back in 4 to 8 months.
2. Caulk all outside joints where dissimilar materials meet, like where wood meets masonry and where pipes go through concrete. Use acrylic latex tube caulk for joints one-quarter inch wide or less, and use oakum, expandable foam or other filler material plus tube caulk for joints wider than one-quarter inch.
3. Weatherstrip exterior door and window gaps to reduce heat loss. A one-eighth inch wide gap around a door is the same as a six-inch diameter hole through it. Install foam gaskets under electrical outlet plates on exterior walls and put plastic plugs in unused sockets to reduce cold air invasion.
4. Add attic insulation if it is now less than six inches thick. If it's over six inches thick, insulating the floor and underfloor water pipes pays back quicker. Minimum insulation levels for Missouri homes are R-49 in the ceilings, R-18 in walls, and R-25 in floors over crawlspaces.
5. Install interior storm window kits on single-pane windows.
6. Put tight-fitting doors on fireplaces to slow heat loss. Don't use an open fireplace if you're serious about heating the house. Give your furnace its annual tune-up.
7. Use south-facing windows to passively collect solar heat during daytime. Close drapes at night to retain heat in the house.
8. Keep lights clean for maximum illumination. Shut them off when not in use.
9. Wear clothing in layers. Then set back the house thermostat to 68 degrees during the day and 60 degrees at night. Do reading, television viewing, for example, near heat sources and away from cold windows and outside walls. Locate furnishings for active functions, such as eating and playing, away from direct heat sources.
10. Involve the whole family in your energy management program to assure success.

For more information on energy conservation options, contact the nearest University of Missouri Extension Center, go on-line to, or call Schultheis in Webster County at (417) 859-2044.

How to Make a Rain Barrel

Jason Smith raises $10,600, spends $1,409

Friends for Jason Smith, the committee that supports the Salem Republican who represents the 150th District in the Missouri House, reported Oct. 14 that it received $10,600 and spent $1,409.60 in the quarterly reporting period.

Contributions came from:
Ovia Marie McGinnis, Cuba small business owner, $1,000
John R. Taylor, Steelville, retired, $250
Maxine Steelman, Salem, retired, $500
Ameristar Casino, Kansas City, $125
Ameristar Casino, St. Charles, $125
150th Legislative Republican Fund, Lecoma, $2,500
Roger Gott, Town and Country Bank, $200
Crawford County Republican Central Committee, Cuba, $1,000
Andrew Stubblefield, self-employed, Cuba, $250
Powell Rentals LLC (Bruce Powell), Salem, $500
AGC of St. Louis, political action, committee, $325
Rushing Construction Co. (Connie Rushing), Salem, $250
Mary Ann Smith, Salem, retired, $300
Towne Pharmacy, Cuba, $1,000
Bass River Resort, Steelville, $250
Missouri Insurance Coalition PAC, Jefferson City, $300
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, $300
John R. Wharrie, Salem, small business owner, $250
plus another $1,175 from people each giving under $100 each.

Expenditures under $100 each were: $88 for postage, $75 for a hole sponsorship and $30 for a trophy sponsorship.

Expendituress made over $100 each were:
Riverways Pregnanacy Center, Salem, $100 donation
Missouri Veterans Home Assistance, St. James, $100 sponsorship
Miss Lisa's Dance Exp., Cuba, $100 sponsorship
Dent County 4-H, Salem, $285 donation
Friends of the NRA, $270 sponsorship
LN Coffman, Salem, two payments for parade candy, $103.31 and $258.29.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Newpaper's advisory panel made up of stereotypes

The Springfield News-Leader editors Sunday introduced readers to the paper's latest Community Editorial Advisory Board.
As we take a look at these folks who are said to represent the Ozarks, see if you notice the same things I noticed. Here they are:

--Leslie Clary, 26, Nixa, social worker for a nonprofit agency providing services to people with disabilities. "Being a social worker, I tend to agree with the Democratic ideology of promoting social welfare programs and fighting social injustice, but I don't always go along party lines," the paper quoted her as saying. Here’s a youngster who has probably never worked in the private sector who acknowledges she usually wants to promote welfare. I wonder if she has a clue where the money to fund welfare comes from?
--Jennie L. Crain, 54, Nixa, a Republican and a trade school graduate, Her quote: “I bring a fair mind and willingness to listen to all sides with respect." Is this our token Republican?
--Duncan Craycroft, 52, a Democrat transplanted to Springfield from Orange County, Calif. "I am for health care, education, the environment, equality, gay rights, veteran support, transparency and accountability,“ the paper quoted him as saying. “I am against war of choice, intolerance, fundamentalism, self-serving politicians and the shrill rhetoric of talk radio." He’s a disabled volunteer at a hospital. Well, I applaud him for being a volunteer, but this guy represents everything I dislike about California transplants to Missouri.
--David Gibson, 63, Bolivar a retired machinist who claims to be an independent and declares himself "fed up with politicians." His quote: "I have an opinion and I usually let people know what it is. I can be persuaded with information based on facts." I don’t put much stock in “independents.” I respect liberals more than independents. At least liberals know what they believe in. Independents wait until someone comes along to persuade them.
--Wayne Groner, 70, Battlefield, a Republican who is a retired TV news anchor, Missouri state representative, college fundraising exec, freelance writer, and co-author of two books. Well, maybe we have a real conservative here, after all.
--Dr. Kenneth Herfkens, 70, of Springfield, retired internist and cardiologist. "I am a centrist Democrat with a strong interest in health care reform," he said in the paper. Here’s a wealthy doctor who as a Democrat likely will have no qualms about promoting ways to get into your pocket through tax increases.
--Sarah Harrington Johnson, 40, Ozark, a lawyer who chooses instead to stay home with two children. Another transplant, this one from South Carolina, Johnson described herself in the paper as a "former Democrat turned conservative Republican primarily due to fiscal concerns." Here’s more hope that a conservative viewpoint will be heard.
--Ian Mackey, 22, Springfield, a Head Start teacher. "I am certainly left of center, yet I view politics more as a battle of wills than ideas,” he told the paper. Notice here that we have another young liberal in a public sector job; probably hates profit.
--Viktor Markus, 63, Ozark, retired Department of Defense employee who says he’s a conservative who wants to serve on the advisory board because he believes "there are a lot of misconceptions about what federal employees contribute to society and the benefits they receive, especially in the area of health and retirement." I don’t know what to think about this guy. I guess he wants us to love bureaucrats more than we do.
--Nicole Pulliam, 30, Ozark, a Democrat, who works for Teletech as a member representative for United Health Group. Not enough information here to figure this panel member out.
--Brad Sturges, 47, Springfield is vice president /general manager of Springfield Freightliner. He says he is a "middle of the road conservative." Well, here’s an actual, by-golly businessman on the committee.
--Tammy Webb, 33, Springfield, a Democrat who lives as an openly gay woman. She said, "I feel I have an insight into many areas of the community that others don't have." I’d say that I agree with here. I’d say that I’m not to interested in knowing about some of those areas.

For the most part, the advisory panel looks to me to be made up of stereotypes: young liberals who have no clue about business, a retired bureaucrat wanting to try to improve the public perception of government workers, an independent with a self-admitted big mouth, a Califoreigner transplanted here who wants to promote all the crap that is bringing down his home state, and, of course, the openly gay member.
I’m not sure how often this panel of experts will meet or exactly what they will do. We’ll have to try to keep an eye on the Springfield paper.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Brown campaign files quarterly report

Dr. Dan Brown, of Rolla, Republican state representative for District 149, received $1,050 and spent $428.75 in the last three months.
According to the quarterly report filed Oct. 14 with the Missouri Ethics Commission, the Committee to Elect Dr. Dan Brown for the 149th, received $50 from the Committee to Elect Tom Flanigan, $500 from the Friends of Tilley and $500 from the Missouri Hospital Association.
Steven Tilley, R-Perryville, is the Majority Floor Leader. Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage, is the District 127 representative.
The committee's three expenditures--$15, $253.75 and $160--all went to the Rolla Daily News.
A Breakfast Meet and Greet conducted by Michelle Colbert, Steelville, was held at Panera Bread Co. in Rolla on Sept. 16, but no money was collected or spent by the committee.

