Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Sermon in Song

From Wisconsin, but there were Missourians there, and this kind of singing fits in the history of rural Missouri

I think it's humorous that whoever posted this on YouTube wanted to make sure we knew this event was held in SOUTHERN Wisconsin, not up there in the north, which must be where are all the Yankees are.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

O’Fallon angler sets sixth fishing record of the year

James M. Lucas, of O’Fallon, snagged this 1-pound, 8-ounce skipjack herring to set a new “alternative methods” Missouri State record. He was fishing in Sandy Slough, just off the Mississippi River in Lincoln County.

By Jim Low
Missouri Department of Conservation

DEFIANCE, Mo.–The weather may be cooling down, but Missouri anglers continue to set a hot pace for fishing records, this time with a little-known species of herring.

James M. Lucas, of O’Fallon, snagged a 1-pound, 8-ounce skipjack herring at Sandy Slough, just off the Mississippi River in Lincoln County, Sept. 15. The streamlined, silvery fish measured 18 inches from nose to tail.

Before Lucas’ entry, the Missouri Department of Conservation did not have a skipjack herring record in the “alternative methods” category. Fisheries Management Biologist Marvin Boyer determined that the fish met the minimum weight requirement for its species, clearing the way for its certification.

“Alternative methods” include snagging, trotlines, spearfishing, bowfishing and other methods besides hand-held poles and lines.

Lucas’ record catch is just a shade smaller than the current pole-line-and-lure record skipjack, a 1-pound, 11-ounce specimen caught from the Osage River by George Gerloff, of Jefferson City, in 2005.

Entry forms, rules and a list of Missouri fishing records are available online at Click on keywords “Fishing” and “Browse Fishing by Subject.”

The same Web page has information about the Conservation Department’s Master Angler program, which recognizes notable catches that fall short of records. For qualifying lengths and weights, visit

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tips for Successfully Frying or Smoking a Turkey

By David Burton
University Extension

The good thing about frying or smoking turkey is that it leaves the oven empty for cooking other dishes.
“Both frying and smoking result in a tasty turkey but some extra care must be taken to assure a safe product,” said Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist, University of Missouri Extension.
To smoke food safely, Roberts recommends using two thermometers: one for the meat and one for the smoker. The grill temperature at the grate should be 200 to 250 degrees.
“If you are using a charcoal smoker, add briquettes every hour to hour and a half to help maintain proper temperatures. For food safety reasons, it is best if the turkey is thawed completely and not stuffed,” said Roberts.
It is also a good idea to soak the hardwood chips in water for one or two hours.
“While they are soaking, prepare the turkey by brushing the skin with cooking oil and insert a meat thermometer into the deepest part of the thigh without touching a bone,” said Roberts.
Plug in the electric smoker or light the charcoal smoker about 30 minutes before cooking.
Place the foil-lined water pan in the smoker and fill the pan with water. Place the turkey on the grill and adjust the vents according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The turkey should cook to a temperature of 180 degrees and it can take up to twelve hours depending on the weather and your equipment.
“Every time you lift the lid, you add ten minutes to the cooking time,” said Roberts. “If the thermometer does not read 140 degrees in four hours, the turkey should be finished in the oven. Temperatures under 140 degrees for too long allow harmful bacteria to grow.”
Fried turkey cooks a lot faster but also requires special handling. As with the smoked turkey, start with a completely thawed, unstuffed bird. The container you fry in must be large enough to hold the turkey with enough oil to cover it.
To determine how much oil is needed, place the turkey in the kettle and cover with water one to two inches above the turkey. Remove the turkey and measure the distance from the top of the pot to the water line. The oil should be filled to the same level.
Heat the oil to 350 degrees, allowing 45 minutes to one hour for the oil to heat. Use a candy thermometer to determine the temperature of the oil.
“Peanut oil is usually the preferred oil for this process because it does well at high temperatures,” said Roberts.
When the oil reaches 350 degrees, carefully lower the turkey into the pot. It takes three to five minutes per pound for the turkey to cook.
“An indicator that the turkey is done is that it will start to float. To assure doneness when you remove the turkey from the oil, insert a thermometer in the thigh. If the thermometer does not read 180 degrees, return the turkey to the oil for more cooking,” said Roberts.
If you would like to re-use the oil, let it cool and strain it through cheesecloth then cover and refrigerate. Oil can be used three to four times before it loses effectiveness.
“Add a small amount of fresh oil each time you use it for best results. If signs of deterioration occur, discard. Some signs of deterioration include darkening, foaming, excessive smoking when heated, rancid smell or failure to bubble when food is added,” said Roberts.
For more information go online to or contact Tammy Roberts at (417) 682-3579.

