• Courtneys named state’s top young farm family

    This winter Mary and Shane Courtney will have a new way to get around their 570-acre farm.

    This past Friday the Courtneys were named the Kentucky Farm Bureau Young Farm Family, and along with being entered in the national Young Farm Family competition, they also came away with quite a bit of swag.

    “The sponsorship for the award was incredible,” Mary Courtney said. “Everything we won can be put back into the farm, and we’re pretty excited about the ATV.”

  • WICHE: Keeping those bucks at bay

    It’s 3 a.m., and Finca the Great Pyrenees is barking in earnest outside our bedroom window. When you have livestock guardian dogs, you learn quickly when a bark really means something.

    In my sleepy stupor I am thinking it is deer, but I got up to investigate to be certain it wasn’t anything more menacing to our ewes and lambs. I neglected to grab my glasses off of the nightstand, so ultimately the raucous remains a mystery.

  • WICHE: Holiday spices have tropical roots

    Considering how the quest for exotic spice fueled exploration in the 15th century it is no wonder that our favorite holiday flavors herald from around the world. From Southwest India to Southeast Asia we find cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and mace.

  • Farmer of the Year: Inscos named best among Shelby’s ‘many good farmers’

    When Jim Insco started farming his 53 acres in 1985, he had a 2-cylinder John Deere tractor and no yard.

    “If it was dirt, I plowed it,” he told the crowd at the Farm-City Banquet on Tuesday after being named Farmer of the Year in Shelby County. “We had a house and no yard. It was all farm.”

    Ferenc Vegh, who emceed the banquet, which since 1954 has been put on by the Kiwanis Club, said the judging committee settled on Insco very quickly.

  • WICHE: Fresh cut or ready-to-plant for Christmas

    Just for the record, I am not one of those people who puts up their tree just after Thanksgiving. I need more time to absorb the effects of every holiday.

    But there are many who are ready to pick out the perfect Christmas tree. I have a certain set of parameters for our tree. It needs to be worth the effort of cleaning, moving furniture, hauling boxes, lights, step ladders and more. But once the mundane is done then the fun begins.

  • Spencer teen with Shelby ties steals shows

    Morgan Thompson is not a kid anymore – she’s a senior at Spencer County High School – but she has not outgrown her love of showing dairy cattle, in fact, she’s just picking up speed.

    Morgan, 18, who has been showing in Shelby County 4-H events for years, took grand champion of the junior show and grand champion of the open show at the North American International Livestock Exposition held in Louisville Nov. 10.

  • WICHE: Brambles ready for some pruning

    It’s time to clean up the bramble patch. In order to maintain healthy and productive blackberries and raspberries, we need to prune out the old to make room for the new.

    Most brambles are biennial, which means they fruit on second-year growth. Blackberries are easy to deal with, just remove the arching canes that fruited this year and trim up and trellis the new growth from this summer, which will bear next summer’s fruit. Repeat the same thing next year.

  • Shelby student wins national FFA honor

    As a young girl, Chelsey Schlosnagle started selling eggs to friends, neighbors and church members as a fun way to be involved with the poultry on her parents’ farm.

    “Maybe thirty dozen or so,” she said.

  • WICHE: Female holly needs male pollinator

    The American holly, Ilex opaca, is celebrated for its berries in shades of red, orange and yellow and its glossy green foliage and perfectly pyramidal shape.

    The deciduous holly (Ilex decidua) and the winterberry (Ilex verticillata) lose their leaves but reveal thick clusters of berries along their stems for dramatic effect through much of the winter. Once the berries come ripe enough for the birds to eat in February, they are usually gone in a day.

  • WICHE: Save your leaves to save your plants

    Leaf raking is an autumn chore that only children enjoy because they get to undo it in one fell swoop. We rake and pile and they jump.

    I propose a new approach that just may make us all happy: Adults can still rake a little, children can still play, and trees will benefit from some mulch and fertilizer.

    At the farm raking leaves is passé; we let them stay where they fall (within reason, of course), which is usually beneath their canopy.