Old Newspapers Can Have Second Life in Garden

By David Burton
University Extension

Past copies of the daily or weekly newspaper can have a second life in your garden as mulch or a weed barrier according to Mark Bernskoetter, president of University of Missouri Extension’s Greene County Chapter of Master Gardeners.
“Newsprint (not slick paper used in inserts or magazines) is a great tool for the garden,” said Bernskoetter. “Even newsprint with color pictures is generally fine since most use biodegradable and water-soluble inks that won't harm the environment.”
Whether a person is creating a new flower bed, a mulched area around a tree, or covering paths between rows in a vegetable garden, newspaper has all the great properties expected and wanted from organic mulches.
“When you lay newsprint out several (4 to 10) sheets thick and overlap one group of sheets onto the next, you create a weed barrier that will smother out many existing plants. It will also preserve moisture so you don't need to worry about watering as often,” said Bernskoetter.
Newsprint will dissolve in a few weeks or months, leaving behind no residual mess.
If a gardener wants a nicer look, after laying down the newspaper, cover it with mulch.
“I would not put wood chips in my vegetable garden, but straw is a great cover between rows. On the other hand, I would not put straw in my flower beds in front of the house since I think wood mulch looks better,” said Bernskoetter.
Using newspaper as a mulch or weed barrier results in a cost savings. But remember, it will take a lot of newspaper to cover an entire garden.
“Newsprint can be used in composting too. Just shred it up and add it to your compost pile as dry or brown matter,” said Bernskoetter.
For more information, contact the Master Gardener’s Hotline in Greene County, or University of Missouri Extension Horticulture Specialist Patrick Byers, at (417) 862-9284.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday websites for you use and enjoyment

Here are five websites for Wednesday that you will find useful in your chores around the house. We have a Home How-to section here at The Ozarks Almanac with new articles usually appearing on Saturday, and today, the Wednesday websites are all related to home improvement:

Lowe's How To Library

Fine Woodworking Projects and Design

How to Build a Storage Shed

Hometime How To Articles

The Family Handyman Advice & Know How

For your enjoyment, here's one of ways primarily NOT to fix things on your home and car:

There I Fixed It

Monday, October 12, 2009

Urban deer harvest up 83 percent

By Jim Low
Department of Conservation

JEFFERSON CITY–Hunters checked 1,242 deer during the Urban Portion of Missouri’s Firearms Deer Season Oct. 9 through 12.
Boone County led harvest totals with 247 deer checked, followed by St. Charles County with 160. Greene County was third with 139. The harvest consisted of 80 percent does.
Other county harvest figures were Cass, 89; Christian, 10; Clay, 121; Cole, 39; Franklin, 86; Jackson, 85; Jefferson, 81; Platte, 93; St. Louis, 92.
This year’s Urban Portion deer harvest was nearly double last year’s and more than twice the 2007 harvest. Unseasonably warm weather, with daytime highs in the 70s and 80s, probably played a role in holding down deer harvests those years. Deer use less energy in warm weather and are less likely to move around, reducing their visibility.
Past harvest totals from the urban portion of firearms deer season are 2003, 129; 2004, 2,077; 2005, 1,838; 2006, 1,348; 2007, 554; 2008, 678.
The Missouri Conservation Commission approved the first urban deer hunt in 2003. The Urban Portion encourages hunters to shoot female deer around the state’s main urban centers.
Controlling deer populations in and around the St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia-Jefferson City areas has been more difficult than in rural areas, where hunting is more common. The growth of deer numbers in those areas resulted in increased frequency of deer-vehicle accidents and damage to landscape plantings and crops. In extreme cases, deer browsing can cause ecological damage.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Martins will perform bluegrass gospel music Oct. 18

Don't miss The Martins, a bluegrass family band from Jefferson City, who will perform a bluegrass gospel concert at Macedonia Baptist Church at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18.
The church has hosted a gospel bluegrass series this summer. Others who have performed have inlcuded The Ozark Alliance, The Link Family and Southern Raised.
There's no charge, but being Southern Baptists, we will take up an offering.
And also, being Baptists, we'll have food and fellowship afterwards in the church basement.
It's lots of fun, so we hope to see you there.
To get to Macedonia Baptist Church, go 5 miles north on Highway 63 from Interstate 44 in Rolla. Turn right at the rock quarry road and go a couple of miles. You'll see the church on the right and the cemetery on the left.
Here's a performance by The Martins on a Columbia TV show:

Sunday sermon

Friday, October 9, 2009

Weakest president in my memory wins Nobel Peace Prize

By R.D. Hohenfeldt
Managing Editor, Ozarks Almanac

What a joke the news is today: President Barak Hussein Obama is the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The only Democrat who ever deserved the Nobel Peace Prize was President Harry S Truman, a Missourian. He ended World War II by showing the Japs we were a strong nation.

