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A Cowboy’s Faith: Reprieving historical tree’s demise

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“It must have been a hundred years old, by the diameter, but it’s impossible to count the growth rings.”

The tree cutter made that estimation after downing the giant mulberry tree just a few feet outside the back door.

Removing such a long lived historical piece of ranch history was sentimentally saddening. It had been there much longer than the present ranch residents who’ve seen it continue thriving half-a-century.

Oh the true stories that tree would have told if could have remembered them and talked about each one.

Before the present ranch home was constructed near the already old tree there’d been a chicken house beside it. Hogs and rodents inhabited that structure in ample numbers at certain times as well.

For years, the tree was quite the fruit bearer. Mulberries are fun to pick and eat while even better yet when made into a pie. However, those yummy fruits sure do make a mess dropping onto anything around at their ripest maturity.

Neither a forestry major nor studier of tree growth, evidently certain mulberry trees quit bearing fruit in old age. At least that tree hadn’t produced mulberries for a long time; such its years of prolific yield were almost forgotten.

Wind and bolts of lightning damaged the tree sometimes through the decades so it was quite rotted in places. When blowing storms came the tree shook all over creating rancher fright. At any time the weakened tree could have come crashing on the nearby home or indoor arena.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Best supper at home

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“In most cases the world would be much better off if everybody would eat their meals at home.”

That’s in preference to the seemingly increasingly popular enjoyment of “going out to eat.” Now this is speaking from experience, because there aren’t too many people who’ve spent more youthful days “eating out.”

One thing certain the kid never was hungry growing up. First off being son of grocery store operators, there was always plenty to eat, apple, grapes, candy bar, wiener, whatever.

Secondly, Mom, who’d once owned a café, always made sure her carryout boy never went anywhere on an empty stomach. Often there was an evening activity to attend and Mom would grab a dollar bill from the cash register. “Go get your supper” at the café.

Well, everybody whatever age has usually liked the idea of picking out restaurant food from the menu. More often than not, the grocery store boy’s supper was at the Hays Tavern, or Café as sometimes known. Today completely restored, that’s the apparently world-renowned Hays House.

Hamburgers were a quarter, cheeseburgers 30 cents; French fries another quarter, and iced tea a dime. Typically splurging for the “richer” burger, supper with tax, seems it was 3-percent those days, cost a total of 67 cents. That left change in the kid’s jeans pocket, which generally wasn’t returned to Mom.

Eat Well to Be Well:Letting go of the ‘all or nothing’ approach to nutrition

An “all or nothing” mindset about nutrition may sabotage your health goals

We all have that friend who’s always making comments about their food intake such as, “I really shouldn’t be eating this,” or “I’ve been so good on my diet lately,” or maybe they might say, “I’ll get back on track Monday after my ‘cheat’ weekend.”

Comments like these are often a way for people to rationalize eating certain foods they deem as “bad” by saying how “good” they’ve been, vowing to get back on schedule soon. These same individuals often live by an “all or nothing” attitude in regards to dieting or losing weight. They will tell themselves they can never eat cake, candy, fried food, or any favorite foods again, hence a set-up for an all or nothing way of thinking.

Unfortunately, pledging to give up certain foods is problematic and unrealistic to follow. There is always going to be somebody’s birthday party where cake is served, or a festive holiday buffet decked out with sweets and treats tempting you away from your all or nothing eating plan. Do you have a plan on how to handle those situations?

However, all or nothing nutrition is a surefire plan for excessively obsessing over what you should be eating and how much, which rarely ends well. That’s because the “all or nothing” voice in your head will deceptively tell you “You’ve already had a piece of cake, so you might as well have the entire cake,” or “You’ve skipped breakfast and lunch, so go ahead and binge at dinner and all evening long.”

The good news is none of us need to follow an “all or nothing” mindset to succeed at meeting health goals. When common sense reigns and food restrictions are liberated allowing you freedom to eat what you want without judgment, all foods can be part of a healthy diet. Keep your focus on healthy eating the majority of time while permitting yourself a small and guilt-free indulgence on most days of the week, if not every day.

Hidden History: Fostoria musician goes to Nashville, becomes a country ‘Starr’

Burlingame area native Kenny Starr, center, sings with Loretta Lynn during a 1970s era performance. Photographer unknown.

Osage County has long been the home to a strong working class responsible for building the industry in the county. These hard workers and small-town life are the inspiration for the themes of many country music songs. Kenny Trebbe, Osage County native, used his blue-collar roots and his love of music to become a shining “Starr” of the Country Western scene.

