1. The Big Turkey Dinner
Eating turkey for Thanksgiving is a long-standing tradition, although the main course at the very first thanksgiving meal was most likely venison, not turkey. According to the National Turkey Federation, 95% of all Americans eat turkey at for their Thanksgiving meal. Add the rest of the trimmings, like marshmallow-coated yams, bread stuffing, cranberry sauce … and you have a traditional thanksgiving dinner.
2. Macy’s Day Parade
The original parade sponsored by Macy’s department store, was not on Thanksgiving day, but on Christmas Day in 1924. Famous for their large balloon characters, in 1927 the first balloon float, Felix the Cat, appeared on the parade route. And since 1932 the parade has been broadcast on either radio or television every year. With over 90 years of history, the Macy’s parade is deeply engrained into the Thanksgiving day tradition.
3. Football games
The first Thanksgiving Day football game took place in in Philadelphia in 1869 when football itself was brand new. Thanksgiving itself was still a newly proclaimed national holiday (established by Abraham Lincoln in 1863), so football and Thanksgiving share a very close history in American tradition. Today if you are watching the NFL, you will always see the Lions and the Cowboys host games on their home turf. And if you are watching out your window, you will likely see good football competition happening in the neighbor’s yard.
4. Pies, pies and more pies
The most common pie for Thanksgiving is the pumpkin pie. These are commonplace for Thanksgiving meals because pumpkins are harvested during the month before Thanksgiving. Pumpkins are also native to America, so they have been a regular part of meals on this continent since long before colonial times. Many more pies have historical roots for Thanksgiving, including pecan pies, mincemeat pies, apple pies and sweet potato pies.
5. The Presidential Turkey Pardon
The custom of presenting a turkey to the President of the United States as a Thanksgiving gift dates back to the 1940’s, with most of the birds becoming part of the presidential Thanksgiving meal. Since 1989, during George H.W. Bush’s first Thanksgiving as president, it has become an annual tradition for the president to “pardon” the turkey, and a less conspicuous turkey gets to be the main course instead.
6. The “wishbone”
During the process of carving and serving the turkey, eventually you locate that special bone that everyone wants to get their hands on. In turkey anatomy, the “wishbone” works like a spring that connects the turkey’s
two collarbones, and helps hold everything together, especially when the bird is flying. But the “wishbone” gets its name because you can make a wish as you and another person pull on the two sides of it. Whoever gets the larger piece … will get their wish.
7. After dinner nap
After a big meal, it doesn’t take long until everyone starts feeling a little sleepy. There’s something in that turkey that just makes the eyelids heavy. And since it is a day off from regular work, many people succumb to the post-thanksgiving-meal nap. At least, until uncle Delbert starts snoring real loud and wakes everyone else up.
8. Shopping (or getting ready to shop)
The Friday after Thanksgiving has become a traditional day of shopping for Christmas gifts. Some stores open early on Thanksgiving so people don’t have to wait until the next day. But whether it happens on Thursday or Friday, the Thanksgiving weekend often marks the beginning of shopping for Christmas gifts.
9. Family activities
Thanksgiving holiday and family gatherings go hand-in-hand. For some families, this is the one time of the year that everyone gets together, so the fun and games at these get-togethers become part of the tradition. Playing certain board games, working on a puzzle together, or the previously-mentioned football game in the yard are all examples of fun family activities that leave good memories for years to come.
Giving thanks is truly at the heart of the Thanksgiving holiday. Remembering the blessings of your life, appreciating the people in your life, and giving thanks to God as the provider of all good things … is the central tradition of Thanksgiving. How does your family share your thanksgiving together.
No matter what kind of plans you have this year for Thanksgiving, here’s a special “Happy Thanksgiving” from all your friends at Gregg Farm Services!
One of the main reasons you have your own vegetable garden is to enjoy fresh, seasonal produce that was raised in a conscientious manner. So, you probably don’t want to be spraying or powdering chemicals all over the food you will be eating in a few days. Here are some ways to keep your fruit and veggies pest and chemical-free.
First off, put a fence around your garden to keep out rabbits and deer. If you know that rodents will be a problem, you may even consider sinking your fence several inches into the ground to help prevent tunneling. Bird netting is useful against, well, birds; but also discourages rabbits and deer.You can also mix one tablespoon of liquid dish detergent and one tablespoon of hot sauce with a liter of water, and spray it on the threatened plants. Or, hang a bar of fragrant soap near the plants deer like to eat. The fragrance of the soap will repel the deer.
Pyrethrin insecticide, by itself or in mixed with other compounds, is a very effective, family-safe and environmentally-friendly insecticide.
About 200 years ago people in central Asia discovered that dried/crushed flowers of certain chrysanthemums were toxic to insects. During the Napoleonic Wars this "insect powder" was used to control flea and body lice infestations by soldiers. Since then, pyrethrum has been used in many forms for effective, low toxicity insect control. Pyrethrin is the active ingredient in pyrethrum that kills insects and that is the chemical you will see listed on insecticide labels.
Spinosad is an insecticide based on chemical compounds found in the bacterial species Saccharopolyspora spinosa. It is a relatively new insect killer that was discovered from soil in an abandoned rum distillery in 1982.
