The Future of Technology

I love to write, but I haven’t been publishing much lately. I am always a work in progress. Does anybody still keep journals? I do. Sometimes I don’t have much to say. Other times, I could write a book about one day of my life.

I am not perfect when it comes to grammar, but I am close. I have to admit, social media has corrupted grammar. People are abbreviating nearly every word! Sometimes People have texted me with so many abbreviated words that I have absolutely no clue what they are saying! Then there are those three letter words, or more depending, that I know aren’t words. Such as idk. I had to ask what that meant, or was it a type-o? I am really feeling my age.

I am getting used to it. No, I don’t like it, but it seems to be the way of the world at the moment. I do have concerns about this “world.”

How many times a year do you write your name? I very seldom write my name. I rarely even write checks any more. Will your children, grandchildren and all the future children to come, know how to write cursive? They will learn how to spell it, and print it, but will they write it?

Maybe I am just a bit too much old school. I am certain technology is ever evolving. Maybe the Jetsons cartoon is more of a reality than I ever thought possible when I watched it as a kid. Actually, I never thought of it being a reality. Technology had barely advanced past rotary phones. Can you imagine people having flying vehicles? Have you been to Omaha? People can’t drive on the ground!

I doubt flying vehicles will happen in my lifetime. I am also grateful! But for those of you that do witness flying vehicles, put extra insurance on your house.

Just food for thought.

Gilliland’s Garden

First, I want to apologize for being off the radar for so long! I will just leave it at: life happens. I am going to write about various topics.

I am not sure how much of the local news I will start publishing again. I will take it one step at a time. If you have any information you would like me to share, feel free to contact me, even if it is not news. I am open to suggestions.

The topic I chose today was our garden. I know many of you also garden. If you’d like to share about your garden, I would love to hear from you.

We have always had a garden in the nearly 25 years we have lived here. For many years, it was just for us. My husband, Jeff, grew up on a farm. Living in town wasn’t a good fit for him at first. He was always so proud to farm. He felt he was helping others. He took pride in growing crops that would feed so many people. As you can imagine, our garden was huge! We could never eat it all. Yes, we froze many things, such as salsa, tomato juice, etc. for use during the winter months. I never learned how to can, so I was thrilled to discover freezing salsa, tomato juice, peppers, tomatoes and green beans worked just as well!

At least 7 or so years ago, I came up with an idea! I asked Jeff is we could make the garden even larger and have our own farmers market during the summer! He instantly said yes. We decided to set our prices low and to also donate veggies to the school and the nursing home, which we have been doing for years now. We want to help others in need. Those that may not be able to grow a garden, or don’t have the room to and we especially wanted to help the elderly. We have achieved our goals, and then some. Jeff is feeling much better about living in town again. He feels like he is still helping others. I feel the same way.

Is it a lot of work? Yes. But isn’t anything worth doing?

We grow cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions, green beans, zucchini and this year we are growing cabbage. We may add more. I never know what Jeff has planned!

I put a table up and fill it with all of our goodies! I post it on facebook to get more attention. Most of the local people know about our stand and come over quite regularly. We have had people come from miles around to purchase vegetables from us. We are also certified through the state to accept coupons elderly people can obtain at their local senior center!

We also have chickens and sell fresh eggs! We sell them year round!

Please feel free to stop by our stand this summer for veggies and eggs. We are located on main street in Oakland, Nebraska. We are across the street from the Methodist church, and a bit south in a yellow ranch style house.

We are looking forward to seeing you at Gilliland’s Garden!

Medicare Basics Workshop

News Release

Mary Loftis

NE Extension Associate and SHIIP Counselor

August 19, 2019


Medicare Basics Workshop

          Have you been receiving an increasingly large amount of Medicare mail lately?

Are you invited to informational meetings hosted by insurance companies? Or maybe there’s a speaker scheduled at your local senior center regarding Medicare insurance options. Whatever the scenario, you are either becoming eligible for Medicare or you might already be on it and it’s getting close to the annual Medicare Open Enrollment period. That makes you a target for anyone selling Medicare associated coverage.

Don’t just throw up your hands in confusion and frustration! You are welcome to attend any of these meetings, but don’t sign up for anything until you visit with someone who has absolutely nothing to gain from the Medicare plan you are considering.

The Nebraska Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) provides free unbiased information from the Nebraska Department of Insurance. SHIIP counselors provide this information to individuals becoming eligible for Medicare and for those already on it who need to compare their drug plan coverage each year.

