Today in Better Kansas we touch on the benefits of board games, kids in the kitchen, a fun video, lawn mowing how-tos and farmland values, plus soil testing and plant disease diagnosis. This is a small glimpse of what K-State Research and Extension across the state has to offer. Share on social media and subscribe! – Mary Lou Peter firstname.lastname@example.org
Better Living, Better Communities
WITH ALL OF THIS TOGETHERNESS, there’s no better time to put away the cell phones, turn off the TV and dig out that Monopoly or Trouble game (or whatever is in the closet). The family I grew up in were not game players other than occasional Checkers, but once I had children of my own, we enjoyed Go Fish, and later Yahtzee, Uno and Mancala. Board games and card games bring people together and promote interaction in ways that video games and television just don’t. Games encourage communication, listening, and sometimes strengthen STEM skills. Plus, they can give children a voice and encourage decision making. Check out Bonding Thru Board Games for so many reasons to give it a try. Have you tried Nerts? What a wild experience! It’s the only time I yell at my daughter-in-law … all in good fun. She always wins.
FLOUR IS FLYING OFF GROCERY STORE SHELVES SO THAT MUST MEAN MORE OF US ARE BAKING AT HOME RIGHT NOW. It may require a little more patience, but experts say it’s a good idea to include children in the baking and cooking process if possible. A recent You Asked It item says letting children help in the kitchen nurtures STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills. Plus, we often hear accomplished cooks and bakers say their love for cooking or baking came from memories of helping a parent or grandparent in the kitchen. More ideas come from the Home Baking Association, which strives to teach essential living skills while connecting with agriculture, food science and more. The program offers lessons grouped by age category. Oh, and there are recipes!
OKAY, I’M INCLUDING THIS TODAY BECAUSE IT JUST MADE ME HAPPY and can’t we all use a little more of that right now? You don’t have to be a big Wildcat fan to appreciate the sentiment conveyed by the K-State Director of Bands in this video. Watch it from the beginning and turn your speakers on! It even brought a smile to a Jayhawk friend of mine.
Better Farming, Ranching and Gardening
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, START YOUR MOWERS! One of those simple joys in life is the look and smell of a newly mowed lawn. It’s such a nice reward for our efforts. For tips on sharpening mower blades take a look at a video on the topic. And even more information is available in Mowing Your Lawn, including optimal mower height and frequency for the type of grass you have, suggestions for handling clippings, mowing patterns and choosing a mower. It even covers a topic that comes up often: to mow or not to mow in rainy weather? (The answer is yes, if the grass is getting too long and you can’t get a dry break.) This all reminds me of a time when a neighbor asked why I was mowing the grass when my then-teenagers could do it. My response was that I loved doing it! Trust me, the kiddos all took their turns, too.
AMONG THE NEWS ARTICLES I’VE WRITTEN OVER THE YEARS, some of the most popular have been on the topic of farmland values. Farmland values in large part, reflect the economic well-being of farmers. The price of farmland rose quickly from 2008-2014, but in 2015, lower prices for the crops farmers grow on that land also pulled land prices lower. For details, including specific regions of the state, check the new Kansas Agricultural Land Values and Trends 2019 book. I didn’t know until I read this that the number of acres sold on an annual basis across the state has decreased dramatically since 2014-2015. Interesting stuff. The publication was produced by K-State’s Department of Agricultural Economics in collaboration with the American Society of Farm Managers and Appraisers. In addition, check out a webinar on what’s happening to land values in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
EVEN THOUGH MANY K-STATE STAFF AND FACULTY MEMBERS ARE WORKING FROM HOME, ESSENTIAL WORK IS STILL GOING ON. Two of the labs on the Manhattan campus that are open and accepting samples from farmers, homeowners and landowners are the Soil Testing Lab and the Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab. Because of circumstances linked to COVID-19, however, the process to submit samples has changed somewhat. Take a look at an online update about the labs and the proper methods to submit samples while still keeping yourself and others safe.
For more resources and activities, contact the K-State Research and Extension office in your area. Check out our other blogs and subscribe to our weekly emails here: https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/blogs/