"Now that virtual a household word, everyone can attend events throughout Texas" Aaron Sumrall, PhD Matagorda County Extension Agent – Agriculture/Natural Resources Texas A&M AgriLife

Matagorda County Agriculture News and Happenings
January/February 2021

   Howdy All! To get the opportunity to put 2021 is refreshing to be able to put 2020 in the rearview mirror is a blessing for most of us. 
   Moving forward with 2021, many things will look similar to the previous nine months with regard to public safety and precautionary accommodations to events and activities. 
   Much of what Texas A&M AgriLife Extension will remain the same as in the recent past in that programming will be in a hybrid format when possible with others being completely virtual. 
   Day to day business is in a dynamic mode in that as county precautionary status levels fluctuate, services follow the line. 
   This office will continue to serve in any and all capacities within capabilities outlined in safety protocols. 
   All is not for naught. 


"Late Christmas shopping is the worst idea ever invented" by: Jessica Shepard

   The hardest part of the COVID-19 pandemic impacting Christmas is the struggle to find and purchase all of our gifts between print deadlines.
   It is extra difficult this year since our deadlines got moved up by our printing company and we’re trying not to spend any extra time out in public stores if we can help it.
   Even with the surge in online shopping, there are still some deals available in stores only, or if some websites aren’t that great at updating stock.
   Cue a late afternoon dash to Sugar Land, Rosenberg, and the better part of Houston Friday.
   I’d hoped to go earlier in the day, but, had to wait for mom to steel herself for the mayhem we were dreading.
   Armed with our masks, hand sanitizer, and a stack of limited-time coupons, we hit the department stores with a mental checklist of items.
   The hardest person to shop for has always been my brother David since he’s ridiculously picky.


Time for New Year’s financial resolutions

   It’s time for some New Year’s resolutions.
   Here are a few financial resolutions to consider:
   First, don’t overreact to events.
   In early 2020, when the pandemic hit, the stock market plunged, but patient investors stuck around and were rewarded when the market bounced back.
   Next, be prepared.
   Events like the pandemic are obviously rare, but all sorts of things can disrupt your financial strategy; it’s a good idea to build an emergency fund containing several months’ worth of living expenses.
   Also, focus on things you can control.
   For example, if your employer cuts their 401(k) matching contribution, you can’t do much about it – but you might be able to boost the amount you put in your 401(k).
   Finally, be aware of your own ability to save.
   The savings rate shot up in 2020 because people simply had fewer opportunities to spend.


"Will Santa come bearing gifts for investors or lump of coal" by: John Sample

   Santa is just about here but the equities market may not be celebrating this week.
   We did hit record-high average and index levels. By the end of last week, we saw significant cyber-attacks.
   The damage is yet to be known. We witnessed both gold and Bitcoin moving up as concerns mount as to the dollar’s value. The dollar is losing value because of the large amount of debt placed on the books to support the economy after our government-induced, three-month recession.
   And we now hear news of a new strain of the virus in the UK. The rest of the EU is locking the UK out.
   Does this remind you of any of the three other times this year that we hit record high levels in the averages and indexes? We had a setback.
I am pointing out that corrections are a reality in equities markets. For the markets to break through, there has to be a much clearer path.


"As Christmas approaches, it’s the little things that matter" by: Betsy Monico

   On our way home tonight from Ft. Worth and Venus, 
   I glanced over to my right in Streetman and had a major flashback. 
   Where a vacant lot full of grass and gravel is now, with a few big trucks lined up, used to be something special. 
   I saw “it” and vividly remembered the old days. 
   There was a restaurant there. 
   I didn’t know it at the time or really even know them, but it was owned by the Cole family. 
   I eventually came to know, cherish, and love them all.
   I contemplated on the name of this particular establishment and I think I still know it…The name, which is funny because I misplace my bank card once a week and do not know where my keys are, was “Country Smokehouse” and it was usually packed when we went there for dinner. 
   My grandparents loved it. 