A Medicare Basics Program will be held Wednesday, September 11. It will be held in Fremont at the Nebraska Extension Office in Dodge County at 1206 West 23rd Street beginning at 7:00 p.m. Mary Loftis, Nebraska Extension Associate and Nebraska SHIIP Counselor will be conducting the program.

Please register by calling the Dodge County Extension Office at 402-727-2775 so enough materials are available. Everyone is welcome to attend so bring a new to Medicare friend with you!

Heat Advisory


The National Weather Service in Omaha/Valley has issued a Heat Advisory, which is in effect until 9 PM CDT this evening.

* HEAT INDEX VALUES…104 to 110 degrees due to temperatures in the 90s and dewpoints in the upper 70s.

* TIMING…The hottest conditions are expected between 4 and 7 PM.

* IMPACTS…The heat and humidity may cause heat stress during outdoor exertion or extended exposure.


A Heat Advisory means that a period of hot temperatures is expected. The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible. Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun and check up on relatives and neighbors.

Crop Dusting in High Gear Locally

Crop dusting is in high gear right now. Maybe the painted lady butterflies that turn into caterpillars and feast on bean fields have something to do with that! Both photos credit of Denise Gilliland, Editor and Chief, Kat Country Hub.

Upcoming Medicare Basics Class

Mary Loftis

Nebraska Extension Associate and SHIIP Counselor

News Release

August 6, 2019


Welcome to Medicare Basics Class:

Celebrate your upcoming 65th birthday by attending a “Welcome to Medicare!” class.

If you or a family member are turning 65 in the near future, it’s a milestone birthday and a cause for celebration. It can also be a cause for concern and confusion.

Once you know the basics you can handle the rest, or at least you’ll know who to call for unbiased help.


Join the Medicare Basics informational meeting on Wednesday, September 11 at the Dodge County Extension Office at 1206 West 23rd Street in Fremont, NE.


The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. and absolutely nothing will be marketed or sold at this event.

It’s a free informational meeting presented by Mary Loftis, a trained Senior Health Insurance Information Program counselor. Anyone from any county or community is welcome to take part in this program. Family members are encouraged to also attend.


A future Welcome to Medicare session will be held January 30st at 7:00 in Tekamah in the Burt County Courthouse meeting room if that date works better in your schedule.


Please call Nebraska Extension in Dodge County today at 402-727-2775 to register for the September 11thMedicare education session.

Last Call for Pop Tabs

By Mary Loftis

Extension Associate


September 15 is the deadline to  turn in your aluminum pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House.  Year-long collection sites are the Extension Office at the Burt County Courthouse in Tekamah and at the Lied Tekamah Public Library.   This is an on-going project of the Burt County 4-H program.  Over the past 18 years more than 1.1 million tabs have been collected  from Burt County.


Pull tabs from any product are accepted, including fruit, vegetable, soup, any beverage and pet food.


Tabs will be recycled and funds will support the Ronald McDonald House in Omaha, a “home-away-from-home” for families so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little or no cost.

Summer, Fishing, Gardening. Let’s Make This World a Better Place

I absolutely love summer! I only wish it would slow down. It’s not that I don’t like fall. It’s more that I dread winter. I remember last winter! It makes me shudder to think about.

What has everyone done this summer? We have taken the boat out several times to go fishing. I wish we could brag about the number of fish we have caught, or even “the one that got away”, but I don’t have one single fish to brag about. Unless catching a small blue gill is bragging rights! I hope we catch a keeper before summer is over! But, what I enjoy most is the time Jeff and I spend together. When we aren’t catching fish, we spend the time talking, laughing, sharing memories of the past and making more memories for the future.

We recently celebrated our 23rd anniversary. We have been together 25 years. As with any married couple, we have had our ups and downs. We have always gotten through the hard times together. We support each other, stand by each other, and always love each other.

We went away for a few days to a cabin. I have discovered with time, and with age, gifts to each other for an anniversary aren’t important. Time spent together is the greatest gift of all. We made some good memories during those few days together, enjoying peace and quiet. It is nice to get away from life sometimes and relax. Everyone needs some time away.

I have also learned that every day is a blessing. When we are both home in the evenings, after a busy day, we sit on the patio, weather permitting, and talk about whatever comes up!

We have also been very busy this summer with our enormous garden. It definitely is keeping us hopping! We share our garden veggies with others, which is why we made it larger. We have our own farmers market here at our house on Main Street. The cucumbers keep growing! Tomatoes are taking off now and as I type this, I am thinking I should be in the garden! I will tend to it shortly. I am going to cook eggplant for lunch! I love all the garden goodies. I do believe there is nothing better than homegrown vegetables. They are so tasty!

Enjoy the rest of your summer. We are planning on more fishing trips and hope we finally catch some fish so we can have a fish fry with some friends! We are also hoping for another getaway before the snow flies. If that doesn’t work out, we can always change the date to spring.

Take care. Share a smile with someone. Lend a helping hand to others. There is enough hate in the world we live in. It is up to us to make a difference. I know we can do it if we work together!

Just a few of the garden veggies we have picked this year. Photo Credit, Denise Gilliland, Editor and Chief, Kat Country Hub.


The Painted Lady Butterflies Are Back!

News Column

John Wilson

Extension Educator

August 8, 2019


They’re Back!

That sounds like a good title for some horror movie sequel, but that’s not where I’m going with it today. As I’m sure many of you noticed, we’re getting an abundance of butterflies… AGAIN! These are Painted Lady Butterflies… although I’ve heard them called many things… some I can’t repeat. These are the adults of the caterpillars that were devouring many soybean fields, and lots of other plants, a few weeks ago.

Fortunately, the adults do not injure crops as they only feed on the nectar of flowers. They are a bright, colorful, addition to our summer landscape and really don’t do any damage unless you consider smearing up your windshield as you drive down the road. However, the larvae of the painted lady butterfly, sometimes called the thistle caterpillar, can be another story.

To understand when and how these defoliating insects impact soybeans, one of their favorite food sources, you need to understand a little about their life cycle. Painted lady butterflies do not overwinter in Nebraska. They migrated and moved with wind currents from the southern U.S. and Mexico earlier this summer, arriving in Nebraska in June. Where they are concentrated depends a lot on weather patterns, so just because we had a lot of them this year does not mean we will have an abundance of them in 2020.

Unlike some insects that lay large masses of eggs, Painted Ladies will lay individual eggs on the leaves of thistles, soybeans, and over 100 other species of plants that serve as a food source to the larvae once they hatch. In five to seven days, the eggs hatch and the larva begin feeding. Because the eggs are laid over several days up to a week or more, it is common to have different sized caterpillars on a single plant.

The larvae feed an average of four weeks, but sometimes up to six weeks. However, the majority of their feeding damage occurs towards the end of the larval stage as their size and appetite increase. To protect themselves from predators, they often pull several leaves together and connect them with a fine webbing, forming a sheltered area to feed.

Mature caterpillars are usually 1½ to 1¾ inch long and can vary in color, but are covered with numerous branching spines. Once they mature, they form a pupa or chrysalis which hangs from the underside of a leaf and can be blue, brown, or green in color. In seven to 17 days, a new adult Painted Lady butterfly emerges and starts the life cycle over again.

So the butterflies we are seeing now are the adults of the thistle caterpillars that were feeding on soybean fields a couple weeks ago. Knowing the life cycle, we know we can expect to see more larvae feeding in about four to five weeks and can plan our scouting accordingly.

Knowing how to scout is just as important as knowing when to scout. I won’t go into the full explanation on how to scout your fields for defoliating insects, but I can tell you most people will overestimate the amount of defoliation because thistle caterpillar feed at the top of the plant where it is most visible. An easy way to estimate defoliation can be found at I really like the images that help you more accurately estimate the percentage of defoliation.

This method applies to all defoliating insects… grasshoppers, bean leaf beetles, thistle caterpillars, wooly bear caterpillars, and any other type of defoliating insect. At this stage of growth for the soybean plant, we don’t want to see defoliation exceed 20% of the total leaf area. Frequently defoliation on the upper leaves is greater, but when we consider the whole canopy, the defoliation has not reached this threshold.

So be prepared to check your fields because I can just about guarantee we will have more thistle caterpillar feeding… and possibly other defoliators. The important thing to know is when that damage just looks bad versus when it is actually reducing your yield… and your profitability. For more information on managing thistle caterpillars and other defoliating insects, contact your local Nebraska Extension office.


A Few More Tractors from Sunday

Here are a few more tractors from Sunday’s trip around the county. All photos credit of Denise Gilliland, Editor and Chief, Kat Country Hub.

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