Last summer my daughter came outside to find me in my garden (which had never happened before, so I knew something was amiss). She looked distressed and shared her dilemma. She had been making an apple pie and when putting it in the hot oven, the pie filling slid out. All. Over.

As we walked up the sidewalk and across the patio at my grandson’s house the other night we had to watch our footing as the ground practically moved beneath our feet. Dozens of tiny toads the size of quarters hopped in every direction with each step. An adult toad the size of a peach, probab…

It’s been quite a year for weather and we’re only in July.The heat of Summer has arrived in full force. I can handle the heat, but the humidity is another matter. It couldn’t be my age contributing to the problem, could it? I consider myself pretty physically fit for my years, but sure can’t…

It’s hard to think of floodwaters as being good for anything, but high water makes for excellent bowfishing. A few years back, I rode along with Doug and Tricia Whitehead as they bow fished flooded timber around Melvern Reservoir. Doug learned to bowfish and got his passion for the sport fro…

Do you have a covered porch or patio that is shaded but exposed to bright light? To many of your houseplants, that could be what an island getaway is to us. 

When does the Cowley County Fair begin? I’ve been receiving this question for a couple of weeks. Most people will answer August 1. That is, in fact, the first day of the fair this year. The dates are Aug. 1-5.  For extension agents and some 4-H members, it began with the Dog Show June 22. Fo…

Every year, at about the same time school gets out in May, I begin to hear one of the following: “You’re getting ready to be really busy, aren’t you?” or “You’re getting into your busy season!”  

When the weather is warm, we spend more time outdoors. Alas, so do cats, dogs, and wild animals. So what do we as kind, animal-loving humans do? We pet those dogs and cats and even try to befriend the wildlife. 

I encourage consumers to read labels on food. There are standards defined for the Nutrition Facts label, but date labeling by manufacturers is inconsistent with phrases like “best by or sell by.” Confusion over date labeling accounts for an estimated 20 percent of consumer food waste.

Most, if not all Kansas State parks are located at major lakes and reservoirs, so it’s no surprise that many of them were devastated by the flood waters. Kansas Department. of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) reports that over one-half of our state parks were seriously affected by the flo…

Vector-borne illnesses are those that are transmitted to humans by vectors such as mosquitoes and ticks. With the heavy rains throughout the spring, mosquitoes and ticks are out in mass as we head into summer. With more mosquitoes and ticks, the chances of being infected with a vector-borne …

There is a big wooden street light pole midway between our driveway and the neighbors. The metal pipe that extends the light out over the street fastens to the pole with a metal bracket formed in the shape of a “u.” For the second time in a few years, a pair of western kingbirds have claimed…

May and June of 2019 have been tough. Anybody else feel the same? The weather has been hard on everyone, and it’s hit each of us in different ways. It seems that we are receiving all of the rain we prayed for during the droughts all at once, and I’m pretty sure we’ve been in a flood warning …

With both Memorial Day and Independence Day falling during gardening season, we have opportunities for plantings that bloom with patriotic colors. A red, white and blue theme can carry into our gardens as well as our porches. 

Ike and Tina Turner sang about rollin’ on one, Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer would likely have remained obscure without one. Some are named in the Bible. There are world famous ones and there are unknown ones. Some are so wide they can barely be seen across, while others are so narrow they can ne…

Don’t tell my family — but I’m experimenting with new recipes using garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas). I’m also exploring aquafaba (Latin for water - aqua and bean - faba).

Every outdoorsman I know grows a few tomato plants each year, even if they have to sneak them in with the snapdragons or hide them amongst the hibiscus. After all, nothing goes better with a freshly grilled venison burger than a juicy slice of fresh tomato. Though my thumb is only mildly gre…

Earlier in the season I wrote about prepping containers for plantings. Now is the time to let them shine. Hopefully, you have filled your favorite pots and containers with lovely plants ang are enjoying beautiful color from them. Oftentimes the color comes from the container rather than the …

On June 7, a pathogen that causes Sudden Oak Death (SOD), called Phytophthora ramorum, was found in rhododendron container plants in Kansas. 

Every June, girls from across Kansas travel to our small community with the goal of becoming the next Miss Kansas. Hosting the “Pageant,” as we locals call it, is an honor the Pratt community has held for almost 65 years.

What if you had to name a food? Ancient Egyptians named a legume bean “Falcon Faces.” Today, we might describe garbanzo beans as chickpeas. The name chickpea comes from the bean’s similarity in appearance to a chick with a beak.

