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A coyote walking.

At a quick glance, coyotes can be mistaken for a domestic dog, like a German shepherd or collie. But this wild dog species can be trouble if they take up residence in your neighborhood. 

Coyotes are abundant in Mississippi and are natural predators, preying on animals like small dogs, cats, birds, and rodents. They also can damage land. 

You may only hear coyotes and never actually see them. Their distinguishable howl is one sure sign they’ve taken up residence in your area. Most coyotes are active at night or during times when humans are not around. Coyotes are...


Frost on a plant.

Gardening Checklist for December

November 30, 2021

It’s hard to believe we will be closing out another year at the end of the month. If you’ve followed our monthly garden checklist, we know it’s been a busy year for you! Staying on top of the chores in your yard and garden is quite the undertaking, but isn’t it rewarding? To wrap up the year, here are a few things to take care of:

  1. Keep an eye on the weather. Mississippi is known for its unpredictable weather, and you don’t want a sudden cold snap to ruin your plants! Bring cold-sensitive container plants indoors and apply 6 to 8 inches of mulch in your garden or flower beds
  2. ...
People serve their plates at a buffet-style dinner.

3 Tips to Maintain Healthy Habits During the Holidays

November 23, 2021

If you always find yourself off track in the diet department this time of year, you’re not alone. But if we partake thoughtfully this holiday season, we can still enjoy our favorite things without the guilt.

Close up of a sliced quesadilla.

The Food Factor: Turkey Cranberry Quesadilla

November 26, 2021

Thanksgiving festivities have come to an end, and you probably have an abundance of leftover turkey and cranberry sauce. This Turkey Cranberry Quesadilla is a fresh take on the turkey sandwich and is just as easy.

Christmas trees on a farm.

Five Types of Popular Live Christmas Trees

November 19, 2021

Choosing, cutting, and bringing home a real Christmas tree is a fun tradition for many families during the holiday season. Around 32,000 Christmas trees are sold in Mississippi each year! Whether you go to a Christmas tree farm or to a local retail store, you’ll likely be presented with a few options to choose from.

Closeup of a person cleaning leaves out of a gutter.

How to Winterize Your Home

November 16, 2021

Take what’s left of this fall to make sure your home is ready for cold weather. Winterizing your home can save you money on your heating bills and help you avoid costly repairs.

Pink flowers

Five Plants for Winter Color

November 12, 2021

As cold weather makes it way to Mississippi, the vibrant colors of summer and fall begin to fade. Winter months are traditionally very bland in terms of landscape, but they don’t have to be! There are several colorful plants that work well in cold temperatures, and many of them are low maintenance. Here are five annual plants you can incorporate into your flowerbeds or containers to add a nice pop of color into your winter landscape: 

A woman stands at a kitchen counter with whole-grain products.

What are Whole Grains?

November 9, 2021

Not all grains are created equal and figuring out the difference can be confusing. Grains are divided into two subgroups: whole grains and refined grains. Qula helps you sort through the diffences and understand how to shop for whole-grain products.

A roasted turkey surrounded by traditional side dishes.

4 Tips for Safely Handling and Cooking Your Thanksgiving Turkey

November 5, 2021

What’s on your Thanksgiving menu this year? My family loves turkey and dressing, and I’m getting the list of my favorite dishes to contribute ready. No matter what you plan to cook this holiday season, the first item on your checklist should be food safety.

A woman at a kitchen counter with ingredients for a pie.

The Food Factor: Crustless Pumpkin Pie

November 2, 2021

This Crustless Pumpkin Pie is great if you need a gluten-free option for your holiday meals and comes together quickly. It's easy to substitute Mississippi-grown sweet potatoes for the pumpkin. Natasha shows you how in the latest installment of The Food Factor.

Mouse in a field.

Critter of the Month: House Mouse

October 29, 2021

As cooler weather arrives, mice are looking for any source of heat and food they can find. Sometimes, they find their way into homes. You may notice the faint pitter-patter of small feet inside walls and attics. It’s just the mice looking for a warm place to stay!

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About Extension for Real Life

Extension for Real Life is a product of the MSU Extension Service’s Office of Agricultural Communications.

That’s a long way of saying we are professional communicators who get to talk about food, families, 4-H, flowers, and farming for a living.

Blog content is created by a core team of communicators, including Susan Collins-Smith, Ellen Graves, Natasha Haynes, Qula Madkin, Michaela Parker, and Jonathan Parrish. But we get by with a lot of help from our friends in Ag Comm and Extension!

You can reach us at 662-325-2262 or extreallife@msstate.edu