When Searching Family Tree, Note Medical Histories

By David Burton
University Extension

When searching family history it is important to record medical conditions of relatives.
One reason is that knowing the family medical history is essential to make informed medical and reproductive decisions. This is especially true now that the medical community understands that many diseases are inherited.
"As a genealogist or the family record keeper, details you record could benefit future family members," said David Burton, civic communication specialist, University of Missouri Extension.
Burton recommends making it a point to record as many of the details as possible when collecting data for family history.
These details are found in family stories, obituaries, death certificates, census records, newspaper stories, and interviews. For example, take note of:
Birth and death dates if deceased, as well as cause of death.
Occupations, which might influence health.
Major illnesses such as cancer, heart disease or diabetes.
General patterns of ill health over the life of an individual.
Birth defects or stillborn children born to a family.
Allergies, both environmental and drug related.
Emotional or behavioral problems (depression, alcohol use, anxiety, etc).
Chronic health problems like asthma or high blood pressure.
Vision and hearing problems.
General health routines, like tobacco use and diet.
Note the age of the person when health conditions were reported.
"A log of family health history can be shared with family members and medical providers. We cannot even guess how the information could help future generations," said Burton.
"The History of Me” is a 20 - page guide developed by Burton that is full of questions that will guide a person toward preserving a personal history for future generations.
The booklet is available for free online at

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday Websites

Five websites you need:

Bluegrass Works

Down Home Radio Show

The Gospel Greats

And a bonus:

If You Eat, Thank a Farmer This Holiday Season

By David Burton
University Extension

The most recent USDA figures show Americans spends 9.6 percent of their disposable income on food.
Compare that to countries like India and Indonesia where residents spend closer to 40 and 50 percent of their income on food.
“It shows that American farmers and ranchers are some of the most efficient in the world at producing food and fiber,” said Tim Schnakenberg, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
Due to the topography, most of the agriculture in the Ozarks is focused on beef, dairy and poultry production. Missouri actually ranks second in the nation for land used to produce forages for livestock.
“We primarily contribute to providing meat for the country and beyond. Our crop base has increased in recent years, particularly in the western Ozark region,” said Schnakenberg. “There has also been an increase in corn and soybean production, which provides feed for our meat production.”
There is no doubt, agriculture remains big business in southwest Missouri and everyone that eats is involved in agriculture.
“Agriculture is one of the few industries that have not been shipped overseas. Our dependence on foreign agriculture is increasing and if that becomes a significant trend, it can become more of a national security issue,” said Schnakenberg. “Most people still prefer to have their food produced locally and not depend on a foreign country to feed us.”
Unfortunately, farmers themselves get back less than 20 cents of every dollar paid by the consumer. The balance primarily goes to processors, wholesalers, and retailers. According to Schnakenberg, producers actually receive less than half of what they used to get from the food dollar 60 years ago.
The industry being hardest hit right now is the dairy industry.
“Ozarks dairy farmers are currently being paid less than what it costs to produce milk. It doesn’t take long for that catch up to a dairy farm,” said Schnakenberg.
Coupled with a weak dollar, demand for dairy products worldwide is down and Schnakenberg says this is probably the worst economic collapse seen in this sector of agriculture.
“I just would like to encourage the non-farm public to appreciate where their food comes from. It is tough to make a go of it in farming,” said Schnakenberg. “If there is a farmer down the road from you, remember to thank him or her from time to time for what they do.”
MU Extension has a number of specialists in southwest Missouri that deal with agriculture related issues. Contact the nearest MU Extension Center for more information.

