Category: 2021

Last year was a time of deep, deep, deep cleaning at the Johnson house. Imagine finding aged chemicals older than you. Camping fuel? Fertilizer? We had it all. But what do you do with it all, right? For those residents of Greene, Christian, Dallas, Polk and Webster counties, you make an appointment at the Household Chemical Collection Center and let them discard of the chemicals properly. For more information, visit their website. Make an appointment by calling 417.864.2000. The employees are so nice and so helpful. You drive up to the door, and they unload the items from your ride. Have questions about my experience? Comment below.

Jaques with two of his family mates. photograph AMY TYNDALL

AND ALL THE DOGS MERELY PLAYERS by Amy Tyndall The play As You Like It by William Shakespeare features a rather melancholy character named Jaques, who wanders around the forest ruminating on ideas. He famously says: All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts We named our dog Jacques after this character. He is not melancholy, and he never ruminates. But he does chase a frisbee, and he also wags his entire back end when he sees us. We are greatly enriched since he made his entrance onto our family’s stage.

photograph Julie Johnson

According to Dr. Katie Kilmer, assistant professor of biology and health at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, lightning bugs/fireflies are specialized predators and feed on other insect larvae, snails and slugs. “They are important to help maintain a balanced ecosystem,” she says. Medically speaking, “lightning bugs create their light using two chemicals, luciferin and luciferase, both of which are used in research on cancer, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis and heart disease,” Dr. Kilmer says.

Hear me. I cannot see myself becoming an expert gardener. I laughed off the completely ridiculous notion of Master Gardener. However, I will try, try, try again. I also vow to expand my garden interests, experiment with different varieties and learn, learn, learn. This year, one of the newcomers is the pink bumble bee tomato from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. My mom says the unripe cherry tomato looks like a watermelon. My mom is correct. A teeny, tiny, little, cute-as-can-be watermelon. One of the “we’ll just see what happens” ideas I had this year was to allow vegetables and flowers to hangout in the same garden. So far, so good. I have several hard-working, there-each-morning worker bees, pollinating this and that. Finally. It took time for the bees to show up, but I am thankful they are here. // Julie Johnson