Monday, October 16, 2017

Home Grown: Identifying Emerald Ash Borer


As fall's colors emerge, it's hard to miss the striking gold and purple leaves of ash trees lining streets and roads in many Midwestern U.S. states. However, when emerald ash borer arrives, many ash trees planted in towns, cities and conservation plantings could be lost.
     
First detected in southeast Michigan in 2002, emerald ash borer, or EAB, is an exotic beetle that attacks and kills all native ash species, including white, green, black and autumn purple ash. To date, the beetle is present in 31 U.S. states as well as two Canadian provinces and has killed about 200 million ash trees.

Continued in... Identifying Emerald Ash Borer

Home Grown
Pest Control
Home and Garden Center
Artwork: Emerald Ash Borer


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Rural Delivery: A Bite Most Deadly




by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1995. All rights reserved.

Some folks are afraid of spiders, others snakes. Lightning puts the fear of God in many of us, and so do earthquakes, tornadoes and dark moonless nights. Living in the country presents many special worries, like the threat of wildfire or the potential for flash floods. More cars collide with wild animals on rural roads than city lanes and the chances of eating a poisonous mushroom or contracting the deadly hantavirus are much greater off the beaten path. But there is no threat so terrifying in rural places, or as fatally serious as rabies.

Growing up, I learned to keep a wary eye on grape arbors and tall, dark hedges of lilacs lest some crazed bat should emerge, grab hold of my hair, bite my scalp and infect me with rabies. Older cousins planted a terror of rabies in my pre-school mind with accounts of the terrible vaccination shots in the belly that bat bite victims had to endure and how, more often than not, the bitten person went crazy and was committed to an asylum, ranting and raving and foaming at the mouth.

Continued at... A Bite Most Deadly

Rural Delivery
Animal Husbandry
Out There
Artwork: Mad Dog

Home Grown: Composting Yard Waste


While it may seem easy to put those raked leaves and other yard waste in plastic bags and toss them out as garbage, composting can be just as easy and much better for the environment.

"Many landfills no longer even accept leaves or garden wastes," notes Bill Lamont, professor of vegetable crops at Penn State.  "Composting may be the easiest way for homeowners to dispose of them."

Composting decomposes organic matter into a dark, crumbly material similar to humus. Finished compost provides nutrients and helps soil retain water by increasing the valuable organic matter in the lawn and garden. Compost is a valuable soil conditioner that can be used in gardens, around trees and on lawns.

Continued in... Composting Yard Waste

Home Grown
Composters
Fertilizers and Compost
Here's How To... Compost
Artwork: Composting


Friday, September 29, 2017

Rural Delivery: Privy to Privies


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1995. All rights reserved.

Live long enough and many of the everyday skills and experiences you take for granted become virtually obsolete, like operating a manual transmission or dialing a rotary phone.
   
Outhouses are like that. You don't see many privies any more, even on the most remote farmsteads, and few folks can claim to have sat in one.

I'm not talking about those industrial "Johnny-on-the-Jobsite" rental toilets or even the Forest Service's government-issue campground restrooms. True outhouses are homebuilt wood-plank structures with personalized features like crescent moons cut into the door or a shelf for the Sears and Roebuck catalog.

Continued at... Privy to Privies

Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Farm Supply
Artwork: Billy Jacobs Morning Commute

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Rural Delivery: Yellow and Ripe with Autumn


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1996. All rights reserved.

The urgency of spring sprouting and the rush of summer growth has given way to a time of laid-back fulfillment. Eggs have hatched and fledglings are now on the wing. Seeds and fruits and nuts and pods are well on their way to completion. Summer is ripe and ready for harvest.

"Live in each season as it passes, breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each... Grow green with spring, yellow and ripe with autumn."

Such was the sage advice of Henry David Thoreau. One hundred sixty years later I find common ground in the truth he tilled. It is not just the crops in the field we gather this time of year, but those in our souls as well.

Continued at... Yellow and Ripe with Autumn

Rural Delivery
The Nature Pages
Outgoing
Artwork: Yellow Autumn Grass and Sunset

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Rural Delivery: Boundary Art


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2002. All rights reserved.

Some people make a personal statement through their clothes or in the choice of car or truck they drive; some wear a particular style of hat or cut their hair in some unique fashion.

Other folks, particularly in rural America, express themselves by decorating their mailboxes.

Travel almost any rural two-lane still frequented by farm machinery and you're likely to come across mailboxes painted with flowers and flags and animals and astrological symbols. Some mailboxes simply have the owner's name scrawled across one side, while others are ornately decorated with bright colors or sculpted in the shape of houses, barns and old railroad engines.

Continued at... Boundary Art

Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Collectibles
Artwork: Tractor Mailbox

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rural Delivery: Equinox


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1994. All rights reserved.

We lie on the brink of change. Great storms are brewing. This is the week of equinox, when the Earth stands up straight to the sun before it begins to tilt again, northern hemisphere tipping outward.
   
At this moment everything hangs in balance. The hours of day and night are nearly even. There's some powerful physics at play.

Equinoxes are times of special powers. Calendars are created around them; crops are planted by them.

Continued at... Equinox

Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Holidays and Notable Events
Artwork: Precession of the Equinoxes