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FAMILIAR SILO TREE

The red brick silo tipped with a tree was a point of conversation and speculation many times over the years on our family trips to Kansas City on Highway 50. Glad to see it still surviving and now gracing the cover of your October issue.

William L. Stine, Jefferson City

ROTTING TIP

I am in my 80s and know a little about leaves and how to rot them in the city. Put leaves of any kind in a heavy garbage bag. For every bag, mix 1 quart of household ammonia, 1 gallon of water and 1 quart of fertilizer rich in nitrogen.

Pour this over your leaves, tie the bags tight with a twister and put them aside. I turn mine daily until it gets cold and they freeze to the ground, then I just forget them until planting time. I sometimes use oak sawdust the same way. Add the material to any soil. If you don't like fast-growing plants, forget this whole thing.

Irene Butcher, Trenton

AID TO UNDERSTANDING

Thanks for explaining the differences between the Conservation Department and the Conservation Federation ("A Giant Voice for Conservation," October Conservationist). I've been confused as to how they differed but not anymore. This article was long overdue.

C.S. Kemper, Lake Tapawingo

HITTING THE JACKPOT

I have paid for quite a few magazines trying to win a sweepstakes. These magazines have marvelous advertisements and lots of pretty pictures but very little reading material - one or two articles.

Since I didn't win, I have dropped all the magazines, but I do read your magazine and look forward to its coming. Congratulations for putting out a magazine worth reading.

Louis B. Tyler, Webster Groves

DOMESTIC INVENTORY

Each fall we clean our wren birdhouses to prepare for spring nesting. As I cleaned them recently, I wondered how many trips Mom Wren had to make in order to build a nest.

To have an excuse to sit in the warm sun and cool air, I sorted and counted each piece of material, except for the grass, from the large nest shown in the picture.

The nest contained 944 measurable twigs, 148 assorted small feathers (some of them finch feathers), two larvae encased in mud, one small snail, one black bug, a single bird dropping and 3.375 cubic inches of grass.

I figure Mom Wren made approximately 1,096 trips to and from the nest, excluding trips to obtain grass clippings. Immediately after inserting material into the nest, the wren would fly to the nearest branch and gaily sing. Then it would swoop down to the ground for more nesting material.

Kenneth R. Wideman, Bridgeton

FISHY QUESTION

What kind of fish is the man holding in the picture on page 24 of your October issue? A sandbass? A cross between striped bass and freshwater bass? Or a rock bass? I'm catching a similar fish in an overflow area of the Missouri River. Although small, they hit and run like a bass.

Larry Hardin, Slater

Editor's note: The fish is a white bass. They're good fighters and provide tasty table fare. They frequently reach 2 to 3 pounds.

STREAM LOCATED

What stream is that on page 33 of the May Conservationist?

Wesley J. Jones, Waterloo, Iowa

Editor's note: Photographer Jim Rathert said the picture on page 33 of the May 1995 Conservationist was taken from a helicopter above the Jack's Fork River, upstream of Alley Springs in Shannon County. It's a gorgeous river, isn't it?

VICARIOUS PLEASURES

I enjoy your magazine more since I have been mostly wheelchair-confined. I would like more stories of people hunting and fishing, since I now have to depend mostly on other people's experiences.

I used to hunt squirrels, rabbit and quail and would go fishing for bass, channel cat and carp nearly every weekend from spring to fall with my brother, now deceased.

A friend of mine, a nurse, says that she and her husband are going to take me someplace where I can fish from a wheelchair.

James H. Donovan, Pleasant Hill

Editor's note: Don't let a lack of mobility stop you from enjoying the outdoors. Conservation Department lands and lakes often have paved trails, disabled accessible privies and places where you can fish from a wheelchair. We're now working on a series of publications, called "Missouri's Accessible Outdoors," that compile all our disabled-accessible facilities by region. The first of these, covering the St. Louis region, is available free at Conservation Nature Centers or by writing Accessible Outdoors, Conservation Department, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, 65102 0180.

RIVER TOO SHALLOW

We really enjoyed your Big Rivers issue. We have lived by the Missouri River since the early 1940s.

At that time the Corps of Engineers was dredging the rivers. We had a flood in the 1950s, but it wasn't too bad here.

Now it seems as if the Corps has stopped dredging. The river is too shallow, and it comes up and down like a creek after a good rain.

Mrs. Walter H. Meyer, New Haven

AGENTS NOTEBOOK

A new regulation prohibiting spotlighting goes into effect Jan. 1. The law forbids spotlighting, locating, harassing or disturbing wildlife with the aid of an artificial light, headlight or spotlight from both public and private roadways.

People who enjoy looking at wildlife with a spotlight have asked me why this law is necessary. They understand how the regulations discourage night hunters from spotlighting and make it easier to identify and apprehend poachers, but they feel that "friendly spotlighting" is essentially harmless.

Increased interest in nighttime wildlife viewing has resulted in numerous complaints about bright lights flashing through suburban and rural house windows and across houses and property.

In addition, any spotlight sweeping across their fields alerts landowners. They don't know whetherthe person manning the light is friend or foe - poacher, vandal or thief.

They usually report all suspicious spotlighting to the Conservation Department, and conservation agents clock numerous hours each fall checking people who only wanted to see wild game.

Similar prohibitions against spotlighting have been passed in many other states for the same reasons. Wildlife viewing is still popular in those states and is successful, especially just before dark or early in the morning.

David Guntli

St. Charles County

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