Just finished looking over my spring catalog from Bluestone Perennials. Sigh. Have checked off several "must-trys." Particularly intrigued by Heliopsis Loraine Sunshine, a sunflower with white leaves and extensive green veining. Also a must for me in the garden: blooms continuously from July to frost. Also looking to add more salvias - in a mild winter, varieties like East Friesland have bloomed through the season in the Senior Center bed. With renewed appreciation for abelias, am looking at the Mosanensis variety which sports a fragrance comparable to lilacs. Blooms are pink trumpets with white petals. Bonus: green foliage will turn orange-red in the fall. Noticed the mature abelias at the Abbey Church were covered with an assortment of butterflies back in the warmer days of October, savoring the season’s last taste of nectar. The beautyberry bush though a native is fairly unremarkable until its brilliantly colored berries come on. The catalog lists a variety, Callicarpa Snow Storm, that is a mounded shrub starting with white greenery that matures to varigations of green and white and finally solid green. Also produces those electrifying purple berries. All in all, it boils down to getting the most seasons of interest out of your landscape plants.

The Huckabee Nature Center at Chaffee Crossing is a must-see. Am looking forward to the development of the proposed tree museum across from it in the near future. The timber industry and products developed from it have a rich history in the river valley.

What the birds knew all along. The Air Force’s Mobility Command has determined it does pay to fly certain types of air craft in formation similar to that of geese or other migrant bird populations. They found they could save in some cases as much as seven percent on fuel consumption. All this without stressing out the pilot, the aircraft or changing the parameters of the mission.

OMG - the weekly Ozark Spectator newspaper puts in a column bits from their papers of 75 years ago - we have gotten away from our preservation roots. I guess it was the extension agent equivalent at that time that announced that the county’s 180 participating Rural Administration families had put back (an impressive) 38,765 quarts of canned food! Specifically: "22,200 quarts were vegetables; 16,323 quarts were fruit; 152 quarts were meat. Also, 1, 270 pounds of dried vegetables; 50 pounds of dried fruit; and 1,305 bushels of Irish potatoes. You can only guess the number of man hours involved.

One last note (as if you didn’t know this already): We Americans have become a very wasteful and waste producing society. With regard to food, we wasted 80 billion pounds of it in one way or another last year. I encourage you to look at your consumption habits and find ways you can curb food waste.