Friday, March 29, 2019

Watch Your Own Bobber...

Wendy Wedum, MSU Extension Pondera County

Over the past month, I have been feeling very stressed out.  Our 4-H District just hosted a statewide 4-H event, I have a training coming up, I volunteered to teach a couple classes at the high school and my son is moving back, among other things.
The result is feeling over whelmed and has led to poor eating habits, not exercising enough, not sleeping well and stress headaches the size of Beaverhead county.
Last weekend I asked about my son’s plans for moving and wondering about a potential Plan B in case I cannot help him.  Junior looks up at me, grins and calmly says, “Mom, watch your own bobber.”

My first reaction, because I wasn’t thinking clearly, was what does fishing have to do with moving?  Then the fog cleared and I realized what he meant as he said, "I’ve got my move handled and you don’t need to worry about it."  Then he shared he had changed his plans from what we talked about a couple months ago.
Spring can be a stressful time in rural Montana.  Sudden weather changes, calving, seeding crops, unexpected expenses, scholarship applications, graduations, planning for summer fun…whatever your list is, it can get big, fast.
If you are stressing out there are a couple strategies to help you watch your own bobber.  Write down a list of the things you are dealing with.  For each item, ask yourself what do you have control over?  Or What can you do to influence what happens with the item?  If you cannot change or do much about it, then it is time to stop watching that bobber.
If you can do something about it or have some control over the item, then it is time to do some planning or goal setting to better manage what is happening or what needs to be done.
When you are stressed out, it is hard to look at what you are doing objectively.  My son gave me a gentle reminder that he’s got this and he will ask for help when he needs it.
If you are interested in resources to cope with stress, MSU Extension has several MontGuides that may help.  One is called 50 Stress Busting Ideas for your Well Being, and there are others that deal with coping with family stress, helping children cope with natural disasters and dealing with financial crisis.
To get these resources you can call your local Extension office, or you can visit the North Central Montana Extension Blog, visit the Pondera County Extension facebook page or check out the KSEN/K96FM blog for links to downloadable pdf files on the website.
There are many resources available.  You don’t have to let yourself get hooked by things that are outside of your control.  My stress load dropped a lot that day and I got another good life lesson from my son when I listened to his wise words to “watch my own bobber.”

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Walk to Better Health

Jesse Fulbright, MSU Liberty County Extension

The one-way walk to work each day is approximately 1500-1700 steps for me, or about a 10-15-minute walk, depending on the conditions of the road and whether I’m running late or not.  That’s also just a little short of a mile for me.  On a good day where I don’t have lunch meetings, that means I can walk home for lunch and then repeat the cycle at quitting time as well, giving me 6,000 steps at the minimum on my watch/pedometer.  You factor in other errands, moving at work and at home and usually I walk about 10,000 steps each day.  Through this method of walking everywhere I can usually walk about 15 miles, or 25 kilometers each week.

According to health professionals, walking 10,000 steps each day is a good goal.  Now, with our northern Montana weather, especially in the winter, walking any great distance can be a challenge.  Sometimes sidewalks aren’t cleared from snow, or in the absence of sidewalks, roadways.  There is the very real concern about slipping and falling when walking in the snow and ice, and there is the biting cold to deal with.  If you are serious about walking, I would encourage everyone to look at investing in a good set of snow boots or some sort of traction devices to put on your feet.  Other than that, bundling up in layers is the way to go to beat the cold.
There are benefits of walking, including it being a low impact way of getting in shape and losing weight.  According to other research, it also improves your sleep.  I haven’t necessarily found that to be true in my case, but it certainly could be true for others.  Walking daily has also shown to increase good cholesterol, commonly called HDL, and decrease the LDL, or bad cholesterol.  It also reduces stress, which I can fully appreciate.  That time to walk, just like driving, gives my mind time to wander and think about the day, and is much healthier than sitting in the car.  Increases in balance and endurance, along with a decrease in fatigue will grow with a consistent habit of walking daily.  For my family, who have a history of Type 2 diabetes, it is also a way to help control blood sugars, along with the other good health habits I previously mentioned that also help in managing the disease.

Whatever your reason for walking, in the words of a famous shoe logo, “just do it!”  It’s a great way to keep in shape physically and mentally!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Houseplants- Craving or Needing the Spotlight?

Jesse Fulbright, MSU Liberty County Extension

In the Master Gardener level 1 course there is discussion on plant growth and development, which runs the gamut of topics.  I wanted to touch on one portion of that specific lecture and talk about light requirements of plants and apply it to many of us that have indoor house plants. 
Plants need light for photosynthesis, which is one of the lessons that all of us picked up in high school, if not younger.  Photosynthesis is the process wherein a plant converts light, oxygen and water into carbohydrates or energy.  This energy is required by a plant to grow, bloom and produce seed.  Without adequate light, carbohydrates cannot be manufactured, the energy reserves are depleted and plants die.
When talking about light requirements of house plants, we are talking about three different things, light intensity, light duration and light quality.  Light intensity is the brightness of light, measured in foot-candles.  Foot-candle are the amount of light received by a 1-square-foot surface located one foot away from a light source equal to one candle.  Light duration is the number of hours of light per 24-hour period.  Light quality is the wavelength or color of light.  Plants use red and blue light primarily, with red light encouraging budding and blue light promoting foliage growth.  Most plants are green because they don’t absorb light in the green spectrum, so they reflect it back out.

Of course, our house plants come in all varieties, and that includes how much light they like.  Low-light plants, those that need light at 10-15 watts or 50-250 foot-candles, would be suitable for a north window or a fairly dark corner.  Examples could include plants that don’t dry out quickly such peace lilies, some begonias and Anthurium.  Medium-light plants are those that require 15-20 watts or 250 - 1,000 foot-candles.  Medium light areas are well-lit areas in the home, such as windows that face east.  A medium-light plant can also be located near a west-facing window, but out of direct light.  Examples of these type of plants include African violets, other begonias and Christmas cactus.  High-light plants are those that need light at greater than 20 watts or more than 1,000 foot-candles.  These do best near or in south or south-west facing windows.  Examples of these plants include poinsettias, ficus, and yuccas.  It is important to note that while a plant may tolerate lower light growing conditions, more light may be required to promote dense foliage and flowering.
Please let your local county Extension office know if you have any questions regarding light requirements for houseplants.