August 21, 2014

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Local Columnists

The long call
Thursday, December 26, 2013 11:26 AM


By Nancy Whitaker

I have always loved people and consider myself a people person. I love talking to different folks and finding out their interests. I don’t care if I talk to someone on the telephone, the Internet or in person. The other night I placed a telephone call to my satellite provider to make some changes to my programming. This turned out to be a very long, interesting conversation.

After dialing the number and punching in my information, I was connected to a lady who spoke with a heavy accent. She told me her name and said that she would be helping me with any problems I had.

The gifts of gardening
Thursday, December 26, 2013 11:24 AM

By Kylee Baumle

Every year at this time, I experience a wee bit of stress and I have a feeling I’m not alone. The holiday season tends to do that. In spite of it coming at exactly the same time every year, Christmas sneaks up on me and all of a sudden, here it is and I’m not ready.

I don’t have to fix a meal, nor do we host any major festivities in our home. Our family is blessed in that we don’t really need a thing in the way of physical gifts, yet it’s just that aspect of Christmas that incites panic in the week before. It’s not supposed to be that way.

So I started to think about nontraditional gifts that can be found right in my own backyard. Yes, it’s too late for this year, but it’s never too early to start planning for the next, especially when the gifts are homegrown.

Wild about roses
Thursday, December 26, 2013 11:23 AM

By Mark Holtsberry

Education specialist

Paulding SWCD

A rose is not always a rose. Beautiful hybrids that make up the rose industry for cut roses, landscape roses, rose gardens and more, have little in common with the native and wild roses of their ancestors.

But as the interest in natural continues to increase, so it will be with roses where native landscaping and less formal gardens rediscover the merits of native and wild roses.

How cold is too cold?
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 8:42 AM

By Kylee Baumle

Goodness, last week was a cold one. Temperatures in the teens (and lower!) made me want to go into hibernation until I at least can’t see my breath when I’m out there. And what's with that wind, anyway? We can do without that making things feel even colder.

But, we’ve got a lot of winter yet to go and no one wants to hear more whining about the weather, although farmers and gardeners are wont to do that from time to time. I do have to wonder though, how some of my plants out there are faring in this.

Around here, we're in USDA Hardiness Zones 5b/6a, which means that theoretically, plants that are rated for these zones should reasonably be expected to survive temperature extremes as cold as -15° to -10° F. But the rules for this are not hard and fast.

Where did they go?
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 8:42 AM

By Mark Holtsberry

Education specialist

Paulding SWCD

As most of you know, birds are able to migrate south until the warmth of spring invites them back to their homes. Bats, which are flying mammals, also migrate; but once they reach their destination, typically the states just south of Ohio, they will hibernate in caves that their ancestors have occupied for generations.

Steps in snow represent full circle
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 8:41 AM

By Jim Langham

On one of the snowy days last week, I decided to soak in nature’s beauty with a walk in the beautiful Flat Rock Reserve located along Ohio 500 between Payne and Paulding. As has been the case in all of my trail walking recently, this experience became a time to listen and reflect.

As I stepped on to the trail, my heart was immediately captured by the beauty of the soft snow on “seed flowers” from the various aster plants, thistles and other winterized seeds waiting for the spring warmth. It is always amazing to me to realize that as brown as things may look, all plants are very much alive, protected, but living and ready for their spring emergence.

On this occasion, there was something intriguing, almost mystifying, about the footsteps left behind as I walked down the snow-covered trails. I looked behind myself several times with a spiritual realization that every step I took left another footprint in the freshly fallen snow.

My car has a story
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 8:40 AM


By Nancy Whitaker

Around the holidays, as people are out doing their shopping, there is a lot of traffic on the roads and highways. Sometimes, I know I get frustrated and say a few choice words, because either someone turns in front of me, or shines their bright lights in my face.

One evening when driving home from work, it was dark and there was quite a bit of traffic on the highway. There were fast moving cars, big semi trucks and slow moving swaying tractors and wagons.

I thought to myself, “Where is everyone going? What are their plans?” Then it came to me that inside every one of those vehicles, whether it is slow or fast, a truck, car, motorcycle or a tractor that they each have their own story to tell.

A chicken in every pot?
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 8:06 AM


By Nancy Whitaker

Have you ever thought what you would do with the money if you won the lottery, Publishers Clearing House or get some kind of windfall of money? Money has always been influential and plays an important part in our lives. It always has and always will.

How times have changed. Yes, money is still right at the top of the list of what we all want more of, however, the question arises, “Just how much money do we need?” I have to remember, too, that wants and needs are two separate things.

Birding through the eyes of a child
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 8:05 AM

By Mark Holtsberry

Education specialist

Paulding SWCD

You never know what will turn a young person on to nature and the out-of-doors. It is something that can’t be forced, only encouraged. Here are four simple suggestions for getting young people interested in birding.

Monarch butterfly progress report
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 8:04 AM

By Kylee Baumle

Earlier this year, I mentioned the plight of the monarch butterflies. I encouraged you to plant more milkweed in your gardens and to consider not cutting it down. Apparently, some of you took it to heart, as I had several people stop me when I was out and about and tell me they’d planted some. I also noticed several roadsides where milkweed is now dispersing its cottony seed. Mother Nature is doing her part, too.

Please don’t stop. The reports are coming in from the overwintering sites in Mexico, where most of the monarchs east of the Rockies have now arrived and the news is not good.

The numbers are lower than ever, dropping from an average of 350 million to 60 million. The colonies where they congregate normally take up a space of about 52 acres but they now only occupy a little less than three acres. THREE.