The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke: "Watch Your Blue Spruce Trees and Let's Give The Fair a Help'n Hand"

Greetings to everyone in Western Illinois.

The Henderson County fair will of already begun by the time you read this column. We, of course, will in all probability have mighty warm weather dur'n the fair if'n history is any example and in all probability, a rain shower or two.

Seventy-five (75) years ago we was in "The Dust Bowl" with a drought go'n on and 100+ temperatures. How many remember?

Rain would be most welcome because we didn't get much out of those last two showers that came thru this past week.

If'n you checked out last weeks Quill, you will have found plenty of opportunity in them pages fer entertainment and fun.

With this year's budget constraints on all levels of government, the fair is be'n thoughtful in their season tickets at $15 and $12 for senior citizens. Thursday thru Saturday gate tickets from 4-9 p.m. are $6 fer adults and $5 fer senior citizens.

The boys had a suggestion for those who have benefited from this years good commodity prices and those who yet have the benefit of a good pay'n job.

Why not hand that gatekeeper a $20.00 bill, or better yet, two twenties and tell them to put the balance above gate fees on fair expenses, upkeep, and whatever is useful to benefit our good county fair!

If'n you've already been thru the gate several times by the time you read this, it is not too late. Surprise the gate keeper the next time thru with a generous monetary gift or mail a check, or drop a gift off at the fair office.

It would be an investment in the future of our youth and our county. It really would not be like it was help'n someone else entirely. In reality it would be a help'n yourself when you think about it for a spell. As the county and its youth benefit, so do it's more aged citizens and all who live in the county-youth through elderly.

There's a lot of folk who have donated time and labor through out the year to make this fair a success, as well as the many and various projects for fun and learn'n. My hat is off to "em and me and the boys is plan'n on be'n generous in our contributions.

In the late 1800s, 4-H clubs began as corn clubs for boys and canning clubs for girls. By 1900 several rural leaders had concluded that farm boys and girls were not learn'n enough about farm'n in the rural schools, and they encouraged county school superintendents to organize boys' and girls' clubs.

Some boys' and girls' clubs began use'n a three-leaf clover with three H's. Later the fourth H was added. These clubs had no formal tie to any governmental agency.

This changed when congress passed The Smith-Lever Act in 1914, create'n the Cooperative Extension Service within the United States Department of Agriculture.

Cooperative Extension was formed as a cooperative arrangement betwixt the national government (USDA), the state land grant universities, and county government.

The Smith-Lever provided for the hire'n of county extension agents and were soon found in nearly every county in the United States. Besides work'n with farmers and their wives, these agents also organized 4-H clubs. Too bad fund'n has not kept up in recent years.

Through the county extension office, 4-H members had access to the latest agricultural research from the agricultural colleges range'n from crop and livestock raise'n to preserve'n food and care'n for rural health needs.

In recent years 4-H clubs have also become available to village and urban young folk. Though considerably different from the days of corn and can'n clubs, 4-H continues to flourish and provide informal opportunities for thousands of young folk.

From 1914 to 2011-that's quite a history. Almost 100 years of good things happen'n. What sez ye that we dig a little deeper in our pockets and help keep 4-H strong. Show the politicians and bureaucrats we still care!

The organization was designed for boys and girls so that they could have fun, learn to work together, and gain information about modern farm'n and homemake'n. The 4-H motto "To Make The Best Better", and the organization's emphasis on Head, Hands, Heart, and Health have been a guide for children for a long time now, and we need to see to it as best we can that its rich tradition continues.

As if'n we didn't have enough to be concerned about, our Blue Spruce windbreaks and ornamental yard trees are under attack in some areas of western Illinois, from a nasty fungus known as "Rhizosphaera Needle Cast".

The disease first becomes noticeable on the trees lower branches. Second-year needles turn a purple or brown color and eventually fall off. After a few years of needle loss, whole branches may die.

Typically, trees die from the bottom up. The fungus shows up on the discolored needles in the form of small black dots. These dots are the fruit'n or reproduction structures of the fungus.

Rhizosphaera survives the winter in needles on trees or in needles on the ground. The fungus is spread by splash'n and drip'n water. Emerge'n needles can become infected dur'n a wet spring, like we just had. The damage can be major.

Treatment involves spray'n diseased trees with a fungicide in the last two weeks of May and again four to six weeks later. It's get'n late in the year for the fungicide to do much good now. It probably will keep it at bay, but it's not go'n to cure the tree.

When you start see'n the damage, it probably began three to five months earlier. To prevent further devastation and tree loss from the fungus, begin spray'n as soon as possible next year.

Maybe those "yeller" planes spray'n fungicide on soybeans and corn this year can be utilized on mature windbreaks next spring?

Well, I've rattled on long enough for this column. I've enjoyed "jaw'n" with "you'ns" and I'll look forward to fun'n at the fair with everyone!

Keep on Smile'n
Catch ya Later
Barnyard Bruke