After ingesting Spinosad, insect pests die within 1 to 2 days. Will NOT persist in the environment and is classified as an organic substance by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP).
Neem oil is a naturally occurring pesticide found in seeds from the neem tree. It has been used for hundreds of years to control pests and diseases. Neem juice and oil contains more than 50 different pest-killing compounds, so even insects with immunity to some substances cannot build up enough resistance to all the compounds. Neem’s effects are strongest on young insects, particularly those that grow rapidly such as squash bugs, Colorado potato beetles and Mexican bean beetles.
For soft-bodied insects (aphids, thrips, whiteflies, spider mites, immature leafhoppers, etc), look for natural sprays that have an insecticidal soap as the main active ingredient. Insecticidal soap is a fatty acid derived from animal fat; it’s not a detergent like household soap. When sprayed directly on an insect, it weakens the cellular structure of the insect’s exoskeleton, causing it to die. Some plants have adverse reactions to insecticidal soaps so you should test out the soap on a small portion of the plant and wait 48 hours to see how the plant reacts. It’s also advisable to avoid spraying plants in the heat of the day.
Diatomaceous earth can be used in the garden to make life difficult for newly emerged Japanese beetles or cutworms. In dry weather, DE spread beneath plants will kill slugs. DE becomes less effective when wet and is most useful in dry situations — for example, puffing it into crevices where cockroaches have been seen or using as a flea dust on pets. More about DE here.
Use sticky traps for mature insects. You can buy or make colored sticky traps that target specific pests. To make a sticky trap, paint a 4’’x6’’ piece of rigid material the desired color. Cover the trap with a clear plastic bag or plastic wrap and then coat the plastic in a sticky substance, such as Tangle-Trap. When a trap is covered in bugs, replace the plastic and recoat with the sticky substance. Traps should be placed plant-height every 3-5 feet. A mix of white traps and yellow traps are said to attract many common insect pests, such as whiteflies, cucumber beetles, winged aphids, and leafhoppers.
Here’s an all-purpose spray for leaf-eating insects, if you’re a DIY sort of person. Please note that this recipe contains garlic, onion, and hot pepper and so can irritate eyes and skin; use appropriate protection when mixing and applying. The spray can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. As with all pesticides, it’s a good idea to spot test on a leaf before applying to entire plant. Also, there are many variations of this recipe, so you may find one with a different ingredient ratio that works better for you.
· Chop 1 garlic bulb and 1 small onion in a blender
· Add 1 tsp of powdered cayenne pepper
· Add mixture to 1 qt of water and steep 1 hour
· Strain liquid through cheesecloth and add 1 tbsp of liquid dish soap
· Put liquid in spray bottle and shake to mix
· Spray onto those pesky bugs!
Growing vegetables from seed takes effort, but there are advantages for the home gardener. You'll find more varieties are available in seeds than from starter plants; you get more plants for your dollar; and you'll know where the plants have been from Day 1.
In addition, some vegetables don't like to be transplanted. These vegetables include most root crops, like carrots, beets, and turnips. They're cold-hardy vegetables, so you can direct seed them pretty early anyway. Crops like corn, beans, and peas are also finicky about transplanting and grow better when you direct-seed.
Summer squash like zucchini can go either way; the growth is so rapid that many people just plant the seeds outdoors after the soil warms up—but you can buy them as starter plants if you like.
The soil temperature is different than the growing temperature. That is why many cole crops are started indoors. For straight to the ground planting soil temperature should be:
You can take soil temperature with any glass bulb thermometer. Use a screwdriver to make a pilot hole. Take your measurement at the recommended planting depth for your seed. If you’re measuring for a mixed garden, check at least 5-6 inches deep. Take a reading in the morning and late afternoon, then average the two numbers. If you’re seeding a lawn, take readings on all four sides of your house, since some areas warm more quickly than others.
Beans, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach and other cole crops can be started from seed in August if you'd like fresh vegetables in the fall. But, we suggest purchasing the seed now as varieties can get hard to find in late summer.
One of the most common reasons a seed fails to sprout is sowing too deeply; a seed has only enough food within itself for a limited period of growth and a tiny seed sown too deeply soon expends that energy and dies before it can reach the surface. Another common cause is watering. Seeds need a supply of moisture and air in the soil around them. Keeping the soil too wet drives out the air and the seed quickly rots, whereas insufficient water causes the tender seedling to dry out and die.
Hey, if it was too easy, everybody would do it.
This spring has been relatively dry, but the amount of moisture in the ground does have an impact on seed success. Too much water can cause seeds to rot before they germinate. So how do you know if your soil is to wet? Here are some tips from The Old Farmer's Almanac.
Properly applied weed control is one of the most cost-effective management practices available to pasture farmers. Late winter through early spring is the time to evaluate your fields for weed infestation.
The University of Arkansas Extension Service has a great reference book listing weeds common in Arkansas pastures (and lawns) complete with appropriate chemical treatment. Click here to download.
A WORD OF CAUTION
Pesticides commonly found in lawn and garden products and used in agriculture are known to be hazardous to bees –some killing bees outright and others with subtle effects that reduce a bee’s ability to thrive.
Approximately 90 percent of all flowering plants require pollinators to survive. In agriculture, nearly a third of pollination is accomplished by honeybees. Cucumbers, almonds, carrots, melons, apricots, cherries, pears, apples, prunes, plums, cantaloupe, onions, avocados, kiwi, blueberries, cranberries and more depend on honeybee pollination.
The most serious poisonings occur when honey that collect pesticide-contaminated pollen or nectar and transport these materials to the hive. Pesticide dusts (e.g., Sevin) and encapsulated pesticides are especially dangerous. These pesticides can adhere to foraging honey bees, are transported to the hive, and stored for long periods of time. Such pesticides may cause honey bee mortality in the hive for several months.
Ways to Reduce Honey Bee Poisoning
Gardening is growing! More and more Americans are getting dirt under their fingernails, with nearly 1/3 of the nation’s homeowners growing vegetables in gardens and containers. In fact, according to the National Gardening Association, home vegetable gardening has grown by 28% from 2008 to 2013. We have now reached the highest level of home vegetable production since World War II, when 20 million homeowners had Victory Gardens that produced close to 40 percent of the fresh produce consumed in the United States. Here are some of the reasons people should (and do!) plant vegetable gardens each year.
Gardening is “green.” One of the reasons for the current increase in vegetable gardens is connected to the greater interest in “green” and “organic,” especially in the new generation of young adults. Whether you have a personal priority of being “green” or not, gardening does give you greater control over how your foods are being produced, and you can reap the benefits of fresh and safe vegetables for your family.
Gardening is exercise. Gardening activities provide both cardio and aerobic exercise. Mowing the grass is like taking a vigorous walk. Bending and stretching to work the garden compares to an exercise class. Hauling plants and soil is similar to weightlifting. An hour of moderate gardening can burn 300-400 calories.
Gardening for beauty. Adding a container of colorful flowers to a patio brightens the spirit. Trees and shrubs can add color and shade, but they also provide shelter for birds and wildlife. If you think of the garden as an extra room to be enjoyed, then gardening can be part of how you beautify that “room.”
Gardening to learn. People learn to garden by reading, by listening to the advice of others and by simply getting out there and doing it. As you work with plants, you build your gardening knowledge. That’s because every plant problem is an opportunity to learn a new solution. Avid gardeners are always learning.
Gardening to make money is fifth on the list. Your love of plants and experience in gardening can lead to a rewarding job at a local garden center or a large landscape firm. It could even turn into an independent business or career of your own! Whether growing flowers, vegetables, or herbs, there are always opportunities to sell your produce at local farmer's markets or craft shows. Plus, gardening and landscaping as an investment in your property can add to the resale value by as much as 15 percent. The added 'curb appeal' of well-planned and maintained landscaping could be the thing that makes the sale.
Gardening to meet people. Gardening is a great way to expand your social circle. Whether it's the neighbor next door or an Internet pal on the other side of the world, most gardeners love to talk about their plants. Meeting others through garden clubs and sharing surplus produce is an easy way to share information, ask questions, and make friends.
Gardening is art. Gardening provides an outlet for creative, artistic expression. Create the serene, contemplative mood of a Japanese garden. Plan and plant for the romantic feel of a cottage garden. Whatever you choose, let your creativity flow.
Gardening to win. For people with a competitive side, gardening can be a friendly way to show off your husbandry skills. 4-H clubs promote gardening for kids, offering educational opportunities and recognition of accomplishment through healthy competition.
Gardening for emotional health. The quiet of the garden can be therapeutic when life is noisy and hectic. Pulling weeds can be a great stress reliever. A healthy harvest provides a sense of achievement and success. Plus, the beauty of a bouquet can bring a smile to your face or communicate to someone else, “I love you.”
Gardening for lasting memories. Finally, gardening is an activity that can be shared with children and grandchildren. Memories of the garden are special and cherished. Share with your kids and grandkids the joy of cutting a bouquet of flowers for a gift or tasting the sweetness of a cherry tomato picked right from the plant in Grandpa's garden.
Article inspired by: Martha A. Smith, Extension Educator, Horticulture, firstname.lastname@example.org
Our 2016 batch of garden seeds has arrived and includes many varieties of heirloom plants. From beans to cantaloupe to flowers and tomatoes - you're sure to find an old favorite here.
An heirloom plant is one that was commonly grown during earlier periods in human history, but is not used in large-scale agriculture. They are enjoyed by gardeners that want to taste the many varieties of vegetables. They are not genetically modified plants and seeds saved from your crop will reproduce.
Click here to view the complete list of heirloom seeds available.
Most of us are not farmers or ranchers, but nearly all of us grow a specific type of crop every year. Grass is the most widely cultivated vegetation in the world. Grasses with starchy seeds (grains) are the main food sources for many humans and animals. Even beer and ale are made from grasses. Although not cultivated for a salable crop, well-kept lawns have long been a source of pride and satisfaction.
Open grassy areas around medieval castles were kept free of trees so no one could approach unnoticed, but the grass lawn deliberately kept short and green for aesthetic purposes seems to have originated in England during the 1600s. These early lawns were quite large and had to be mowed by hand with a scythe. Only the wealthy could afford to devote a large piece of land to useless grass, not to mention the expense of paying workers to maintain it, so a lawn was a status symbol.
Another factor in developing the lawn was the popularity of “lawn” sports like bowling and golf. Again, the wealthy enjoyed playing these games near their homes and needed a level playing area. Cultivating grass for a flat, even turf rather than for grain became common.
When European immigrants came to North America, they brought with them the idea of a lawn. People wanted to implement in their new lives what they had seen the wealthy do. With industrialization, the spread of suburbs and new inventions like the cylinder mower, lawns were easier and less expensive to maintain, and therefore more feasible for the average person.
By the early 1900s, lawns were fairly common but still a sign of a well-to-do household. During the Great Depression cultural standards associated with lawns began to change; people who had been able to afford fancy lawns had to cut back while those with more modest yards where able to maintain their standards. Then during WWII, people were encouraged to keep their lawns neat as a sign of endurance and patriotism.
The modern lawn is said to have been truly established with the development of Levittown, NY, the first subdivision built with already existing lawns. From the late 1940s to early 1950s, Levitt and his sons built more than 17,000 homes and each one had its own lawn. These homes were largely built to accommodate returning GIs and their families. And so the green lawn, once only available to European aristocracy, became the standard for every American home.
There are thousands of different types of algae, ranging from microscopic organisms to giant kelp 100 feet long. Most algae are beneficial to the ecosystems in which they are found, but if they become too numerous they can cause serious problems, choking out other forms of life. In our area, sun-loving pond algae often cause concern as the summer heats up.
Algae are very sensitive to outside factors, like temperature and chemicals, and can outgrow, suffocate, or even poison other organisms when the algae growth suddenly takes off in what is called an algae bloom. Fortunately, there are several ways to manage algae and keep your ponds healthy.
Many people use chemicals to manage algae. Copper has been used for many years as a chemical tool in freshwater farm ponds and aquaculture operations. It is both an effective algicide and a parasite treatment. The problem with the use of copper is that there is a thin line that separates effective treatment levels from overdoses, which can kill fish. Insects, snails, frogs, and fish can all be killed by algaecides if they are too concentrated. These creatures are all part of a healthy ecosystem and help keep algae in check naturally. If they are killed along with the algae, the next generation of algae will return even stronger. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fa008 for more information.
One of the most benign tools for algae management is pond dye. As the name implies it is a vegetable based dye that blocks some of the ultraviolet light that stimulates algae growth. The shade from pond dye reduces algae growth and underwater (submerged) plant growth.
Barley Straw is a natural alternative in decorative garden and fish ponds. A clear netting holds the barley together without detracting from or harming the pond plants and fish. When barley straw is put into water, its cellular structure starts to break down or decompose. A microbial activity process drives this breakdown or decomposition. It is during this process that chemicals are released which inhibit the growth of algae.
Another option is to physically remove algae from the water. For smaller ponds, you can pull on your boots and manually collect algae into buckets. For larger ponds, you may want to use special equipment designed for collecting algae. Although the process is labor-intensive it has proven to be effective. You will also have the added benefit of no chemicals in your pond and less nutrients for future algae.
If harvesting sounds like a hassle, then adding more plants to your pond may be the way you should go. Encouraging aquatic wildflowers in and around a pond is actually one of the best ways to manage algae. Plants like water lilies help shade the pond, dropping the water temperature and slowing algae growth. Submerged aquatic plants like pond grasses will compete with the algae for light and nutrients. When both types of plants are used together, algae growth can be substantially reduced. Also, aquatic plants provide homes for dragonflies and frogs, and many have colorful blooms that attract butterflies. For those of you who enjoy gardening, this is a great opportunity to expand your gardening repertoire.
Although you use fertilizers to encourage plant growth on land, you may also be fertilizing the algae in your pond. Algae are VERY sensitive to fertilizers. In fact, run-off loaded with fertilizers may be one of the leading causes of algae blooms in ponds. Implementing sustainable landscapes and practices on your land will go far in managing algae. Here are a few tips to help get you started.
Deer season is in full swing and bag limits are generous, so what to do with all that fresh venison? Well, one tasty option is to make your own deer sausage. You may be a little leery of commercially produced sausage because of the somewhat uncertain ingredients. But if you make your own sausage, you control the quality of the meats, the type of spices and fillers, and the amount of salt and fat. We have the equipment and supplies you need to create your culinary masterpiece.
Sausage-making has been around for thousands of years. Originally, sausage served the dual purpose of preserving meat and making lesser cuts palatable. Meat was too valuable to simply throw away, so butchers would chop up various leftover bits like connective tissues, organs, blood, and fat, then salt it generously to help preserve it, and stuff it into tubular casing made from cleaned animal intestines. The sausage would then be further preserved by curing, drying, or smoking.
Over the millennia that sausage has been around, the process has been refined into an art form.
Different regions of different countries have their own specific varieties of sausage that range from the beloved American hotdog to spicy Mexican chorizo to a fish-based Asian sausage, and nearly every imaginable combination in between. Believe it or not, there are even vegan tofu varieties. Also, although some people prefer natural casings, there are now collagen, cellulose, and even plastic casings that are commonly used instead of intestines.
Stop by Gregg Farm Services to get some ideas and supplies and then get to experimenting; the sky’s the limit!
By mid-March, purple martins should be returning from their wintering grounds in Brazil and they will be looking for a place to nest. Martins traditionally use tree cavities for nesting, but they now primarily nest in housing provided by humans. However, Purple Martins are notoriously choosy when it comes to nesting so there are a few things you need to keep in mind when choosing and installing martin houses.
The first thing to consider is location. Martin do like being near humans (perhaps because they know that humans keep away predators) but not too near. A good estimate for placing a Martin house in proximity to your own home or barn is no further than 100 feet but no closer than 30 feet. Martins also like open areas so you should pick the area of your yard with fewest trees and try to provide 40-60 feet of open air space in at least a couple directions.
After choosing a good location, it’s time to choose the right Martin house. There are two main types of houses, the multi-room house and the gourd system (both can be combined on the same pole). When choosing a multi-room house, it’s advisable to get a light-colored aluminum house because it will stay cooler on hot sunny days. An advantage of hanging gourd houses is that they sway in the wind, which does not bother Martins but will discourage Starlings and House Sparrows from nesting.
Once you have installed your Purple Martin housing you can leave it alone until fall cleaning. However, with more active maintenance, you can increase the nesting success and number of Martins.
Mid-afternoon on warm and calm days, check houses for pests like unwanted nesters, predators, and blowfly infestations. It is VERY IMPORTANT to return the house to the same height and orientation after each inspection; mark the pole with permanent marker so you can return the house to the same vertical and horizontal position. The house should never be tilted after nesting has started in order to avoid damaging eggs and young. Keep in mind that it is normal for not all eggs to hatch or all nestlings to fledge. You can, however, aid nesting success by placing crushed eggshell and mealworms on platforms near the Martin houses. The eggshells facilitate calcium and egg production, and the meal worms are a tasty snack.
Mowing a lawn isn’t as simple as cutting grass. There is a science to it. Some would even say it’s an art form.
Take a look at your grass blades after a recent mowing. Roughly-cut or brown edges indicate a problem. Jagged edges generally mean that your mower blades are too dull. You can have them sharpened at our shop or get new ones, if need be. If your mower blades are properly maintained but the tips of your grass are brown, it may be that you’ve been cutting the grass too short.
As a general rule, you should set your mower height so that you cut off no more than 1/3 of the grass blade length at a time. And, a higher grass height will guard against your mower blades scraping hidden rocks.
Taking off more than 1/3 is called scalping. Scalping can sunburn your grass by suddenly exposing shaded areas to the light. If you’ve missed a few mowings and the yard looks a little like a jungle, it can be very tempting to just cut it all down. Don’t.
So how tall should your grass be?As a general rule, grass should be shorter in cool weather and longer in hot weather. Short grass (1 ¼“ to 2”) in the spring allows excess rain to run off instead of pooling; long grass (3” to 4”) in the summer offers shade and moisture retention; short grass (1 ¼“ to 2”) in the winter prevents grass from matting under snow and so helps prevent fungi problems in the spring.
When you mow, the grass is bent over in the direction that the mower is moving. If you mow in the same direction every time you cut the grass, the grass will be less and less likely to spring back up, and you will probably also develop wheel ruts in the your lawn. So, if you want a lush, springy lawn, alternating the direction you mow every time will prevent bent grass. However, if you like patterned lawns, use bent grass to your advantage. Keep in mind that some types of grass are more suited to
pattern mowing than others.
Clinger birds include those with strong feet that make it easy for them to run up and down a tree trunk or to grasp small surfaces to retrieve an insect or gnat. Chickadees, Nuthatches and the Titmouse are referred to as the "polite" birds, as they often take one seed, fly off and eat or store it then come back for another seed.
Across the United States, Chickadees are frequent backyard visitors. In fact, they are often the first visitors to a new feeder. The most common Chickadees include the Black-Capped and Carolina. Place a nest box near a wooded area and it may become a home to a brood of six chicks. The youngsters are perfect miniatures of Mom and Dad, complete with caps and bibs. Chickadee nests are easy to identify, since they always use a nest box or natural cavity. The nest is a cup of woven grass lined with soft green moss. Chickadees are exciting and entertaining to watch and are well worth the effort to attract into your backyard.
These are small, stout, tree-climbers with strong woodpecker-like bills and strong feet. They have sturdy, square-cut tails, but don’t use them for bracing like woodpeckers do. They habitually go down trees head first. Most common Nuthatches include: the White-Breasted and Red-Breasted. Also seen in parts of the United States are: Brown-Headed and an often confused cousin, the Brown Creeper. Nuthatches will utilize houses and will come to feeders.
Actually the Chickadees are a member of this family. The Tufted Titmouse is the most common. It is a small, gray, mouse color bird. Many say it looks like a miniature cardinal. It has a distinctive “Peter-Peter-Peter” call.
These chisel-billed, wood boring birds have stiff spring tails that act as props when climbing. Red-Headed, Red-Bellied, Pileated (the original “Woody Woodpecker”), Downey, and Hairy Woodpecker, and their cousins, the Northern Flicker and Yellow- Bellied Sapsucker are the most common backyard visitors.
