Saturday, August 29, 2009

Recipe File: Squash Pie

Excerpted from Fruit and Vegetables 'n' Season and the Year Around

* 1 c. strained cooked squash
* 1 c. cream
* 1 Tbsp. vanilla
* 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
* 3/4 c. sugar (brown or white)
* 3 eggs
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1/2 tsp. ginger

Mix squash, sugar and cream.

Add eggs, beaten lightly, then seasonings.

Meanwhile line pie plate with pastry, then chill.

Fill with the foregoing mixture and bake in hot oven (450°) for 10 minutes, then at 300° to 325° until filling is cooked.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Good Weight: Best Internet-Ready TVs

The September 2009 issue of Wired includes a test of four top Web-ready TV sets. On a scale of 1-10, the sets scored as follows:

8) Excellent, with room to kvetch.
Sony KDL-46Z5100

7) Very good, but not quite great.
Samsung UN46B8000
LG 47LH50

6) A solid product with some issues.
Panasonic TC-P42G10

Gamesmanship: Paintball Supplies

Paintball Supplies now available:

Tippmann A-5 Standard Paintball Gun
Tippmann A-5 is a high performance paintball marker with the patented Cyclone Feed System. The Cyclone Feed System Links the Feeder Sprocket to the Air System. The Faster you shoot, the faster the Tippmann A-5 feeds. Pull the Trigger 15 times a second, and the Tippmann A-5 feeds 15 balls per second. The Tippmann A-5 is also easy to clean and maintain with its no tool field strip feature.

MP5 Sliding Paintball Gun Stock
Constructed of solid aluminum, the MP5 sliding stock locks in place in 6 different positions. Made from the highest quality aluminium, built to last. Comes with a one year warranty.

Offset Paintball Adapter for Stock Hopper
This Offset adapter will not onlyu allow you to use a scope or a site with your A5, but will also add 30+ Extra paintballs to the capacity.

Tippmann MP Mag to Remote Kit
This MP Mag to Remote Kit has an efficient air-thru design and has an ideally positioned nipple allowing you to rapidly attach or detach the quick-disconnect end of your remote line. It is built to withstand the demands of intense woodsball play and the anodized tombstone provides a perfect seal.

Friday, August 21, 2009

In Season: Dry Edible Beans Harvest Delayed

Western Nebraska’s dry edible bean harvest is likely to drag on weeks longer than in most years, and in areas where planting was late, it will be a race between harvest and first frost.

Harvest could begin anywhere from early September until late October, depending on when a field of beans emerged, how much stress the bean plants have experienced, and the daily high and low temperatures between now and harvest. In addition, the 2009 crop is likely to experience some quality issues.

Source: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Husbandry: Man’s Best Friend Can Bite

Most people are much more concerned about the potential for wildlife attacks than for dog bites. From Kansas to California, folks worry about mountain lions while the number of attacks in North America only amount to about five per year, with perhaps one fatality. In contrast, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates U.S. dog bites totaled about 4.7 million human victims last year. More than 800,000 of the victims required medical attention, about 30,000 needed reconstructive surgery and at least a dozen died.

“If you know much about animals, you could guess some of the CDC’s other statistics,” says Kansas state wildlife specialist Charlie Lee “The most likely victims are fairly small, curious and lacking in judgment – in other words, children up to 9 years old. Biting victims also are more likely to be male than female. And, their attacker is likely to be a family dog that’s out in its own yard.”

Lee believes the number of dog bites cloud be sharply reduced if people did a more thorough job of preparing children for being around dogs, as well as selecting and training their household pet.

Little children have to learn that a living pet is not the same as a stuffed animal or cartoon dog. They must learn what “be nice” means, while also discovering they can hit, poke, scream, pull, kick, bite and squeeze. So, leaving a baby or toddler alone with a dog is asking for trouble, no matter how gentle the pet may seem.

Parents have to judge when children are ready and mature enough to learn how to interact with dogs. Children who are apprehensive or afraid of dogs may need more time

On some level, even well-trained dogs are always judging human actions in terms of fight or flight (predator or prey). A dog may feel threatened if a child suddenly runs up and tries to pet it. The same dog may give chase if a child yells and runs away.

“Parents need to spend time with their child in interactions with an array of dogs. Their goal should be to build the child’s skills and comfort level, letting the child set the pace,” Lee said.

He recommends starting by taking the child for a stroll where owners will be walking their dogs on a leash. Then, coach the child through three steps: Ask the owner’s permission to pet the dog. If allowed, approach the dog slowly, with hands at sides. Then ask the dog’s permission by holding out one hand to be sniffed.

A fully accepting dog will respond by licking the hand. Fast tail-wagging can be a positive sign, too.

All canines tend to use the same hostile signals: Intent stare. Tense body, perhaps with neck raised and/or head lowered. Grimace or lifted lip to show sharp teeth. Raised hackles (upright hair on neck and back). Growls or fierce barking. Tense tail – which may actually wag, but slowly.