Kenny Trebbe grew up in what had been the little mining community of Fostoria, two miles east of Burlingame. His father, William, was a coal miner, construction worker, and vegetable farmer before a back injury limited him to cutting wood for his family.

Kenny got his start in music in elementary school, singing 1950s rock and soul at local venues for nickels and dimes. Some of his first bands were Kenny and the Rebels and later Kenny and the Imperials. His songs were so well received that on one New Year’s Day, he made $13.

His parents, fans of Guy Lombardo’s big band style were not as interested in Kenny’s earliest choice of music but appreciated his switch to country music when he reached his teens. By that time, he had chosen the stage name of Kenny Starr – surname borrowed from a Texas cousin – and created the band Kenny Starr and the Country Showmen.

In 1971, a 17-year-old Kenny entered a talent contest sponsored by a Wichita Radio Station. Ninety-eight contestants participated, but Kenny’s rendition of Ray Price’s “I Won’t Mention It Again” stole the show. His performance caught the eye of Harry “Hap” Peebles, a local promoter. Peebles was able to get him an audience with Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty, who were in town for a show. Kenny was then invited to perform with Lynn and Twitty in both Wichita and Kansas City. Loretta Lynn took a personal interest in the young singer and told him to look her up if he ever got to Nashville, and she would help him get started.

As soon as Kenny got home, he and his mother, Kathleen, prepared to leave immediately to pursue his dreams. A neighbor drove them to Nashville because the Trebbe’s car would not have made the trip, and the group arrived two days later, beating Loretta Lynn home.

Loretta Lynn, true to her word, helped establish Kenny in the country music business. Lynn gave him the opportunity to tour with her band the Coal Miners. When they weren’t touring, she let him live in her mansion. After four and a half years of learning his way in country music, Kenny struck out on his own.

At 150, Melvern proudly represents Kansas Spirit!

Dear Editor:

Congratulations to the town of Melvern, Kansas, for achieving 150 years of township!

Since its formation, Melvern has remained a place of hospitality for all Kansans to enjoy. Whether it’s to experience Melvern Lake, prosper as a small business owner, or be a historical part of the expansion of Kansas with the BNSF railroad, Melvern’s welcoming people and community embody the heart of Kansas.

Melvern offers incredible, photogenic views, and when you’re not celebrating a new fishing season, you’re celebrating the success of the USD 456 Trojans at Marais des Cygnes Valley High School.

As Kansas State Treasurer, one of my favorite things is traveling the state to visit communities like Melvern. While a busy schedule educating our citizens about unclaimed property, Learning Quest 529 accounts, and more keeps me from being able to attend Melvern’s Sunflower Days in person, I hope to visit soon to honor your wonderful achievement of 150 years!

May you celebrate many more and take pride in being a true representation of the Kansas Spirit!

Lynn Rogers
Kansas State Treasurer

A Cowboy’s Faith: Another driver crashes fence

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“A vehicle has gone through your pasture fence and the wires are down so livestock can get out.”

It was the sheriff’s dispatcher just after daylight informing of what this time was already known. Minutes before looking out the window, three law enforcement vehicles with patriotic flashing lights were at the north corner. There was a fourth vehicle with yellow caution lights blinking.

Fairly certain of what had occurred, decision was made to drive up the road to find out more details. Upon arrival, only one county sheriff car was still at the scene. That lawman was busy measuring tire marks and whatever else from one side of the road to the other.

Obviously the other two counties’ sheriff offices decided to let the remaining officer do the paperwork. That caution-vehicle must have also concluded its service was no longer needed.

Through the broken fence to the southwest 150-yards in the brome field was a white economy car, frontend bashed in.

Slowly driving past commenting out the window, the working lawman was queried: “Another fatality this time?”

Congenial as likely possible for a dedicated deputy: “No the driver was disillusioned, didn’t know where he was.” Further details on the reckless motorist aren’t known but fortunately evidently he wasn’t injured.

Such incidences are actually common as there’ve been similar situations a handful of times in the past half century. Two major highways intersect on the three-county-line.

Drivers from the east are going too fast, half asleep, or not paying attention. They run the stop sign, cross the other north south highway, through the fence, and out into the pasture.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Weather has own mind

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“It really is dry.” “Sure is wet.” “It’d be good if the rain would stop.” “Sure be nice to get some of that rain.”

Those comments were all heard within just a few minutes of each other last Friday morning.

Conversations all depended on location sometimes just a few miles down the road and others from the state’s borders.

While areas pleaded for raindrops out of all the crashing thunder, lightning, fierce winds, very little came from the sky. Meanwhile with identical weather predictions, neighboring counties were being warned about flash flooding.

Weather forecasters are certainly the most popular airwaves stars. Well at least the best known, anticipated, listened to, talked about. When right they’re patted on the back, but more often remarks aren’t very nice because predictions are frequently wrong.

Credit given when due, the forecasters are just human doing the very best they can. Despite all historical records and technical modern-day devices, only the Supreme Power knows what the weather’s going to be. And He keeps changing his mind all of the time

One thing for certain: “It always has rained.” Sometimes too late, sometimes too early, but in all of history moisture has arrived at some time.

Interesting how dry winter and spring were with prayers for moisture to fill ponds, get creeks running, and make plants grow. Then some received the rainfall, while many were still quite shy.

Happy Fourth of July! Where are the fireworks?

Wondering where to watch fireworks this Fourth of July in Osage County?

Consider Pomona State Park, where Friends of Pomona State Park have scheduled a fireworks watch party at the front entrance to the park.

The fireworks will begin at dark, and will be shot from Lamont Hill Resort, across the road from the state park entrance. Spectators can park on the nearby roads, or join the watch party in the park. The Friends will pass out glow in the dark goodies and offer refreshments for sale, beginning at 5 p.m. All visitors are advised that no fireworks are allowed in the state park.

The park’s marina will also host activities during the weekend, with live bands playing 8-10 p.m. July 2, and 7:30-10:30 p.m. July 3, at the marina. Sunday afternoon, beginning at 4:45 p.m. will be the annual Fourth of July patriotic boat parade. In addition, a variety of food trucks is scheduled to be at the marina during the weekend. Boaters on the lake and anyone near Pomona’s north shore might also be able to see a scheduled fireworks show at Royal Pines subdivision on the Fourth.

Overbrook is another place to watch fireworks on the Fourth. The city is holding its annual Independence Day celebration, starting with a kids bike parade in the morning and ending with the fireworks finale at the City Lake at dark. Parking is available at the ball diamonds. Everyone is invited to walk down, sit in bleachers, or bring chairs or blankets to sit on, and to remember to practice safe social distancing. No alcohol is permitted on park grounds.

And for those who can’t get enough fireworks, next weekend, Saturday, July 10, the Osage City Chamber of Commerce is hosting a fireworks display as part of the Osage County Fair. The display will be at the Osage City fairgrounds at Jones Park, where spectators can watch from lawn chairs, their cars or the football stadium.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Ornery Shorty was talented

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Best known as Shorty, or Short, grinning ornery Marven Brabb towered above most with diverse abilities.”

Last week Shorty, a New Year’s Day baby in 1928, passed away at 93 years of age. Until a few months ago, Shorty had continued daily care of his straight Hereford cow herd. Time had taken toll, but Shorty with walking canes remained himself, jovial, mischievous, knowing, heartfelt concerned.

Then serious health incapacitated Shorty, forcing him off his beloved farm into a care home. For a while, Shorty would visit briefly when called, but lost interest in what was happening “back home.”

His cattle were dispersed and then machinery, a large assortment of tools and household were sold at auction. Uncertain if Shorty was even aware, but difficult time for friends watching his life’s toil going under the gavel.

It must be 45 years since first meeting Shorty, who enjoyed off farm work for the lumberyard. Anything needing built or repaired; he had the ability and always seemed eager to do the task.

At a purebred Hereford sale, Shorty with his big smile bought a top bull. Sadly the ring man who he’d done a number of jobs for didn’t even know his name. It’d always just been “Shorty,” but Marven Brabb was never forgotten after that.

The old barn had two grain bins, milk cow stanchions, three workhorse stalls and a lean-to. Shorty renovated them into nine riding horse stalls with his uniquely-designed two-by-six gates inside Dutch doors.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Grass turned into hay

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“At least livestock will have some feed next winter.”

Certainly lots of swathers and hay balers were moving at fast pace in recent days.

Pleased having what appeared to be a bumper crop, it was urgent getting dried brome grass wrapped before rains came.

Not a top student in crops and soils classes, lessons are learned best when it dips into the pocketbook. Tame grass production is most dependent on two things: fertilizer and weather.

Considerable less expense when brome isn’t fertilized, but experience has proven there’s very low yield without added nitrogen.

Yet even when all soil testing and fertilizer recommendations are followed, Mother Nature still has overriding power.

Agronomists may have a different philosophy, but seemingly weather can also be a double edged sword. Ample rainfall at the precise time needed is quite important coupled with spring temperatures not too hot too soon. Earthlings have absolutely no control over those influential factors, despite numerous ill-fated scientific attempts through the ages.