Like most other birds you want to attract, the Clingers love black oil sunflower seeds, or better yet, hulled out sunflower kernels. What’s good is that their clinging ability lets you provide sunflower kernels in feeders like the “Clingers Only™” that other birds have trouble using. Provide peanuts or tree nut pieces, and every “Clinger” in the neighborhood will make sure they stop and visit you!! High-Energy Suet is a favorite of “Clingers”. Either provide the white suet from a butcher, or present one of the available cakes. The best cakes are those that contain only suet, peanuts, and peanut butter!! As “Clingers” can hang on a suet log feeder, suet logs are a great way to feed “Clingers”. Often, this is the most used feeder in a backyard!
For gardeners with rototillers or those who are considering renting or buying one, here are some tips to make the tilling job much easier.
Tilling the garden will be easier if you leave an untilled row between passes. Wide turns are easier to make with a tiller than "about faces." Also, the machine won't pull itself and you toward the next row, which it tends to do if you come close to overlapping rows.
When tilling heavy clay soils or breaking ground for a new garden, reduce the tiller's engine speed so that it turns the soil more thoroughly with less bucking and bouncing.
When tilling ground for the first time, don't try to work it to the maximum depth in the first pass. The first time around, set the brake stake to half the desired depth. Then set it for full depth and go over the ground a second time.
Till only when the soil is slightly dry and easily crumbled. Tilling when it's too wet leaves large clods which become rock-hard when dry. Mud clumps clinging to tiller blades upset its balance, causing undue wear on you and the tiller.
Beef cattle require a diet rich in minerals for optimum health and growth. Unfortunately, the soil conditions may not provide the proper nutrients if you rely on forage and feed alone. You can provide a free-choice mineral supplement to cows in the field, or you can add it directly to their feed to ensure they get proper nutrition for development and reproduction.
Mineral supplements are the most expensive of all the nutrient supplements. It is also fed in the smallest quantities. Pound for pound, they may very well have the greatest impact on cow performance. This makes the use of a good quality, palatable, loose mineral product an effective, cost-efficient means of delivering adequate vitamin and mineral supplementation to your cattle. Intake is often targeted at two to four ounces per head daily.
The best method for ensuring the proper dose of supplement is top dressing. After preparing the feed in troughs, sprinkle the supplement over the top as if you are salting food. This ensures that cattle take in a sufficient amount of the supplement as they eat.
Feeding free choice (allowing cattle to feed at will) is less time-consuming for the rancher. If you find the cattle are consuming more than 4 oz of mineral daily, this indicates a craving for salt. Satisfy their need by putting stock salt near the mineral. This will save the mineral for more of the herd.
Minerals are critical to development, such as during the spring, when natural magnesium deficiencies in forage can lead to dangerous health conditions like grass tetany. This is especially critical for spring calving herds, but can also occur in fall and winter.
Ground Hog Day – good time to start onion and leek seeds under grow lights.
Fat Tuesday – Call Terry for a fertilizer quote. Late winter is a great time to treat your pasture. Remember soil samples can be dropped at Gregg Farms. Instructions on our website, greggfarmservices.com
Chick Day 2/10/16 – our first hatch of baby chicks
arrive; pre-ordered chicks are eligible for a 10% discount; talk to Paul now. complete list on our website.
Super Bowl Sunday Apply a pre-emergent to your lawn and prevent crab grass and dandelions. Pre-emergents don’t actually kill seeds, just keep them from germinating, so it needs to be done well before signs of growth.
Valentine’s Day – all jewelry, belts, accessories and purses will be on sale in February for Valentine’s Day!
Arkansas Pondstockers resumes fish delivery this month. Watch our facebook page for an exact date.
President’s Day – good time to start lettuce, celery, and early tomato seedlings under grow lights.
Last Day of February - start broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower & brussel sprout seeds indoor under grow lights.
Purple Martin Migration – Time to put up your martin house. They start arriving in early March.
Daylight Savings Begins – good time to clean up any leaves from the yard; thatch yard as needed; start shopping now for pre-emergent weed killers and grub killers for the lawn.
Chick Day – 03/9/16 second hatch of the year; contact Paul to place a special order for chicks.
St. Patrick’s Day – as soon as soil is workable, begin
planting seed potatoes and onion sets.
First Day of Spring – on a mild year, the first hummingbirds can be seen as early as the first day of spring.
Coldframe Planting – if you have a protected outdoor spot, you can begin transplanting some colder season plants, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower or brussel sprouts.
Last Day of March – start looking for the first Monarch butterflies of the season; time to make plans to get your
garden up and growing soon!
This time of year, with fall-time grilling and cold weather coming, Gregg Farms employees are filling propane tanks multiple times every day. We’ve recently made some improvements at our filling station, including a drive through lane that will accommodate mounted on RV’s.
What’s the history of propane tank filling? It used to be that taking the propane tank from your BBQ grill to a local refilling station was your only option. But service-minded people came up with a plan to market pre-filled propane tanks at various convenient locations, and the tank exchange services came on the scene. And the idea makes some pretty good sense. Tank exchange services are quick and convenient. Propane exchanges can be found at neighborhood gas stations, grocers and hardware stores. So, let’s say you run out of gas in the middle of a BBQ. Not a problem. Just make a quick trip to the store at the corner, swap the tank, and get back to grilling. Plus, if your tank is rusted, leaking or simply in poor shape, you’ll end up with a newer tank for “free” when you make the exchange. The propane company that provides the exchange service will be responsible to repair the old tank or take it out of service. So you can come out pretty good on a deal like that.