If a dog attacks, the best response is often a calm, stern “NO!” while offering anything else the dog could bite and shake –sweater, backpack, shoe. If knocked down, however, people should roll into a ball, cover their ears with their hands (which also provides elbow protection for the face), and lie as still as a rock. Then, when the dog has wandered off, they should report it immediately.

“Ideally, children will be self-confident, comfortable around dogs before parents get to the lesson about ‘What if the worst happens?’” Lee says. “With lots of positive exposures to dogs under their belt, they’ll be better able to understand that people cause most dog attacks, and they’re not going to be one of those people. But, they’ll be prepared, just in case.”

Avoiding Dog Bites

Dogs tend to guard things they “own.” And, they don’t like to be caught off-guard -- surprised. To avoid bites...
  • Don’t reach through a fence to pet a dog.
  • Leave dogs alone if they’re tied, chained, penned or solo in a car. Even if their situation isn’t a sign that they’re wild or aggressive, the dogs are quite likely to feel protective of their space.
  • Don’t sneak up to or disturb a dog that’s eating, sleeping, chewing on a toy, or caring for puppies. Avoid causing pain, even in play.
  • Avoid any free-roaming dog that you don’t know. If one approaches you, stand very still and avoid direct eye contact by looking at your shoes. Then, when it loses interest, slowly back away, never turning your back on the dog until you’re safely away.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control
Kansas Research and Extension

Dog Food

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Market Watch: Farmers Market Pricing Reports

Links to the following Farmers Market Pricing Reports have been added to the Market Watch blog:

Growth Spurts: Caffeinated Mosquito Control

Used coffee grounds are effective at destroying the larvae of mosquitoes carrying dengue, yellow fever, West Nile virus, malaria and other diseases.

Biocontrol Beat reports on the promising research of Hermione Bicudo at Universidade Estadual Paulista in Sao Paulo, Brazil:

"Approximately four full soup spoons of used coffee grounds in a 250 mL glass of water killed 100% of aquatic mosquito larvae. This translated into fewer adult mosquitoes (the biting, blood-sucking stage) and less new mosquito egg laying (thus, lower mosquito populations over time)."

Combined with elimination of mosquito breeding sites, used coffee grounds could be useful in integrated pest management programs to slow pesticide resistance and reduce mosquito breeding.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rural Delivery: If You Live In The Country, Wave

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1993. All rights reserved.

You know you're on a rural road when folks wave at you as you drive by.

I'm not talking about waving at friends or family. Nor am I referring to the kind of waving between colleagues that truck drivers share. The waves I mean are the ones thrown out to complete strangers encountered on the road or as they pass by the home place.

Waving at strangers is endangered behavior these days. The number of places where it's practiced appears to be getting scarce.

A friend in eastern Montana waves at the drivers of passing vehicles more often than anyone else I know. I've been with him on cross-country drives and watched him cast dozens of waves that were not returned.

"Why do you wave so often?" I asked him.

"Just hoping they'll respond," he replied.

Waving is his mission on the road. A friendly wave is a sign of civility. People who wave at each other acknowledge a common bond: we're all in this together. Those who wave are more likely to help one another and work together, and less likely to cheat and cause each other harm, or so he believes. Encouraging the practice of waving is my friend's way of rebuilding community spirit.

Why some folks wave and others don't is partly a matter of population. The bigger the town and the more heavy the traffic the less likely it is to see a wave. There are just too many strangers.

Speed is also a factor. Folks in the fast lane rarely wave because they don't have time. Before you can lift your hand they're gone.

And freeways, of course, discourage waving altogether. Divided highways isolate us, each to our own vehicle. They are designed to keep us from running into each other, but they also prevent us from recognizing each other.

I've been on roads where waving provoked startled looks and obscene responses. It's hard to be open to strangers in places where drive-by shootings and lootings occur. Fear closes a lot of doors.

But out on the open range of Wyoming or beneath the big skies of Montana waving comes pretty easy. When you've been alone on a road for thirty minutes another vehicle can be a welcome sight. Where there are fewer of us it's easier to see and appreciate how much we need each other.

Two-lane blacktop country roads, whether they part the potato fields of Idaho or cut across the scablands of Washington, seem to encourage a slower, friendlier style of travel. It helps, too, if you drive an old pickup with the windows down and one arm resting on the door.

Whether waving at strangers will help restore courtesy to the roads or make our communities more neighborly is hard to say, but it's worth a try.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

In Season: Cavaillon Melons

Cavaillon melon harvest is now at its peak.

Named after the village in the Provence region of France where they originated, these melons are at their best during the hot summer months.

Cavaillon melons are an eagerly waited feature at the roadside stands and produce markets of Provence.

Also grown in California, Cavaillon melons are available June to October across much of the U.S.

Before selecting any melon, you should smell it for ripeness. Ripe melons are also heavier than unripe ones and should have a sweet fragrance.