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November 24, 1997 - Filed Under: Farm Safety, Family

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- On winter evenings, few things can top the warmth of a wood heater, but these can turn dangerous if not installed and maintained properly.

Andy Sharp, a Starkville fire fighter and chimney sweeper, works both with preventing and putting out chimney fires. On average, Starkville has five to 10 chimney fires a year, he said.

"Very rarely does the house catch on fire, but nine times out of 10, the chimney is damaged by a chimney fire," Sharp said. "The chimney is not designed to have a fire, and a fire inside it can crack the inside and outside."

November 24, 1997 - Filed Under: Environment, Food, Food Safety, Nutrition

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When a hunter's goal is a tasty meal, success will depend on more than an accurate aim.

The wild taste is not necessarily something game meat naturally has, but results from improper care of the game. A few preparations can ensure the successful hunt is enjoyed on the dinner table.

Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension food safety specialist at Mississippi State University, said field dressing is the most important step in preserving the flavor of the meat.

November 20, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The United States has not been the same during the holidays since Ambassador Joel Poinset brought a plant back from Mexico in 1825. Poinsettias have become a tradition, and some new gorgeous varieties will be showing up this year.

Pepride is a new variety that has caught my eye. Its dark green leaves and deep red bracts are shaped like oak leaves. Freedom is a dark red variety with dark green leaves. It is awfully hard to find a prettier poinsettia than this one.

November 13, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The one thing most people hate about this time of the year is that it's dark when they get home from work. However, lights in the flower beds can be a welcome sight as they pull into their driveways every evening.

After mulch, lighting is the perfect finishing touch to landscaping. Lighting can really make a dramatic impact in the landscape, especially when featuring the old oak, water pond or flower garden.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Nutrition

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most everyone strives for a slim figure, and some people have enough discipline to maintain good nutrition, but eating concerns can go too far.

Dieting can lose its value as a tool for maintaining health, and it can even be destructive if people continues to lose weight beyond their healthy weight range.

Dr. Barbara McLaurin, extension nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University, said people should consider overall nutrition when starting a weight-loss diet.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Food and Health, Nutrition

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Eating junk foods and forgetting to exercise can cause health problems much more serious than simply being overweight.

Americans are aware of the importance of good nutrition and physical activity, but many don't realize that neglecting those habits can lead to health risks, such as type 2 diabetes.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farming

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Some farmers still receive advice from their neighbors, but many are turning to certified crop advisors for help in making decisions that will impact their pocketbooks and protect the environment.

"Certified crop advisors take field management decisions up to a whole new level," said Dr. Larry Oldham, extension soils specialist at Mississippi State University. "CCA advice results from research-based training."

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: 4-H, Youth Livestock

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Youngsters planning to participate in the Mississippi junior livestock program in 1998 have some studying to do before the season begins in January.

Dr. Joe Baker, extension animal science specialist at Mississippi State University, said 4-H and FFA officials serving on an ethics task force committee decided in February 1997 to make the junior livestock program truly a program for the juniors.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Animal Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Heavy acorn crops may delight wildlife enthusiasts, but cattle producers recognize the deadly threat to their animals pastured with large numbers of oak trees.

Dr. Richard Hopper, extension veterinarian at Mississippi State University, said it is common for cattle to eat acorns, but few are poisoned by them in the state. Most happen when acorns are abundant and pastures offer little forage.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Farm Safety, Environment

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cutting firewood can be a cost-effective way to warm homes in the winter, but never compromise safety in an attempt to cut home heating bills.

Dannie Reed, Choctaw County extension agent, said using chain saws is a hazardous and sometimes deadly activity. Chain saw accidents are a leading cause of emergency room visits, and some result in fatalities in Mississippi.

"Chain saws are probably the most dangerous of the portable power tools since it has more horsepower and exposed cutting blade than most anything else you can use," Reed said.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: 4-H, Youth Livestock

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Youngsters planning to participate in the Mississippi junior livestock program in 1998 have some studying to do before the season begins in January.

Dr. Joe Baker, extension animal science specialist at Mississippi State University, said 4-H and FFA officials serving on an ethics task force committee decided in February 1997 to make the junior livestock program truly a program for the juniors.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Livestock, Animal Health, Beef

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Heavy acorn crops may delight wildlife enthusiasts, but cattle producers recognize the deadly threat to their animals pastured with large numbers of oak trees.

Dr. Richard Hopper, extension veterinarian at Mississippi State University, said it is common for cattle to eat acorns, but few are poisoned by them in the state. Most happen when acorns are abundant and pastures offer little forage.

November 7, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Cotton, Soybeans, Agricultural Economics

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Like a real roller coaster ride, 1997 left some farmers saying, "Let's go again," and others saying, "No way."

Cold, wet conditions at planting time had row-crop growers struggling to plant fields. As the conditions persisted, the young plants struggled to mature.

"Early season conditions resulted in about 30,000 acres of cotton being destroyed -- mainly in Northeast Mississippi," said Dr. Will McCarty, extension cotton specialist at Mississippi State University.

Growers planted much of the state's cotton later than ideal.

November 6, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Muhly grass stole the show at the annual Fall Field Day at the Truck Crops Experiment Station in Crystal Springs. Honestly, I think I could have sold several hundred containers of this beautiful ornamental grass.

Since the field day, I have continued to receive calls about the beautiful ornamental grass with the cotton candy-like blooms that were a deep rose color.

Muhly grass impressed my horticultural counterparts as well. The name comes from Muhlenbergia.

October 31, 1997 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Catfish processing in the state and country is up this year, but production is not as cool weather in the growing season means the fish are smaller.

Nationwide, catfish processing is up 12 percent from September 1996 with 43.5 million pounds processed in September. But the industry is expected to run short of large catfish by spring, given the numbers being processed now and the amount of feed gotten into the catfish.

October 30, 1997 - Filed Under: Nuts, Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Hernando Desoto discovered pecans' wonderful taste in 1541 in what became Mississippi, and Jean Penicaut wrote about them in Natchez in 1704.

The most widely planted variety, the Stuart, originated here, as did Desirable, Success and Schley. Despite criticism over irregular crops and insect problems, the pecan is a survivor and worthy of a place in the landscape as a shade tree.

October 27, 1997 - Filed Under: Technology, Family, Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Once upon a time, people could get away with excuses like not having enough time to shop or too many people at stores, but the Internet has removed those excuses.

Consumer use of the Internet has gone way beyond sending virtual postcards and buying computer parts. With few exceptions, any service or product available in stores or by mail order can now be purchased in cyberspace.

October 27, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Everyone loves to see a child's face light up over a special gift on Christmas morning, but adults need to think beyond Dec. 25 as they shop for children's toys.

"Many adults buy gifts with the goal of seeing an excited reaction to the newly opened present," said Dr. Louise Davis, extension child and family development specialist at Mississippi State University. "But the real test of success will be the amount of and quality of play with the toys. How long will the child play with it? How will the toy benefit the child's development?"

October 27, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Family Financial Management

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As holiday excitement builds, so do the stress levels for many shoppers faced with the hassles of finding Christmas gifts.

The Christmas frenzy doesn't have to make shopping a burden. Organization and creativity are keys for handling the holiday season.

Dr. Beverly Howell, extension family economics specialist at Mississippi State University, said starting early is the ideal way to handle Christmas shopping.

October 27, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Nutrition

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The holiday season often presents a series of delicious meals and special treats, but the goodies aren't so great for those watching what they eat.

Dieters face temptation after temptation in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and struggling to avoid calories can cause extra holiday stress.

Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University, said the festive atmosphere of the holiday season does not have to be detrimental to a healthy diet.

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