Welcome Hummingbirds!


In the continental United States, hummingbirds are key in wildflower pollination. Source: USDA Forest Service

Late this afternoon, I caught a glimpse of a tiny hummingbird dodging rain and fighting wind to check out my feeder – no nectar! I rushed in the kitchen and made a batch of nectar (the nectar recipe is below). Once the nectar was cool, I put on a poncho, rain boots and headed out to fill the feeder. Thankfully, she came back.

Hummingbirds are fascinating! Enlist the help of the entire family to attract these tiny birds to your landscape.

Spring migration occurs from mid-April through May. This time of year, hummingbirds move through the area pretty quickly so visits to your feeders may be brief. We’re lucky in eastern Nebraska because some folks have Ruby-throated hummingbirds all summer long. Continue reading


Community Resources to Connect, Learn and Share

…and they are all free from Nebraska Extension!

Educational Community Resources

Have you ever been asked to present a program or talk to a civic or community group, club or professional organization? Sometimes looking up ideas and information, then organizing it can be challenging and take a lot of time. Nebraska Extension is making it a lot easier for you by providing educational resources for you – free, on-line! No sign-in required.  Everything from the benefits of Chocolate (love this!) to timely resources on bullying and finances.  Here are the current programs available for 2014 and what’s coming for 2015:

For details about each program and to download the free educational resources, visit http://www.extension.unl.edu/communityprograms


  • What’s in Your Drink? Making Healthier Choices (coming soon)
  • Little Kids Cook! (available on-line now)

Continue reading

Winter Wildlife Projects

Binoculars are great gifts for people who love  wildlife.

Binoculars are great gifts for kids and adults of all ages who love learning about wildlife.

Winter is a terrific time to work on projects to help you attract wildlife next spring. Do you want to attract more songbirds? How about bats to help keep down insects like mosquitoes? You can encourage important pollinators by building an insect hotel or nesting box for solitary bees and placing it outside in the early spring. Enlist your children/grandchildren to help plan a butterfly-friendly/bee garden using a combination of native plants and more.

If you have a friend or family member who loves wildlife, consider the gift of a bird house, feeder or bird bath. Encourage native solitary bees with the gift of a bee nesting block or house. Gift certificates to your local nursery would make great stocking stuffers. Field guides, journaling notebooks and a set of binoculars are great gifts any time of year.   Continue reading

Rethinking Food Waste

Food Waste Graphic from Tufts University

Let’s do better when it comes to food waste!

November 15 was America Recycles Day. It isn’t often that we get a chance to relate food to recycling but when you think of food waste, we can do better.

I don’t have a garbage disposal at my house so what food and food scraps I don’t use are either tossed or composted. One of my solutions to reduce waste is to compost with worms.  Redworms eat their bedding (shredded newspaper) and food scraps leaving you with a rich soil amendment for plants. Worm composting (called “vermicomposting”) can be done year-round and is a great project for the entire family. Of course, having a bin of worms under your kitchen sink isn’t for everyone, but if you are at least curious give it a try. Learn more about vermicomposting here. Continue reading

Family Journals – a Shared Legacy

Grandpa and Granddaughter working on a laptop

Creating a family journal can be a great project for the whole family.

My dad didn’t talk about his experiences during the Korean War until he went on the Nebraska Korean War Honor Flight this spring. It was an amazing experience and has given veterans like my dad, a long overdue opportunity to share their stories.

Every family has a story.  Everyone’s journey is unique and an important shared legacy for families.

Whether you write a journal about yourself or help an elderly family member, you don’t have to do it all at once. You can start small with important dates, events and then let the memories and stories begin. Involve the entire family if you want – make this a family project. Take your time and enjoy the process.

Think about your own life and the lives of your family and how you might want to record your family legacy. If you aren’t sure how to start, read the UNL Extension NebGuide, Family Journal. You’ll find resources and tips to make the process easier.


UNL Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu