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Articles written by mike heath


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  • The Death of a Nation - Part 3

    Mike Heath|Apr 27, 2023

    God save America cried the heroes. God save America cried they all. Whether from the gallows high.Or from the battlefield they died. God save America was their cry. Adapted from an Irish patriotic song. Many of our Founders were veterans of the Revolutionary War. If they weren’t on the battlefield themselves they played an active role in other ways. I believe they would have had a hard time understanding government officials actively working to damage the country they fought so hard to create. At the same time, they understood that all men...

  • Firewise Planning

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Apr 27, 2023

    If the drought of the past two years has taught us anything it should be that we should be planting more native species of plants and plants that will help protect our homes and property from fire. We've been fortunate that we haven't had any severe fires recently in our region but the threat is always there and we have had extensive grassland fires in the past. In the long run fires are a benefit to the ecology but in the short term they destroy grassland (pasture) and threaten structures. As...

  • The Death of a Nation - Part 2

    Mike Heath|Apr 20, 2023

    Last week I discussed the usurpation of the general welfare clause in the Constitution to the point where it’s now being used to the benefit of elected officials. The benefit could be for their campaigns to keep them in office, for the profit of their constituents so they can be reelected, and sometimes for personal profit. In any event, the general welfare clause is no longer being used in the manner it was intended by the Founders. The Commerce Clause, Article 1.8.3, is another enumerated power of the federal government that has been...

  • Dalmation Toadflax - A Common Noxious Weed

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Apr 20, 2023

    It's starting to get warm and new grass is coming up. Unfortunately, so are the noxious weeds. I walked the pasture this week and found dalmatian toadflax poking its first growth out of the ground. Toadflax is one of these weeds we need to plan for now and be ready to start controlling them as soon as they begin to emerge. Mow is the time to get them under control. Dalmatian toadflax is my greatest concern. One of Wyoming's most prolific noxious weeds, it's actually a pretty flower and about as...

  • The Death of a Nation - Part 1

    Mike Heath|Apr 13, 2023

    The United States of America, the country I grew up in and love, the country I fought for and dedicated my life to, the country my brothers and sisters in arms throughout the centuries fought for, many dying for our freedom, the last light freedom, is dead. The events of the past week, indicting President Trump on a fallacious charge that has already been tried (with him winning) and refusing to allow a change of venue for the trial was the last nail in the coffin. I believe it can be resurrected, but only if the apathy of the American people...

  • Succulents and Cacti

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Apr 13, 2023

    Many people think of cacti as succulent plants. A succulent is a plant that stores water in various parts of the plant against those times when water is short. The common picture we envision is the cactus in the desert. In horticulture, however, the cactus isn't considered a succulent. The term is reserved for those plants that are commonly used for ornamental purposes and cacti are excluded. In botanical circles, succulents include cacti because of the classical definition of the term. Most...

  • A Woke Military is a Broke (n) Military

    Mike Heath|Apr 6, 2023

    After retiring, I’ve had little reason to visit the Air Force base. Then, last week we went on to renew an identification card and I couldn’t believe what I saw. An NCO passed me with two pig tails trailing halfway down her back. After doing a double take, I nearly tripped on the sidewalk. I called a friend who comes out to the base quite a bit and asked if that was common now. He responded that, unfortunately, yes, it is. I’ve watched over the years as the weight standards seem to have been forgotten. It’s hard to believe the large...

  • Education Week in Laramie County

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Apr 6, 2023

    Some people say there is nothing to do in Laramie County. That wasn't the case this past week. If you're into learning you had plenty to keep you busy. The Wyoming Bee College, the Garden-to-Market Conference, and a special workshop in Burns on how to make chapstick were just some of the events taking place. If you wanted to attend the Wyoming Bee College and missed it, I feel terribly sorry for you. This was most likely the last time it will be offered. With our County Horticulturalist retiring...

  • Lawn Maintenance and Diseases

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Mar 30, 2023

    Last week we talked primarily about getting a lawn started and annual fertilizing. The one thing I forgot to mention last week about fertilizing is that you should only fertilize in the spring and only once with a high Nitrogen fertilizer. If you use Nitrogen fertilizer later in the year it could slow down the lawn's move into dormancy because it will think it should still be growing. If it isn't dormant when the cold weather strikes, you have set yourself up for severe winter kill. Never a good...

  • The 2023 Legislature - Part 6

    Mike Heath|Mar 23, 2023

    The 2023 Legislature had a few great successes but multiple failures. I began watching the legislature in earnest in 2002 when I was tasked by the Department of Family Services to collect legislative material for the Director every morning then to serve on the task force to develop the Department of Workforce Services. I’ve never before seen a regular legislative session that was such a failure to the citizens. I’ve spoken with several representatives who attribute the failures to two things. First, they blame outside organizations for intr...

  • Spring Lawn Care

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Mar 23, 2023

    It's that time of year again when we all start thinking of our lawns. I'm seeing some of the native grasses starting to green-up but surprisingly some of the non-native plants, like toadflax and cheatgrass, aren't. Usually it's the other way around. But that's okay. Nature has a way of taking care of itself. Of course, we like to help it along when it comes to our yards and wanting that picture-perfect lawn. If you are putting in a new lawn from seed there are a few things to consider. To begin...

  • Designing a Vegetable Garden

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Mar 16, 2023

    It's hard to believe spring is just around the corner. Days are getting longer and temperatures are rising. That's not to say that we're aren't going to have some cold days and snow yet, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm still trying to get the greenhouse ready and I've already had ninety-degree temperatures in there. I'm not ready for those temperatures quite yet. In just a few weeks I'll start my seeds and the season will officially begin, at least for me. But it's time to...

  • The Value of a Free and Honest Press

    Mike Heath|Mar 16, 2023

    “The firmness with which the people have withstood the late abuses of the press, the discernment they have manifested between truth and falsehood, show that they may safely be trusted to hear everything true and false, and to form a correct judgement between them.” Thomas Jefferson speaking on the concept that the Constitution was ordained and established by “We the people” From the very beginning of our struggle for freedom, through the struggle to ratify our Constitution, and to the present day the press has been a fundamental part...

  • Trees for the High Plains

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Mar 9, 2023

    It's spring and everything seems to be coming to life. Warm weather birds are moving in, yards are turning green, and trees and shrubs are starting to form buds. This is the perfect time to get ready to plant new trees. The Laramie County Master Gardeners are having their bare root tree and shrub sale now as discussed last week. The LCMG isn't the only place to buy trees and their selection is limited. New trees can come from a variety of sources, but there are some things to consider before...

  • 2023 Legislature - Part 5

    Mike Heath|Mar 2, 2023

    The Wyoming Legislature is starting to wind down and, as usual, there have been failures and successes for the citizens of Wyoming. Some of the failures are catastrophic. HB0007, Underage Marriage Amendment is one of the few successes of this session. The gist of the bill is that it raises the legal age for a person to be married to 18 years old except under specific circumstances. Currently persons under 16 years old can be married, permitting young people to be manipulated by predators for their own perversions. Once the couple is married it...

  • Bare Root Tree and Shrubs

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Mar 2, 2023

    Spring is coming and the Laramie County Master Gardeners' Bare Root Tree and Shrub Sale is in full swing. This isn't your normal sale making great profits then dropping everything onto your shoulders. The LCMG offers different varieties of trees and shrubs each year to fulfill our mission to help people with their gardening. Trees are offered slightly above cost to cover the incidental costs of getting them into your hands. Since all of the labor is volunteer and many incidentals are donated,...

  • Our Founders Vision for Our Government

    Mike Heath|Feb 23, 2023

    This week I came across a pictorial depiction of our government by our Founding Fathers to describe their view of the government and the separation of powers. We call it the three branches of government: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The drawing seems as though it’s a draft of our national emblem, the eagle holding arrows and an olive branch. Keep that picture in your mind as I describe it. It’ll help visualize what I’m saying. The drawing is a three-headed eagle with one head facing left and another facing right. The head in the...