The Republican who most deserved the Nobel Peace Prize but never won it was Ronald W. Reagan; he ended the Cold War by making sure the United States was stronger than the Soviet Union.
I believe in peace through strength.

We have a president now, known as Abu Hussein in the Muslim World, who won the Nobel Peace Prize by apologizing to the world for our strength. He is a shameful excuse for a leader of the United States of America.

I pray he is voted out of office in November 2012.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Planting Cultivar Nuts Can Create Additional Source of Farm Income

By David Burton
University Extension

Missouri landowners who want to make extra money with agroforestry need to consider planting black walnut trees that are grafted to improved cultivars, according to Brian Hammons, CEO of Hammons Products Company in Stockton.
“Growing black walnut trees that have been grafted to improved cultivars have the potential for excellent production and a better financial return,” said Hammons. “The trend has been for farmers to grow them on their land, pick and sell them and make some extra money. But there is a potential to do much more using grafted trees.”
According to Hammons, if a landowner did a 40 acre planting of cultivar nuts (60x60 spacing = 480 trees) they could be producing as much as 80,000 pounds of nuts and generating an additional $56,000 income (about a $32,000 profit after hulling and hauling).
Not bad for land that can also still be used for grazing cattle.
“The ultimate success of a black walnut planting will be defined by the goals you set for the orchard before a single tree is planted,” said Jay Chism, an agronomy specialist with MU Extension who provides consulting services to Hammons Products.
Chism says there are three basic reasons for planting a black walnut orchard: to provide the family with black walnut kernels; to develop black walnut cultivars as a hobby; or to produce a commercially marketable nut crop.
“If commercial growth is the goal, then the production of thin-shelled nuts, which produce more high-quality nut meat, is only possible by growing black walnut trees that have been grafted to cultivars of known nut and tree characteristics,” said Chism. “Another key characteristic is finding a cultivar that will fruit every year.”
The University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry has put together a guide entitled, “Growing Black Walnuts for Nut Production,” which provides recommendations as part of a model to make additional money.
Missouri leads the world in black walnut production (65% of the black walnuts Hammons purchases from 15 states come from Missouri). Hammons credits some of that success to his company’s long-standing partnership with University of Missouri Extension.
“A new project that could result in a major change to the black walnut industry and farms in Missouri is a result of a long-term relationship between our company and University of Missouri Extension specialists,” said Hammons.
Even though wild nuts grown by landowners (who are basically hobbyists) do provide a certain amount of nut meats for consumers, Hammons says his company will pay more for growers of named cultivars.
In 2006, Hammons Products Company purchased 41,000 pounds of black walnuts from 11 growers with cultivars like Kwik Krop, Emma-K, TomBoy and others. These nuts were purchased at about .50 cents per pound and had a yield average of about 23.4 percent kernel.
“2006 results were average, with the highest price being .82 cents per pound. We expect well-managed orchards to produced nuts with higher yields and greater value,” said Hammons.
By comparison, the wild trees have a yield rate of about 7 percent kernel and are typically purchased for eight to 13 cents per pound.
“Our long-term goal is to have 5,000 acres of black walnut nut orchards. There would be a potential for 7.5 million pounds of cultivar nuts and would more than double the amount of nutmeats available every year. Many people have not discovered black walnuts, but supply has been the major issue,” said Hammons.
The next step toward this goal is to put together some 10-acre test plots for growing cultivar nuts.
“The economic model will help farmers plan how and where they are going to plant those trees and what they can expect to make from doing that,” said Hammons.
One test site will be at the University of Missouri’s Southwest Research Center in Mt. Vernon.
Researchers will be planting Kwik-Krop, Sparrow, Sauber, EmmaK cultivars with both 30 x 30 and 42 x 42 spacing. The economic analysis will be a critical part of the program and research.
MU Extension specialists as well as staff at Hammons Products Company – like Steve Rutledge and Jordan Prindle – can help a landowner get started with cultivar black walnuts.
For more information, contact the nearest MU Extension Center for available black walnut guide sheets, call Chism at (417) 682-3579, or visit Hammons Products online at

