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By Myrtice Scabarozi
Published May 25, 2020 at 9:10 p.m.
LEVY COUNTY -- The Log Cabin Quilters did not meet again, since we stopped meeting as a method to help everyone not spread COVID-19.
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We would have met this past Thursday (May 21). The Levy County Quilt Museum, which is located at 11050 N.W. 10th Ave., Chiefland, remains closed.
We’ve decided to reopen on Tuesday, June 2, so it will be another week or so before people can visit the Levy County Quilt Museum again.
We’re looking forward to seeing our friends once again. The next step will be the return of the adult male inmates from Lancaster Correctional Institution (LCI). There is so much that they need to do.
The guys from LCI help us as part of their rehabilitation toward joining the general public. We recognize, though, that due to COVID-19 being very contagious and them being in close quarters, they are at a higher risk of spreading the disease within their population, as well as to the correctional officers, staff and the families of those officers and staff.
So, it may be awhile before the Florida Department of Corrections permits the inmates to return to help us here at the Levy County Quilt Museum.
It’s watermelon season and we miss sitting on the porch of the Museum in the swing as we watch the melon buses go by. We’ll take whatever part of the old normal we can get. Maybe, we’ll be able to sit and swing when we get back on June 2.
The melon buses are on the roads again.
Come on out to the Levy County Quilt Museum sometime after June 2 and sit a spell. We’d love to see you. For more information, visit https://levycountyquiltmuseum.org/.
We really enjoy seeing these donations of fabric. These three panels shown above are some of the scenes on panels that came in recently. Thank you, donors!
FWC asks people
to conserve beach nesting birds
The least tern chick in this photo blends with its backdrop of seashells.
Photo by Carol Rizkalla/FWC
By the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Published May 22, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is reminding the public that it is waterbird nesting season.
Many Floridians and guests are returning to the state’s beaches to celebrate Memorial Day weekend. This also is a critical time for Florida’s vulnerable wading birds, shorebird and seabird populations. By respectfully sharing Florida’s beaches and waterways with these birds, people can help ensure their survival.
Shorebirds and seabirds, such as snowy plovers and black skimmers, build shallow nests on the ground. Their eggs and chicks are well camouflaged and can be easily missed and even stepped on. Wading birds, such as herons, egrets and pelicans, are nesting now too. They typically nest in mangroves and on tree islands around the state.
When people come too close to their nests, those people can cause birds to abandon their nesting sites, leaving eggs and chicks vulnerable.
“Startling birds might not seem like a big deal, but disturbing shorebirds and seabirds can actually be deadly,” FWC Florida Shorebird Alliance Coordinator Shea Armstrong said. “If a mother bird is forced to leave her nest, her eggs or chicks are left behind where they can be eaten by predators, exposed to the hot sun, or trampled by unsuspecting beachgoers.”
Boaters and beachgoers can make a big difference for Florida’s vulnerable nesting shorebirds and seabirds by following these guidelines:
● Keep your distance from birds, on the beach and on the water. If birds become agitated or leave their nests, you are too close. Birds calling out loudly and dive-bombing are signals to back off.
● Respect posted areas. When possible, stay at least 300 feet from a posted nesting area. Avoid entering areas marked with signs for nesting birds and use designated walkways.
● Do not enter Critical Wildlife Areas. CWAs are established to give wildlife the space needed for nesting, roosting and foraging, and they are clearly marked with signs or buoys to alert boaters to areas that are closed to public access.
● Avoid intentionally forcing birds to fly or run. This causes them to use energy needed for nesting, and eggs and chicks may be left vulnerable to the sun’s heat or predators. Teach children to let shorebirds and seabirds rest instead of chasing them, and encourage friends and family to do the same. Shorebirds and seabirds outside of posted areas may be feeding or resting and need to do so without disturbance.
● It is best to leave pets at home but if you bring them to the beach, keep them leashed and avoid shorebird and seabird nesting areas. Pets are not permitted on most beaches, including state parks, so always check and be respectful of local rules when preparing for a day at the beach.
● Keep the beach clean and do not feed wildlife. Food scraps attract predators, such as raccoons and crows, which can prey on shorebird eggs and chicks. Litter on beaches can entangle birds and other wildlife.
