Make an Ice Suncatcher

This article appears in the November/December 2018 Newsletter:

Make an ice suncatcher

by Mary Jane Frogge, Extension Associate – Horticulture

This winter-themed ice suncatcher (left) has raspberries and spruce branches. This fall-themed ice suncatcher (right) has orange slices, vinca stems and yellow food coloring. (Photo by Mary Jane Frogge, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County)

This winter-themed ice suncatcher (left) has raspberries and spruce branches. This fall-themed ice suncatcher (right) has orange slices, vinca stems and yellow food coloring. (Photo by Mary Jane Frogge)

Making an ice suncatcher with natural materials is a fun winter activity for all ages. Using water, natural materials, freezing temperatures and a little time, you can create an outdoor decoration to place in the yard during the cold winter months.

1. Collect twigs, leaves, pinecones, cranberries, seeds, orange and apple slices, or other small natural materials to use as decoration for your suncatcher. The suncatcher needs a hanger, use a small loop of twine or ribbon.

2. Fill a pie or cake pan half full with water. Add a bit of food coloring to add color to your suncatcher. Arrange your decorations in the water. By adding fruit or bird seed you can make your suncatcher a bird feeder too. Position the hanger in the water leaving the loop out for hanging later. Place the pan outside if you have freezing temperatures or in the freezer to freeze overnight. After you have the pan in place to freeze, add more water to fill the pan. If you are doing this activity with kids, it can be a bit messy. It might be a good idea to make them outside.

3. When frozen, pop it out of the mold or run the underside of the cake pan through warm water for a few seconds until it loosens. Hang your ice suncatcher on a fence or a tree in the yard. Remove the ribbon or twine once the ice suncatcher has melted.

Check out the entire November/December issue of the free NEBLINE newsletter for much more from Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County. Visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/nebline and click on the link to the March 2018 NEBLINE!

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!

Soni

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

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Early Spring Care for Fruit Trees

Peach tree in May - photo by Vicki Jedlicka

Peach tree in May – photo by Vicki Jedlicka

This feature article appears in the March 2018 NEBLINE Newsletter:

Early Spring Care for Fruit Trees

by Sarah Browning, Extension Educator – Horticulture

When the apple and cherry trees start to bloom, we know spring has finally arrived. Fruit trees are wonderful additions to the home landscape, both as fruit producers and ornamental blooming trees.

To maximize the health of your fruit trees, begin with proper pruning, then provide good care through fertilization, watering and mulching throughout the summer. Next, develop an integrated pest management plan tailored to the specific insect and disease problems affecting your trees.

Pruning, research, trouble for fruit trees, integrated pest management, and early season pest control are covered in the feature article in the March issue of the NEBLINE Newsletter. View Page 1 and Page 3 for rest of this article (near the bottom of the page).

Check out the entire March issue of the free NEBLINE newsletter for much more from Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County. Visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/nebline and click on the link to the March 2018 NEBLINE!

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!

Soni

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

Cicada Killers, Cicadas and Cow Killer Ants

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the GRO Big Red Blog, please do! Our colleagues at Nebraska Extension in Douglas and Sarpy Counties, and our own Jody Green in Lancaster County, regularly share resources to help you GRO Big! https://grobigred.com/

Cow Killer Ant (Velvet Ant). This is not an "ant" but a wasp!

Cow Killer Ant (Velvet Ant). This is not an “ant” but a wasp!

It’s that time of year when cicadas “sing”, and their predators are on the hunt. Learn more about cicada killer wasp, annual cicadas and cow killer ants:

Cicada Killer Season is Upon Us – Jonathan Larson

Video: Cicada Killer Wasp – Jonathan Larson & Jody Green

Annual Cicadas: The Musicians of Summer – Jonathan Larson

Cow Killer Ant: Wrongfully Accused – Jody Green

If you have other pest and wildlife questions, we have resources on-line at http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest or contact your local extension office.

Have a great day!!

Soni

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

Tiny Bugs with a BIG Bite!

I’m going to take a moment to vent too ….. I happen to be one of the folks who can’t enjoy the outdoors right now around my home because of all of these tiny, black bugs that bite like the dickens! I get welts from them. My colleague Jody Green braved a “probing” just so we could get the great photo below!

If you are one of the folks suffering from the bites of minute pirate bugs (they look like a black dot on your arm – you may not see the markings as you squish it), here’s an article from one of our Nebraska Extension colleagues Jonathan Larson. Bottom line: There’s not much you can do. Cover up. Try a repellent or baby oil on the skin. Wait for a hard freeze…. oh, and they are beneficial, really – they are … read on —- Soni

Minute pirate bug probing Jody Green's arm

Minute pirate bug probing Jody Green’s arm with its piercing-sucking mouthpart at the front of its head. Photo by Dr. Jody Green, Extension Educator Urban Entomology.

Minute Pirate Bugs: Tiny Bugs with a Bite!
Dr. Jonathan L. Larson, Nebraska Extension
September 19, 2016

Arrr! It is national talk like a pirate day today and it’s truly fitting as we are also receiving the first reports of problems with minute pirate bugs. These bugs get their minute moniker because as adults they are only about 1/8 inch long. Adults are oval-shaped, have a black body with an off-white/brown bar across their back and white diamond on their wing tips. As nymphs they are an orange hue and lack wings, they actually resemble their cousin the bed bug a little bit. Worldwide, there are over 500 species of minute pirate bug but we mainly deal with only one species in this area, the insidious flower beetle (Orius insidiosus). Continue reading

Grilling Fruits and Vegetables

I love using my grill especially in the fall! Enjoy these tips on grilling fruits and vegetables from the Nebraska Extension Cook it Quick blog!

Have a great day!!

Soni

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

Cook It Quick!

Want to get your family to eat more fruits and vegetables? Try grilling them!

The heat from the grill caramelizes the natural sugars in fruits and vegetables, giving them a tasty and sweeter flavor.

I had the opportunity to visit with a representative from Weber grills who is coming to my hometown — Lincoln, Nebraska — to show their new Husker-themed grills at the Nebraska-Oregon football game. Their Chef and Grill Specialist Tyler Selhorst will be on hand to talk about grilling and tailgating tips.

Grilled meat is the first food that usually comes to mind for tailgating and grilling. To round out the meal with more foods from the grill, I asked Weber for some tips for grilling fruits and vegetables.

Grilling Fruit

grilling fruit Grilling fruit (Image courtesy of Weber grills)

Here are some general tips for grilling fruits from Weber.

  1. First preheat your grill for 10-15 minutes and then brush…

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The July 2016 Issue of the NEBLINE is on-line!

The July issue of the free NEBLINE newsletter is now on-line. Here are some of the articles featured in this issue – – – – Visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/nebline and click on the link to the July 2016 NEBLINE!

  • Lancaster County Extension Board — Building Our Community Connection
  • Treating Your Body Like a Computer: Trouble-Shooting Tips
  • Fresh Salsa Recipe
  • In-Season Nitrogen Management
  • Controlling Weedy Vines on the Acreage
  • Paper Wasps and Yellow Jackets
  • Dekay’s Brown Snake
  • Start with a Boom, End with a Broom
  • Annual Flowers for Sunny Locations
  • The Price (and Benefits) of Risky Play
  • July Garden Guide
  • New “Bug Masters” Volunteer Program
  • 4-H Teen Council Received Global Youth Service Day Grant
  • 4-H News, Resources & More

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!

Soni

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

The June 2016 Issue of the NEBLINE is on-line!

Farmers' Markets

The Garden Grocery: Food Safety and Selection at Farmers’ Markets

The June issue of the free NEBLINE newsletter is now on-line. Here are some of the articles featured in this issue – – – – Visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/nebline and click on the link to the June 2016 NEBLINE!

  • Feature article: The Garden Grocery: Food Safety and Selection at Farmers’ Markets
  • Tomato Basil Bruschetta Recipe!
  • Nebraska Local Foods: Three Easy Ways for Consumers to Connect with Growers
  • Backup Plan for Feeding Cow-Calf Pairs
  • Tractor Safety Courses for Youth 14–15 (Statewide)
  • Composting Demonstrations (Local)
  • Time for Ticks
  • Opossums — Nature’s Tick Eaters
  • Chemical Hazards in Your Home
  • New Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification Program
  • Pollinator Week, June 19–24
  • June Garden Guide
  • Play Skills for Children
  • Upcoming Learning Child Trainings (Local)
  • Babysitting Training for 5th–7th Graders, July 13 (Local)
  • 4-H News, Resources & More
  • 4th Graders Gain Understanding of Agriculture at Ag Literacy Festival & More

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!

Soni

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

The NEBLINE Newsletter