Better Kansas is one year old this week! Thank you for your feedback. Please keep it coming and let me know what’s been helpful and how we can improve. This week we touch on kitchen measuring equivalents, stress management, embracing aging, ticks, livestock comfort and mental health. 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
Several of this week’s topics are also subjects of Extension Ed talks. Take a look!
Better Living, Better Communities
OCCASIONALLY I FIND MYSELF FOLLOWING A RECIPE AND CAN’T FIND SOMETHING I NEED … like for heaven’s sake, where is that measuring cup? Sometimes we have to figure out a different way to measure out an ingredient. If you’ve ever found yourself stumped by how many tablespoons are in a cup, or how many quarts are in a gallon, a new resource is available to help us. Cooking Basics: Measuring Tools and How to Use Them hits these areas and more. It’s a good resource to print out and have in the kitchen. I tend to tape such things to the inside of cabinet doors.
AS I WRITE THIS, WE’RE DEALING WITH EVEN MORE SOURCES OF STRESS THAN USUAL – Trade disputes and the effect they’re having on agriculture and other industries, businesses struggling and job loss linked to COVID-19, and now distress sparked by tragic events in Minneapolis. And that doesn’t even count our own day-to-day challenges. Maybe you, like me, are avid consumers of news. But sometimes especially now, it’s helpful to step back, at least for a time. I wrote about Everyday Mindfulness a while back but wanted to remind you about this resource. It’s where I first learned about Do-In (dough-een), described as exercises for health. Another thing that works for me (and apparently many of my neighbors) is walking or other activity outdoors. Even once around the block can be beneficial.
WE ALL KNOW PEOPLE WHO ARE FIGHTING THEIR AGE IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. When we’re 25 we miss being a kid, when we’re 50 we’d like to be 25, and when we’re … well, we won’t go there! I guess my not talking about it means I’m fighting it, too. But there are advantages to getting past those early stages. The kids are raised, the bank account (hopefully) is in better shape, you’ve proven yourself in your career and with any luck, you’re still healthy and have more time for friends, family and activities you are passionate about. Take a look at Embracing Aging for resources to help guide you, a family member or friend through this chapter of life.
Better Farming, Ranching and Gardening
DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO GETS WAY TOO ATTACHED? Kind of a trick question … I’m not talking about a friend or colleague, although somewhere along the way, we may know some of them, too. I’m talking about ticks, which get annoyingly attached when we spend time outdoors. In Kansas, we have such species as the Lone Star tick, the American dog tick, the brown dog tick and the black-legged tick. They’re mostly a nuisance but can also be a vector for diseases, such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease. This article has some basics and for a more comprehensive look, check out Ticks in Kansas. For years, I thought ticks drop from trees, but it turns out they don’t. Rather they typically hang out on blades of grass or low bushes until the perfect host comes along. That would be us! But don’t let this keep you from getting outside.
JUNE USHERED IN SUMMER-LIKE WEATHER AND IT’S NOT JUST US THAT ARE AFFECTED BY THE HEAT AND HUMIDITY. Livestock is affected by extreme heat and cold. Just like us, heat stress can reduce an animal’s appetite, increase respiration and in severe cases, result in death. Livestock producers across the state can now access the Animal Comfort Index to help monitor heat or cold stress in their own part of our very large state. It takes into account temperature, humidity, wind speed and solar radiation.
I USUALLY WRITE ABOUT FARM CROPS AND LIVESTOCK IN THIS SPACE, but even more basic and absolutely more important than crop yields and livestock balance sheets is a farmer’s or rancher’s mental health. With lackluster commodity prices, trade disputes, always-challenging weather and now a global pandemic, mental health for so many is being tested like never before. To help anyone involved in agriculture manage the challenges, several agencies and organizations have come together with Kansas Ag Health Resources to help you and someone you know chart a path toward good mental health.
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/