How Thin Is Too Thin? Body Condition Influences Breed Back Capability in Cows

By David Burton
University Extension

Most beef cow-calf owners will say their spring or fall calving cows are in “good” shape according to Eldon Cole, livestock specialist, University of Missouri Extension.
“But when you judge those cows visually, you may say they’re a little thin or maybe even some are too fat. Not all of them are ‘good’,” said Cole.
Body condition does matter especially in the area of reproductive efficiency.
“If you want 75 percent plus to breed in the first 21 days of the breeding season, the level of condition plays a major role,” said Cole.
According to Cole, the Body Condition Scoring (BCS) system now used to subjectively describe cow, heifer and bull fleshiness serves a useful purpose and is fairly easy to learn.
The BCS for beef cattle is set up on a scale of 1 to 9.
Low numbers 1, 2, 3 are very thin with ribs and backbones easily visible. The 1’s are the worst and are physically weak. “Fortunately, not too many 1’s, 2’s and even 3’s are seen in well-managed operations unless health conditions are involved,” said Cole.
Body condition scores from 4 to 6 are the most often seen in typical southwest Missouri herds. A 4 BCS cow or bull is thin with all the ribs and backbone showing. “Animals in this condition are generally considered thin and in need of some extra groceries,” said Cole.
A 5 BCS animal is usually called moderate to thin. The last two ribs are visible especially if the haircoat isn’t heavy. There is little evidence of fat in the brisket or around the tail head. “Cows that are 5’s and have just weaned a calf, should be of no concern as good pasture will allow the dry cow to gain enough flesh to be a 6 by the time she calves,” said Cole.
A cow in a BCS of 6 is likely the “just right” condition in most people’s opinion. They have a smooth appearance and they have fat in the brisket and around the tail. Some fat can be palpated over the ribs. “First-calf heifers should carry this degree of condition at calving if you expect to get them bred back to calve in 12 months,” said Cole.
The 7 BCS up to the 9’s are in very good flesh with very full briskets, there’s fat cover over the ribs and the back looks square due to fat deposits. “The 8’s and 9’s are truly obese and usually result from being dry for a while and receiving too much high quality feed. You’re likely to have as much trouble with cows on this end of the scale as the 1’s to 3’s,” said Cole.
Cole recommends using BCS to get a feel for the quality of your breeding stock.
“If you find several in the four range or even the seven range you may want to make some sorting and feeding management changes. It can save money and stretch the feed supply,” said Cole.
For more tips on the use of BCS visit with a 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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lessons From My First Season of Container Gardening

By David Burton
University Extension

I’m declaring my first attempt at container gardening a marginal success. I started in April with family-wide excitement but finished up in early October with a whimper.
I enjoyed five green beans (yes, you read that correctly), many small tomatoes, several weeks of lettuce and carrots, five zucchini and three strawberries from my 12 different containers.
While my total volume of fresh produce was small this year, I did enjoy learning some basic facts of gardening. Unfortunately, most of my lessons came from mistakes.
So here is what I, a civic communication specialist with University of Missouri Extension, learned about container gardening this year.
There is such a thing as too much rain. Too much rain can cause blight on tomatoes, powdery mildew on zucchini, rot on strawberries and rust on beans. My plants had all four diseases.
Vegetable gardens need a lot of sun. The spots I picked for my tomato and zucchini containers did not receive enough sun. I thought I was doing them a favor by selecting locations that had shade after 3 p.m.
Location, location, location doesn’t just apply to real estate. The MU Extension guide sheet on vegetable gardening says this: “Selecting the location for a garden is an important decision. The right spot can make gardening more pleasant and convenient and contribute to plant health and survival.”
Animal netting can be your best friend and your biggest hassle. I purchased netting to keep the birds from digging soil out of my pots. It also kept the squirrels out of my tomatoes. The downside was that the netting nearly kept me out of my plants. I understand that my attempts to get under the netting and work provided my neighbors with hours of summer enjoyment.
Who knew that squirrels like to eat nearly ripe eggplants? Apparently, they like to wait until just a few hours before you pick ripe eggplant to actually eat on them. I’m thinking about ways I can have the last laugh this winter.
Soil tests are important, need I say more? Help ensure your gardening success by getting a soil test done at the nearest MU Extension Center. Fall is actually a very good time to do this since you can be ready to treat the soil come early spring.
The taste of lettuce gets stronger, and stronger, and stronger with each cutting. We really enjoyed our abundance of lettuce, but the third cutting nearly curled our toes. Next season we will stop after just two cuttings.
You can have too much of a good thing, like carrots for example. Next season I am only going to plant two containers of carrots and I’m going to thin them out.
I’ve learned from my gardening mistakes. This winter, I’m going to re-read my materials from MU Extension on container gardening, review the MU Extension vegetable planning guide, plan my container placements for next summer and get a live animal trap for my eggplant-eating squirrel.
For expert advice related to gardening, call the Master Gardener hotline in Greene County at (417) 862-9284 or visit MU Extension online at

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Statewide firearms deer season opens today

By Jim Low
Conservation Department

Hunters in most parts of Missouri will find plenty of deer when the November Portion of Firearms Deer Season opens Nov. 14, but they need to check out changes in hunting regulations before the season starts.

This year’s firearms deer season includes 42 days in six portions:

§ Urban. Oct. 9-12

§ Early youth, Oct. 31-Nov. 1

§ November, Nov. 14-24

§ Antlerless, Nov. 25-Dec. 6

§ Muzzleloader, Dec. 19-29 and

§ Late youth, Jan. 2-3.

Hunters should note that the order of the antlerless and muzzleloader portions is reversed this year compared to what it has always been in the past. Other changes include:

§ Young hunters must be at least 6 years old to obtain landowner hunting permits.

§ Reduced-cost nonresident landowner permits no longer are available.

