Better Kansas – Ideas for Living, Growing and Succeeding

Tag: financing retirement

Better Kansas – July 23, 2020

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In today’s Better Kansas, we bring information on back-to-school shopping, rethinking retirement, preserving tomatoes, dividing daylilies, early fall weather outlook and morning glories. 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

Better Living, Better Communities





IT ALMOST FEELS LIKE NORMAL! ADS ARE POPPING UP EVERYWHERE for school supplies, new clothes and dorm accessories, just like they do every summer before the typical school year. But, a typical year this is not. With recent news from the governor’s office that Kansas kids won’t start school until after Labor Day, you likely have a little more time. That’s good because many are still sorting out whether children will physically go to school, learn online or some variation of both. Because retail sales have been hit hard by COVID-19, some stores may offer even better bargains than usual, according to Back to School Shopping: 2020 Edition. Even though some districts have not unveiled lists of needed school supplies, one suggestion is that you’ll almost certainly need hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes, so grab them when you can. For an audio version of the article, click here.


BABY BOOMERS HAVE RETIRED IN DROVES THE PAST FEW YEARS and many more are expecting to in the near future. COVID-19-related job losses pushed at least one of my neighbors into retirement a year earlier than she’d planned and she’s not alone. The pandemic likely crimped many peoples’ retirement plans one way or another. Some may have to delay retirement because of lost income. An interesting podcast Rethinking Retirement Plans Post Pandemic includes a discussion on Social Security as well information about When Your Income Drops. Take a listen or read the articles.


‘TIS THE SEASON … LAST WEEK I ADDRESSED A CHALLENGE IN GROWING TOMATOES but this week I’m including information on preserving those mainstays of summer.  Take a look at Preserve It Fresh, Preserve It Safe: Tomatoes for information on freezing (yes, you can do that) and canning, plus step-by-step instructions for some of our favorite tomato-based foods, including barbecue sauce. I’ve been fortunate over the years to have wonderful family and friends who grew tomatoes, preserved them and shared them with me. Thank you, Janet, Helen, Cary and everyone else who has been so generous. It’s so appreciated! So, you all … bring on the chili, salsa and spaghetti sauce recipes!


Better Farming, Ranching and Gardening

FOR THOSE OF US WHO’D RATHER BE TENDING OUR PLANTS or doing almost anything outdoors than inside cleaning or working this time of year (I plead GUILTY!), there’s so much to like in the weekly Horticulture Newsletter. This week I was drawn to information on dividing irises, those elegant flowers that grace us year after year with their gorgeous colors. Every three to five years it’s a good idea to divide iris plants to help rejuvenate them and increase flowering and this is the prime time of year to do that. Take a look at the Dividing Iris video and the written section for more, plus information on tree problems, tomatoes, Euonymous scale, and harvesting grapes.


WARMER THAN NORMAL WEATHER MAY STAY WITH US THROUGH AUGUST AND linger into fall, according to an early outlook in the Agronomy eUpdate. The latest data (plus great maps) via the Kansas Weather Data Library also indicate we may have below normal precipitation across much of the state in the next few months. That may not bode well for crops … or lawns for that matter … in some already dry areas but could make things easier for fall row crop harvesting and winter wheat planting. Timing is everything! Let’s (always) hope for moisture at the right time.


SURELY NOT! HOW CAN SOMETHING SO BEAUTIFUL BE SO DESTRUCTIVE? I’m talking about morning glories, known to scientists as Ipomoea spp. Their pretty purple, blue, pink or white flowers can be a gardener’s dream, right? But the vining, invasive plants spell trouble for farmers. Once they wind their way through corn, soybean or other farm fields, they can cut the amount of grain farmers harvest and can choke harvest equipment. Take a look at World of Weed: Morning glory for details, including management options.


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: