Take a Hike in Oldham County

National Take a Hike Day

hike in oldham county

Free Hiking Trails

The CDC recommends that adults shoot for 150 minutes of exercise per week. Take advantage of National Take a Hike Day on November 17, and find a new place to exercise! From public parks to nature preserves, beautiful Oldham County is home to a variety of green spaces.

Briar Hill Park

The hiking trail at Briar Hill Park is a natural path through the woods that takes you past a creek. Walkers and cyclists are welcome on the paved path that surrounds the playground area. In addition to walking trails, this 52-acre park offers picnic shelters, restrooms, basketball court, sand volleyball court, and tennis courts. A mountain biking trail is also under reconstruction, according to the Kentucky Mountain Bike Association.

Briar Hill Park is located at 7400 East Orchard Grass Boulevard in Crestwood.

oldham county hiking trails

Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve

Over nine miles of trails crisscross the 170 acres of Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve. Oldham County Master Gardeners tend the two-acre Woodland Garden, found along the forested trails. The nature preserve is also home to a frog pond, Nature Center, small waterfall, and Harmony Park.

Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve is located at 12501 Harmony Landing Road in Goshen.

oldham county hiking trails

Morgan Conversation Park

More than 200 acres of woodlands await you at the Morgan Conservation Park. Oldham County Parks and Recreation have announced that a shelter is coming soon.

“Morgan Conservation Park is a hidden gem with several trails (some steep, but worth it), good sized creek that begs exploration, small waterfalls, an old barn, ponds, a glade, meadows, and an old family burial site.”
Oldham Family Fun

Morgan Conservation Park is located at 1200 Kentucky 524 in Westport.

oldham county hiking trails

Peggy E. Baker Park

Home of South Oldham Little League, Peggy Baker Park offers 25 acres of open, green space for many kinds of activities. Other amenities include a playground, basketball court, picnic shelter, and restrooms.

Peggy E. Baker Park is located at 6887 Route 2858 in Crestwood.

oldham county hiking trails

Pewee Valley Central Park

Tucked behind the Little Colonel Playhouse, Pewee Valley Central Park is a beautiful green space right in the center of town. The city council originally envisioned this project, and passionate volunteers expedited the transformation of the space. Walkers can enjoy a short, paved, walking trail complete with benches, a small bridge over a fish pond, and covered pavilion. A red caboose is a short walk away from the park.

Central Park is located at 105 Central Avenue in Pewee Valley.

Wendell Moore Park

Covering 107 acres, Wendell Moore Park is a multi-functional venue. Here you’ll find the John W. Black Community Center, offices of Oldham County Parks and Recreation, Aquatic Center, and Elizabeth Cleland Cauley Dog Park. Wendell Moore is also the home of Oldham County Youth Football. Amenities include walking trails, picnic shelters, restrooms, playgrounds, horseshoe pits, disc golf courses, tennis courts, two softball fields with a concession area, and a lake for fishing from either the bank or docks.

Paved walking trails traverse the park’s gently rolling hills, offering multiple distances for walkers and cyclists.

Wendell Moore Park is located at 1551 North Highway 393 in La Grange.

oldham county hiking trails

Westport Park

This five-acre park sits on the Ohio River in the northern end of Oldham County. A large green space surrounds the playground. Westport Park also offers a picnic shelter, restrooms, basketball court, horse pits, fishing dock, boat ramp, and boat dock. This is the home of the annual River Daze Festival, sponsored by Friends of Westport.

Westport Park is located at 6617 Main Street in Westport.

oldham county hiking trails

Wilborn Park

Found on the L&N Lake, this 30-acre park offers a paved walking trail situated around a playground and restrooms. Natural trails cross wooden bridges back and forth across the lake which is open to fisherman. Wilborn Park also has a covered pavilion.

Wilborn Park is located near 201 Lakeshore Drive in La Grange.

oldham county hiking trails

More Oldham County Hiking

Brownsboro Alliance

Membership is required to access the Brownsboro Alliance trail system. Hikers and horseback riders can enjoy over 14 miles of trails through Oldham County farm- and woodlands. Parking is available by the trailhead on Foxhollow Farm.

The Brownsboro Alliance Trailhead is located at the intersection of Highways 329 & 1694 in Crestwood.