§ When mentoring a firearms hunter who is not hunter-education certified and not hunting on a landowner permit, all mentors, including landowners on their own land, must be at least 18 years old and hunter-education certified unless they were born before Jan. 1, 1967.

§ Qualifying nonresident students may purchase resident permits, except lifetime permits.

§ New areas with antler-point restrictions include Ste. Genevieve County and the parts of Cass and Jefferson counties not included in the new urban deer zones.

§ The part of Franklin County in the St. Louis Urban Deer Zone no longer is under the antler-point restriction.

§ Legal air-powered firearms may be used during firearms managed deer hunts.

§ Deer hunting seasons and methods are restricted on some conservation areas this year, and some area regulations have changed.

Details of these changes are explained in the 2009 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, which is available wherever hunting permits are sold. The same information is available at

Resource Scientist Lonnie Hansen says hunters will find deer plentiful throughout most of Missouri this year. Furthermore, he said they will find more mature bucks in much of the state, thanks to a regulation that went into effect in 2004. That is when the Missouri Department of Conservation implemented the “four-point rule.”

Under the regulation, hunters in 29 counties in northwest and central Missouri have not been allowed to take antlered deer unless they have at least four points measuring 1 inch or larger on one side of their antlers. Few deer achieve this degree of antler development before they are 2.5 years old. In effect, the antler-point restriction is a minimum age limit, giving bucks time to mature and grow larger antlers. They also gain experience, making them more wary and challenging to hunt.

Long-term studies show that white-tailed deer bucks’ antlers attain only 25 to 35 percent of their maximum size when they are 1.5 years old. The figure increases to 60 percent for 2.5-year-olds. Three and one-half-year-old bucks’ antlers are 75 to 80 percent of maximum size, while those 4.5 years old grow antlers that are 90 to 95 percent as large as they ever will grow.

Hansen said the total number of deer taken by hunters typically decreases the first year that antler-point restrictions are in effect in a particular area. However, the number of does taken may increase, improving the Conservation Department’s ability to control deer numbers. The total number of deer taken in antler-point restriction areas gradually climbs back to nearly its previous level as antlered deer mature and grow larger antlers, making them legal for hunters to shoot.

Hansen points to the ages of deer taken by hunters in counties with the antler-point restriction four years after the rule went into effect. The number of 2.5-year-old deer was up 20 percent compared to counties without the restriction. The number of 3.5-year-old deer was 62 percent greater in antler-point restriction counties, and the number of 4.5-year-old deer was up an astonishing 202 percent.

“You have to be a bit cautious about the big differences in 3.5- and 4.5-year-olds,” said Hansen. “The number of deer that hunters take in those age classes is small, so even a modest difference in the absolute number of deer shot translates into a big percentage difference. Nevertheless, a significant difference is attributable to the antler-point restriction.”

Not surprisingly, hunters who focus on mature bucks have been enthusiastic promoters of the four-point rule. This popular support has encouraged the Conservation Department to expand the regulation to 65 counties and parts of three more.

The Conservation Department reminds hunters that Missouri’s population of black bears, while still small, is growing. That means more hunters are likely to encounter bears.

Black bears are naturally shy and avoid human contact. If you see a bear, do not make eye contact. Back away slowly while speaking in a normal voice. If a bear visits your hunting camp in search of food, get in a vehicle and make noise to frighten the bear away. Always report bear encounters to the nearest Conservation Department office.

The Conservation Department also urges hunters to buy firewood locally and burn it before leaving their hunting areas. Moving firewood from place to place can spread devastating forest pests, such as the emerald ash borer and the gypsy moth.

This year’s abundance of firearms deer hunting opportunities represents an amazing change for those who remember the early days of modern deer hunting in Missouri. There was no deer hunting season from when the newly created Missouri Department of Conservation began deer-restoration work in 1937 until 1944. In the early years, the season was for bucks only and lasted just two days. Only 20 counties were open to deer hunting, and the season always was held in November.

As deer numbers grew, the Conservation Commission lengthened the season. The state’s deer population eventually grew large enough to justify a second season for hunters using muzzle-loading firearms. This season extended firearms deer hunting into early December.

By the 1990s, the number of deer in some areas grew large enough to create problems with crop damage and deer-vehicle accidents. This called for deer hunting regulations aimed at reducing deer numbers or maintaining them at desired levels, rather than increasing them. Shooting does is the key to controlling deer numbers, and this fact led to the first-ever antlerless-only deer season in January of 1997. The Conservation Commission later moved the antlerless season into December, following the muzzleloader season. This year, for the first time, the antlerless hunt will follow immediately on the heels of the regular November season, and the muzzleloader hunt will take place in late December, followed by the late youth portion of deer season in January.