  • Pollinators- The Monarch Buttlerfly

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Feb 23, 2023

    Monarch butterflies are fascinating creatures that are invaluable to pollination. Unfortunately, their numbers are declining. In the U.S. there are two groups of Monarchs, Eastern and Western. The group is determined by which side of the Rocky Mountains they live on and where they hibernate over the winter. The Eastern Monarch is the group we get and it's numbers are down approximately 80% since the 1980's. Monarchs are no longer found in South America. The Monarch is one of several pollinators...

  • Before Moving to the Country

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Feb 16, 2023

    We love it! The clean air, unobstructed views, nothing between us and the North Pole but a few fence posts, and the beauty of the starlit night sky amplified by the lack of artificial light. That's country living at its best. But, there's a lot more to it than just the beauty and the wonder of it all. There is a lot of hard work and not just a few hindrances that thwart our enjoyment. Some are just part of life and others...well...others can be our neighbors. There are some common courtesies...

  • Greenhouses Make for Easier Gardening

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Feb 9, 2023

    The greenhouse and hydroponics did great last year bringing in much more produce than my family could use. Some of the extra I sold, some I gave away, and I still have some in cold storage. The season started in April and ended with the cold snap in November. At the end I was getting clusters of peppers (5-6) instead of peppers growing singly. Tomatoes were left hanging on the vines and I'm still eating green tomatoes. The bottom line is that a greenhouse will extend your season and provide...

  • 2023 Legislature - Part 3

    Mike Heath|Feb 2, 2023

    I hope everyone is following the legislative session this year. It’s starting to get interesting now. What started out as a seemingly light session has turned into another labor-intensive endeavor with nearly 200 additional bills being introduced in the House and nearly 100 introduced in the Senate. It’s impossible to follow everything so you’ll need to pick and choose those that are important to you. I would encourage you to read the entire bill and all amendments, though. If you just read the title and the description, you’ll miss...

  • Controlling and Using Snow

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Feb 2, 2023

    We're finally getting some decent moisture. Of course, it's the cold, fluffy stuff but moisture none the less. I hope you had planned for snow before winter as now may be too late to drive posts for a fence. Snow can be a valuable resource if we control it so we can use the moisture where we need it. We can't control snowfall but we can affect where it lands. At least to some degree. That's where windbreaks and snow fences come into play. They can be used to direct the snow into particular locat...

  • After the Drought is Over

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Jan 26, 2023

    At last, it looks like the drought may be ending. At least that's indication from the weather patterns in the Pacific Ocean. The La Nina in the North Pacific is diminishing and the storm systems are starting to bring in more moisture than in the past two years. It's unclear if there will be an El Nino pattern but right now I think I'll settle for having La Nina somewhere else for the next 300-400 years. I know, that's unrealistic but I don't like drought. Looking at the drought maps though,...

  • 2023 Wyoming Legislature - Part One

    Mike Heath|Jan 19, 2023

    The 2023 legislative session looks to be relatively boring compared to previous sessions. Several bills are primarily wording changes or clarifications of an existing statute. For example, in statutes that reference the military, the new command, Space Force, has been added to the list of organizations. There are a few bills that we need to watch closely. Although I’ll cover some of these, a complete list can be found at www.wyoleg.gov. I encourage you to visit the website and make yourselves heard. You can even watch committee hearings...

  • Peppers - Hot & Spicy or Cool & Sweet

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Jan 19, 2023

    If you research the history of peppers, you'll find most of the articles are on chili peppers. But there are hundreds of varieties in three basic types of pepper: black pepper, sweet peppers, and hot peppers. Whether you like spicy foods or cool, refreshing flavors there's a pepper just for you. Black pepper originates from India while the other types originated from the Americas. Black pepper is considered a spice while sweet and hot peppers are fruits. Black pepper, or Piper nigrum, is a reall...

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