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Outdoors & Environment

Firewood: Keeping Home Fires Burning

firewood

Buying firewood can be confusing.  How much is really in that pickup truck?  What kind of wood is it? The first thing you should know is understanding firewood volume. Dr. Mathew Smidt, a forestry specialist with Alabama Extension, said many times firewood is sold by the pickup truck loads which are not standard sizes.  The standard measure is a cord which ... Read More »

Protect Yourself: Tips for Safe Chainsaw Use

chainsaw

All too often, people do not read the operator’s manual.  That may not be a problem for hair dryers and vacuums.  But Dr. Mathew Smidt, an Alabama Extension forestry specialist, says when it comes to chainsaws, the first thing to do is read and understand the owner’s manual. “If you only read one manual in your life, read your chainsaw owner’s ... Read More »

Pond Upkeep–Testing the Waters

picture provided by Dr. Rusty Wright

Some land owners may believe that their ponds should be left alone and self-sustaining. Some say “nature will run its course”, but in many areas, that may not be the best practice. Areas with high levels of soil acidity (low pH) can cause a pH imbalance in ponds. Overall, Alabama soils are generally acidic, typically containing red clay with high ... Read More »

Winterizing Your Home

Alabama is considered to have mild winters in comparison to other parts of the country, but the state does experience some winter weather extremes almost every year. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, do it now before the temperatures settle into winter averages. Alabama Extension professional Virginia Morgan White shared some  tips to help cold proof and winterize your home ... Read More »

Repurposing Old Christmas Trees as Fish Attractors

Christmas Tree

AUBURN, Alabama–When the holidays are over and you’re left with dried up Christmas trees, you can still use your old trees for seasons to come. After the holidays, bundle old Christmas trees to use as fish attractors in your pond. Fish are attracted to tree bundles for many reasons. Small fish hide in the bundle to avoid larger predators. Algae ... Read More »

How to Prepare for Severe Cold Weather Conditions

Winter has come early in some parts of the country. In mid-November temperatures dropped into the 20’s  with wind chills in the teens, while in the North, records amount of snow, wind and below-freezing temperatures caused chaos. Usually severe cold and heavy snowfalls don’t occur until mid-winter (January or February).  In the northern parts of the United States, roads have been shut down, some people have been stranded in cars for up ... Read More »

Keep Pets Safe in the Winter

As winter approaches, it’s time to start preparing for ways to keep your outdoor furry friends safe from the harsh winter climate. So how can you ensure safety and comfort for your four-legged family members? Alabama Extension Specialist, Robert Spencer, has these tips and tricks on winter safety for outdoor pets. Fuuurrrrreezing Some people believe that an animal’s furry coat ... Read More »

How to Stay Safe During Tornado Season

Alabama is one of the few states in the United States that has a tornado season that technically occurs year-round. However, Alabama does have two peaks in the season, which are considered the most conducive to tornados. These two peaks occur from March to April and also the last two weeks of October through November. As the second peak in ... Read More »

Keeping Mice Out of Your House

Keeping Mice at Bay

Cooler weather has arrived, but with the cooler air also comes rodents. European house mice are gearing up for winter by searching for food and finding a place to keep warm.  Dr. Jim Armstrong, wildlife expert with Alabama Cooperative Extension System,  has some ideas on keeping mice at bay this fall. Native mice, such as the cotton mouse and the white-footed mouse, ... Read More »

Get Your Children Out In Nature

florida maple

Today’s families are busier than ever. Juggling jobs, schooling and extracurricular activities can be difficult, but it is important that children are exposed to nature regularly. “Getting children involved with nature helps them to develop into balanced and healthy people,” said Melanie Allen, a regional Extension agent for family and child development with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Letting children ... Read More »