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February 22, 2019

A closeup of a gloved hand holding a pair of bypass pruning shears.

February marks the beginning of pruning chores in the garden. This task will be a breeze if you have the right tools. MSU Extension horticulture specialist Gary Bachman recommends three pruning tools every gardener should have. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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A brown swallowtail butterfly with white spots drinks nectar from a flowering pink and yellow lantana plant.

How to Plant a Pollinator-Friendly Landscape

February 22, 2018

Sometimes bad news can feel overwhelming, as if one person can do little to make a difference. Growing plants that support honeybees and butterflies doesn’t solve a major world problem, but it can give these important pollinators a boost while also offering loads of beautiful color to your yard or garden. Now is the time to plan! (Photo credit: Kat Lawrence)

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A woman with a dog in front of chocolates, which can make dogs sick.

Love Your Pet Day

February 20, 2018

It’s National Love Your Pet Day, so give those four-legged family members extra special treatment. More noggin’ pats and extra-long walks are in order. But be careful with the treats. Some human foods can be harmful to pets. For dogs, that includes chocolate. (Photo/video credit: MSU Extension/ Brian Utley)

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USDA graphic explains egg grades and sizes and what the carton labels mean.

Get the Facts on Eggs

February 16, 2018

Eggs are a staple in most kitchens, and for good reason. They’re a great source of protein and can be prepared a variety of ways for any meal of the day. They’re even good snacks. (Photo by USDA)

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Green leaves cover branches that end in pink crape myrtle blossoms.

How to Prune a Crape Myrtle

February 12, 2018

Southern landscapes are filled with crape myrtles of all sizes and colors because they are easy to grow and provide beauty for several months. However, they do need a little TLC this time of year. (Photo by Gary Bachman)

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An assortment of green, orange, and red vegetables are arranged in a heart shape.

February is Heart Health Month!

February 9, 2018

Wearing red in February isn’t just for Valentine’s Day. It’s also worn to raise awareness of the dangers of heart disease.
The American Heart Association reports about 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day. 

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This Valentine's arrangement has a stuffed bear and a red heart hugging an arrangement of twigs with candy attached using red ribbon.

How to Make a Quick and Easy Valentine's Day Gift

February 6, 2018

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you might already be racking your brain for a gift idea to give to that special someone. Have you ever thought of making the gift yourself?    (Photo/video by Jonathan Parrish)

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A football referee in a black and white striped shirt blows a whistle while another raises his arms to signal a touchdown. Another illustration uses a thermometer to depict the proper freezing, refrigeration, cooking and holding temperatures for food.

Score a Major Win with Food Safety

February 2, 2018

I may not be very interested in football, but I love food. So for me, Superbowl parties are all about the snacks! (Photo credit: Karen Blakeslee/Kansas State University Research & Extension)

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A group of ripening tomatoes are shown in a close-up.

Get Ahead of Vegetable Diseases

January 27, 2018

Bone-chilling temps have you stuck inside dreaming of that first home-grown tomato sandwich? Well, this is a great time to prepare for a healthy crop. (Photo by Alan Henn)

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:Black, white, and red logo showing a stylized wild hog with a red circle and a diagonal line across. Text reads Hold Our Ground Operation H.O.G.

Wild Hogs: Always Open Season

January 26, 2018

Got wild hogs? You need a trap. Winter is the best time to use this management tool.

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The green leaves of an oak tree create a canopy overhead while the thick, rough brown bark covering the leaves and branches dominates the right side of the photograph.

Free trees for Arbor Day!

January 23, 2018

This time of year, my love for trees joins my love for all things free, thanks to the generosity of several organizations, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil & Water Conservation District, and Mississippi Soil & Water Conservation Commission. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

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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. Pretty good gig, right?

The three main writers for the blog are Ellen Graves (Seamstress of Social Media Strategy), Susan Collins-Smith (Content Connector) and Keri Lewis (Captain Cat Herder). 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