What Did We Do During The Blizzard? Played Carrom

What activities did your family enjoy during the blizzard of 2019? Did you watch movies on television, dvd player or netflix? Did you play games or just take a nap?

Saturday, as the snow flew outside, Jeff and I watched some television, but not a movie. We bought Bohemian Rhapsody on dvd and planned to watch it Sunday on his birthday. But, mother nature blew in the blizzard and Jeff had to go to work. Cattle have to be fed! Blizzard conditions cause a great deal of havoc for those that have livestock to take care of. So, we haven’t watched the movie yet.

Saturday night, we decided to play a game. But, what game? We have many to choose from. We ended up getting out the carrom board.

I have included a picture of the carrom board. The object is to make your color of round discs into the pockets before the other player does. It is similar to pool, but you use your fingers to shoot them in, not a pool cue. Some carrom boards come with small sticks to shoot with. I don’t know if this one did. Jeff has had this board for years. I don’t remember if it had sticks or not. But, both Jeff and I grew up with a carrom board in the house, and we never had a stick so we wouldn’t use them if they were included.

Jeff grew up playing carrom. His family didn’t own a television until he was a junior in high school, so he played many games growing up. Checkers, cards and yes, carrom. He is very good at it too, which is unfortunate for me. My family had a carrom board too but I didn’t play very often. Some of the neighbors would come over from time to time and play carrom with my parents. I watched, but I didn’t play.

I am not sure how many games Jeff and I played Saturday night, but I would guess at least 30. I won one game. Yes, just one! But, I celebrated the one victory because it is the first time I have beat Jeff in all the years I have played him! Jeff is very competitive. I am not. I just like to have fun and we both had fun. Jeff kept winning and I kept trying until I finally won a game. I wouldn’t have cared if I hadn’t won any games. Being with my husband was the highlight of the blizzard. Spending time together, safe from the storm, in our warm cozy home, was precious. We made more memories to cherish forever. Life doesn’t get any better than that!

I hope everyone enjoyed time with those you love during the blizzard. Time together is precious every day, but during a winter storm, it is even more special. Had the storm not happened, people may have been busy with other things and not have spent the time together. Maybe Mother Nature was sending a message. Slow down, spend more time together, make the memories. Chores can wait. Time with loved ones cannot.

Have a great week!

Photo credit/Denise Gilliland, Editor and Chief/Kat Country Hub.

The Blizzard of 2019

The blizzard of 2019 is in the books! At least this one. The way Mother Nature is behaving, maybe there will be another one before Spring arrives. Let’s hope not though! I am so glad we finally gave in and bought a snow blower! We love having some of the local boys scoop for us to earn money for themselves, but I knew last week, the weather for the week and weekend was not looking good. I knew it may be too much for kids to scoop, or for me to want to pay for! We knew of someone selling a snowblower. We went to look at it and bought it! It has been used twice in just a matter of days. I would much rather not have to use one!

Here are some pictures from our front door. The picture of Jeff using the snowblower is on the sidewalk in front of our house. The snow was deep and drifted in that spot on the sidewalk due to a fence and bushes we have in the front of the yard. That is the hardest place to shovel! But, shovel no more!

It looks to be a cold week ahead with a chance of snow later on this week. Let’s hope it isn’t much snow or hopefully none!

All photos Denise Gilliland, Editor and Chief/Kat Country Hub

This Cold Weather is “For the Birds!”

News Column

John Wilson

Extension Educator

February 7, 2019


This Cold Weather is “For the Birds!”

This morning, before I came to work, I was stumbling around in the dark in 8F temperatures and sub-zero wind chills with a flashlight to make sure all of my bird feeders and waterers were well stocked for my feathered friends. I feed the birds year round, just to draw them close to the house because my wife and I like to watch them. We always have a good variety of birds around. It’s mornings like this one that I question my sanity… although my wife questions it all the time.

This was a good reminder of one of the most important things you need to do if you feed birds in the winter… if you start, don’t stop! Birds become dependent on you and if you stop when the weather turns nasty and you don’t really feel like getting out and filling the feeders (like this morning), you can actually starve the birds you were trying to help.

I find I fill the feeders more often in the winter than I do at other times of the year, just because there are fewer alternative food sources available. This is especially true if there are several inches of snow on the ground that covers other potential food sources for them. When it gets snowy, I take a piece of tin and lean it against a post so the seed I scatter on the ground for ground-feeding birds won’t be covered with snow.

Based on our experiences, here are a few suggestions if you are feeding our feathered friends. Anyone who feeds birds knows how easy it is for seed to turn moldy in feeders. Moisture from snow or rain can leak into feeders and turn bird seed into potential sources of illness for birds. You should keep feeders clean to help prevent the spread of disease to backyard birds.

Clean and disinfect feeders on a regular basis, taking care to scrape out old moldy seed that collects in corners. Wash feeders in warm water with dish soap, then rinse. Disinfect them with a solution of one part of a liquid chlorine bleach to nine parts warm water. Make sure feeders are completely dry before refilling them with seeds.

Also, if possible, provide water for birds. This is extremely important during the winter because other sources of water may not be available. It seems chilly, but birds regularly use our heated bird baths. Besides water to drink, they use it to help keep their feathers clean which makes them, for lack of a better term, fluffier, which gives them better insulation against bitter cold temperatures.

Anyone who really enjoys bird watching won’t want to miss an event later this month…  and you can take part from the comfort of your own home. The annual Great Backyard Bird Count will be held on February 16-19. Participants are needed to count birds in their yards, neighborhoods, or other locations. Simply tally birds for at least 15 minutes on any day of the count, then go to birdcount.org and enter the highest number of each species you observe at any one time.

This program is conducted around the world. Coordinated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and Bird Studies Canada, the count provides an instant snapshot of birdlife around the world. Last year, organizers receive over 180,000 checklists during the event and recording almost 6,500 species of birds. Also, you can watch as the tallies come in at birdcount.org.

Whether you observe birds in your backyard, a park, or a wilderness area, the Great Backyard Bird Count is an opportunity to share yiour results at birdcount.org. It doesn’t have to be hard, it takes me about one cup of coffee at my dining room table to record the birds I see in 15 minutes. It’s fun and rewarding for people of all ages and skill levels–and it gets people outside… or you can do like I do and watch from inside, too!

Information from the Great Backyard Bird Count participants is even more valuable as scientists  try to learn how birds are affected by environmental changes. The information you send in can provide the first sign that individual species may be increasing or declining from year to year. It shows how a species’ range expands or shrinks over time. A big change, noted consistently over a period of years, is an indication that something is happening in the environment that is affecting the birds and that should be followed up on.

So, to take part in this activity for the birds, go to birdcount.org for online instructions and tally sheets… then enjoy our feathered friends. My wife and I have participated for many years… it’s easy and it’s fun! Just go to birdcount.org for all the information you will need.


“In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.”

Deepak Chopra

Burt County Fair Foundation Kickoff This Saturday

Mary Loftis

NE Extension Associate

February 13, 2019


Fair Foundation Kickoff Event

Don’t forget, the Burt County Fair Foundation Kickoff Event will be this Saturday, February 23 in the Lyons Auditorium and you won’t want to miss out on the fun! If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet there are a few scattered around the county and I know we have some in the Extension Office so call or stop by to get yours!

Burt County 4-H Week – FLAT Herbie

4-H Week is March 3-9 in Burt County and that’s less than a month from now! Hopefully clubs and individual members will start making plans to celebrate and promote 4-H especially this week. In the past 4-H members have taken the opportunity to talk about 4-H and their projects in class, bring treats to school or just make a special effort to wear their 4-H t-shirts.

This year there will be a new promotion opportunity for our 4-H members. In conjunction with the 150th celebration of the start of the University of Nebraska (officially February 15), Extension across the state has been challenged to promote the state of Nebraska by taking part in the “Flat Herbie Husker” promotion during 2019. The impact of the University of Nebraska is everywhere and Flat Herbie wants to be there too! Stop by the Nebraska Extension Office at 111 North 13th Street, Tekamah to get your Flat Herbie, or print your own at:https://www.huskeralum.org/s/1620/images/editor_documents/membership/flat_herbie.pdf


4-H Snow (or Snowless) Sculpture Contest:

          Now that we finally have some snow hopefully we’ll get some 4-H snow or snowless sculptures made and entered! 4-H members and clubs are reminded they can make and enter either a 4-H Snow (or Snowless) Sculpture any time between now and March 18. Make sure you promote 4-H with your sculpture, then take a picture of it with you and/or your 4-H Club and email it to Mary Loftis atmloftis2@unl.edu. The 4-H Council is always generous with their support and offer individual, small group and club categories and entries may be made in the following classes: 1. Greenest; 2. Best Message and 3. Most Creative. Don’t miss out on this fun opportunity to promote 4-H and earn a little cash for yourself or your 4-H club!


Grant Funds Being Applied for Scrap Computer Collection and Hazardous Waste Collection

The Nebraska Loess Hills RC&D is in the process of making applications to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality for grant funds to be used to hold:

  • A Scrap Computer Collection, currently being planned for Homer in late summer or early fall, and
  • Household Hazardous Waste Collections are currently being planned for the communities of:
    1. Dakota City
    2. Oakland
    3. Wisner

Should grant funding be approved for these projects, further arrangements will be finalized and promotional materials will be made public.  The HHW collections will probably also take place in late summer or early fall of this year.








How Do You Keep Abreast of the News? Reporting is Covering Both Sides of an Issue!

Do you read newspapers, read the news online, watch the news on tv or a mix of all three?

I consider myself a news “junkie.” I like to be “in the know” of what is going on, not just on a local level but also on a national level.

I used to watch all of the news I could on television. I have downsized. I watch local news, but not as much of the national news. In my opinion, since President Trump was elected, journalism has disappeared. Instead of reporting the news, they report their own views, which ultimately includes hate for the President.

I am a journalist. I know what real reporting entails. A good, legitimate reporter/journalist is to report both sides of an issue, not just the side they want the public to hear.

A great many of the journalists on the national level have apparently need to go back to college.

I still watch the news, but when the negativity starts, I shut it off. To know the facts, I watch first hand what the President says, his press conferences, the State of the Union message, etc. Then, I form my own thoughts.

I doubt this way of reporting will change until a Democrat is President. Again, my opinion.

To be hones, I have noticed the same type of reporting on a local level. I very rarely buy a local paper due to such bad reporting. A local reporter should not report one side of an issue, the side they want the local citizens to vote on. They should, as a good reporter knows, report both sides. The public has the right to know both sides of any issue, not just the reporter’s side. Especially if it involves any type of election of issue people are voting for or against. All of the facts need to be reported!

I am going to make an effort to step up my game and report on more of such issues. There were personal reasons I didn’t before, but witnessing the reporting unfold broke my heart, and my love of journalism. I lost faith for a while, but I am working towards changing that.

I want people to know what is going on, not from my perspective, but from the facts. That is the correct form of reporting.

Until next time!

Use caution the next few days. Stay safe and warm! The weather forecast does not look good, so keep an eye on the sky!



Senator Hansen’s Week Ahead

This week was the busiest week yet for my staff and I as three of my bills received their public committee hearings.  As mentioned in earlier columns, every bill introduced receives its own hearing where any member of the public can come and testify in front of a committee of senators.  Committee chairs schedule the hearings and notify senators when their bills will be heard. Once a bill is heard in committee, the senators will meet in an “Executive Session” to vote to the floor for debate, hold it in committee, or delay a vote.  Many bills are amended through the committee process as a result of suggestions brought up during the hearing.

LB 378 to require persons under the age of 21 years to wear a helmet was heard on Tuesday in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee.  Many District 16 constituents came to testify – some in support and others in opposition.  Fifteen other senators who’ve cosigned this bill agree with me that riding motorcycles without a helmet is a matter of personal freedom and individual liberty.  I’m excited about the debate this bill will see on the floor.

LB 381 to change state agency reimbursement procedures was heard on Thursday in the Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee.  I introduced the bill at the request of the Department of Administrative Services, which handles most administrative functions of Nebraska State Government.  The bill, if passed, would cut a lot of red tape currently required to process reimbursement claims for agency travel.

LB 312 to change restrictions placed on dental hygienists was also heard Thursday in the Health and Human Services Committee.  This bill would allow dental hygienists to work in home health or hospice settings and would encourage more hygienists to work in rural health clinics.  In preparing for the hearing, we discovered that 33 of Nebraska’s counties are without the services of a Public Health Registered Dental Hygienist, proving a need for expanded access to care in many rural areas of Nebraska.

My next review of property tax relief bills is a constitutional amendment proposed by Senator Linehan at the request of the Governor.  Legislative resolution 8 CA would limit the amount of property tax revenue raised by a political subdivision to only 3 percent more than what was raised in the previous year – with the exception that political subdivisions could raise more than 3 percent with a vote of the people.   Functionally, this would slow the growth of property tax increases and would likely be paired with other bills providing property tax cuts.  Because it’s a constitutional amendment this resolution, if passed by the legislature, would be placed on the ballot for a vote by all legal voters in the state.  As of February 15th, the resolution has not been scheduled for its public hearing.

You’re welcome to contact our office at (402)-471-2728 to speak with my Administrative Assistant, Ellie Stangl; or my Legislative Aide, Jacob Campbell.  You can also email me at bhansen@leg.ne.gov.  To follow along with the session please visit nebraskalegislature.gov or you may watch the live stream when available at netnebraska.org


Here We Go! Winter Storm Warning!

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 9 AM CST WEDNESDAY… * WHAT…Heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 6 to 9 inches expected. * WHERE…Portions of east central and northeast Nebraska. * WHEN…From 6 PM this evening to 9 AM CST Wednesday. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Travel will quickly become very difficult. The hazardous conditions will impact the Wednesday morning commute. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A Winter Storm Warning for snow means severe winter weather conditions will make travel very hazardous or impossible. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can be obtained by calling 5 1 1.

Winter Storm Watch

…WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY EVENING THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING… * WHAT…Heavy snow possible. Total snow accumulations of 5 to 8 inches possible. * WHERE…Portions of east central and northeast Nebraska. * WHEN…From Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Plan on slippery road conditions and potentially hazardous travel conditions or delays. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A Winter Storm Watch means there is potential for significant snow, sleet or ice accumulations that may impact travel. Continue to monitor the latest forecasts.
%d bloggers like this: