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April 16, 2021

old paint, batteries, and medications.

If you’ve been spring cleaning, you may have come across some items you need to donate, recycle, or throw out. Learn what to do with items that shouldn't go in the regular trash or standard recycling bins.


A woman stands at a kitchen island.

Can You Find Nutritious Foods in the Grocery Store Center Aisles?

March 9, 2021

You’ve probably heard that shopping the grocery store's perimeter is the best way to pack your cart with healthy foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables. But the center aisles actually provide a lot of nutritious options.

A ruby-throated hummingbird.

How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard

March 5, 2021

Ruby-throated hummingbirds will soon be migrating north, so it’s time to prepare for their arrival! Most ruby red-throated hummingbirds will be throughout Mississippi by the end of March.

Zucchini and tomatoes in a colorful bowl

The Food Factor: Zucchini and Tomatoes

March 2, 2021

Video by Jonathan Parrish.

I’m always looking for easy vegetable dishes with a lot of flavor, and this one hits the spot!

This recipe serves four, so you may need to double it, depending on the size of your family.

Did you know you can save some calories and fat by cooking your vegetables in water or broth instead of butter or oil? At about 100 calories per teaspoon, fat can add up quickly.

A person using a green manual fertilizer.

March Garden Checklist

February 26, 2021

Pat yourself on the back. You made it through the historic February ice storm! The weeklong event probably set you back on your garden chores and likely created more work for you to do. Tidy up any damage and get your spring garden in shape with these garden tasks.

A worker bee sips honey from a piece of honeycomb in a frame.

How to Start Beekeeping

February 23, 2021

While it seemed like winter would never end last week, many parts of Mississippi are already experiencing spring-like temperatures. I can’t think about the return of spring without thinking about bees!

For several years, my husband and I kept several bee colonies after he took an MSU Extension beekeeping course. When people ask us how to get started beekeeping, it’s no surprise our first recommendation is always, “Talk to your local Extension agent!”

An Eastern mole.

Critter of the Month: Eastern Mole

February 19, 2021

If you’ve noticed irregular, snake-like raised ridges throughout your lawn, Eastern moles have most likely found themselves at home. They are known for building a network of tunnels underground, and typically spend 90 percent of their lives there.

Eastern moles are around 5 to 7 inches long and are covered in brown or grey fur. At a glance, they look similar to mice. Despite their resemblance, they are actually more closely related to shrews and bats than they are mice! Eastern moles have hairless snouts, paddle-like claws, and poor eyesight. Their eyes are sensitive to the light...

Food Factor host Natasha Haynes holds a mug of cocoa while standing in a kitchen

The Food Factor: Quick Hot Cocoa for One

February 16, 2021

Many recipes—on The Food Factor and elsewhere—make multiple servings. Typically, I’m a fan of leftovers, but hot chocolate just does not warm up well in my opinion. That’s why I was excited to discover this fast, microwavable option for a single serving.

A person wearing yellow gloves using a pair of loppers to prune roses.

How to Prune Roses

February 12, 2021

Video by Michaela Parker

Pruning your rose bushes is one late winter chore you shouldn’t overlook! It’s so easy to neglect yard maintenance, especially during cold weather. Pruning helps shape the bush, remove dead canes, open the center for air flow, and stimulate new growth. 

Pruning any plant can be intimidating at first, but it’s actually quite easy. Before you get started, it’s comforting to know that roses are very forgiving plants. They will grow out of many mistakes you may make. Whew!

You’ll need three tools: sharp pruners (never use...

A woman stands outdoors on a grassy lawn.

Cholesterol: What It Is and How to Manage It

February 9, 2021

High cholesterol increases your risk of cardiovascular disease (heart disease), which is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Lifestyle change is a key component that can prevent or help manage high cholesterol. 

A pen lies on top of a will.

Do I Need an Estate Plan and Will?

February 5, 2021

Death isn’t something we like to think about. I personally would rather concentrate on living, but I learned something recently. Almost everyone needs an estate plan and a will. Spending the time and effort it takes to put your wishes in writing and having it legally declared will save your heirs money, time, and heartache.

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About Extension for Real Life

Extension for Real Life is a product of the MSU Extension Service’s Office of Agricultural Communications.

That’s a long way of saying we are professional communicators who get to talk about food, families, 4-H, flowers, and farming for a living.

Blog content is created by a core team of communicators, including Susan Collins-Smith, Ellen Graves, Natasha Haynes, Keri Lewis, Michaela Parker, and Jonathan Parrish. But we get by with a lot of help from our friends in Ag Comm and Extension!

You can reach us at 662-325-2262 or extreallife@msstate.edu