Saturday, July 31, 2010

City folks move to the country and find health, wealth and happiness

Here's a story from rural Missouri that is sure to add fuel to the fire in the bellies of city slickers who want to move to Missouri and become farmers. The Stamford, Conn., newspaper has posted the story on its website--Missouri family grows mushrooms for new business--so there's sure to be a lot of Yankees perking up their ears and thinking to themselves, "That's the life for me. I'm going to move to Missouri and grow mushrooms and get out of this meat-grinding rat race."
Then as soon as they get here, they'll do like all slickers do, they'll enjoy the new life immensely for about two months and then they'll start complaining because the farm next door has stinky cows on it, the nearest little town doesn't have a mall, they can't get a cup of Starbucks coffee and there's no nightlife.
Sorry, I'm about to go off on a rant.
Here's an excerpt from the story about the 'shroom growers:
Rick Hanks, a former designer and artist in Kansas City, dropped his paint brushes and cameras and replaced them with plastic bags and microgreens when he made the move to Hughesville six years ago. Now, his studio sits in an old hog barn and his artwork consists of black bags hanging from the ceiling at Beau Solais Farm.
"I grow all my art now," Rick said.
Rick, his wife, Anita and their three children, Patrick, 11, Katie, 16, and Cassandra, 19, have been growing oyster mushrooms, microgreens and heirloom tomatoes at their farm for almost six years.
"It's a family business," Rick said. "We're trying to grow things that other farms don't." While living in Kansas City, the family thought it would try to grow mushrooms. A small room in the basement produced the first batch of fungi.
There are teenagers in the family, according to the story, and there is no indication they are unhappy with their rural life. They moved six years ago, so the kids were young enough not to set up a huge howl about moving to "the sticks" as most citified teenagers would.
Here's a new prediction: We're going to be inundated with mushrooms in Missouri, grown by transplanted city slickers.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Something I've never eaten before but it's delicious: Quinoa

When I called Delaine to let her know I was on my way home from work, I asked her what she wanted for supper, for I often cook at our house.
"I've already got it started," she said.
Words like that thrill me.
"You're cooking tonight?" I asked.
"Yes," she said. "It's something new. It might not be worth eating, but it's something I've wanted to try for a long time."
"What is it?" I asked.
She said something that sounded like, "Kin-wah."
"Kin-wah? What is it? Some kind of Jap dish?" I asked. (I am not politically correct, and I make no apology for it.)
"No," she said, "It isn't Japanese. I think it's South American."
"OK, I can't wait to try it," I said.
When I got home, the house smelled terrific, and I went into the kitchen and stirred it around in the pot. It looked like chili. Then I saw a recipe laying on the counter; it was titled "Three Bean and Quinoa Chili."
"Oh," I said. "It's called kwin-o-uh. I thought you were saying kin-wah or something."
"No, it looks like kwin-o-uh, and that's the way I pronounced it at the store, but they told me it is really pronounced kin-wah," she said.
Well, however it is pronounced, it is doggone tasty.
Quinoa is a grain. Well it is not really a grain, but it is plant that produces tiny seeds that are full of nutrients. Delaine bought a bag of these seeds at Foods for Health and added them to beans and tomatoes and made chili that is full of protein, despite being meatless. Being nutritious and meatless is important because my doctor told me to cut sugar and fat from my diet, start exercising and lose weight.
"This stuff is delicous, and I like the texture," I said after I practically inhaled a bowl of it. "I believe I'll have a second bowl."
I had another big ole bowl of it for supper last night and also took a container of it to work for lunch. It really is tasty stuff.
Not only that, it was also sacred food for the Incas. Because it was so sacred to the pagan Incas, the Spanish forbade its cultivation and forced the Indians to grow corn. Maybe that's why we don't hear about quinoa.
"I've never heard of this stuff," I told Delaine last night. "I've lived 57 years on this earth and never heard of kin-o-ah. You're always feeding me new stuff. I lived nearly 50 years before I ever ate sushi; probably never would have if you hadn't come along."
I'd also probably never have eaten a mango if she hadn't bought one for me; come to think of it, a mango would make a good, healthy dessert with the quinoa chili.
And I'd probably never have eaten quinoa if she hadn't made it. I wouldn't have known to ask for it. Delaine had heard of it years ago, but never found quinoa for sale anywhere. She was at Foods for Health to buy some other stuff and spotted the Red Quinoa.
Well, if you want to try it, too, here's the recipe she used. Go over to Foods for Health, or your nearest health foods store, and get a bag of this stuff, then try this chili. Although the basic recipe came off the internet, Delaine adjusted it somewhat, so I'm calling it by a new name:

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (more if you like garlic. Delaine used 2 Tablespoons of minced garlic.)
1 large onion, diced
4 cans of beans of any kind (Delaine used 2 cans of black beans, 1 can of black-eyed peas and 1 can of kidney beans.)
1/2 cup Red Quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup sweet corn, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup celery, diced (1 stalk)
28 ounces diced tomatoes, do not drain
2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 Tablespoon chili power, or to taste
1 teaspoon sea salt (optional; Delaine didn't use a bit of salt, that's something else we're cutting or lowering in my diet.)
1 Tablespoon dried basil
Heat the oil in a large soup pot and saute the garlic and onion for three minutes.
Add all remaining ingredients, cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce the flame to medium low and simmer 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Adjust the seasoning if desired and simmer another 5 minutes.
Serve hot with corn chips or crackers.

Quinoa has an interesting history and you can read about it on these websites:
Quinoa Corporation
World's Healthiest Foods--Quinoa
Although quinoa is something this old Ozarks Boy had never heard of, it has my recommendation.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Prediction: Tommy Sowers will win the election in Missouri's Eighth District

Back in January, I predicted Tommy Sowers would win the support of Rolla in the race for Eighth District U.S. representative in November.

I'll go even further out on the limb and predict he'll win in November. Sure, he's a Democrat, and we're hearing this is going to be a year when Democrats will lose as voters show they don't support the Obama administration. I think the truth is voters are sick of Washington, and they're going to find excuses to vote against incumbents, even Republican incumbents like Rep. Jo Ann Emerson.

Sowers is a canny campaigner, who appeals to the sensitivities in Southeast Missouri. He's an Army veteran, and that fact alone is going to win him a whole lot of votes. He's young and handsome; that's good for a few more votes. He has been campaigning amongst the folks by traveling throughout the district, working at a different, primarily blue-collar, job every day. That's good for some votes.

And his first ads are splendid. Take a look at this ad called "Combat Bible."

That is golden. That was put together by an advertising genius. It appeals to our rural Missouri respect and honor for faith, God and country. Moreover, did you notice the hay bales and the pickup truck? He didn't say he has a farm or ranch background, but it makes you feel like he does, doesn't it? And in Southeast and South Central Missouri, that's good for a few more votes.

He's also doing radio ads well. I heard one on a Rolla radio station day before yesterday that had me laughing out loud. It's funny, yet it's also ingenious. Well, read how the St. Louis Beacon website describes it.

The radio ad features an announcer with a country twang describing Sowers as "a man of faith who likes getting up early, driving his truck with his dog, and a feel of a shotgun in his hand." Sowers then blasts Emerson for her support of "bad trade deals and bank bailouts" that he says has cost American jobs.

The ad does NOT mention that Sowers is a Democrat or that Emerson is a Republican.

Campaigns are not about sharing views on issues; they're about building an image. Sowers and his ad men are building an image of a God-fearing, Bible-reading, pick-up truck driving, dog-loving, gun-loving man of the people who gets out and works on farms, in restaurants and anywhere else we, the people, make our livings. It doesn't matter whether any of that is the truth; it matters what emotions are tapped amongst the voters.

No Missouri news organization is going to check to see if this image is accurate, because it doesn't matter, so I predict that's going to put him in the limelight and into the seat of the Missouri Eighth District representative to the U.S. Congress.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

We Missourians are fatter than most Americans

By David Burton
University Extension

The Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have released their 2010 report on obesity in America. Missouri is one of 38 states that has an adult obesity rate above 25 percent.

Missouri is ranked number 12 for obesity with 29.3 percent of adults being classified as obese. To be classified as obese a person must have a BMI or body mass index of 30 or higher.

BMI is a calculation based on a person’s height and weight. It is generally considered a reliable indicator of body fatness in people. It is used for population assessments of overweight and obesity because it only requires height and weight.

To find out your BMI, you can go to To get an idea of what would be classified as overweight and obesity a person would be classified as overweight if they had a BMI of 25-29. A person is considered obese if they have a BMI of 30 or more.

A 5’ 9” person would have a BMI of 25 to 29 if they weighed 169 pounds to 202 pounds. That same person would have a BMI of 30 or more if they weighed 203 pounds or above. The BMI numbers are the same for both males and females.

Health risks associated with being overweight include increased risk of some types of cancer, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, arthritis, sleep apnea and respiratory problems according to Tammy Roberts, a nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“When physicians are assessing health risks as they relate to obesity, they will take into consideration the person’s waist circumference. Abdominal fat is a predictor of obesity-related diseases,” said Roberts.

It is possible to have a weight that is classified as overweight or obese but not have health risks.

“Healthcare providers can assess risks using, diet, physical activity, other measurements to assess actual body fat and other screenings to determine individual risk,” said Roberts.

For example, a highly trained athlete may have a BMI that indicates overweight or obesity because of their muscle mass.

“In 1991 no state in the United States had an obesity rate above 20 percent. Unfortunately, we are gaining ground in an area that would be better avoided,” said Roberts.

For more information on nutrition issues, go online to or contact one of the two nutrition and health education specialists working in the Ozarks: Tammy Roberts, (417) 682-3579 or Dr. Pam Duitsman, (417) 866-3039.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Remembering the landing on the moon

I remember watching Americans land on the moon this date in 1969. We were at my Grandpa and Grandma Howe's house visiting. I had just turned 16, and I was more interested in going to take my driver's license test later in the week than anything else. Nevertheless, I sat down and watched the landing. It was amazing to see a man step on a surface not on this earth.

I remember later talking to my Grandpa Howe about the moon landing. I also asked him about the first car he had ever seen and the first airplane he had ever seen fly over. I wish I had thought to record those conversations. Not only did he witness the moon landing, he remembered vividly when Americans rode horses, drove wagons and buggies or simply walked to get from one place to another.

The moon landing was a milestone in our nation's history. Now, the Democrats have killed what little space program we have left.

It is doggone hot

Doggone, it was hot this past weekend, and it took me the whole weekend to mow the yard because of the heat. I started mowing Saturday morning. After mowing about two-thirds of the back yard, I went in and drank some cold sweet tea and rested in front of the 12-inch, 3-speed oscillating fan.

After about an hour, I went back out and finished the backyard. I went back in and ate lunch, drank more sweet tea and sat in front of the 12-inch, 3-speed oscillating fan some more.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Missouri's first constitution signed on this date

Missouri got its first constitution on this date 190 years ago.

You can read all about it in the Western Historical Manuscripts Collection, but here's an excerpt to whet your appetite:

The signing of Missouri's first constitution took place July 19, 1820, in a small St. Louis hotel, the Mansion House, at the northeast corner of Third and Vine streets. This constitution at once superseded in sovereign authority the former organic laws of Missouri. Such territorial laws and officers as remained temporarily in force derived their legal power from the express sanction of this constitution. On the same day, David Barton, president of the constitutional convention, through power vested in him by that body, issued writs of election to the sheriffs of each county. These writs were of the first state election, to be held August 28, 1820, and were issued under authority of "the State of Missouri." Not until August 10, 1821, however, was Missouri finally admitted to the Union.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Missourians Need This Attitude

Country radio just isn't what it used to be, so I rarely listen to it any more. I like songs by Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Faron Young, Ferlin Huskey, Lefty Frizzell, Tom T. Hall, Hank Williams, Hank Jr. and even Hank III, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. You don't hear any of them on the radio nowadays. Instead, you hear Taylor Swift, Kellie Pickler, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and other such girl singers. With these "artists" you hear a lot of pop music that bears no resemblance to country music.

If I'm going to listen to country music that doesn't sound like traditional country music, I prefer something with a little bit of edge to it, so I usually log onto KFWR, The Ranch, which streams audio from its studios in Fort Worth, Texas. Now, they play some crap, too; for instance, they're playing something right now by someone named Sunny Sweeney that ought to be thrown in the trash can.

KFWR plays Texas artists only, so much of the music is about Texas. My wife, of course, loves this station. I like the Texas attitude. Here are a couple of songs KFWR played this morning. I wish Missourians had this same attitude about our state.

"Welcome to Texas," Brian Burns:

"Screw You, We're From Texas," Ray Wylie Hubbard

Friday, July 16, 2010

Rain Helps Overall Crop Production; Southern Rust Remains a Concern

By David Burton
University Extension

Recent rainfall in southwest Missouri continues to help make overall crop production look very good in the region according to Jay Chism, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
“Corn continues to show some foliar diseases. As I have mentioned in previous weeks, common rust is the most prevalent foliar disease in area fields,” said Chism.
Questions about the severity of southern rust continue to come in to the Barton County Extension Center.
“I still have only seen limited amounts of southern rust, but do want to caution you that the disease can move quickly under the right conditions,” said Chism. “Although I am not a big proponent of using fungicides on corn every year, this season may be a good one to try fungicides in some fields.”
The ample moisture and good overall stand indicates that the yield potential for this season’s crop is good, even on some dry land corn, according to Chism.
“With these factors in mind, and if disease pressure is high late in the year, fungicides may be a profitable input this season. I would only consider fungicides on fields that have yield potential of 150bu/acre or more. For fields with lower yield potential a fungicide application will more than likely not pay,” said Chism.
Soybeans also continue to look good in southwest Missouri.
“I did receive a call about a large number of brown moths flying in soybean fields. I will have it confirmed by our state entomologist, but I believe they are corn ear worm moths,” said Chism.
Corn ear worm larvae can feed on soybean pods, but for now no damage is present and it does not require control.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Storm hits our section of the Ozarks

Sunday afternoon a big storm blew through our section of the Ozarks.