● Spread the word. Let your friends and family know how important it is to give shorebirds space and share the message on social media.
● Report disturbance of nesting birds to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or by texting Tip@MyFWC.com. You can also report nests that are not posted to our Wildlife Alert Program.
For more information on how you can help Florida’s shorebirds, go to https://myfwc.com/conservation/you-conserve/wildlife/shorebirds/ or https://flshorebirdalliance.org/.
FWC joins USCG in
urging boaters to stay safe
From the FWC and USCG
Media Release Departments
Published May 19, 2020 at 5:10 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE -- With National Safe Boating Week and the release of the 2019 Boating Accident Statistical Report, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages boaters to focus on simple, effective steps that make boating safer.
The FWC announcement comes soon after one from the United States Coast Guard.
If you plan to enjoy our beautiful waterways, check out https://myfwc.com/boating/ for boating safety tips. Safety is never optional!
“National Boating Safety Week is May 16-22 and we want to spread the word about boating safety to those enjoying Florida’s year-round boating season,” said Maj. Rob Rowe, FWC’s Boating and Waterways section leader. “Reminding people to be safe and slow down is our top priority. Nothing can ruin a fun day and memorable experience on the water faster than a boating accident.”
Among other boating safety tips found at https://myfwc.com/boating/, boaters are encouraged to wear their life jackets, maintain 360-degree awareness and know the dangers (and penalties) for operating a vessel while impaired.
Also, as local governments and managers work to reopen areas across the state in response to COVID-19, the FWC suggests boaters check with the managing agency for any additional outdoor activity restrictions and to be sure your local area is open before you head out. Practice social distancing guidelines outlined by the CDC and DOH.
“Life-changing tragedies often happen because individuals choose to operate a boat or drive a car while impaired. Those tragedies are preventable,” Rowe said. “FWC law enforcement officers will be doing their part to ensure the safety of Florida’s recreational boaters.”
To report people who are boating dangerously, call 888-404-FWCC (3922) or text Tip@MyFWC.com. More information can be found by visiting https://myfwc.com/boating/. You can even search there for the Florida Public Boat Ramp Finder to help you find a great place to launch your boat.
The FWC is responsible for reviewing, analyzing and compiling boating accident data for the state. Its statistical report details boating accidents and their causes. The theme of accident-related messages from FWC staff is clear: Officers want to help keep Florida’s beautiful waterways a safe place to boat.
For a copy of the 2019 Boating Accident Statistical Report, visit https://myfwc.com/boating/ and select “Safety & Education” and “Boating Accidents.”
E-cigarettes hidden in plain sight
By Kristina Zachry, MPH
Community Health Advocate - Levy County
Published May 7, 2020 at 7:10 p.m.
BRONSON -- The Tobacco Free Florida (TFF) media team has prepared a new resource to help educate parents about how to recognize Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS or e-cigarettes) devices that may be hiding in plain sight among the belongings of their children.
This may be particularly timely since families are spending more time at home due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Tobacco Free Florida has created a video explaining the new generation of e-cigarettes. The video has been posted to the TFF YouTube page.
It is also visible by clicking on it below:
A TFF Blog on https://tobaccofreeflorida.com/ coaches parents on how to talk to their kids about tobacco use.
Cedar Key artists excel
at arts and crafts show
Pat Stephens earned Best of Show in the Crafts Division with her Rays of Hope quilt, which she is holding here.
Information and Photos
Provided By Cedar Key Woman’s Club
Published May 3, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
GAINESVILLE -- The Cedar Key Woman’s Club sent 37 entries to General Federation of Woman’s Clubs Florida District 5 Arts and Crafts Show in Gainesville.
Donna Thalacker holds her Director’s Choice award-winning painting of a bird.
The Cedar Key Woman’s Club members were awarded the most ribbons, 33, and the most first places, 17 blue ribbons, of all the clubs entering in the district.
The 33 ribbons were distributed among 11 CKWC entrants -- Christine Black, Donna Bushnell, Rosemary Danesi, Tish High, Esta Johnston, Ann Morgan, Joan Selby, Pat Stephens, Donna Thalacker, Beth Wright and CKWC group project.