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday websites for your use and enjoyment

National Weather Service Springfield office

Weather Underground


Weather Matrix

National Weather Service Mosaic Loop

And now for your enjoyment, here's a website that will show you how to build a truly simple weather station, so you can get out your notebook or your spreadsheet program and start keeping track of the weather at your house:

How to Build Your Own Weather Station

Monday, October 5, 2009

Prospects bright for flashy fall foliage

Northeast Missouri is the only exception to this year’s bright fall foliage forecast. Cool, wet weather there has contributed to leaf diseases that could result in fall colors more bronze than gold.

By Jim Low
Missouri Department of Conservation

It’s October, when leaves blaze yellow, orange and red. Foresters with the Missouri Department of Conservation say this should be a good year for autumn color.

Warm, sunny days and cool nights favor the development of brilliant foliage. Trees stop producing green pigment when nighttime lows fall into the 50s and 60s, and sugars stored in leaves undergo chemical changes that turn them every outrageous shade in the rainbow.

Fall color almost always peaks around Oct. 15 in Missouri, and this year appears to be typical. Trees in the northern and southern parts of the state may change colors a week earlier or later.

Certain local weather conditions can cause fall colors to be less vivid. For instance, heavy rains at this time of year can flush pigments out of leaves, reducing color. Foresters in northeast Missouri say wet, cool conditions there and increased prevalence of leaf diseases could make colors more bronze than gold in some areas.

Drought or strong wind sometimes causes premature leaf drop. But barring such conditions, Missouri’s fall color outlook is bright.

For fall color updates, visit

For more suggested fall color viewing routes and information about why trees turn colors in the fall, visit, or write to: MDC, Follow the Show of Missouri’s Fall Colors, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180. You also can e-mail and request “Follow the Show of Missouri’s Fall Colors.”

Friday, October 2, 2009

That's What I Think: Lessons in fairness should begin on the sports field, in class

The other day as I was driving home from work, listening to the Sean Hannity talk show, I heard a caller say that an author who had earned $1 million in book sales should have to give up at least half of that to the government for taxes so it could be redistributed to welfare programs.

Redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor seems to be catching on, and the more I hear about it, the more I like it.

If you make more money than me (and you very likely do), I think the government ought to take some of that money you have earned and give it to me. If you are opposed to that idea, I can think of only one word to describe you: Greedy.

Why would you not want to help me? It isn't fair that you make more money than I, is it? I work hard every day, just as I have for several decades. I did chores around the house and the homestead when I was a kid. I helped weed the garden. I started working summers when I was in junior high school. I worked all the way through my university years and have had a job ever since. I have done lots of different things: sprayed trees, planted shrubs and helped with landscaping, flipped burgers and made fries, wiped old people's bottoms and cleaned up their puke, filed stuff in drawers in professor's offices, edited newspapers, sold advertising, wrote news and took pictures, worked the circulation desk at the library. Now I operate a forklift and other power equipment, cull lumber, load bags of Quikrete onto trucks and trailers, stock shelves with merchandise and put up signs and displays in a retail home improvement store.

Let me repeat: I work hard and always have. Nevertheless, you make more money than I and that isn't fair. The government should force you to give some of that to me.

President Obama told Joe the Plumber that he ought to be willing to help people who don't have it as good as ole Joe did, in other words, people like me. I'm looking for some Obama money, and I know where Obama is going to get that money. He's going to get it from you.

The president was elected on a platform of hope and change, and I believe it is time for a change throughout society. We need to start teaching redistribution of wealth in public school in a couple of ways.

One way we can do it is through sports. For instance, the Rolla High School Bulldogs varsity football team has won eight games this season and has lost none. That is pure unadulterated Greed with a capital G. The Missouri State High School Sports Association (MSHSAA) should take away some of those wins and redistribute them to schools that have worked hard but have not won as many games, schools like Waynesville, for instance. We need to even out these wins and losses. It is unfair to have some schools do so well and others not on the athletic field.

