By Barbara Addison

County Extension Agent, 4-H & Youth Development

Southwest counties are entering the 2013 growing season under drought stress on trees. While trees are an investment in our landscape (both financial and aesthetically) choosing, planting and maintaining the best trees for drought conditions is important. How can you successfully grow trees in a drought?

Kansas State Research & Extension Master Gardener Steve Michel will present a program at 6 p.m. March 26 at the Finney County Extension Office. At this time topics will cover drought damage, signs of stress, protecting your trees from drought, drought-tolerant trees, proper planting and proper watering for maintenance.

To better facilitate setup, please RSVP by Monday by calling the Finney County Extension Office at 272-3670 or emailing

4-H Discovery Days

The annual 4-H Discovery Days is in full swing with registrations. Registration will close on April 15. Discovery Days is held in Manhattan on the Kansas State University campus. It is open to all youth age 13 to 18 by Jan. 1 of the current year.

This college experience held on the K-State campus gives youth the opportunity to learn in a variety of classes, seminars and college tours.

Registration information and fee is available online on the Kansas 4-H and Finney County Extension website. For more information for youth involvement, call 272-3670.

4-H Space Tech Project Day

Youth, parents and 4-H project leaders are invited to attend the Southwest Space Tech Project Day April 20 at the Finney County Fairgrounds from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The experience concentrates in the core issues of astronomy, robotics, rocketry and GPS/GIS. The workshop will help young people and adults learn how to put skills to work in these areas and spar an interest in future career opportunities.

Registration is due April 1 with fee. Beginning Rocketry will have a kit fee also. Lunch, snack, hands-on stations will be provided. Call 272-3670 for registration information.

Emotional appetite

Several factors including taste, cost, habit, advertisement, time, religion, availability, personal preference, environment or emotions influence the foods you eat, and the foods you eat influence your health. Over time, a habit of eating when you are not physically hungry could lead to weight gain and other unwanted health issues. But wait! Do you know what physical hunger feels like? Some people describe it as a feeling of emptiness in their stomachs. Others describe hunger as a growling or rumbling sound in their stomach, feeling light-headed or dizzy, being easily irritated, having low energy, finding it difficult to concentrate or feeling nauseated. Now that you know what others say about feeling hungry, wouldn't you like to know what they say about feeling full? Fullness has been described as being satisfied, having no desire to eat another bite, feeling stuffed and being physically uncomfortable.

The Food and Mood Connection: Your mood has a lot to do with many of the foods you crave when you are not physically hungry. Eating to feed an emotion (feelings) instead of physical hunger is considered emotional eating. Stress, depression, loneliness, frustration, anxiety and anger are just a few emotions that can trigger cravings. Although boredom and procrastination are not necessarily considered emotions, they are the most common reasons people eat when they are not hungry. Food can be used to pass time or put off doing things.

Several chemicals in the brain that affect appetite also affect moods. The more pleasure you experience, the more you continue to indulge in whatever provides that pleasure.

Brain Chemicals Associated with Appetite:

Dopamine and norepinephrine: Released after eating proteins (meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts and seeds). High levels increase alertness, concentration and stress management. Low levels cause depressed feelings, irritability and moodiness.

Endorphins: Released during exercise (and some researchers believe it's also released after eating sugary and fatty foods). High levels produce a euphoric or pleasurable feeling (natural "high"). Low levels increase desire to seek pleasure via junk food (cakes, candies, cookies, sweets, etc.), excess exercise or alcohol.

Galanin: Triggered by stress. High levels increase the desire to eat fatty foods (creamy foods, chips, French fries, chocolate, fatty meats, etc.).

Neuropeptide Y (NPY): Triggered by stress. Increases desire for carbohydrate-rich foods.

Serotonin: Released after eating carbohydrates (whole grains, refined grains, fruits, vegetables and sweets). High levels improve your mood, satisfy cravings, lessen depression and increase relaxation. Low levels cause insomnia, depression, aggressive behavior and increased food cravings.

Emotional eating can get the best of anyone and can contribute to overeating, which can lead to obesity later in life.

For more informational on the Food and Mood Connection and mindful eating the MyPlate way, contact the Finney County Extension Office for the informational fact sheet. (Source: K-State Extension MF3051)

Common spiders

Many people are afraid of spiders. Other people are annoyed by their habit of building webs across doorways, in corners, on furniture and in other places. Though they are unpopular, most spiders are shy and harmless to humans. It's often by accident that they invade the home, especially in late summer and early autumn. Most spiders actually help man by feeding on injurious and troublesome insects.

Identification: Spiders have eight legs, vary in size and color, and lack wings and antennae. They have two body sections. The front section with the head and thorax is the cephalothorax, which is where the eyes, mouthparts and legs are attached. The second region is the abdomen where the digestive organs and the silk-spinning glands are located. Most spiders have eight eyes, some have six or fewer, and a few spiders have no eyes. All spiders have a pair of jaw-like structures (chelicerae) that are hollow, with a claw-like fang through which venom can be ejected. Young spiders (spiderlings) resemble the adults except they are smaller and may be a different color. Males are usually smaller than females.

Prevention: Sanitation is critical in successful spider control. Remove or destroy spider webs, egg sacs and spiders. Vacuum behind and under furniture and clean storage areas, furnace rooms and laundry rooms regularly. Be sure to control excess moisture and humidity, keeping basements, crawl spaces and porches as dry as possible. Eliminate other household pests such as flies, ants, crickets and cockroaches, which attract spiders by providing a source of food. Clean up woodpiles, trash, rocks, compost piles, old boards and other debris where spiders live. Be sure to seal or caulk cracks and crevices where spiders can enter the house. Use a hose with high-pressure stream to destroy webs, egg sacs and spiders on the outside walls of the home. (Source: Phil Sloderbeck, SW Research Extension EP 125)

For more information and fact sheets on spiders, contact the Finney County Extension Office.