This will be a short week for us at the Extension office, we will be closed Thursday and Friday to celebrate Independence Day or Fourth of July. The July Fourth holiday is when most normal families that go on summer vacations, usually to the beach. I have only been normal one time in my life and that was last year when my family, along with my in-laws, all loaded up and drove to Colorado for a wedding around the Fourth. I remember it well 70-degree days and 50-degree nights in July. Oh how I wish to be normal again. As hot as it is, I cannot get it 70 degrees in my house with the air conditioner running wide open.
I was out at the largest watermelon grower’s fields this morning, July 1 and witnessed watermelons being harvested. Yes, this was a field in Yalobusha County, but I don’t know if these melons will stay here or go somewhere else. Speaking of that I was in a grocery store this week talking with the produce man.
He said that he never has figured out in his 30 years of working produce why his shelves are filled with produce from everywhere but here and our local produce is shipped to other areas. The only response that I could think of was the trucking industry has done a good job at hauling our produce around the country.
Last Tuesday we hosted the North Mississippi 4-H Cookout contest at the Multi-purpose Building. The cookout contest is always a fun event that brings kids to our county from all over north Mississippi to show off their grilling abilities.
Kids ages 8-18 choose to cook pork, chicken, or beef dishes. The pork cooking consists of a pork chop and the chicken cooking consists of a half chicken. Beef cooking is split into several categories – hamburgers, less expensive steak, prestigious steak, and specialty categories. We are responsible for getting judges for the contest and getting the arena set up for the cooking.
The kids cook out in the arena area, which is hot this time of year anyway, but this year we had over 50 kids cooking, and the smoke was thick out there. One of the perks of managing the multi-purpose building that day was getting around to the judging tables and sneaking a quick bite of some of the product.
The best that I tasted that day was a prestigious steak that was cooked by an 8-year-old boy from Marshal County, he even makes his own marinade. Yalobusha County was represented in the beef cooking contest by Susan Schroyer, who placed third in junior hamburger cooking; and Andy Redwine, who placed second in less expensive steak.
Flooded forests face unknowns ahead
The stage for 2019 floods was set by heavy snowfall in the upper Midwest, followed by excessive rainfall patterns in the Plains, Midwest and South, resulting in significant flooding all along the Mississippi River.
The spring and early summer of 2019 has been among the wettest on record for many states located along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.
Mississippi River remains very high, forcing the opening of various spillways to disperse water over a larger area. The effect of the flooding has impacted not only the lives of people living in these areas, but has also begun to impact forests, wildlife and the Gulf of Mexico. One of the areas bearing the brunt of extended flooding are the 11 Mississippi counties found along the Mississippi River.
With no end in sight to the flooding, the search has begun to determine the extent of damage to the variety of hardwood species throughout the affected area.
Unfortunately, there are no simple or definitive answers because this natural disaster is not a stable phenomenon and continues to change. The impact will increase with time, especially as the flooding enters into the summer months.
Uncertainty of the damage’s extent is based on several variables: rainfall patterns, floodwater movement, water temperature, oxygen levels, longevity and intensity of rainfall, and drainage time and obstructions. Topography also defines the possibility and extent of tree damage. Certainly, damage will range from very little to significant with possible mortality among species that are not tolerant to extended flooding.
Many factors influence a tree’s ability to survive either seasonal and/or extended flooding, such as siltation, tree age, water temperature, trapped water, species tolerance to flooding, season(s) of flooding and duration of flooding.
Hardwood species vary greatly in their tolerance of flooding. As expected, riparian species such as black willow, eastern cottonwood, bald cypress, swamp tupelo, overcup oak and sycamore are tolerant to flooding. These species are adapted to seasonal flooding during the dormant season and early spring.
(Flooding info provided by Dr. Randy Rousseau, MSU Extension Service)