Now, as I am no longer a newspaperman, you're not going to find a comprehensive report on the storm damage here. Back in the days when I was an editor/reporter/photographer/typesetter for the Willard Reporter, the Aurora Advertiser and the Rolla Daily News, I would have driven all over the town, sometimes all over the county, taking pictures and talking to people about their storm damage. I would have put together a big photo spread of two or more pages and just bored everybody to death with talk about the weather, which is one of my favorite subjects. I'm not going to do that here; I'll leave that up to the Rolla Daily News and other real newspapermen. I'm sure if you log onto the RDN website you'll find a lot of pictures, but here are mine.

Actually most of these were taken by Delaine, my wife, who was scared by the weather.
She grew up in Houston, Texas, and has lived through a few hurricanes, but tornadoes scare her to death. She says it's because hurricanes give you ample warning of usually several days (I guess Katrina must have been an exception, because it seemed to have taken the people of New Orleans by surprise). Tornadoes, on the other hand, can form right above you or right next to you and grab you, she says.
Well, when the sirens started howling Sunday afternoon, she hightailed it to the bathroom under the stairs with the "babies," which are our two dogs and our two cats. One cat refused to go into the dark bathroom (our power was cut shortly after the wind picked up). They sat in there with a flashlight while I wandered around the house, looking out the windows and talking on the phone with my mother up in Moniteau County, who was watching the weather reports and telling me what to expect.

Delaine and the babies came out of hiding when the wind died down, and we sat in the darkened house for a while. Around 5 p.m. we decided to drive around a little before getting to church at 6 p.m. for Bible study and worship.

"Let's go over to Snob Knob and take a look to see if there was any damage to the rich people's houses," I suggested. There wasn't a great deal of damage anywhere, just a mess of leaf litter on the streets:

There were also some split trees.

We went on to church and afterwards, as we headed home, we stopped and got this photo next to Mobil on the Run down the knoll next to the underpass for students walking from TJ Hall to campus.

We stopped and got some tacos and then parked in the Walgreen's parking lot to eat supper. We are a thoroughly exciting couple. For fun, we like to watch traffic or the time and temperature change on the bank clock. We saw this rainbow, or piece of a rainbow

We got an inch and a half of rain in the storm.

Waiting on the watermelon to chill

The Ozarks Boy and the Dixie Boy agree that nothing tastes quite as nice when it's hotter than a firecracker than a healthy slice of watermelon. Dixie Boy apparently likes to eat his right there in the melon patch, while Ozarks Boy prefers his chilled.

In fact, I just cleared out the bottom shelf of the refrigerator and moved a shelf up to make room for the Black Diamond watermelon we bought Saturday at the farmers market over at the Phelps County Fairgrounds.

The watermelons they're selling in the grocery stores nowadays are grown with the modern persnickety housewife in mind, i.e., they're small, so they don't take up much fridge space.

You've got to go to the farmer's market to find a watermelon of any size. You've also got to go to the farmer's market to find a watermelon with seeds. Today's modern women and their metrosexual husbands prefer seedless watermelons that are convenient but not as flavorful.

The old boy who sold us the melon tried to tell me it was 50-pounder. It was heavy but not that heavy. I put it on the bathroom scales when I got home and it weighed 35 pounds.

It was so big that I couldn't fit it into the refrigerator Saturday. I had to wait until we cleared another watermelon, one of those prissy little supermarket watermelons, plus a couple of cantaloupes.

Watermelon is one of God's finest gifts, botanically speaking. I have been in love with watermelon my whole life. I don't remember my first watermelon. I remember eating lots of watermelon when I was a kid. Back in those hillbilly days, we always ate our slice outside, spitting the seeds and then often saving the rind so my mother and grandmother could make watermelon pickles, which I also loved.

Dixie Boy has a big smile on his face in that picture. Ozarks Boy has a big smile on his face thinking about eating a big slice.

Yes, I'm really looking forward to eating this Black Diamond melon and spitting out the seeds.

Friday, July 9, 2010

More than 4 inches of rain overnight

My rain gauge measured 4.5 inches today when I got home from work. I think it had about 0.2 inch when I got home yesterday. I didn't dump it then, just left it to see if we would get any more rain. It rained steadily overnight, and it was still raining this morning when I left for work. I don't know when it quit. The sun's out now, though.