August 22, 2014

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Local Columnists

A "foodie" bucket list
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 8:55 AM


By Nancy Whitaker

I have always been a foodie. I like to eat, read recipes, try different ingredients and love to cook. Cooking methods that I use today are somewhat different than what my mama and grandma used. Grandma would tend to fry up good old greasy ham, fried potatoes, bacon and pork chops. One special dish she cooked was red kidney beans and cream style corn mixed together. She called it kali-kamash. To some foodies this combination may sound strange, but actually it is quite delicious. I know also that when she made a salad, it was usually head lettuce chopped up with a homemade mayonnaise dressing on it. I grew up believing that was the only kind of salad dressing that existed.

Do something
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 8:54 AM

Do something

By Kirk Dougal

This week we stumbled across the fun sort of item we love to find from time to time. It was a copy of Isaac Asimov’s guest column for the New York Times following his visit to the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City.

Asimov - a professor of biochemistry at Boston University, noted futurist, and author of such science fiction classics as the Foundation and Robot series - was fascinated by what he saw at the event. At the height of the Cold War, the theme expressed hope with “Peace Through Understanding,” a line of thinking that also ran through most of his writings.

Signs of Asian long horned beetles
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 8:53 AM

By Mark Holtsberry

Education specialist Paulding SWCD

Trees in Ohio are under attack by foreign invaders. The Asian longhorned beetle was accidentally introduced to the United States from Asia in 1996 and has been wreaking havoc on trees in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and now Ohio. The Asian longhorned beetle was found in Clermont County in June 2011. The beetle threatens Ohio’s $2.5 billion in standing maple timber and the $5 billion nursery industry, which employs 240,000.

Hot fun in the summertime garden
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 8:52 AM

By Kylee Baumle

Summer really just began four days ago, when the sun reached its most northern position for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. But it got really hot at least a week before that and the craziness that passes for weather these days continues.

When it gets like this, when I’m wishing it would rain so that I don’t have to haul the hoses all around the yard to rescue the plants that are parched by the sun and the hot winds, I start looking at my garden a little differently than I did in the freezing cold days of winter.

Mulch: weed control or soil health?
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 5:14 PM

By Mark Holtsberry

Education specialist Paulding SWCD

Mulch is a great weed suppressant. A nice, thick layer of mulch inhibits weeds in two important ways. First, by thoroughly covering the soil and depriving weed seeds of the light they need to germinate. Mulch prevents them from gaining a foothold in the first place. Secondly, bare dirt is the perfect place for weed seeds to land and germinate. By covering all of your bare soil with mulch, most weeds will never be able to come in to contact with the soil.

Mulch also helps retain soil moisture. This is very important to plant growth and a higher survival rate. A plant that has a constant level of adequate moisture is less likely to become stressed, which means that it will be better able to resist insects and diseases.

Black pepper is not just for the kitchen
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 5:13 PM


By Nancy Whitaker

Sometimes as parents we look back and think, I sure wish I could relive the days when my kids were young and still in school. Of course, I have had “empty nest syndrome” for a number of years and I feel better when I think of those days back when my children were still at home.

Every mom and dad have stories to tell. We have all had escapades with our young’ns which seemed dramatic at the time, but now seem trivial. I recall one time we were in the car coming home from a shopping trip. My two daughters were in the back seat and they each had a set of pop-it beads. Does anyone remember those? The colorful beads would snap together and you could make a necklace or bracelet from them.

Snakes in the garden
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 5:05 PM

By Kylee Baumle

Just the thought of coming across a snake in the garden sends shivers down many people’s spines, even those who claim to love nature. As one who is not particularly bothered by them, it’s hard for me to understand the extreme reactions that some people have when they see one.

Here in Paulding County, we’re not likely to encounter venomous snakes in our gardens and by far the most common one you will see is the garter snake. Just last week, we saw one by our garage and then a few days later, another by the swimming pool. These were the first two snakes we’d seen in many years and only the third and fourth ones ever, in the 37 years we’ve lived here at Our Little Acre.

Lessons from the garden
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 8:35 PM

By Kylee Baumle

One of the things I love most about gardening is that I’ll never ever in a million years know everything there is to know about it. (And I’m not exaggerating.) For the perpetually curious, gardening has an infinite number of lessons to be learned.

Sure, you may master the basics over time, but then Mother Nature throws you for a loop. Last winter, anyone? And it’s a big, wide world out there with something new and amazing around every corner.

My garden taught me some things this spring and I’m betting yours did too. I’m trying to be a good student by taking notes so I don’t forget what I learned.

Every name is a story
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 8:34 PM


By Jim Langham

As I walked the track at the Relay for Life a week ago, I found myself reading the names, and in some cases, messages, on the luminary candle bags surrounding the track. The more I read, the more it hit me that every name I was reading represented some kind of a story.

Some names represented those who have passed on because of cancer. Others represented families who have, or are, going through cancer struggles. Still others are tributes and salutes to survivors who have battled the disease and others say, “thank you,” to caretakers who have set themselves aside for the lives of the suffering.

Creatures at the nature center
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 8:34 PM

By Mark Holtsberry

Education specialist Paulding SWCD

Many wonderful creatures can be seen at the nature center park and grounds. Snapping turtles  are very visible if careful attention is given. Large specimens may weigh more than 35 pounds. Though they are very abundant they are not seen as frequently as most other turtles. From May