A Forest in Western Kansas

In 1891, Congress passed the Forest Reserve Act, which gave the President the authority to create forest reserves from land in the public domain. This might not sound like an event with much significance to Kansas, particularly the western part of the state.  But it was. The person who made the Forest Reserve Act significant…

Weather Folklore: Rain or Shine?

Throughout the years, people have come up with some interesting ways to try to predict the weather. While it is easy to dismiss this fascinating body of folklore as superstition or hasty generalization, some of the old sayings have stood the test of time. The trick is to separate the fact from the fiction. Over…

Quote of the Week: Vegetables

A purchased vegetable is never the same as one taken from a man’s own soil and representing his own effort and solicitude. —L.H. Bailey

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens

Are you considering raising chickens for the first time?  Are you a beginner with a brand-new flock?  Have you been keeping chickens for a few years but still have some problems to solve? If you can identify with any of these questions, one book you should consider reading is Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens by…

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is critical for animal health because it is involved in a vast number of chemical reactions within the body.  Besides turning fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into energy, vitamin B5 interacts with other vitamins to perform necessary functions.  For example, it works with vitamin C to maintain the health of the adrenal…

An Introduction to NPK

NPK is an acronym you will frequently run across when dealing with plants, particularly field crops.  The three letters are merely the chemical symbols of three nutrients: Nitrogen (N). Phosphorus (P). Potassium (K). So why is there so much emphasis on N, P, and K?  Each of these nutrients is essential to plants because they…

What is Hybrid Vigor?

Hybrid vigor, technically called heterosis, is a phenomenon that occurs in the offspring of unrelated parent plants or animals.  These hybrid offspring are generally considered to posses a number of superior traits.  For example: Hardiness. Longevity. Fertility. Rapid growth. The term hybrid vigor is typically applied to the offspring of crosses between entirely different breeds…

Kansas Barns

Have you ever driven along the back roads of Kansas and wondered about the stories those old barns could tell? Whether you love barns or are just an all-around Kansas history buff, you will probably enjoy Kansas Barns and Kansas Barns II by Martha Knudsen. The two-volume set features at least one barn from every…

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is a key part of the metabolism, helping the body process fats, carbohydrates, and amino acids.  This translates into a number of vital roles.  Niacin is essential for the health of the skin, bones, joints, mucous membranes, digestive system, and central nervous system.   Natural Sources Grazing animals can…