The CKWC is so proud of all their entrants and especially proud to announce that additionally, in the Arts Department Donna Thalacker received the Director’s Choice ribbon for her acrylic painting of a great blue heron.
Thalacker first started painting dogs when her sister's beloved beagle died. The artist says her first attempt really didn't even look like a dog, but she took an online class and tried again, and again. She loves dogs, and it gives her pleasure creating paintings to depict them. As a birdwatcher, the painting hobby has now expanded to include Thalacker creating paintings to mirror local birds.
And in the Crafts division, Pat Stephens won Best of Show for her Rays of Hope quilt. Stephens designed this quilt as a comfort quilt to be circulated to people who were ill or grieving. The 100 Bible verses embroidered on the back side of the quilt are meant to bring hope and comfort.
appearance and function of soil
Among the positive aspects of mulch is that it improves the appearance and function of soil next to plants as seen here, where it is near to a structure and the landscaped plants in the area.
Photo - Courtesy D. Clifton
By Barbara Edmonds, Horticulture PA
UF/IFAS Extension of Levy County
Published April 25, 2020 at 10:10 a.m.
BRONSON -- In an attempt to do something productive and worthwhile, I’ve been working on improving my yard and garden.
If I could only do one thing in the landscape, I would mulch. Adding a fresh layer of mulch to edges of landscaped beds brings new life to the area. Besides being pretty, mulch brings long term soil health benefits to infertile, droughty soils.
Decomposing mulch improves sandy and clayey soil structure. Soil microbes benefit during decomposition and are important to the soil food web. Mulch requires annual maintenance. Periodically freshen mulch layers to bury weed seed and prevent compaction. Reapply as needed. Stone, shell, rock and inorganic mulch will need cleaning.
Mulch moderates soil temperature and insulates roots from heat and cold. If starting from seed, hold off on mulch as plants may not have enough energy to push through.
Increase time between waterings. Mulch shields soil and prevents water from evaporating from soil surface. Keep mulch 2 to 3 inches away from plant stems and tree trunks. A mulched safety zone around trees keeps mowers and string trimmers away from trunks.
For bagged mulch, multiply bed length x width x mulch depth divided by 27 = cubic yards. Example, 18’ x 7’ x .25’ (three-inch mulch depth) / 27. One cubic yard of mulch is 27 cubic feet. Most bagged mulch holds 2 cubic feet. For this example, the man of the mower purchased 14 bags at 2 cubic feet. Organic mulches include hard wood nugget, pecan shells, peanut hulls, eucalyptus and pine straw. There’s black dyed mulch. And red dyed mulch. I’m partial to melaleuca griege and the mottled browns of hardwood. Use what falls from heaven. Pulverized fallen oak leaves decompose quickly and returns valuable nutrients to the soil.
Florida Friendly Landscaping principles encourage the use of environmentally sustainable practices to achieve attractive landscapes and protect Florida natural resources. I hope to reap rewards in reduced watering, less herbicide use, lower fertilizer costs and increased satisfaction with landscape aesthetics.
If you have questions about gardening in Levy County, contact Barbara L. Edmonds, 352-486-5131, UF/IFAS Extension Levy County. Until next time – Stay Safe, Remain Vigilant, Spread Joy.
CKWC Seeks Material For Masks
As a way of helping the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Cedar Key Womans Club are making masks. Seen above are Pat Stephens and a furry friend. They need of supplies to continue. Anyone who would like to assist in this effort, is asked to please donate any woven cotton, elastic - 1/4 or 1/8 inch, and interfacing you have on hand. You may place it on the porch of the Cedar Key Womans Club clubhouse at 7391 S.W. SR 24 Cedar Key, or email email@example.com to arrange for a pickup.
Donna Bushnell makes masks. Thank you in advance. Please let us know if you need masks.
Published April 21, 2020 at 2:10 p.m.