Oldham County Greenways

Oldham County Greenways is a non-profit project working to establish an Interurban Greenway that will connect La Grange and Pewee Valley. Completed projects include pathways and the disc golf course at Wendell Moore Park and a three-mile trail along Commerce Parkway in La Grange.

oldham county hiking trails

Yew Dell Botanical Gardens

Formerly the site of the Klein Farm and Nursery, Yew Dell Yew Dell boasts fantastic gardens and a stone castle. This historical site is also home to three woodland ponds and more than a mile of hiking trails. A printable hiking trail map is available on Yew Dell’s website. An admission fee helps support continued preservation efforts.

Yew Dell Botanical Gardens is located at 6220 Old LaGrange Road in Crestwood.

oldham county hiking trails

Written by Lauren State Fernandez, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant. Photos by Lauren State Fernandez; Traci Missun, Oldham County Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent; and Ann Stroth, Studio VII inc.

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Yummy Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

Yummy Sweet Potato Casserole

Yield: 12, 1/2 cup servings

Casserole Ingredients: 6 medium sweet potatoes • 1/4 cup maple syrup • 2 tablespoons brown sugar • 2 eggs • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 3/4 cup low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Topping Ingredients: 1/2 cup brown sugar • 1/2 cup ground rolled oats • 1 tablespoon maple syrup • 3 tablespoons melted butter • 1/4 teaspoon salt • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place sweet potato cubes in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Cook over medium-high heat until tender. Drain and mash. In a large bowl, mix together mashed potatoes, maple syrup, brown sugar, eggs, salt, yogurt, vanilla and cinnamon. Blend until smooth. Pour into a 13-by-9 inch baking dish. Topping: In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and oats. Add in syrup, melted butter, salt and cinnamon; blend until mixture is coarse. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture. Bake 30 minutes, or until topping is lightly browned.

Nutritional Analysis: 190 calories, 7 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 190 mg sodium, 31 g carbohydrate, 20 g sugars, 4 g protein

Recipe from Plate It Up! Kentucky Proud. The Kentucky Proud Project is a cooperation between County Extension Agents for Family and Consumer Sciences and Dietetics and Human Nutrition Students at the University of Kentucky.

Grandparent and Adult Grandchildren Relationships

grandparent relationship

Grandparent and Adult Grandchildren Relationships Mutually Beneficial

One of the many benefits of living longer is grandparents get to see their grandchildren become adults. While scientists have conducted much research about the benefits and effects of positive relationships between grandparents and their young grandchildren, until recently little research had been conducted about the relationships between grandparents and adult grandchildren. Recent studies show that positive relationships between these two groups are mutually beneficial.

A study conducted by Boston College researchers showed that close emotional bonds between grandparents and their adult grandchildren is associated with fewer symptoms of depression in both generations. Researchers also found that grandparents who helped out their grandchildren and received assistance from their grandchildren had the fewest symptoms of depression. Grandparents who received support but could not reciprocate, had the most depressive symptoms.

Another study, led by a University of Texas researcher, looked at the frequency of grandparents offering support to their adult grandchildren. Researchers found that listening, emotional support, and companionship were the most common things grandparents gave to their adult grandchildren. The study also found that grandparents were a greater means of support to their grandchildren when the child’s parent was experiencing life problems or was unemployed. Grandparents listening, advice, and companionship with their adult grandchildren ran hand-in-hand with parents providing these same types of support to the child.

strong relationship with grandparents

As we age, it’s important not to forget the strong bonds that formed years ago as grandparents and young grandchildren. Everyone gets busy, but it’s important for us to take time to enjoy these relationships as much as possible. Whether over the phone or in person, continuing these relationships can be helpful to both generations in ways neither can imagine.

For more information on raising strong families, contact Chris Duncan, Family & Consumer Science Agent at the Oldham County Cooperative Extension Service, via (502) 222-9453 or crivera@uky.edu.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

Written by David Weisenhorn, Senior Extension Specialist, and Amy Kostelic, Associate Extension Professor. Edited by Lauren State Fernandez, Oldham County Extension State Assistant.

Kentucky Burgoo Recipe

Jonathan’s Kentucky Burgoo

Servings: 8-12

This modern burgoo recipe comes from Lexington chef Jonathan Lundy and is very much in the spirit of the original dish, while taking into account modern tastes.

1 tablespoon olive oil • 2 cups diced onion • 1 cup diced celery • 1 cup peeled, diced carrots • 1/2 cup diced green peppers • 2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic • 1/4 cup teaspoon dried sage • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme • 12-ounce bottle of Kentucky ale or dark ale • 1/2 gallon brown beef stock • 2 cups braised bison brisket, diced • 2 cups roasted pork loin, diced • 2 cups roasted beef tenderloin, diced • 1/2 cup fresh roasted corn, cut off the cob • 1/2 cup frozen soybeans or lima beans • 1/4 cup chopped canned tomatoes • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, preheat the oil on high heat and sauté the onions, celery, carrots, and peppers for 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, garlic and dried herbs. Sauté for 3-4 minutes more. Add Kentucky ale. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes to allow alcohol to cook off. Add remainder of ingredients and simmer for about 20 minutes before serving.

Can be made 2–3 days ahead of time and reheated.

Recipe from “Burgoo, Barbecue, and Bourbon.”

Fun Summer Activities for Teens

Challenge Your Teen’s Brain over Summer Vacation

While many adolescents look forward to summer vacation, it is not uncommon for them to quickly grow bored. Bored teens often turn to television and electronics. With a little encouragement, however, a teen can transform a bored brain into one that is healthy and active, and in turn, create a most memorable summer vacation.

Activities that can keep your teen happy, fit, and healthy include:

  • Spend time as a family. Go on vacation or create “stay-cations” to explore your own community or state.
  • Hold family/neighborhood Olympics. Create a day (or weekend) of fun physical and mental activities that can played on teams. Have contests and medals.
  • Go for a hike, bike ride, or find other ways to be physically active. Explore new trails, terrain, or a nature center. Oldham County parks offer trails, picnic shelters, basketball courts, horseshoe pits, disc golf, and more!

ky tree park

  • Hold a family board game or card night.
  • Plan an outdoor movie night in the backyard.
  • Make food fun. Play “chopped” kitchen or “iron chef,” or put each member of the family in charge of planning a menu and making dinner as a family.
    Find new recipes on the Kentucky Proud website.

  • Volunteer as a family and get involved in the community. Soup kitchens, homeless shelters, churches, hospitals, nursing homes, libraries, and humane societies are often looking for help. Community service can provide a teen with a sense of accomplishment and purpose.
    Places to volunteer in Oldham County include Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve, the Humane Society of Oldham County, Mission Crestwood, Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, and more.
  • Start a garden. Use it for pizzas, salad, or flowers. Gardens offer both nutritional and psychological benefits.
  • Plan an event. Planning a party such as a back-to-school barbecue can teach a teen planning, budgeting, and organizing.

Written by Amy F. Hosier, Extension Family Life Specialist. Edited by Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.

Reference: Witmer, D. (2017). 6 Types of Fun Summer Activities for Teens. Retrieved online May 18, 2017.

Adapting Your Garden As You Age

Tips For The Aging Gardener

Love gardening but afraid your body can no longer physically handle the work? A few simple adjustments can help make the work easier, allowing you to continue enjoying your hobby.

Like an athlete, the gardener develops gardening skills through repeated activities like digging, weeding, mulching, etc. We learn how to use tools to get the job done with the least amount of efforts and the best results.

gardening tips

Through my wife, an occupational therapist, I have learned a lot about adapting physical activities to fit a person’s ability. Her background includes work with children and seniors.

I have been gardening and landscaping since the late 1970s. Following my back surgery in 1995, I discovered the importance of proper lifting, carrying, and digging techniques for gardening. Recommended habits can be modified. Don’t wait for back surgery to take a look at your gardening habits. I still garden and do strenuous work, but I listen to my body and take a break, change my position, or stop when needed. Well, sometimes I go past my limit — but not far — and when I do, I pay more attention to my posture. Staying active is important to maintain endurance, flexibility, and energy.

The Aging Gardener

When we age, endurance is often the first thing to go. We can’t work as long. We feel weak, unable to lift and move plants like we used to, and familiar tasks take longer to complete. If you’re having these experiences, it might be necessary to reevaluate the size of the garden or change its maintenance requirements. Reduce the overall maintenance of deep perennial beds, for example, by making them narrowing and backing them with shrubs.

The loss of flexibility is also one of the first signs of aging. An injury or development of arthritis are among several things that can cause reduced flexibility. This limits our ability to maneuver in the garden: getting up and down, twisting or changing position while pulling weeds or picking flowers, and cleaning up dead leaves. Of course, gardening does help us maintain flexibility. Reduced flexibility needs to be considered when we decide what needs to be changed to make it easier to maneuver in the garden.

Additional limiting changes include poor balance and persistent back and joint pain. Once these changes start, gardening becomes more of a challenge, so modifying your garden as you develop it could help in the long run.

Adapting Your Garden As You Age

Let’s look at the garden. What is the size and layout of your garden? Is your garden large with numerous perennial plantings and border gardens, or is it smaller, including just the area surrounding your house with maybe a small vegetable garden? The style, size, and area of your garden will determine the approach needed when making modifications so that you can enjoy gardening again.

Note that annual and perennial plantings need a lot of maintenance because of their constant change and growth rate. Lawns, trees, and shrubs also require maintenance but not as often as flower beds.

We don’t want to limit our garden, build expensive raised beds, and, most of all, reduce the size of our garden once it is established because there are always new plants to try. We should look ahead. Look at what has recently changed in your ability to maintain your garden. What are your immediate limitations? Decide what you will be able to handle and still enjoy gardening. Will you be able to have someone available to help (maybe a family member or young gardening enthusiast) to keep your garden as it is?

gardening as you age

Gardens are a collective of plants that we desired to grow at one point or another. Some, though attractive, are not your favorite. Select those plants that are your favorites and reconsider how to handle the rest. Changes based on a landscape plan can be made all at once or over a period of years. If you decide to do the work yourself, start with your most labor-intensive space. Look for plants that need less attention. Reduce the overall maintenance of deep perennial beds by making them narrower then backing them with shrubs. Another solution might be creating a pollinator garden that requires minimum upkeep and can be mown off once a year.

Reduce reaching distance and amount of leaning forward to pull weeds or spread mulch. If you can only access a bed from one side, ensure it is no wider than two feet. Beds accessible from both sides can be four feet in width.

To make the work easier, use quality tools and keep them clean and sharp. A rusty shovel is more difficult to dig with because the soil will stick to it more. A sharp hoe will cut through weeds easier than a dull one. Consider automatic watering and semi-automatic watering systems for gardening to reduce the amount of hand watering. Soaker hoses and single drip emitters are two options.

Making Your Garden More Accessible

Once you have decided what changes to make to your garden, you can make them yourself with family help or hire a landscaper to install them for you.

The design of large gardens will need to provide easy access to all the plants with wide, level walkways on both sides of four-foot-wide beds. Create shaded areas in the garden using trellises, gazebos, and small trees so you can get out of the sun a while. Benches provide a comfortable place to sit and rest.

Walkways should be wide and level enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Turf, smooth recessed stepping stones, or paving stones make a good surface for wheelchair access. Mulch and loose gravel are often hard to push through and can also become a slipping hazard.

Smaller garden areas can be created using a number of large containers grouped together or as single planters.

Container Gardening

container gardening

Container gardening can reducing your gardening stress, and the many different and attractive containers available add interesting focal points to your garden.

You can also turn just about anything into a container garden. From teapots to milk jugs, wooden dressers to wine barrels, let your creativity run wild!

Raised Bed Gardening

Consider installing raised beds that reduce bending over by allowing you to work in a standing or seated position. Standing, you may be able to maintain a three-foot-deep bed, while two feet is manageable if seated.

raised bed gardening

Raised beds can be a very attractive part of a landscape, defining walkways and providing a more formal appearance. Height often varies from six inches to three feet tall. Raised beds can be constructed in many styles using a wide variety of materials, including treated wood, concrete blocks, stone, and more. Various shapes and curves can be included to help blend the raised garden into your existing landscape, making it both attractive and functional.

Vertical Gardening

Unique garden features like vertical gardening with wall planters and trellises allow you to work while standing up. You can buy a premade trellis or build one yourself. Pots can be stacked or arranged on a riser. Like container gardening, vertical gardening is an opportunity to get creative in the garden.

vertical gardening ideas

Growing vegetables using vertical trellises reduces bending and picking. Many vegetables grow well when trellised. Cucumbers, beans, squash, and melons can all climb the traditional store-bought garden trellis.

Straw Bale Gardening

Another simplified gardening method that lifts your garden, making it more accessible, is straw bale gardening. This gardening method can be incredibly productive. It also cuts out all of the digging and cultivating that can be hard on the body. Straw bale gardening does, however, require several weeks of setup. A good guidebook is Straw Bale Gardens – The Breakthrough Method for Growing Vegetables Anywhere, Earlier and With No Weeding by Joel Karsten.

Reduce Your Garden Stress

Every garden and every gardener is unique. Consider your body type and abilities when adapting your garden as you age. Understand that your garden is limited by your physical abilities and personal interests as well as the location of the garden itself.

  • Reduce the overall size of the garden
  • Trade out high maintenance annuals and perennials for lower maintenance shrubs and trees
  • Reduce the amount of reaching, leaning, and bending with raised bed and vertical gardens
  • Garden small with container gardening
  • Keep your tools in good shape so they’re easier to work with

With these tips in mind, make changes that allow you to continue enjoying your gardening hobby without the stress of a high-maintenance landscape.

Written by Michael Boice, Oldham County Extension Horticulture Assistant. Edited by Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.

Reference: National AgrAbility Project, ‘Arthritis and Gardening: A Guide for Home Gardeners and Small-Scale Producers.’ Purdue University, 2016.

Kentucky Native Fruit Trees

Fruit Trees Native to Kentucky

Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, peaches, and grapes ─ we eat these common fruits every day. Local sources for these fruits, however, can be difficult to find due to their preference for a longer, warmer growing season. Kentucky native fruit trees are adapted to grow in our varying soil types and withstand our unpredictable weather.

KY Native Fruit Trees

KY native plum

American Plum (Prunus americana)

The winter-hardy American Plum is a small tree, reaching a mature height of only fifteen feet. It grows wild across the eastern two-thirds of North America, forming thorny thickets that provide habitats for birds and other wildlife. The red to yellow fruit is popular with deer as well as humans. Kentucky plums can be eaten fresh or using in baking and canning. Due to unreliability of fruit production in Kentucky, plums are usually only commercially grown as a secondary crop.

Other names for the American Plum include American wild plum, Osage plum, river plum, thorn plum, wild yellow plum, red plum, August plum, and goose plum.

KY black cherry tree

Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

The Black Cherry Tree produces Kentucky’s largest cherries which ripen in August and September. The bitter-sweet fruit is popular for jelly and wine making. Birds help spread Black Cherry seeds, but it also readily self-seeds. It can tolerant a wide variety of soils and conditions, the exception being full shade. Mature trees often reach a height of fifty to sixty feet. Black Cherry wood is hard, close-grained, and strong, making it popular in woodworking.

Farmers should note that this tree’s bark, leaves, and twigs are poisonous to livestock. Deer, however, can eat the leaves without problem.

KY native pawpaw fruit

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

Found in wooded areas, the Kentucky native Pawpaw is the largest native fruit in North America. Pawpaws are commonly described as tasting like a mix of banana and mango or pineapple. The fruit has high nutritional value, being an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and protein. Pawpaw fruit surpass apples, grapes, and peaches in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur. Wildlife such as birds, raccoons, and opossums enjoy the fruit, and zebra swallowtail butterfly larva feed on young pawpaw foliage. With some effort, you can grow pawpaws from seed.

Most pawpaw trees grow fifteen to twenty feet in height but can reach up to forty feet if conditions are optimal. The champion Kentucky pawpaw is in Letcher County.

Kentucky State University, one of Kentucky’s land-grant universities, is home to the world’s only full-time pawpaw research program. In 2009, the horticulture program released ‘KSU-Atwood,’ a new pawpaw variety named after Rufus B. Atwood who served as college presdent from 1929 to 1962. This variety is a heavy producer ─ more than 150 fruits from a single tree!

KY native persimmon

Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)

Native Persimmon trees grow in Kentucky’s woodlands. Tolerating a range of pH levels, persimmons prefer moist, well-drained soil but can flourish in dry areas as well. Its interesting bark is thick, grey to black in color, and broken up in scaly, square blocks. The wood is very hard and has found use as golf clubs and flooring. When the berry ripens in the fall, the skin turns wrinkly, and persimmons become edible to humans. Persimmons taste similar to dates and can be used in breads, cakes, puddings, and beverages. You can also eat persimmons fresh or dried.

Cooking oil can be extracted from persimmon seeds. During the Civil War, Confederate soldiers boiled the seeds in substitution for coffee.

Winter-hardy and adaptable, Kentucky persimmon trees suffer few pests and diseases. Some trees further south may be susceptible to vascular wilt. It can develop black leaf spot, and tent caterpillars can be problematic.

KY native sassafras

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

Common across Kentucky, Native Sassafras is readily seeded by birds which love its fruit. The dark blue berries contrast beautifully to the bright red stems on which they grow. Sassafras trees thrive in moist, well-drained, acidic soil with full sun to partial shade but can also tolerate drier, rockier soil. Filé, a Creole spice used in gumbo, is made by grinding dried sassafras leaves. The fragrant bark and roots have been used to make tea and root beer but contain an oil called safrole, a proven carcinogen in mice and rats. In 1960, the Food and Drug Administration banned direct use of safrole in food although spices are still permissible.

Most sassafras trees mature to a height of thirty to sixty feet with a spread of twenty-five to forty feet. The national champion sassafras ─ located in Owensboro, Kentucky ─ is seventy-eight feet tall with a sixty-nine-foot spread.

KY Native Berry Fruits

KY native elderberry

American Black Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)

Only four to twelve feet in height, the American Black Elderberry forms thickets that provide habitat to more than fifty species of birds and small mammals. White-tailed deer feed on the twigs, foliage, and fruit. Purple-black American elderberries taste slightly bitter and make a crimson juice, finding use in wine, jellies, and pies. The shrub grows best in full sun but can also be found along streams and on forest floors. Its hard wood can be crafted into combs, spindles, and pegs. The twigs can fruit are also used as dyes in basket-making.

Elderberry trees grow best from seed which must be scarified prior to planting due to the hard seed coat. Without scarification, the seed may not germinate for two to five years after planting. The hard coat protects the seed when wildlife ingest the fruit. If properly stored, elderberry seeds may remain viable for up to sixteen years.

KY native mulberry tree

Red Mulberry (Morus rubra)

Hardy Red Mulberry trees prefer full sun but will tolerate shade as well as a variety of soil and weather conditions. They thrive in moist, deep, rich soil. Birds love the sweet fruit which resemble thin blackberries. Red mulberries can be eaten fresh or used in jellies, wines, and desserts. These native trees can grow over sixty feet tall and require heavy pruning to maintain a suitable height for fruit harvest, so red mulberry trees are not commercially grown for fruit production. Some varieties, however, are grown for their ornamental value.

The mulberry, once known as the “King of the Tree Crops,” is now considered a messy, weedy tree unsuitable for the well-manicured landscape.

KY Native Serviceberry

Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)

Of the three Kentucky native serviceberries, Downy Serviceberry is mainly planted as an ornamental. Its wood is both heavy (the heaviest in the U.S.) and hard, making excellent tool handles. Serviceberry trees grow in full sun or partial shade and prefer moist but well-drained soil. The red-purple fruit tastes somewhat like blueberries. Serviceberries can be eaten fresh, baked in pies, or dried like raisins. Forty or more bird species favor serviceberries as well as mammals big and small. It is a common understory tree.

The serviceberry gets its name from funeral/memorial services. Kentucky serviceberries flower in early spring (two weeks before the dogwood) and has been used as an indicator, legend has it, that it is warm enough outside to dig a grave for a funeral service. The nickname “sarvisberry” comes from the Appalachian pronunciation of the word “service” as “sarvis.”

Photographs used under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Photographers: Julie Makin, Homer Edward Price, Rasbak, Phyzome, Scott Bauer, MONGO, Asit K. Ghosh, VasiDgallery, sbmdstock, Franz Eugen Köhler, James Steakley, H. Zell, and Аимаина хикари.

Written by Lauren State, Oldham County Master Gardener. Reviewed by Michael Boice, Oldham County Horticulture Assistant.

Financial Tips for Single Parents

single parent finance tips

Tips for Financial Success

Managing finances as a single parent can be difficult. Single parents are faced all at once with the tasks of adjusting to one income, creating and maintaining a budget, and planning for their financial future. As a result, single parents may often feel overwhelmed when it comes to managing their finances. The following tips can help you create a financial plan to help you and your family be financially successful.

Create a Budget that Works for You

Developing a monthly plan for your money is important. Make a list of all sources of income as well as your monthly expenses. Be certain to include an expense category for emergencies to work toward building an emergency fund.

Elizabeth makes enough money each month to cover her bills and spend a little extra on herself and her kids. When her car needed new tires, however, the expense was a little higher than expected, so she paid with credit. To help with future emergencies, Elizabeth setup an automatic withdrawal from her checking account into her savings account every two weeks.

Ask for Help

Asking for help can be hard. Sometimes, however, it is the best thing that you can do for you and your family. Many communities offer resources geared toward single parents that can help you figure out how you may best manage your finances and time. Friends and family are also great resources.

A single mother of two, Jessica asks her stepmother to help watch the girls on occasion. Time to herself helps Jessica catch up on housework and errands, and her stepmother enjoys time with the granddaughters.

Pay Your Bills On Time

While this may seem like common sense, being on top of everything can be overwhelming for someone becoming a single parent, and deadlines can get lost in the chaos. Paying your bills on time will guarantee that you keep your credit score in good standing and avoid late fees. Automatic payments set up through your banking institution are a great option for single parents.

Overwhelmed by staggered deadlines, Scott missed several credit card payments in a row, causing his credit score to drop. A friend suggested setting up automatic payments online and using the notifications feature on his phone to help him remember to check that he had enough money in his bank account before a payment was due to go out.

single mom finances

Keep Extra Costs Under Control

One of the hardest changes for single parents to make is cutting back on extra costs. It is important that you explain to your children that the new family budget may mean that you are unable to participate in some activities that you were once able to. A weekly family night at the movie theater may not be possible, but you can be creative and bring family movie night to your house.

To make entertainment costs more manageable, Alex cancelled cable and opted for Netflix instead. The online streaming service is cheaper and still allows his family to enjoy Friday movie nights.

Protect Your Children

Making sure that you and your family are insured can have a huge impact on your financial security. Health insurance helps insure that an unexpected injury or illness will not ruin your finances while life insurance will help financially protect your children in the event of your death.

Protect Yourself

Parents often focus on saving for their children’s future. It is just as important to save for your future financial goals and retirement. A financial adviser can guide you in the right direction, explaining the many different options with you.

financial savings

Educational programs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

Written by Jennifer L. Hunter, Kentucky Extension Specialist for Family Financial Management; Kristyn Jackson, LMFT, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Family Sciences; and Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.

KY Native Plants in Bloom

Home to over twenty-five hundred plant species, Kentucky is a veritable wildflower garden. Kentucky native fall flowers include aster, goldenrod, and ironweed.

KY native aster

Aster

Fall Kentucky Native Flower

Several species of aster grow in Kentucky, including smooth blue aster, aromatic aster, New England aster, and white panicle aster.

Kentucky asters bloom from summer to fall in multiple colors: violet, white, blue, and pink. Depending on species and variety, they can grow from eighteen inches to five feet tall. Height can be controlled by pruning during summer, before buds develop. Be careful to remove no more than one-fourth of the total height at a time so as not to overstress the plants.

Asters are prone to powdery mildew and verticillium wilt, especially when overcrowded. Prevent these diseases by providing the plants with good air movement. Asters grow best in full sun but can tolerate partial shade.

KY native goldenrod

Goldenrod (Solidago)

Kentucky Native Flower in Bloom

Goldenrod, Kentucky’s state flower, blooms in the late summer and early fall. Thirty-one species of goldenrod are native to Kentucky, including two endangered species: White-Haired Goldenrod and Short’s Goldenrod.

