By Dan RahnUniversity of GeorgiaWith the fall harvest set to begin, Georgia muscadine growers arewarily eyeing Tropical Storm Katrina, hoping the tropical seasonwill be kinder to them this year than last.”We had three storms last year, and they cost us about half ofour crop,” said Charles Cowart, owner of Still Pond Vineyardsnear Arlington, Ga. “We don’t need any more of that.”Cowart said he had planned to begin harvesting his 160 acres ofmuscadine grapes this week. “But they’re just not ripening,” hesaid. “We’ve put it off now until the first of next week.”As Katrina began threatening south Florida, the Georgia muscadinecrop was looking good. “We’ve got a better-than-average crop,”Cowart said. “The sugars are low, but we’ve got some prettyfruit, large fruit.”No problemThe low sugar content isn’t a problem, he said. “If everybodyelse had high sugars and we were the only ones around with lowsugars, it might be a problem,” he said. “But in a high-moistureseason, everybody’s got low sugars. That’s just a given.”The rainy summer, he said, will just “make the sugar man happy.”Some sugar has to be added to any muscadine juice being fermentedinto wine. The lower the sugar content, the greater the need foradded sugar.The summer’s abundant rainfall has created a more seriouspotential problem, though: a high risk for tropical storm damage.The crop just can’t handle a lot of rain right now.”It would split a lot of grapes,” Cowart said. “There’s just somuch water they can hold, and they can’t go beyond that. Thegrapes are ripening now, and if we get a lot of rain now they’lltake up more water than they can hold.”Wind damageHigh winds could hurt the crop, too, said Paul Wigley, theUniversity of Georgia Cooperative Extension coordinator inCalhoun County.”High winds can put a bunch of grapes on the ground,” Wigleysaid. “And once the grapes hit the ground, you can’t use them injuices or wines.”Cowart, who makes juice and wine products with all of hismuscadine crop, said Tropical Storm Frances hit his farm with 50to 60 mile-per-hour winds in early September last year and shookoff a lot of his grapes.”The grapes aren’t as ripe now as they were with Frances,” hesaid. The heavier the grapes, the more susceptible they are tobeing blown off their vines by high winds.Georgia has about 1,200 commercial acres of muscadines. The cropbegins ripening in August in south Georgia. The harvest movesnorthward through the upper piedmont area, where it ends in earlyOctober.Many Georgia gardeners grow muscadines as a backyard fruit. UGAExtension experts figure the state has probably twice as manybackyard muscadines as commercial acres. Your county UGAExtension agent can tell you how to grow them.(Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of GeorgiaCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
Cows that washed ashore at Cape Lookout National Seashore after Hurricane Dorian return home Anyone with information about the death of Kaylene Roedel is asked to call the Johnstown Police Department or contact them through their new tip line by dialing tip411. “That they were happy to return home was evident as they kicked up their heels and ran down the beach once they were released on their former range on Cedar Island,” Cape Lookout National Seashore said in their Facebook post. “It took a lot of folks coming together to make this happen, and we are happy the cows made it home to Cedar Island,” added Cape Lookout National Seashore Superintendent Jeff West. For those of you following the saga of the cows that went missing from Cedar Island during Hurricane Dorian and showed up at Cape Lookout National Seashore a month later—there’s some happy news to report. Cape Lookout National Seashore recently shared on their Facebook page that the three stray cows were returned home after swimming three or four miles across Core Sound during the hurricane (this time they took a ferry.) National Christmas tree shortage caused by drought shouldn’t affect NC selection Farmers in North Carolina say that a national Christmas tree shortage won’t affect the state and they have plenty of trees to meet demand. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture reports that NC Christmas tree famers have harvested 4 million trees and expect to sell 1 million. Although demand is higher than in years past and the selling window between Thanksgiving and Christmas is shorter, the cost of trees will remain the same. High temperatures during harvest season a few years back killed thousands of trees in some northern states. In major Christmas tree producing states like Oregon, Michigan and Missouri, the 2008 recession combined with hot weather and excessive rainfall lead to a smaller harvest and the national shortage. Death of woman found on PA hiking trail in 2016 ruled a homicide The Cambria County, PA coroner’s office has ruled the death of a 26-year-old woman found on the Honan Avenue hiking trail in Johnstown, PA to be a homicide. Hikers found the body of Kaylene Roedel of Blairsville on August 7, 2016. The coroner said the state of Roedel’s body made it difficult to determine how Roedel died and national experts had to be called in to assist in making a ruling.
Mesut Ozil has been blasted for his Arsenal form – but the stats tell a different story.The German World Cup winner has bagged seven goals and 12 assists in 39 games since making a £42.5m move from Real Madrid.Ozil has come under flak for not contributing enough despite being played out of position on the wing.But Ozil has a higher pass completion rate at Arsenal than any other club he’s played for.During his year at Arsenal, Ozil has made 2,339 passes at a completion rate of 87 per cent.At Real Madrid, Ozil completed 6,675 passes at a rate of 85 per cent. And, at Schalke and Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga, Ozil completed 83 per cent of passes.Ozil hit out at his critics after playing a starring role for the Gunners in a 3-0 win over Aston Villa on Saturday.He said: “I don’t play to prove anything to anybody, I play for Arsenal.“I have the feeling that I am criticised more, that happened to me in the Bundesliga and also at Real Madrid. “We have only just started the season [at Arsenal], we have new players in key positions. The collective game, which is something I have a lot to do with, cannot then just work well from one day to the next.“[Just] 10 weeks ago I was elected to the team of the season in England [via an internet poll on the Premier League website].“I was world champion then. It was the summer break and after a few games [of the new season] everything is called into question again. This is strange, but I know what I can offer.”