Information and Photos By Eileen Senecal
This picture shows a deer’s eyes glowing as a 300-milimeter lens points toward the animal and the flash goes off from about 100 yards away. The furry creature was sauntering through a field near a wooded section somewhere in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties on Friday evening (April 17) after sunset. A review of the photo on the screen of the camera showed only black. Then the machine was switched to a video mode. Returning to the office at The Ink Pad, the original still picture showed only two bright blue dots of light on a background of pure black. A photo enhancement program brought out the animal that was able to be seen.
A video enhancement program produced the 15-second video shown here.
Photo and Video By Jeff M. Hardison © April 18, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
Fruit of Your Labor
This photo is from the UF/IFAS Levy Extension 2017 archives. It shows grape vine pruning.
Story and Photo Provided
By Barbara L. Edmonds, Horticulture PA
UF/IFAS Levy Extension
Published April 10, 2020 at 8:10 p.m.
BRONSON -- Properly placed trees create cover for songbirds, beautify landscapes, increase property value, provide screening and may reduce energy usage.
Deciduous trees shed most leaves each year, usually in autumn or winter. Our part of the world receives between 400 - 500 chill units annually, based on 30-year historical data. A chill unit is the number of hours at or below 45 degree Fahrenheit. It is my joy to share a partial list of deciduous fruit and nut tree information. Based on what your family likes to eat, select varieties requiring 400-500 chill units.
Apple –Anna and Dorsett Golden cross pollinate with TropicSweet.
Fig – Celeste and Brown Turkey. Roots like to be cooler, benefiting from amended soils. Stems and branches receive full sun, 8+ hours direct light. Sap may irritant skin.
Peach – cultivar (chill unit) specific. Gulfking (350), Flordaking (350), Flordacrest (375), Gulfprince (400), Gulfcrimson (400), Gulfcrest (525). If you have space, plant one requiring less chill units and one requiring more.
Pear - Flordahome and Hood varieties have fine textured flesh. Sand pear contain grit cells. Coarse textured flesh is noticeable when fresh but less so after canning. Ornamental value when in bloom.
Pecan – Two or more cultivars to overlap pollen shedding with female flower receptivity. Example Desirable (pollen source) and Elliott, MoneyMaker, Schley and Stuart (cultivar to be pollinated). Have a habit of alternate bearing with some years bearing heavy crop and some years not so much.
How much room do you have for planting? Most require eight hours direct light for flowering and fruiting. Planting for mature tree size prevents branch and root conflict with house, foundation and walkways. Plant at a minimum of 30 feet from septic or drain field. Use smaller maturing trees to avoid overhead powerline.
Before you dig, call 8-1-1 to locate and mark underground utilities, pipes or cables.
This 8-1-1 call is a free service that may prevent injury, save costly repair and avoid interrupted service.
Dig a hole one to two times wider than root ball - but no deeper. Retain the soil. Roll the tree-holding container on its side to loosen the root ball. Ease the tree out of the container.
In sandy, well-drained soils, place root ball slightly (1-2 inches) above grade. In clayey, compacted or wet soils, place root ball 3-4 inches above grade and back fill to top of root ball. Replace the soil, add water. The soil should be placed gently, but firmly around the root ball. Native loose soil is recommended. A 60/40 ratio of native to amended soils is acceptable, do not overpack back fill. Keep the top of root ball free of mulch or soil.
Build a 3- to 6-inch raised soil ridge outside root ball to direct water to the root ball. Apply one gallon of water for trees of less than two-inch caliper, daily for two weeks. Then, apply the same amount of water, two to three times per week for 2-3 months until established.
If rainfall is sufficient, reduce supplemental irrigation. Keep grass and weeds two feet away from the trunk. This reduces water and nutrient competition. Fertilize following UF recommendations.
Insect, disease and wildlife pests vary with species. Some require more time and effort in pruning, thinning and routine care. If possible, hold off until fall or winter to purchase and plant bare root trees and shrubs.
Containerized trees may be planted year-round. Best of luck with that!
The UF/ Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Levy County Extension operates Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No group programs are taking place currently. No office visits. Call for assistance.
Faculty and staff are responding to email and voice messages. NOTE: The new voice mailbox numbers. Questions, contact Barbara L. Edmonds, 352-486-5131, ext.105. For speediest service, please provide name and phone number when leaving a message. Until next time – Stay Safe, Remain Vigilant, Spread Joy.