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Features

  • It is the time of year when 4-H’ers across Kentucky prepare their speeches and demonstrations for upcoming local communications contests. These programs offer so much more to youth than just ribbons. They give young people the opportunity to develop important life skills and receive a sense of accomplishment in a job well done.

  • I have my orders placed for onion sets and seed potatoes along with some of my favorite summer crops that will be directly seeded in the garden once the temperatures really warm. I can barely stand the wait! I have just seeded out several trays of early season vegetables that like a cool start to the season.  Kale, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are just beginning to push through the light potting mix.

  • Absolutely nothing says spring more than the distant chorus of spring peepers.  There is a wooded stream just off Conner Station that is home to a cacophonous band of peepers all competing for as many females as they can.  On a warm March evening, especially after a shower, spring peepers remind me of how glorious rural life can be.  Just by listening, a whole other world can be imagined.

  • Kentucky 4-H is one of the most important and influential youth programs in our state and our county. Across Kentucky over 279,000 youth ages 9 to 19 learn about leadership, citizenship and life skills in “learn-by-doing” experiences such as communications and public speaking, through agriculture projects like livestock judging, science projects with robotics, 4-H camp, Teen Conference, and many other 4-H programs and activities.

  • Tall fescue, specifically Kentucky 31, is a cool-season grass that is widely grown throughout Kentucky and the eastern United States, because it is resistant to many unfavorable conditions including drought tolerance and insect resistance. However, the very reason for its resiliency is also its Achilles heel. It contains a harmful fungal endophyte that causes fescue toxicosis in cattle and horses. Affected animals get sick, have reduced weight gains, reproductive problems and other issues.

  • A healthy fruit crop from your favorite fruit tree can dramatically increase with some late winter attention.  Pruning is key to healthy fruit trees and fruit production.  You can prune any time after the threat of harsh winter weather is over until just before the tree is in full bloom.  Prune out any winter damage, branches that grow inward and crowded limbs.

  • In a fit of gratitude, I made a list of the things I loved about my life the other day.  I managed eight solid things. None were frivolous and one prompted the whole exercise:  I love warm February days.  This beautiful February day set into motion a very productive weekend.  It felt fantastic to get some good old fashioned garden clean up done with my husband by my side and the sheep grazing freely about.  It makes you feel optimistic about the rest of your life.

  • The kissing bug may sound like a virus that plagues the protagonist of a romantic comedy, but in fact, these insects are real, and one species does occur in Kentucky. These blood-feeding insects have received a lot of media attention due to the potential health effects of their bites in the southwestern United States. University of Kentucky extension entomologist Lee Townsend recently discussed what Kentuckians need to know about the insect.

  • Cut flowers are undoubtedly the most popular manifestation of showing your love for someone on Valentine’s Day, but potted flowering plants can do the trick, too.  Perhaps the potted bloom has the potential to remind your lover that the sentiment lasts all year…but what does it mean if you can’t get it to bloom again?  Is your love doomed? Of course not, but here are some tips just in case.

  • The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) has come forward with legislation to help businesses and individuals who wish to donate food to organizations that serve hungry Kentuckians.

    “These measures would provide incentives and protections for those who want to join the fight against hunger in Kentucky,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “This is due to the work of the Hunger Task Force, which met for the first time last spring. This is just the beginning of our efforts to reduce food insecurity in the Commonwealth.”

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    TES December GREAT students of the month: Jayden Patton, Jayden Hagan, Jacob Swartz, Maggie Whitehouse, Bella Milburn, and Alexis Helton.

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    Taylorsville Elementary School recently held their Spelling Bee. Spelling Bee contestants and winners were: Zaylie Jones, Malachi Temple, Caden Cole (1st place), AJ Peterman, Kameron Edge (Runner Up), Kyle P., Morgan Owens, and Annie Jo Goodlett.

  • As we are now into February,  you’ll be receiving seed catalogs for the 2017 vegetable-growing season soon. While listening to the cold wind blow outside, what a comfort it is to think about spring and summer and planning your garden.

    To make the most of your garden, every aspiring gardener should follow seven steps to have a successful gardening season.

    • Plan your garden on paper before you begin.

  • It is the time of year for skunks and I am reminded because of the smell and road kill left behind. Plus, a strong scent of skunk has been lingering in the pasture this past week; and I got an Instagram video from my niece as she was clearly backing away from a lumbering black and white rodent down by the river.  We used to get them circling the house on winter evenings, but our livestock guardian dog has kept them at bay the last few years.  Their presence is not surprising, however, because it is mating season for skunks and they are on the move.

  • The Kentucky Department of Wildlife Resources recently launched a canoeing and kayaking page on its website at www.fw.ky.gov. Visitors need only to click on the “Boat” tab, then the “Canoeing and Kayaking” tab.

    The page provides a repository for valuable information about paddling creeks, rivers and lakes across Kentucky.    

  • Even though it’s winter, it’s not too early to start thinking about summer camp or summer jobs. 4-H has a way to combine both. Kentucky 4-H is now hiring 44 energetic staff members for its four summer residential camps.

  • With the number of acres allotted to grow industrial hemp nearly tripling in 2017, this could be the year the crop challenges Kentucky’s reputation as the Bluegrass State.

    The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has approved 209 applications from growers who have been approved to cultivate up to 12,800 acres of industrial hemp for research purposes in 2017, nearly three times the number of acres that were approved for the previous year. More than 525,000 square feet of greenhouse space were approved for indoor growers in 2017.

  • I have learned to be discerning when it comes to catalog shopping.  I steer clear of outrageous or cheap deals.  I prefer the specialty catalog where expertise reigns, providing us with both a good product and the information to grow it well.  

  • State education leaders say that nearly 50,000 students graduate from high school each year and too many are unprepared for today’s jobs, without a path to acquiring skills they need.

    On Wednesday, Stephen Pruitt, Kentucky’s Commissioner of Education, happily announced a three-year effort aimed at strengthening technical and career education for the state’s public high school students, fueled by a $2 million grant from JPMorgan Chase, in collaboration with the Council of Chief State School Officers.