Black-Bellied Whistling-Duck

Even though it’s called a duck, the black-bellied whistling-duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) is built more like a goose, with its tall stature enhanced by a particularly long neck and pair of legs.  Both males and females are strikingly patterned.  Their bodies are rusty chestnut overall, accented with black on the belly, flanks, and rump.  Their faces…

What are Scurs?

Scurs are horny growths that give some livestock owners concern.  When a scurred animal is young, it may look for all the world like it will grow up to have horns.  Fortunately, this is not the case. Cattle, sheep, and goats can all develop scurs.  In goats, however, scurs are actually true horns that have…

Get Ready for December 2016

Christmas will be here before you know it! Prepare tasty treats and heartfelt gifts from your own homegrown offerings, and snuggle up on the couch for a little storytelling. Retell the story of Sod Corn Jones. Read Scripture passages about the meaning of Christmas. Make a sweet potato beetle. Encourage your child to start an…

Walnut Toxicity

To protect themselves from competition, black walnut trees exude a toxin called juglone.  Gardens planted near black walnut trees or roostocks frequently fail to thrive due to this toxin.  Many plants can be affected, but tomatoes and potatoes show the greatest susceptibility. Juglone enters the soil from the roots, bark, leaves, and nut hulls of…

New Rules Take Medicated Livestock Feeds Off the Shelf

The Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) was developed to reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock production, primarily to fend off antibiotic-resistant diseases in humans.  The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 2 million people in the United States are infected by antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year.  The concern is that extensive use of antibiotics in the…

Top 10 Books for Beginning Farmers

Just getting started? Whether you are still in the early planning stage or are trying to overcome your first obstacle, one of the best things you can do is to read extensively. Many others have walked the path before you. Why not smooth your own learning curve and take advantage of their experience? While there…

2016 Kansas Election Results

United States President Donald Trump (R): 276 electoral votes Hillary Clinton (D): 218 electoral votes   United States Senate Jerry Moran* (R): 62% of vote Patrick Wiesner (D): 32% Robert Garrard (L): 6%   United States House of Representatives 1st District Roger Marshall (R): 66% Alan LaPolice (I): 26% Kerry Burt (L): 7%   2nd…

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium wilt is caused by six different species of fungus, all of the genus Verticillium.  These six fungi can attack most of the plants and trees that gardeners like to grow, including vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants. Verticillium fungi spend the winter in plant debris lying on the ground.  Cool, wet weather triggers it to…

Music Practice

Don’t be fooled by the price.  Music Practice: The Musician’s Guide to Practicing and Mastering Your Instrument Like a Professional by David Dumais is not a cheesy little booklet full of half-baked ideas with no meat on their bones.  It’s a concise but thorough look at how to make the most of your practice time,…

Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) has a long history of infecting garden plants. Although its most common victims are members of the nightshade family, it can infect a surprisingly diverse array of garden plants, including: Tomato. Pepper. Potato. Petunia. Impatiens. Chrysanthemum. Geranium. Begonia. Verbena. TMV is typically spread in sap.  Surprisingly, insects that suck sap from…