The Great Backyard Bird Count 2019 kicks off February 15-18, 2019, and is one birding activity that can be done from literally anywhere on the planet. Join hundreds of thousands of people of all ages and walks of life to create a snapshot of birds across the world. All you have to do is spend 15 minutes tallying the numbers and types of birds you see on one or more of the days of the count. You can count birds at your local park, nearby wildlife reserve, or your own backyard. To find out more information on The Great Backyard Bird Count 2019 and sign up, click here.
WHY COUNT BIRDS?
Scientists and bird enthusiasts can learn a lot by knowing where the birds are. Bird populations are dynamic; they are constantly in flux. No single scientist or team of scientists could hope to document and understand the complex distribution and movements of so many species in such a short time.
Scientists use the GBBC information, along with observations from other citizen-science projects, such as the Christmas Bird Count, Project FeederWatch, and eBird, to get the “big picture” about what is happening to bird populations. The longer these data are collected, the more meaningful they become in helping scientists investigate far-reaching questions, like these:
How will the weather influence bird populations?
Where are winter finches and other “irruptive” species that appear in large numbers during some years but not others?
How will the timing of birds’ migrations compare with past years?
How are bird diseases, such as West Nile virus, affecting birds in different regions?
What kinds of differences in bird diversity are apparent in cities versus suburban, rural, and natural areas?
The Great Backyard Bird Count is led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada and sponsorship from Wild Birds Unlimited.
Get your gardening gloves and shovel out, it’s time for early spring planting! Our greenhouse is stocked full of onion sets and seed potatoes ready for your garden. Other cold weather crops will arrive mid-February so keep an eye out for those! Even though it’s cool outside, it’s the perfect time to plant cool weather crops. New to planting Cole Crops? Check out this article from the Texas AgriLife Extension office on easy gardening for cole crops.
Quick Tips For Planting Onions
Prepare the soil: The soil should be worked to a depth of 8-10″ and should have good drainage and be in full sun.
Fertilize: Spread about 2 pounds of fertilizer (10-10-10 or 10-20-10) over a 100 square foot area and mix into the top 3-4″ of soil.
Plant: Pick out the best developed plants and plant 3/4″ to 1″ deep and 2 to 3 inches apart.
Read more tips for planting spring onions here.
Preparing and Planting Potatoes
When purchasing seed potatoes, look for certified seed potatoes. These are seeding potatoes which have not been treated with growth retardants to prevent sprouting. Conventional potatoes in grocery markets are typically treated with retardants.
After you have planned and prepared a garden spot with well-drained, loose soil, the seed potatoes can be prepped for planting:
Cut each seed potato into quarters (sulfur dust can be applied to the fresh cut ends) and let the potato quarters set out overnight or longer until cut sides callus over. Seed potato quarters are then ready to plant— for a good rule of thumb, potato quarters should be planted 3” to 4” deep and spaced 12” to 15” apart. To provide plants plenty of growing room, make sure rows are spaced 24” to 36” apart.
Need propane for your grill or heaters? We can help you! Blue Rhino Propane Tank exchange is now available at J&N Feed and Seed. Blue Rhino is America’s leading brand of propane tank exchange. And together with J&N Feed and Seed, we’re dedicated to providing quick, easy access to Blue Rhino propane that’s close to home. Simply drop, swap and go — and always be ready to fire up the grill.
Swap or purchase a new tank of Blue Rhino Propane and receive a $3 rebate by mail. Click here for a money saving rebate on your Blue Rhino propane tank exchange.
Getting your $3 mail-in rebate
Purchase a Blue Rhino propane tank, with or without exchanging an empty tank, at J&N Feed and Seed, between now and 12/31/19. Print the rebate form & complete it in its entirety. Limit 1 rebate per household*, per calendar year.
The Proof of Purchase you’ll need to attach to the rebate can be found on the Blue Rhino tank wrap, to the left of the Blue Rhino logo along the bottom. Simply cut it out along the dotted line as shown and include it with your submission. Be sure to retain the rest of the package, as it provides valuable safety information. Here’s what the proof of purchase looks like:
Contact our Customer Care team at
P.O. Box 6075
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Countless hours are spent preparing a project heifer or steer for show day. Early mornings and late nights are consumed washing, feeding, clipping and practicing. All of that work accumulates for ‘5 minutes of fame’ – the brief time when an animal walks into the ring and gets a chance to impress the judge. After a few laps around the ring, exhibitors get a chance to display their animal’s side profile, then animals are pulled in, placed and the class is over.
When all is said and done, exhibitors and their projects have only been in the ring for a few short minutes, even in large, competitive classes. How can exhibitors make the most of those few minutes, while the judge contemplates his or her decision? How can they make sure their animals are presented to perfection during that time, giving the judge the best look possible?
Honor® Show Chow® Ambassadors Dave Allan, Bob May and Kirk Stierwalt have had decades of combined show industry experience and all have had the opportunity to judge showmanship on a regular basis.
Now, they are sharing their top five showmanship tips based on their expertise and experience to help exhibitors and their projects excel in the ring:
1. Teach cattle manners.
“Cattle need to know the cues and fundamentals to be shown properly in the show ring,” says Stierwalt. “It’s hard to win, even if you have a good calf if you can’t get it set up.”
Practicing at home and in various environments is critical. The only way for an animal to learn cues and get comfortable showing is to practice. Practicing in variable environments – whether that be indoor or outdoor, individually or with a group, with background noise or without – can help prepare your animal for a situation they might encounter in the show ring.
2. Know your animal.
“Not all cattle are set up the same,” says Stierwalt. “You need to know what your calf looks like from a judge’s point-of-view to show them with the best result.”
For some exhibitors, it may come naturally to correct flaws with their project, while for others it may take some time to see what the judge sees in the show ring. While one animal may need its head held a bit higher, another might need it’s back touched down just a bit more. Practicing both on the halter and off, can help exhibitors identify flaws and learn how best to correct those flaws in the ring.
3. Walk into a staggered position.
One of Dave Allan’s top tips is learning how to walk your cattle into a staggered position to minimize show stick use for feet placement.
“Practice at home by taking the last several steps, switch hands while walking backward looking at the back feet, and walk them into staggered position,” says Allan. “By doing so, most of the time you’ll only have to move the left front foot. You’ll be set up quickly and avoid a lot of time spent on the unnecessary shuffling of the feet.”
Allan adds that learning the in’s and out’s of halter pressure will help when the need does arise to shuffle feet.
4. Set, and don’t forget.
Both Allan and May emphasize that while many parents tell their kids to watch the judge and smile, too often young exhibitors end up staring the judge down and disregarding presentation of their animal.
“Exhibitors spend months preparing for a show. To be competitive you need to watch your animal. First and foremost you need to get them set up, then look for the judge,” says May.
Allan adds, “You need to know where the judge is to correctly set your animal up and watch for cues to get pulled, but priority should be on making sure your animal is set up properly.”
5. Never be late.
Whether the class is showmanship or the animal’s actual class, May advises exhibitors to always be on time. Be aware of how quickly classes are going, keep a close watch on the show ring as your class approaches and be ready to enter the ring once the previous class is in.
If a judge has to wait for late arrival or is already in the midst of placing the class, exhibitors late to the ring often won’t get the look they worked hard to receive.
An exhibitor may have a potential class-winning animal, but if not properly presented and fed, that animal may not rise to the top. Practicing and perfecting showmanship skills are critical for giving the judge the best look on show day, as is a high-quality plane of nutrition.