So, why should I REFILL my tank? There are a few reasons why you might be better off to let us fill your tank, instead of making an exchange. In most cases, our refill service will save you money. In addition to a low, per gallon rate, there are other reasons why it usually works out better for your pocket.
“Is this old tank empty yet?” It is hard to judge how much gas is left in a propane tank, and to avoid a mid-BBQ drama, or a cold night in the middle of January, most people don’t want to wait until the tank is completely empty. With the exchange service, this results in giving back a tank that might still have a few pounds of propane in it, while paying the full exchange rate for your next tank. At Gregg Farm Services, we will add to your tank whatever amount you need and only charge you for the amount that we add to your tank.
“How do I know this new tank is really full?” When propane prices peaked a few years ago, many exchanges started selling tanks with only 15 lbs of propane, in order to try to keep from raising their refill exchange prices. But 15lbs is less than a full tank. Do you know for sure whether or not the exchange tank you are receiving is a “full” tank … or is it only about ¾ of a full charge? At Gregg Farm Services, when you pay for a 20 lb tank refill … you get 20 lbs. When you pay for a 100 lb tank refill … you get 100 lbs.
Short on cash? Since we fill your tank with whatever amount you need, if you can’t afford a complete refill of your tank right now, we will just sell you what you really need … to fit your budget. We do not have a minimum purchase.
Are tank exchanges a good idea? They can be very convenient. And there may be times you would prefer to use the tank exchange system. But if you want to make sure you get the most for your money every time, come to Gregg’s. Normally it just takes a few minutes. So when it comes to propane, Gregg’s will save you money.
Farming doesn’t stop in the winter; animals still need to be fed, chores completed, fences repaired. Here are some reminders for ranchers (and property owners) who are working out in the cold.
Article adapted from University of Maine website(umaine.edu)
Hummingbirds and Orioles have departed for Central and South America, and the Martins have gone to Brazil, but the Juncos will soon be hopping on the ground under the feeders and a wide variety of Sparrows will be joining our local residents. Keep an eye out for American Tree, White Throated, White Crowed, Savannah and Fox Sparrows.
One common occurrence in fall is that one day no birds will be at your feeder but then the next day, the birds are feeding like there’s no tomorrow. There won’t be a tomorrow if they don’t quickly build up body stores of fat. Birds start “feeding frenzies” when their internal clock is triggered by cooler weather and shorter days. The frenzy is called hyperphagia.
To help birds the most in fall and winter, feed them foods which have the highest energy per bite. Feeding suet really gives birds an energy boost per bite. Other high energy foods include sunflower hearts (42 fat calories per 100 grams), peanuts and tree nut pieces (412 fat calories per 100 grams), black oil sunflower (354 calories) and nyjer thistle seed (342 calories).
by Mark Keaton, Extension News 10/21/15
Cattlemen should look out for johnsongrass, sudangrass, and other members of sorghum genus in October. It is usually in October that the first killing frost visits Arkansas. Crops such as johnsongrass, sudangrass, sorghum-sudangrass, grain sorghum, and sorgo types sorghums are very sensitive to temperatures below 32 degrees F. Plant cells of these crops are damaged by frost and hydrocyanic acid (HCN) or prussic acid is formed.
There is a chance that cattle may be killed by eating only a few pounds of forage from plants belonging to the sorghum genus if the plants have been killed by frost. The same crops are considered safe prior to frost if they are properly fed.
Hydrocyanic acid (HCN) is more abundant in sorghum leaves than in stems. Since young shoots and suckers consist mainly of leaves, they are more hazardous to feed than mature plants that contain large stems. Said another way, stems dilute the harmful effects of this potentially lethal compound found in sorghum leaves.
HCN released by frost is volatile and vaporizes quickly from frosted sorghum plants. Therefore, it is considered safe for grazing after having thawed from a killing frost for 7-10 days.
During October a light frost may occur that “burns back” only the uppermost leaves of sorghum plants. The lower leaves may remain green until a harder frost occurs several days later. Sometimes suckers will develop at the base of these plants. If cattle are removed from such fields immediately after frost and then returned five days later, they may selectively graze the young shoots only. When this occurs, there is a danger that cattle will consume high levels of the HCN from this leafy tissue and be killed.
Historically, only a few cattle have been killed in October as a result of eating sorghum that has been killed by frost. However, the producer should be aware of this hazard. By using some of the following precautions one may reduce the likelihood of poisoning cattle that consume sorghum forage and johnsongrass.
Each time a non-killing frost occurs on living sorghum crops, remove the cattle from these fields for fourteen days.
Do not graze frost-damaged sorghum or johnsongrass for at least seven days after the first killing frost. It is best to delay grazing until the frosted material is completely dried out and paper brown colored. Do not graze at night when frost is likely.
Do not harvest or feed drought-damaged plants in any form within four days following a good rain regardless of height. It is during this period of rapid growth that an accumulation of HCN in the young tissue and of nitrates in the stems is most likely to occur.