It is a common misconception that goldenrod is responsible for fall allergies. In truth, it is the inconspicuous ragweed, blooming at the same time, that causes hay fever. Green and weedy in appearance, ragweed blends right into its surroundings. Its tiny, green flowers release waves of pollen into the air, contributing largely to fall allergies. Goldenrod, on the other hand, is insect-pollinated and therefore not the culprit of your allergic reaction.

Goldenrod blooms in full sun from late summer to early fall. Species vary from two to five feet in height. Some varieties will aggressively take over a garden, so goldenrod is not a common landscape plant. They are susceptible to several diseases, but most are easily avoidable if proper air circulation is provided and good watering practices are used.

KY native ironweed

Ironweed (Vernonia)

Kentucky Native Wildflower

From late summer through early fall, ironweed blooms in fields and along roads all across Kentucky. The most common species in the state is Tall Ironweed, but Missouri Ironweed and New York Ironweed also grow in some regions.

Ironweed can grow between four and six feet tall, but pruning in June can help keep the size manageable. It prefers growing in full sun and well-drained, moist soil. Few pests and diseases affect this Kentucky native wildflower. With an aggressively spreading root system, ironweed is perhaps the most troublesome pasture weed in Kentucky. Livestock avoid it due to its bitter taste.

Kentucky Wildflowers

Native Plants Attract Butterflies and Bees

Interested in planting wildflowers for pollinators? Aster, goldenrod, and ironweed all attract butterflies and bees.

For more information on using native plants to attract butterflies, check out the following resources:

Photographs by Greg Hume and SteampunkGypsy. Used under the Creative Commons License.

Written by Lauren State, Oldham County Master Gardener. Reviewed by Traci Missun, Oldham County Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent.

Pack A Healthy Lunch

Pep Up Lunch

snack apples

Healthy Lunches for Healthy Kids

A new school year is upon us. One of the most challenging daily tasks that goes with back to school is finding something interesting, healthy, and tasty for your child to eat if they take their lunch instead of participating in a school lunch program. Here are some tips to simplify the process.

Planning is essential to the success of packing a healthy lunch. It allows you to prepare well-balanced meals and reduces the amount of rushing to find something to take in the morning. It can also help you make your grocery list so you don’t have the added expenses of purchasing items you already have or foods your child won’t eat. Encourage your child to be involved in the planning phase. Children are more likely to eat foods that they had an active part in planning or preparing.

Think of ways you can mix up traditional lunch items. Most people like a peanut butter sandwich or a sandwich with deli meat, but eating that every single day can get old. Substitute pita bread or a tortilla for regular bread, using whole grains when possible. If your child eats peanut butter and jelly, swap out the jelly flavors. Cookie cutters are a great way to turn sandwiches, meats, and cheeses into fun shapes.

Lunch is a great time for you to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your child’s diet. Dress up sandwiches with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles. Cut up fresh fruits and vegetables into bite-sized pieces and place them in individual containers. Include some type of dip. Some great options are hummus, yogurt dip, peanut butter, low-fat dressing, or salsa. If your child is a picky eater, you may have some luck sneaking some nutrition into a muffin. Below is a Plate It Up, Kentucky Proud recipe for Pumpkin Apple Muffins.

Remember snacks should be simple, reasonable portions, healthy, and desirable for your child. Good options include graham crackers, trail mix, low-fat granola bars, air-popped popcorn, 100-calorie packs, or a fun-size candy bar.

For more information on healthy eating, contact the Oldham County Extension Office.

Parents can also watch Renee Fox, Extension Nutrition Specialist, who talks about packing healthy school lunches that their children will actually eat.

healthy pumpkins

Pumpkin Apple Muffin Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 ¼ cups honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups fresh pureed pumpkin
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 cups Granny Smith apples, finely chopped

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 °F. In a large bowl, combine flours, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a small bowl, combine honey, eggs, pumpkin, and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups, two-thirds full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Note: To substitute honey with two cups granulated sugar, decrease baking soda by ¼ teaspoon and increase oven temperature to 350 °F.

Yield: 18 muffins

Nutritional analysis: 200 calories, 7 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 160 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 20 g sugar, 3 g protein.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.

Written by Janet Mullins, University of Kentucky Extension Professor. Edited by Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.