Oh there are other problems which can often reduce brome grass yields with something new showing up quite regularly. Diseases have tried to create havoc, and other vegetation like bluegrass and wild bluestem attempt overpowering.

High yields require heavy foliage, not just long stems with seed heads on them. However, tall thick grass can be readily flattened by wind and rain, creating additional hard work for harvesters.

When brome grass is crushed down and doesn’t have time to straighten back up, a windrower will frequently become clogged. With temperatures higher than 100 degrees and record humidity, that’s a major job to clear out.

Eat Well to Be Well:How to build a delicious, nutritious, and filling smoothie

You may think building a healthy smoothie is easy. Grab a blender and throw in a bunch of fruit, add sweeteners, and milk or juice, and call it good. But think again. When done right, smoothies can indeed be very healthy. Plus, they’re a convenient and easy way to pack in essential fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants all in a drinkable form.

However, when done wrong, drinking what you perceive as “healthy,” might backfire. When packing smoothies with a bevy of ingredients, a super healthy smoothie easily becomes a disastrous overload, pushing in excess of 500 calories plus and a surplus of sugars sabotaging attempts at both weight loss or keeping blood sugar under control.

Could you be making these same “smoothie mistakes” and not know it? If so, you’re not alone. Smoothies are a commonly made concoction in many households and often used as a meal replacement. But to avoid bungling a smoothie, learn the right way to build a delicious, nutritious, and filling smoothie, keeping everything in balance.

Common smoothie mistakes to avoid

To understand the art of healthy smoothie-making, it’s important to know mistakes to avoid. See if you might be guilty of any of the following:

Putting in too much fruit: I’ve listened to plenty of clients who proudly describe in detail the overabundance of fruit they add to a smoothie recipe. More is better, right? Wrong. Fruits are a mainstay of smoothies offering a variety of nutrients your body needs. But remember, moderation is key. Too much of a good thing will disrupt the balance between calories and carbs. The rule of thumb is to use about one cup of no more than one to two fruits per smoothie.

Adding in too many sweeteners: A sugar is a sugar, no matter what form it’s in.  If you like sweetening-up your smoothie by adding in honey or maple syrup or coconut sugar, as examples, a heavy hand will up the calorie and carb ante – a lot. Whatever fruit you’re using should be “sweet enough” without needing to rely on added sugars.

Drinking a smoothie with a meal: Most smoothies are consumed early morning for breakfast. A high protein, fruit and veggie-packed smoothie can be a nutritious way to begin your day, and likely has sufficient calories to meet your needs for that meal. But if you’re also having that smoothie along with a bowl of cereal or oatmeal or a plate of eggs, bacon, and toast, either cut out the smoothie or significantly lighten it up to still enjoy it alongside your other foods.

Going overboard with nutrient boosters: Some smoothie zealots like to “beef up” the nutritional value by adding in extras like protein powders, peanut or almond butters, or chia seeds. While these can be used, if amounts are unchecked, calories add up quickly. Consider that just one tablespoon of peanut or almond butter contains 100 calories. Again, moderation rules.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Parades are fun time

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Everyone loves a parade.”

It’s fact whether participating on horseback, in the band, riding a float or watching from the sideline. Missing a parade when there’s one in town or even on television leaves a certain feeling of disappointment.

While impossible to be everywhere at the same time, a horseshow conflicted with this year’s rodeo parade. However fond memories from decades of parades gone by kept returning throughout the day.

Marching with the grade school band in the centennial parade six decades ago came to mind as a frustration. Waiting in Durland Park for when to move into the Main Street lineup gave time to watch the horses. Oh, to just be riding a horse instead of with the “dumb band” was the little boy’s aspiration.

Dream came true a year later when wannabe cowboy finally had his own horse and got that chance. An old local cowboy could sense the other’s desire to ride in the big rodeo parade. He was taking his horse and asked the kid to bring his horse and come along.

Rain was pouring down almost impossible to see loading the flatbed pickup with stock racks at the old railroad stockyards. Parade lineup at Swope Park started not long after dinner as downpour continued.

No letup in cloudburst yet when the Fort Riley Band marched out of the fairgrounds gate followed by several hundred horses. From Cottonwood Falls to Strong City and into the rodeo grounds, everybody was drenched through and through.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Increasing length of life

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Time of death has been predetermined the day one is born.”

Aunt Freda made that comment six decades ago during breakfast at her house before heading out to hunt pheasants. It rang a bell of sorts that morning and has been remembered and recalled ever since, especially on Memorial Day.

With no proven reasoning behind people’s longevity “many die before their time.” Some pass suddenly very young, others middle-aged from accident or heath intrusions, and many simply die from old age. Everybody dies, and there’s no way getting around it.

Nobody knows when their final day living as a body on Earth will be. Yet certain lifestyles seem to bring an earlier death.

Centenarians and others not quite as mature usually have similar philosophies about living to be old, although without medical substantiation.

Three biggies taking young lives are tobacco, liquor and food, yet there are vast exceptions in every case.

Majority of the population used tobacco of some form in earlier years, and many suffered from it, going early to their graves. Several friends over consumed liquor and passed away years ago, while limited alcohol intake has been proclaimed advantageous.

Everybody must have food, and generally enjoys eating, but overconsumption or malnutrition, either may lead to early fatality.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Remembering one special rider

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Mary White was a heroine then and has been ever since.”

Certain childhood readings leave a lifetime impression and Mary White’s story in the third-grade primer did that.

Author of the writing didn’t mean anything then, but renowned editor William Allen White, Mary’s dad, has become a mentor.

A century ago, in the Emporia Gazette, May 17, 1921, Mr. White printed his 16-year-old daughter’s editorialized obituary.

“The Associated Press reporting of news about Mary White’s death declared that it came as the result of a fall from a horse. How she would have hooted at that! Mary never fell from a horse in her life.

“Horses have fallen on her and with her. ‘I’m always trying to hold ’em in my lap,’ Mary used to say. Mary was proud of few things, one that she could ride anything with four legs and hair.

“Mary’s death resulted not from a fall but from a blow on the head which fractured her skull. The blow came from the limb of an overhanging tree on the parking.”

A present-day editorialist surmised: “The accident did not surprise anyone who knew her. Mary was a rambunctious girl who rode horses and drove cars with the same reckless intensity.

“On that Tuesday afternoon, Mary was riding a skittish mare named Hardtack. Having changed to her riding khakis, Mary aimed as usual for country roads north of Emporia.

“But about where the Emporia State University Library parking lot is now, Mary was distracted. A school friend delivering the Emporia Gazette rode by on his bicycle.

“Mary turned to wave with her bridle hand. This caused Hardtack to dart from the road and plunge beneath a catalpa tree. Still turned to wave, Mary may not have seen or could not avoid collision with the fatal branch.”

Eat Well to Be Well:Rethink your drink with refreshing beverages healthier than soda

If soda has been your go-to for quenching your thirst, it’s time to rethink your drink. Drinking sugary soda is simply a bad idea for supporting good health. Multiple studies have found time and again that consuming soda, including artificially sweetened or “diet” soda, can be harmful to your health. This finding was published in a 2019 JAMA Internal Medicine article that showed people who drank two or more glasses of diet or regular soda had higher risks of dying from cardiovascular disease including stroke. Besides increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, the study also found consuming beverages sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners is positively associated with all-cause deaths, raising the risk of premature death by 17 percent compared to those who sip them less than once a month.

What other studies have found

This is far from the first time research has shown a link between soda’s subtle and insidious effect on human health. For instance, obesity is often linked to individuals who consume soda, as found in a 2017 study published in QJM, an International Journal of Medicine. Another study published in the journal Appetite found an association of sweet cravings being triggered by drinking soda leading to a vicious cycle of eating other sugar laden foods and beverages.

Then, there’s a major study published in the journal Circulation which followed more than 118,000 men and women for 30 years. At the end of the study, researchers concluded that each daily 12-ounce serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage – including soft drinks, lemonade and other sugary fruit drinks – raised the risk of death by seven percent, including a five percent increased risk for cancer death, and a 10 percent increased risk for death from cardiovascular disease. This same study also concluded that “sugary drinks lead to weight gain and anything that leads to weight gain increases risk of conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even certain cancers.”

Bottom line, there are few if any health benefits from drinking soda. Soda is devoid of any nutrients other than offering calories. Consider the fact that the average soda beverage will contain at least three to four tablespoons of sugar in a 20-ounce container. It’s doubtful any of us deliberately would add that amount of sugar on our own to a glass of water with flavoring. But also take into consideration an interesting study in the journal Diabetologia that found that swapping one sugary drink a day for an alternative healthier drink such as water, coffee, or tea, may reduce a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes by 25 percent.

Try healthier ideas to replace sugary and artificially sweetened beverages

So, what can you do to curb soda consumption? Look into healthier, alternative beverages replacing soda for good. However, it’s vital to refrain from simply replacing soda with other beverages high in sugar too, such as sweetened tea, sugary coffee drinks, or high-sugar fruit juices. These beverages still offer just as many (if not more) sugar and calories as sodas do and defeat the purpose of cutting back on overall sugar intake.

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