The Cowley County 4-H Development Fund was created in 1995 as a local 4-H Foundation to assist local 4-H’ers as they take part in educational events and activities. The local foundation is a legal, not-for-profit, non-governmental, charitable organization to receive memberships and contribut…

Miranda Depenbusch, from the Udall FFA chapter, completed her term as State FFA reporter after helping to lead the 91st Kansas FFA Convention on May 29–31 on the Kansas State University campus.

Arkansas City FFA placed third and Udall FFA placed fifth May 29-31 in the competition for the Triple Crown Award at the final session of the 91st Kansas FFA Convention on the Kansas State University campus.

In earlier articles I discussed finding and implementing your own style in your gardens. This week I'd like to talk about adding to that with fencing, arbors and trellises. These all are available in a variety of styles but most are made from wood, metal or vinyl composites. 

Area members of the State FFA Chorus include Augusta Nordell and Martha Sanders, both of Sedan; Lucas Kuchar, of South Haven; and Carol Blagg, of Udall. The FFA members used their musical abilities to entertain members and guests by performing during the 91st Kansas FFA Convention May 29–31 …

Extreme rainfall events of May brought severe flooding and property damage to many residents in central and eastern Kansas. Floodwaters also caused traffic disruptions, including the closure of northbound lanes on the Kansas Turnpike. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service employees hav…

K-State Research and Extension Cowley County is partnering with other health and human service providers to launch a community-wide Mental Health First Aid training program. The purpose will be to equip more people to respond to mental health needs and to be aware of local resources.

Recent extreme weather conditions have impacted farmers and ranchers in Kansas. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has disaster assistance programs available to help agricultural producers recover after natural disasters, including floods and tornadoes.

TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reported that frequent heavy rains are impacting some state parks in eastern Kansas.

A Hazardous Occupations Safety Training in Agriculture course (tractor safety) is from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at John Schmidt & Sons, Inc., 2303 W. Ninth Ave., in Winfield.

Many times when we here the phrase “What happens at/in …,” it is followed with the phrase, “stays at/in. …” You know, like “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” But I can assure you, what happens at 4-H camp doesn’t stay at 4-H camp. So, what DOES happen at 4-H camp? Just the usual summer …

Beginning July 1, 50 county conservation districts will have access to $300,000 through a new partnership between the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts, and Kansas Department of Health and Environment Watershed Management Section and Kansas Watershed Restoration and Protection Str…

I was blessed to have a lovely neighbor and dear friend in my life for many years. Flo’s light of love and wisdom brightened so many lives during her 100 years in this world. Now she shines down from above through our memories. One such happy memory was when she shared a start of one of her …

Having gotten a whole summer’s worth of rain in three weeks, Kansas reservoirs and lakes are swollen and campgrounds and boat ramps are completely submerged, meaning camping, boating and for the most part fishing, too, are out of the question. I was reminded this week of an interesting fishi…

My brother just bought a really nice boat, and I’m jealous. I shouldn’t be because Joyce and I learned years ago that although we both like to fish and both enjoy eating fish, neither of us will ever grace the “fisherman hall of fame.” For starters, we are both lousy fishermen. I have fished…

Last year I received many calls on this phenomenon that seemed to plague many trees during the hot summer months. You may have noticed holes in some of your trees and shrubs at that time and wondered if it’s the works of a woodpecker or just the way that particular plant grows. These holes c…

Mid April I checked my Gardening Calendar. Most of my perennials were coming up by then. Those that weren’t would be breaking ground by the end of the month. Little in the way of blooming was happening yet. The garden centers were just barely beginning to stock their shelves with early color…

TOPEKA — Widespread spring rains haven’t dampened the outdoor spirit at Kansas state parks, although there will be impacts to some park facilities in eastern Kansas. However, many state parks in the western portion of the state were mostly unaffected by the rainy weather and are open and rea…

I love this time of year when local farmers markets open for the season. Cowley County is fortunate to have two easy to access farmers markets operating in Arkansas City and Winfield. And the best news yet … market season opens this weekend!

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will accept applications beginning June 3 for certain practices under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) continuous signup and will offer extensions for expiring CRP contracts. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized CRP, one of the country’s largest conservation…

One of my favorite ’60s bands was Credence Clearwater Revival. The first line of their song “Who’ll Stop the Rain” goes “Long as I remember the rains been coming down.” Who’d have thunk that we Kansans would ever be complaining about too much rain? Then when it finally stops raining and the …

Area crop producers, chemical applicators and anyone interested in wheat production and agronomy are invited to attend the Cowley County Wheat Plot Tour at 5 p.m. May 22 at the Strother Field Corner Plot, on the west side of 202nd Road and U.S. 77 Highway, in Winfield, followed by a secondar…

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