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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • JANICE EATON: Moon ring and pork month

  • I was thinking about the huge ring around the moon I had seen the night before as I walked along Wildcat Boulevard the other day. The hunters' moon was nearly full and the ring was enormous.
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  • I was thinking about the huge ring around the moon I had seen the night before as I walked along Wildcat Boulevard the other day. The hunters' moon was nearly full and the ring was enormous.
    In fact, I was trying to recall what my dad said about a ring around the moon. I could not remember, so I checked Yahoo. It said the ring, or lunar halo, is caused by very high and thin clouds filled with ice crystals. Yahoo also mentioned the old legend which said the ring predicted cold, unsettled winter weather ahead. That's what my dad believed.
    For some reason, my thoughts then shifted from lunar halos to a Missouri Pork Association report I had recently read about October being Pork Month. It was filled with all kinds of interesting statistics.
    Missourians produce over five million hogs annually, helping to make farming Missouri's No. 1 industry. Missouri's pork industry ranks seventh in overall production in the USA and third in exports. Missouri pork producers contribute about one billion dollars to the state's economy each year and help employ over 30,000 Missourians in related industries.
    Because of the high cost of beef, more and more chicken, turkey, and pork are being eaten today. Hogs raised today are much less fat than they were 100 years ago. At that time, pork was raised for meat and lard. Most people use very little lard today. Many try to avoid fat "because it clogs the blood vessels."
    About 50 years ago, the pork industry converted from raising "fat hogs" to "bacon hogs," which are longer and thinner animals. My dad did not have much "book learning" but converted his herd when he bought a new boar hog. It was a red boar — long, lean, tall, and thin.
    Even though lard is not very popular today, bacon seems is more and more in demand. Didn't Sonic even sell some kind of ice cream with bacon flavor? Don't most of the fancy, fast food sandwiches now have a few slices of bacon on them? Who can resist a BLT with garden fresh tomatoes?
    Jeff Cantrell, an expert with the Missouri Department of Conservation, informed me the wild flowers I had described recently with the spiral rows of flowers were "ladies' tresses" or "coil flowers." They are a native species.
    Take a walk, check for moon rings and wild flowers, enjoy some pork every month, and see what you notice while passing along Wildcat Boulevard.
    Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.
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