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Luke Clayton

Folks, this week, I'm hunting for Axis deer in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.  Back in the 1930's, Axis deer were stocked on ranches in the Hill Country and parts of South Texas.  Today, there are thousands of Axis roaming the region.

I used a .45 caliber big bore air rifle on a hunt for free ranging deer just outside a small town near San Antonio.  

As most of you know, I put my game meats to good use.  While recording this week's show, I was smoking a neck roast from the deer I harvested!

leavenworthtimes.com

Flowers are on trial at the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Centers in Colby and Hays, Kansas. 

Kansas is a big state, with varied climate and growing conditions.  Western Kansas is unique with its hot days, lack of rain, and high elevation.  Those factors create conditions where flowers store more sugars in their petals.  That results in deeper, darker, richer, and more vibrant colors according to a recent blog post by Dr. Stevens for the Leavenworth Times.

Ducks Unlimited

    More than half of western Great Plains farmers are near retirement age. Many are considering conservation easements as a way of protecting the land from development and subdivision long after they're gone.

Michael Glasgow/Texas Tribune

In Panhandle, a Growing Need for a Shallow Lake's Water
Lake Meredith, previously empty, is only 4% full, but those 2.8 billion gallons are enough for the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority to start pumping water from the lake. The authority supplies water to Amarillo, Lubbock, and surrounding areas. The low water means higher sediment levels, which will affect the water's taste and cause higher treatment costs. More from the Amarillo Globe-News.

Luke Clayton

Howdy Folks!

This week I'm making it short and sweet.  I'm working on a story about shark fishing in the Gulf of Mexico with our old friend, Captain Mike, and I've made the trip into one last family vacation before school starts.  I'm sending pictures for you to enjoy of my grandson, Jack, catching a shark from the pier, and a big one he landed with the help of Captain Mike.

Right now, the kids are over at Schlitterbahn Water Park.  It's great family fun.  Their website is: schlitterbahn.com

Robert W Hart / texastribune.org

Water is being pumped from Lake Meredith to supplement water wells in Amarillo.  The Canadian River Municipal Water Authority reported recent rains have raised the water level at Lake Meredith from last year’s record low of 26 feet a current level of 43.5 feet according to a recent article from the Amarillo Globe-News.

Welcome to Lotusland

Aug 6, 2014
nssga.org

A visit to Santa Barbara, California brought Skip to Lotusland and a look at an amazing series of gardens that was developed by a famous opera singer.  Over the years a collection of over 3,000 plants from throughout the world have been assembled in a beautiful setting of 25 separate gardens.  Many of the garden residents are rare and unusual, and some are even protected by international treaties, making this southern California stop a real treat in itself.   

The Journal Record / http://journalrecord.com/

An oil industry geologist wants to shift the finger pointing away from the oil industry as the cause of the earthquakes in Oklahoma.  At a recent conference sponsored by the Oklahoma City Geological Society, Glen Brown, vice president of geology at Continental Resources, Inc. says the “tectonic plates are more likely to blame for the tremors in Oklahoma,” according to a recent article from the Journal Record.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

When the wind picked up from the south on John Schweiser’s farm outside Rocky Ford, Colo., the sky would go black. A charging wall of dust would force the 80-year-old farmer and his wife to hunker down in their ranch-style farmhouse.

USDA / NRCS

The Thompson Farm and Ranch straddles the Kansas-Nebraska line. Drought in this region is entering its fourth year. The Thompson family uses no-till practices to grow dryland wheat and corn and also run cows.

thesucculentsource.com

One of the hottest trends in houseplants or patio pots is a widely mixed variety of succulents.  From tiny miniatures to super shrub sizes, these plants are fun to look at and to grow.  Akin to camels in that they can carry enough water to survive hot, dry locales, succulents can be a thorny cactus, a smooth and silky aloe or just about anything in between.

usgs.org

This is the last installment of the water series.  Amy Bickel covered facts about the Ogallala Aquifer in a story published by Kansas Agland.

Harvest Public Media

Nebraska farmer Bill Volkmer describes himself as an "old farmer." But this old farmer is willing to learn some new tricks. He started planting cover crops in 2011.

Tim Unruh / Salina Journal

Even though it’s 2014, for Jerry and Diane McReynolds they live like it’s the 1800s.  The McReynolds’ domestic well in Rooks County, Kansas, went dry in October 2013.   The couple are members of Rural Water District No. 3, but service is not reliable, especially during the day reported Tim Unruh for the Salina Journal.

Luke Clayton

With the outdoor hunting shows coming up in a few weeks and many hunters making plans for their fall hunting trips, I though it might be interesting this week to discuss hunting on high fences ranches. This is a ‘hot button’ topic for many hunters.

Let me share my thoughts on hunting ranches with game proof fencing. I know many of you have been reading my columns/articles for years and I hope you have come to learn that “Ole Luke” is all about the total hunting experience rather than just the harvest.

pewtrusts.org

The Kansas economy relies on water and for more than a generation, experts have warned that western Kansas' economic resource is vanishing.

German engineering

Jul 23, 2014
Cindee Talley

Thank goodness for gadgets because how else would we ever get things done?  Things like cherry pitting for example must have driven Simple Simon's Pie Man to distraction.  But then he probably was never lucky enough to find a dandy little gadget called the

Kernomat der “schnelle” Doppelentkerner.  Ah, the joys of modern living live on in today's Growing on the High Plains.

Jason Baker / Texas A&M AgriLife Research photo

Playas benefit from practices that result in good soil health.

Improving the health and quality of the soil is one of the easiest and most effective ways producers can increase crop productivity, hence profitability, while benefitting wildlife and improving the environment. No-till practices, plus the planting of cover crops, mean less soil moves as runoff into playas during rain events.

lamarledger.com

Recent torrential rains brought flash flooding to low-lying portions of Lamar and southeastern Colorado.  Heavy rains and strong winds closed Highway 50 in low areas.  Several railroad underpasses were closed until waters receded reported Russ Baldwin for the Prowers Journal.

pestkill.org

We’ve enjoyed a lush garden this summer with tall corn, big cabbages, sweet potato vines that could be jungle instead of food, and towering tomato plants. Imagine our horror when we visited the garden one morning to find an interstate of raised trails weaving in and out our plantings. This was my introduction to a live mole.

Luke Clayton

Catfish have always been a favorite of mine for many reasons. I love catching the big blues, usually during the cold weather months, and I dearly love the often non-stop catching that is common this time of year on lakes with high numbers of channel catfish. Dusted with a liberal amount of cornmeal and dropped into hot cooking oil, catfish fillets fried crispy are a culinary delight.

lubbockonline.com

Plains Cotton Growers support the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District’s proposal to limit groundwater use on private farmland in Texas.  

Playa wetlands benefit from practices that result in good soil health.

city-data.com

Although 25 percent of Americans live in rural areas, only 10 percent of doctors do.  Finding physicians willing to live on the prairie is a serious problem in Kansas.  Kearny County Hospital had that problem.  The small hospital is rural, very rural with five people per square mile, but the little hospital has found a solution according to a recent article by the Kansas Health Institute.

pelicanlakemn.org

The spread of Zebra mussels in Texas lakes has caused for new regulations that all fishermen/boaters should be aware of. Beginning July 1, boaters must drain all water from their boat and on-board receptacles before leaving or approaching  a body of fresh water anywhere in Texas.

Kris Husted/Harvest Public Media

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is touring farm country, trying to assure farmers that the agency isn’t asking for more authority over farmers and ranchers’ lands.

More rain could turn things around for farmers, but if the weather turns hot and dry, it could be a repeat of last year.

droughtmonitor.unl.edu

Recent rains did not significantly change drought conditions for most of the High Plains. 

The Great Tomato Race

Jul 9, 2014
feastingonpixels.blogspot.com

To participants in the great tomato race, the fourth of July is a big deal.  It’s the finish line for the green thumb trying to win the title of “The First Tomato of the Season.”  

If you missed out on this race, there are more tomato contests to come, like trying to win the distinction of growing “The Biggest Tomato” later this summer.     

planetofbirds.com

The Mountain Plover is a shorebird that spends little time on the beach and lives on the open Plains and nowhere near mountains.

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