Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Another cool spring morning

At a little after 5 a.m., the temperature is 43 degrees and I feel it in these tired old bones and muscles.

It will drop a little more around sunrise.

The coldest it's been on record this date was 35 degrees in 1979.

The warmest April 28 on record: 91 degrees in 1970. That was a long time ago. I was a junior in high school. I don't remember it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Almost 2 inches of rain

If you drive through rural Missouri, look closely at the forests and fields to your left and right, and try to figure out how many shades of green you see.

Driving home on Historic Route 66, I saw it clearly again that Missouri is greening up, thanks to the rain. As I said earlier, I emptied 7/10 of an inch from my rain gauge Friday afternoon. Then on Saturday, I emptied 9/10, on Sunday 2/10, on Monday 1/10. That adds up to 1.9 inches for this period of rain. There's a trace in the gauge today.

Weather Underground predicts clear skies tomorrow, partly cloudy Thursday and then a good chance of more rain and thunderstorms Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

When I got home from work this afternoon, I spotted a pair of Indigo buntings playing around the back porch. Earlier while sitting here at the desk, my wife noticed that pair of Cardinals I wrote about a few days ago; the male was feeding seeds to the female again. Of course, my wife thought that was adorable. "He loves her," she said. Women are funny, aren't they?

Green forests and fields, deep blue Indigo buntings and a red Cardinal male combine for a colorful spring Ozarks experience. That's nice after the colorless winter.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Eat strawberries--they're tasty and full of nutrients

By David Burton
University Extension

Strawberries may be the perfect fruit: colorful, tasty, full of vitamin C, fiber and potassium.
But seeing strawberries for sale at a Farmer’s Market also signals that summer is almost here, according to Tammy Roberts, a nutrition specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
“Strawberries are a terrific fruit but you can’t beat having these nutritious edibles fresh from the farm or out of the garden,” said Roberts.
Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. Vitamin C helps protect the skin from bruising, helps to heal cuts and keeps gums healthy.
One cup of strawberries provides three grams of fiber but only 46 calories. Strawberries also have potassium which can help maintain a healthy blood pressure.
When buying strawberries, Roberts says to choose firm shiny berries with a bright color.
“Dull colored strawberries can indicate they are overripe. Be sure to check the bottom of the container for any mold as it spreads quickly in strawberries,” said Roberts.
Strawberries keep well in the refrigerator for two to three days and always remember to wash them just before serving.
Strawberries are also a great addition to many recipe according to Roberts.
Spinach and strawberry salad
Mix one pound of spinach leaves with two cups of sliced strawberries. Add fresh onion and almond slices if you would like. To make the dressing, heat the following ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves: one-half cup sugar, one-quarter teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, one-quarter cup cider vinegar, one-half cup olive oil. Remove the mixture from the heat and add one tablespoon of poppy seeds. When the dressing is cool toss the dressing with the salad mixture and enjoy.
Strawberry Slushie
In a blender combine 1 pound of fresh strawberries, one-half cup apple juice, 3 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Process until the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into glasses and place them in the freezer for one to two hours. They are ready to serve as the mixture starts to turn icy.
These recipes and many more are in a University of Missouri Extension publication Seasonal and Simple. It is available through University of Missouri Extension publications for $15 at http://www.extension.missouri.edu or at the nearest MU Extension Center.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Franklin Graham is on the mark

Franklin Graham has been taken off the guest list at the Pentagon's National Day of Prayer meeting because he has said some negative things about Islam and the generals in charge of the event think that is "inappropriate."

Graham has said Islam is a dangerous and evil religion. Who can disagree with that? Islam killed nearly 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001. It kills daily around the world. That makes it dangerous.

It uses children and women as walking bombs. That makes it evil. Oh, and it keeps women in subjection. You know, I find it amazing, yet typical of them, that liberals who are bent out of shape because the Catholic church won't allow women to be priests absolutely adore Islam, which won't allow women to be anything. Maybe liberals are dangerous and evil.

Now here's something scary: Less than half of the American Protestant ministers agree wholeheartedly with Franklin Graham.

Forty-seven percent agreed with Graham. Twelve percent agreed with both. About a quarter of pastors agreed with Bush alone.

Most American ministers, I suspect, don't believe that Jesus is "the way, the truth and the life." They don't agree with Jesus who said that "no man comes to the Father except by me." The new, emerging church teaching that is being latched onto by ministers is that all religions are just different paths to the same God. The new teaching is that Jesus didn't die for us so that his blood sacrifice could save us from sin, he died only as an example of the way we are supposed to live.

Evangelical Christianity is moving into the position it was in during the early church days in the Roman Empire. The Romans were religious people, who worshiped many gods. They believed the Christians were atheists because the Christians worshiped just Jesus Christ, the express image of the Father God, and denied the existence of the legion of Roman gods. The Romans persecuted the Christians because of that.

I wonder if any of the early church leaders were invited to attend an Empire Day of Prayer event and then were uninvited (and thrown to the lions or crucified or covered with tar and set ablaze) because they said Jesus Christ was the only way to heaven?