What is it teaching our young people that some teams win more often than others each season? Now some would say that the winning teams are learning the benefits of hard work and the losing teams are learning persistence and character. Fiddle-faddle. The winning teams are learning greed and arrogance, while the losing teams are learning hopelessness and futility. It is high time the government (MSHSAA) stepped in and fixed this problem by redistributing the wealth of wins. That would teach the winning teams the value of brotherhood while teaching the losing teams that the government will always be there to bail them out.

In the classroom, the same kind of thing is going on. Some students are making many A's and B's, while some are making D's and F's. Those greedy honor students need to be required to give up their A's and B's to the poor students making D's and F's so everyone can make a fair and equitable C.

As we use the public education system to teach youngsters the fairness of redistribution of the wealth of wins or grades, they'll understand the fairness of redistributing the financial wealth when they enter the work force. They won't complain about sending some of their money to me.

This is to be the legacy of the Obama administration.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Take Steps Now to Prevent Sunscald on Thin-Barked Trees

By David Burton
University Extension

Homeowners who planted new trees this year, especially ones with thin bark, will want to protect the southwest side of the new tree this winter to protect it from sunscald.
Many young, smooth, thin-barked trees like honey locusts, fruit trees, ashes, oaks, maples, lindens, red buds and willows are susceptible to sunscald and bark cracks according to John Hobbs, agriculture and rural development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
“Sunscald normally develops on the south or southwest side of a tree during late winter,” said Hobbs. “Sunscald and bark cracks can lead to the death of a tree if it is not given special care.”
According to Hobbs, sunny, warm winter days may heat the bark to relatively high temperatures. Temperatures in southwest Missouri may not reach the same extremes as in Georgia, but research done in Georgia shows that the southwest side of the trunk on a peach tree can be 40 degrees warmer than shaded bark in the winter.
“This warming action can cause a loss of cold hardiness of the bark tissue resulting in cells becoming active,” said Hobbs. “These cells then become susceptible to lethal freezing when the temperature drops at night.”
The damaged bark tissue becomes sunken and discolored in late spring. Damaged bark will eventually crack and slough off. Trees will often recover but will need some lots of extra care, especially watering during dry weather, according to Hobbs.
To prevent sunscald, the trunks of susceptible trees can be covered with tree wrap in October or November. Hobbs recommends applying tree wrap from the ground to the start of the first branches to protect recently planted trees.
“Tree wrap must be removed in March to prevent girdling and possible insect damage. Until the bark has thickened on young trees, they may need to be wrapped yearly,” said Hobbs.
Another product that can be used on the trunk is tree paint. White latex paint is often used in orchards to help prevent splitting and cracking by reflecting light and heat from the tree trunk. Due to aesthetic reasons, most homeowners are not interested in using tree paints.
Both tree paints and wraps can be found at local garden centers and nurseries.
For more information contact the nearest University of Missouri Extension center or call Hobbs at (417) 223-4775.

The best lemon cake you'll ever eat

One day at the home improvement warehouse we were sitting in the break room talking about our favorite subject, food, when Tom, an ex-serviceman who at the time worked in the millwork department, said, "I've got a recipe for the best lemon cake you'll ever eat."

Naturally, I wanted to know more, and he said it included a package of lemon pudding mixed in with a yellow cake mix.

"It's a very moist cake," he said, "so moist, in fact, that I mailed one to my son in Iraq and it was moist when he got it."

I begged for the recipe, and a couple of days later, Tom brought it to work. Here it is:

Yellow cake mix
Box of lemon pudding
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water
Mix well (I whip it)
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes

For the glaze:
2 full cups powedered sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons water

After the cake has cooled, punch many holes in it with a fork, then pour and spread the glaze across the top of the cake.

I've baked this simple recipe for potlucks at work and at church. People who like the taste of lemon love this cake. I like lemon so much that I'll even go so far as to mix lemon juice and water to come up with the 3/4 cup of liquid for the batter.

If you try this cake and make your own adaptations to it, I'd be interested in hearing about them.