Removing leaves is a fall ritual that improves curb appeal, and helps build a healthy lawn.
A leaf blower is most effective for gathering leaves into large piles, to be removed with a tarp or by hand. Don’t expect to blow every last leaf off your lawn with a leaf blower. That can be quite tedious. Plan to follow up with a leaf rake at the end to get the stragglers.
Eye protection is an absolute must when operating a leaf blower, which blows stuff around at high velocity.
The vacuum mode of a leaf blower is best reserved for smaller and less accessible jobs, where a leaf rake would be difficult to use. Use it for leaves that have been trapped around rocks, at the bases of fences, or in the tight spots around your house. It’s also handy for getting leaves off your deck, or for removing small amounts of dirt and grass clippings from your drive.
Dry leaves are easier to remove with a blower than wet leaves. If you aim your blower at a leaf pile and it barely budges, it's probably too wet and you should reschedule this chore. If you can, remove your leaves on a day when the wind is blowing in the direction you want them to go, or on a day that is still. You’ll find that doing otherwise is seriously counter-productive.
Decide where you want your leaves to ultimately land. Place a tarp or old bedsheet at that point. You'll be able to easily move the leaves to your compost heap.
Work in one direction to avoid blowing leaves into an area you’ve already worked through.
Hold the blower at your side and point the front end at the ground at a shallow angle. Use a smooth back-and-forth motion as you walk slowly with the leaf blower in front of you.
Leaf blowers work best on flimsy debris like fallen leaves and grass clippings. But there are other uses for your blower:
Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilized shells of diatoms. This chalk-like powder is microscopically very hard, coarse, and absorbent, which makes it useful for many things such as: flea control, dewormer, beauty aid, deodorizer, and in your garden. Search the internet and you'll find hundreds of uses for DE.
DE is most effective when dry because the diatoms will vigorously absorb unwanted spills and smells, or dehydrate insects. However, there are also circumstances, where a wet application is needed. Either way, DE will be effective once it dries.
When applying diatomaceous earth (or any fine dust) in large amounts, you should wear gloves, a face mask, and protective goggles. This is to prevent irritation to the skin, eyes, and lungs
This site, https://www.diatomaceousearth.com/ is full of information about DE.
A Natural Deodorizer
Non –Toxic Cleanser and Absorbent
Pets and Livestock
A Glorious Garden
Easy Beauty Secrets
Deer management in Arkansas began in 1916, when a legislative act established a hunting season of 61 days for deer, turkey and bear that lasted from Nov. 11 through Jan. 10. The newly established deer season was accompanied by a bag limit of two buck deer. At that time the statewide deer population was approximately 2,000.
The development of state and federal game refuges in the late 1920s was vital for re-establishing Arkansas’s deer population. Stocking efforts were initiated and continued for approximately 20 years on the refuges. In addition to restocking efforts, restrictions on season length and bag limits became an important facet of deer management.
The passage of Amendment 35 in 1944 placed the management responsibilities and regulation of all wildlife resources under the authority of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. By 1985, the deer population was estimated at 500,000 animals (most living in the city limits of Bull Shoals). Management emphasis shifted from herd growth to stabilization. As either-sex deer hunting opportunity continued to increase in the 1990s, the public grew more accepting of doe harvest.
The three-point rule was implemented in 1998 as an attempt to reduce yearling buck harvest and improve buck age structure. During the late 1990s the AGFC implemented additional deer hunting restrictions, increased research efforts, developed a new deer management plan and initiated the Deer Management Assistance Program.
The Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) provides technical assistance to landowners and hunting clubs to improve deer populations. Biologists work with land managers to assess habitat quality and the potential to support a healthy, well-balanced deer herd. They evaluate historic, present and future deer management efforts and meet with clubs and land managers to explain options and expected results. They also train club members to correctly collect data on harvested and observed deer.
For more info, contact the AGFC regional office nearest the private land or club land to be managed.
There's nothing like crisp, cool air to get you excited for the changing seasons. Your pet, too, is probably welcoming the break from hot, sticky weather. But beware—fall is also a time of lurking dangers for our furry friends.
The use of rodenticides increases in the fall as rodents seek shelter from the cooler temperatures by attempting to move indoors. Rodenticides are highly toxic to pets—if ingested, the results could be fatal. If you must use these products, do so with extreme caution and put them in places inaccessible to your pets.
Fall and spring and are mushroom seasons. While 99% of mushrooms have little or no toxicity, the 1% that are highly toxic can cause life-threatening problems in pets. Unfortunately, most of the highly toxic mushrooms are difficult to distinguish from the nontoxic ones, so the best way to keep pets from ingesting poisonous mushrooms is to keep them away from areas where any mushrooms are growing.
Autumn is the season when snakes who are preparing for hibernation may be particularly “grumpy,” increasing the possibility of severe bites to those unlucky pups who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Pet owners should know what kinds of venomous snakes may be in their environment—and where these snakes are most likely to be found—so they can keep pets out of those areas.
Many people choose fall as the time to change their car's engine coolant. Ethylene glycol-based coolants are highly toxic, so spills should be cleaned up immediately. Consider switching to propylene glycol-based coolants—though they aren't completely nontoxic, they are much less toxic than other engine coolants.
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