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A coyote walking.

At a quick glance, coyotes can be mistaken for a domestic dog, like a German shepherd or collie. But this wild dog species can be trouble if they take up residence in your neighborhood. 

Coyotes are abundant in Mississippi and are natural predators, preying on animals like small dogs, cats, birds, and rodents. They also can damage land. 

You may only hear coyotes and never actually see them. Their distinguishable howl is one sure sign they’ve taken up residence in your area. Most coyotes are active at night or during times when humans are not around. Coyotes are...


Woman smiling at a table.

School’s Out: How to Make Meals and Snacks Count

June 8, 2021

The kids are out of school, and for some of us, our schedule is a little bit out of routine. As a mom of four, I know how hard it can be to keep those summer bellies full, so I want to share some of my go-to tips to help.

A squirrel on wood railing.

Critter of the Month: Eastern Gray Squirrel

June 4, 2021

Most people have a love-hate relationship with squirrels. It’s fascinating to watch them jump from tree branch to tree branch, searching for any food in sight. At the same time, they can also be quite a nuisance to homeowners.

Two dogs sit and look at the camera.

How to Prepare Pets for a Disaster

June 1, 2021

Although June 1 marks the beginning of hurricane season, there can be many kinds of environmental disasters. Natural disasters, including straight-line winds, tornadoes, fires, and floods, are all uncontrollable events that can happen at any time. A comprehensive disaster plan along with a disaster kit can help you respond quickly and make it easier to recover from one of these events. But don’t forget your pets! They need a disaster plan and kit, too.

A bundle of blackberries.

June Garden Checklist

May 28, 2021

One of my favorite things to do during summer is ride around town and look at all the flowers planted in front of businesses and homes. A lot of work goes into having a nice landscape, so give yourself a pat on the back. Don’t let the heat deter you from continuing to maintain and grow your garden. Be sure to grab a bottle of water when heading outside in the Mississippi summer! Here are a few tasks to tackle during the month of June: 

Close up of triangular watermelon slices on a plate.

Summertime Recipe Roundup

May 25, 2021

Whether your summers are filled with activities or dedicated to relaxation, these recipes from The Food Factor can help you make meals and snacks a breeze.

A shade sail with cloudy blue sky.

Tips for Installing a Shade Sail

May 21, 2021

If there’s one thing all Mississippians can agree on, it’s that the summer sun can be brutal. I enjoy spending time on my back patio, but it’s hard to enjoy without shade. I’ve noticed several restaurants, parks, and pools have installed shade sails to provide shade to visitors. Why not install one in your own back yard? 

Closeup of soft granola bars on a plate.

The Food Factor: Soft Granola Bars

May 18, 2021

Keeping a healthy snack on hand is a good way to avoid impulse eating. These Soft Granola Bars, filled with whole grains, dried fruit, and honey instead of sugar, are a tasty treat when I want something sweet, and they keep me away from the vending machine or drive-through.

Yellow and red fertilizer cans.

How to Understand Fertilizers

May 14, 2021

Fertilizing your lawn and garden is an important maintenance step that shouldn’t be overlooked. Fertilizer helps plants get established, keeps plants healthy, and encourages growth. But with so many different types of fertilizers and ratios, knowing which kind to use can be confusing.

A woman stands behind a kitchen counter.

Salt and Sodium: Do You Know the Difference?

May 11, 2021

Although people tend to use the terms salt and sodium interchangeably, salt and sodium are two different things. Sodium is a mineral we all need to live. Table salt by weight contains about 40% sodium and 60% chloride. Most Americans eat too much. Here's how to reduce the amount of sodium you eat.

A black and white skunk.

Critter of the Month: Striped Skunk

May 7, 2021

A skunk knows how to make its presence known. With their furry black and white coats and pungent odor, they’re hard to miss! Mississippi is home to two species of skunks: the spotted skunk and the striped skunk. The striped skunk is the most commonly found skunk in the state and are easily identified by, you guessed it, a white stripe on their back. 

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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, Qula Madkin, 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