In today’s Better Kansas, we shed light on the challenges of going back to school in the midst of a pandemic, the Mediterranean Diet, 2020 Census, harvesting and roasting sunflower seeds, spice girls (aka cattle) and sugarcane aphids in sorghum. This is a small glimpse of what K-State Research and Extension across the state has to offer. Share on social media and subscribe! – Mary Lou Peter firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: I’m taking a break next week so will be back in touch on Thursday, Sept. 17. Until then, have a great couple of weeks and stay safe!
Better Living, Better Communities
WHETHER YOUR KIDDOS ARE HEADING INTO THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR completely online, are in-person or a hybrid of the two, there’s likely plenty of stress going around. If they’re attending school completely or partially online, you are likely playing the role of teacher’s aide, technology support person, snack and lunch maker, head cheerleader and other myriad roles. And oh, by the way, at the same time you’re probably also trying to do a fulltime demanding job for your company or organization. A K-State child development specialist encourages parents to maintain routines (kids need ‘em … we all need ‘em) and to cut themselves a little slack during this incredibly challenging pandemic situation in the Sound Living radio segment on Back to School Challenges. It even made me feel better, though my kids flew the coop awhile back.
IN THESE DAYS WHERE WE’RE SPENDING MORE TIME AT HOME, AND ONE DAY RUNS INTO THE NEXT with little to define the edges, this might be a good time to change things up regarding what we eat. I don’t know about you, but I need constant reminders about getting and staying on track to eat more healthfully. This basic fact sheet on the Mediterranean diet is a good start. It even includes a couple of recipes that actually sound good! This particular item is from the Dickinson County extension office, but your own local extension office will have good information on nutritious and tasty ways to be healthy, too. If you’re not familiar with what they have to offer, give them a try.
ONE MORE WORD ABOUT THE 2020 CENSUS: PLEASE COMPLETE IT IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY. If you’re wondering why it matters so much … or even how to participate if you haven’t already, take a look at Kansascounts.org or Impact in Your Community. As I mentioned before, there are only a very few questions … it truly takes only a couple of minutes to complete it. At stake are billions of dollars over the next 10 years in federal funding for our communities across the state, so I encourage you to get online and be counted.
Better Farming, Ranching and Gardening
SOMETIMES MY BLOG ITEMS COULD GO IN EITHER THE FIRST OR SECOND SECTION. That’s the case with this one because it’s about growing, cooking and eating, which is kind of the point of fruit and vegetable gardening, right? And farming in general!? This time what caught my attention is a short item in the horticulture newsletter on harvesting and roasting sunflower seeds. I’ve done this with pumpkin seeds (remember, kids?) but not sunflower seeds. If you try it, let me know how it goes. In this edition you’ll also find short articles on asparagus and rhubarb in autumn, fertilizing strawberries, Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti, using compost and several tree-related items, plus a link to a video on overseeding your lawn.
RETURN OF THE SPICE GIRLS?! LAST WEEK I WROTE ABOUT SPICES FOR HUMANS, including health benefits, but I’ve just found this interesting study on using spices in cattle production. The idea is part of a larger effort to find alternatives to antibiotics and chemicals used in raising cattle. And guess what?! It turns out that when a little garlic and a few other spices were added to heifers’ mineral supplement, their average daily gains were higher than those on the control mineral without spices. Plus, overall, the spice girls (heifers 🙂 had fewer ticks, so the spices may have had a repellent effect.
JUST A FEW SHORT YEARS AGO SUGARCANE APHIDS MOVED INTO KANSAS and despite their name, also developed an appetite for our sorghum crop. These tiny bugs can reduce crop yields and kill young sorghum plants. And according to an Agronomy eUpdate article, they have been found again this year in several southwest and central Kansas counties. The “honeydew” secreted by these sweet-sounding but important pests can even gum up combines and disrupt harvest. For photos, a map of where they’ve been seen so far this summer, plus background and management tips, take a look.
For more resources and activities, contact the K-State Research and Extension office in your area. Check out our other blogs and subscribe to our weekly emails here: https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/blogs/
by Mary Lou Peter on September 3, 2020