Friday, April 23, 2010

April is moving away too quickly

I just dumped 7/10 inch out of my rain gauge. Clouds today gave us a little rain, but most of it fell last night.

We started out the month with some warm weather, but it's been pretty cool this week.

I noticed yesterday on the way home from work the redbuds, which have been beautiful, are turning green.

The dogwoods are still splashing the hillsides with white.

Yesterday while sitting here writing, I looked up and out the window and saw a pair of cardinals on the shepherd's hook (that holds a couple of suet feeders) in the backyard. The male cardinal few towards me and landed on the seed feeder hanging from the eve.He ate a couple of seeds and then flew back to the shepherd's hook. I saw him pass a seed to the female cardinal. It looked like they were kissing.

Spring is moving on; the month is nearly over. I've got much yet to do before summer.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Going primitive in the Ozarks

City folks often call us Ozarkers "primitives." Maybe we are, because we like a lot of the old-time ways of doing things, like raising gardens, hunting and fishing, living simply, paying our bills, going to church, believing in Jesus. City folks have a hard time understanding us.

Even outsiders and transplants, once they get into the Ozarks, turn primitive. Take, for instance, the case of a French couple who moved to the Arkansas Ozarks. They're overseeing the construction of a medieval castle on their property. What's primitive? The builders are required to use medieval tools and medieval methods while wearing medieval clothing. Boy, howdy, talk about primitive.

From the Baxter Bulletin: A Castle Rises in the Ozarks.

LEAD HILL — The clink of hammers against chisels fills the air as stone masons shape quarried rock high in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.

An apprentice struggles to lift a large stone into place and calls for mortar. Cody Hannah dips a wooden bucket into a pond, fetches water, and hooks the bucket on a yoke across his shoulders.

Hannah, 28, of Lead Hill is one of 25 artisans and craftsmen, dressed in tunics authentic to the 13th century, laboring to build a medieval castle here — using only medieval material and methods.

"We are the modern-day Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone," Hannah said.

The Ozark Medieval Fort-ress is planned as a 20-year-long work-in-progress, an outdoor classroom where students will experience living history while learning about architecture, geometry, economics and geology.

The castle-in-the-making opens to the public May 1, when students and volunteers will be able to participate in the actual building.

The project, the second such original castle construction in the world, originated in October 2008, when Lead Hill residents Jean-Marc Mirat, 70, and his wife, Solange, 70, both natives of France, visited Gu├ędelon, France, and met Michel Guyot.

Guyot, 63, of Saint Fargeau, Burgundy, had purchased the crumbling 1,000-year-old Chateau Saint-Fargeau, two hours south of Paris, in 1979. Archaeologists hired by Guyot to study the history of the structure discovered 13th-century stone walls hidden behind red brick. The mortar within was still moist, Guyot said.

Pretty interesting, and I recommend you click on the link above and read the whole story.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Enjoy looking at your landscape--then pick it and eat

By David Burton
University Extension

One of the best methods of edible landscaping is to incorporate food producing plants in with more traditional landscaping in an esthetically pleasing arrangement that mixes beauty with food and function.
According to Patrick Byers, a horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension, edible landscaping is like having a fruit and vegetable garden throughout your entire yard instead of consigning it to a single section.
“Anything that you would normally like to plant for food can be placed around the yard in edible gardens instead of creating special vegetable or herb gardens or a berry patch or an orchard,” said Byers.
Raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, elderberries and blueberries are extremely popular shrubs which grow easily, add beauty and are fruitful.
Red currants have deep green leaves and rich red berries which are excellent for a number of dishes and can be made into delicious jelly.
Grape arbors are a source of shade for a seating area because they grow fast and sprout delicious grapes at an incredible pace.
“There are a wide number of fruit trees to compliment your yard’s design, from pears to apples to cherries. Consider using dwarf species if you have less space or want to make a grouping of various plants,” said Byers.
Strawberries can be used as a groundcover. Herbs, like onions and chives, are also available for edible landscaping.
“I have seen vegetables used, too. A row of leaf lettuce can be used to outline a flower bed, zucchini used as a ground cover under a taller plant, tomatoes -- especially cherry tomatoes -- and potatoes planted in a perennial bed,” said Byers.
Chard or peppers can be especially ornamental because of their many colors.
It is also important to consider common pests and diseases for any edible plants considered for a home landscape.
“An advantage to spreading them out over the landscape is that generally, diseases and pests are less of a nuisance that way than when the plants were all grouped together into one garden spot,” said Byers.
Edible landscaping will likely require more maintenance than the more common landscape plants for them to produce well.
“Just remember, you are getting more out of these plants than just good looks,” said Byers.
For more information, Byers can be reached at the Greene County Extension Center in Springfield, Mo. at (417) 862-9284.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A link to my church

My church, Macedonia Baptist Church, has started a web endeavor at http://macedoniabaptist.wordpress.com .

Go on over there, bookmark it, check it often and see what that little country church does.