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Agriculture

  • We have been skunked again

    From time to time I see a skunk meandering around the farm during the day. It’s unusual, however. A few years back there was one that was sniffing about under some pines in the lower pasture, and it was evident from its movements and from its awareness (or lack thereof) of its surroundings that this creature knew it had the advantage.

    A skunk’s eyesight is poor, so sneaking up on him to get a photograph was possible, but it made me realize that startling a skunk is probably not a good idea.

  • WICHE: Seed starting indoors helps early season crops

    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.

  • Shelby business is creating a buzz with its saw

    The Triple S Planning Commission is embroiled in a lawsuit with Bagdad Lumber Sawmill & Kiln about the company’s ability to operate as is at its location at 2932 Christiansburg Road in Bagdad.

    His mill is located on a parcel zoned Agriculture, which Triple S officials say isn’t appropriate for this business.

    But owner/operator Ron Harris claims in his suit that he had approval before opening the doors to his company. The courts will decide, and while they are, Harris is able to continue work while the courts decided the lawsuit.

  • WICHE: Orchard care starts now

    As summer fruit begins to ripen, or should I say rot, the calls start coming in. Home orchardists in Kentuckiana are at wits end as they watch their apples, peaches and pears do little more than fall from the tree in a spotted, bruised or petrified state.

  • WICHE: Snow pack leaves evidence of wildlife

    The other day, 4:30 p.m., after shedding my city boots for my country boots I head back out the door with my egg basket and a jug off water. Our two livestock guardian, dogs by my side, and I head back to the barn.

    In the blink of an eye Baxter and Finca take off in full defense mode towards our hens and the barn. Baxter takes the front and Finca takes the back. And, to my bewilderment, a beautiful coyote is flushed from beyond and the dogs follow pursuit. Wiley coyote hits the frozen lake, and the dogs circle.

  • WICHE: Ice-laden branches need attention

    The 2009 January ice storm knocked down limbs, electricity and phone service across Kentucky. The damage to trees was astounding, to say the least.

    Last week’s icy “situation” brought back the memory of those dread-filled days as we slowly tackled the clean-up effort at the farm. This year’s ice is not nearly as bad as 2009, but it sure left a mess in its wake. If you are among those with heavy damage assess the situation with an eye towards safety, first, and foremost.

  • Weather slows Shelby's farmers but can’t stop them

    As winter storms continue to blanket the area in snow and ice and temperatures drop into the single – and sometimes lower – digits, many farmers in Shelby County are trying to use their time wisely.

    There are plans to be set for when warmer weather hits and this season’s crops need to be planted, there are tractors and combines and bailers to repair, and budgets need to be examined before it’s time to order seeds.

  • WICHE: USDA hardiness zones are hot and cold

    The USDA Hardiness Zone Map has long been a guideline for cold hardiness of plants. About every 10 years it is revised in order to provide a bit more detail in our changing climate. The most recent map was revised in January of 2013 and is based on temperature information from 1976 through 2005.

    Climate researchers collected temperatures from more than 4,600 weather stations across the United States. They take the average coldest temperature of a location to come up with an “average annual extreme temperature” to determine an area’s hardiness zone.

  • WICHE: All this cold could be good

    A few weeks ago on Ira Flatow’s Science Friday there was an interview with research biologist Rob Venette from the U.S. Forest Service in Minnesota who addressed the effect temperature has on certain insects.

    The ability of insects to survive winter – when so many of them thrive in summer – has always fascinated me. While we would most certainly root for the bees and butterflies, my enthusiasm would wane for fleas and ticks.

  • Groundhogs cast shadows in Shelby, too

    After suffering through more than one “polar vortex” it’s a safe bet that Shelby Countians are hoping that Punxsutawney Phil and his fellow groundhogs don’t see their shadows on Sunday.

    According to folklore, if it’s cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day – Feb. 2, or Groundhog Day – then spring will come early. Or, if it’s sunny, the groundhog sees his shadow and returns to his burrow – resulting in six more weeks of winter.