"Three things we have constantly with us is our faith, hope and love" by: Caleb Gibson

   Christ is about hope. 
   It is knowing that even during the cold times of life, God is there for us. 
   It is a hope that continues to last. 
   I pray that as this year concludes we are reminded that God’s hope is sustaining our life.
   Did you know that there are three things in life that no one can take away from you? 
   Yes, many things in this world shift and alter, but there are three things that God has given to us which are constant. 
   Paul wrote the church in Corinth, “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13). 
   There is a story in the Bible about a man named Job. 
   He was a successful man and loved God. 
   He ended up losing his finances, children, and health. 
   Yet the Devil was not after any of these things. 
   The enemy was after his faith. You see, our faith is something that no one can take away from us. 


"Reel Reviews: ‘Come Away’ could have been so much better" by: Jessica Shepard

   I have to admit that even as an adult I’ve always preferred fiction stories to actual facts like historical or biographical accounts. 
   In fact, when I worked at the Bay City Public Library, I spent some of my free time lining up fiction books to check out. 
   It’s something that’s been held over since my childhood and even though I’m past 30, I still take the time to catch Disney movies as much as possible. 
   Cue my curiosity when I read a brief synopsis of “Come Away” that featured literary ties to both “Peter Pan” and “Alice in Wonderland.” 
   Come Away is a fantasy drama film directed by Brenda Chapman. 
   The film stars David Oyelowo, Anna Chancellor, Clarke Peters, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Caine, David Gyasi, Derek Jacobi, Keira Chansa, Reece Yates, Jordan Nash, Anna Chancellor, and Angelina Jolie. 


"County deer hunting: Impressive harvest numbers, quality" Aaron Sumrall, PhD Matagorda County Extension Agent – Agriculture/Natural Resources Texas A&M AgriLife

   Far before the hint of light begins to grace the eastern skyline in the fall and winter months, traffic begins to build on Matagorda County roads with not all heading to the various plants and industries, but into the more remote expanses of the county. 
   Matagorda County is termed the recreational capital of Texas in many conversational circles and articles which brings many folks from across the globe to enjoy what is in our back yard. 
   The Christmas bird count has indicated for more than two decades that Matagorda County is the undisputed birding king with its species diversity second to none. 


"Focusing on other ways besides vaccine to stay safe" by: Jessica Shepard

   With the holiday season coming in just a little more than a week, it’s a struggle to get much motivation this year. 
   Or, at least it is for me. 
   What usually is a race to get baked goods out to friends and presents wrapped and last-minute shopping done – it’s just falling short this season. 
   I think it’s this mesh of exhaustion from the COVID-19 pandemic, being off-kilter and in opposition to how things are normally done, and worrying about my friends and family. 
   And that leads me to the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine happening this week. 
   I’ve grown up in a pretty pro-vaccine household and have had all of my shots as needed. 
   Heck, my mom made sure all of her kids got their shots on time and kept up with compliance as much as she could. 
   Once we left home and started on our own life paths, it got a little harder to keep tabs on everything. 


"Investors continue to see market at all-time highs, stocks to go higher in 2021" by: John Sample

   We have about made it to the fat Jolly Elf. 
   Of note this week is Pfizer shipped the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
   I have a family member in Iowa in the medical field who will get his first shot Wednesday. 
   He called and asked my opinion and I said get it done. That is coming from someone who has never had a flu shot. 
   I have, however, received pneumonia, shingles, whooping cough and tetanus shots. 
   Though this will take months to roll out, it does give one some hope to get past this disaster. 
   Moreover, the bureaucrats that continue to get paid may let up on restrictions. 
   I wonder how they expect people to pay taxes when they are out of work. 
   Most couldn’t spell economics if their life depended on it.
Also of note this week: Tesla will join the Standard 7 Poor’s 500 stock-index.
That will push stock volumes up even higher. 


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