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County Extension

  • Back to basics of growing plants

     The end of a tumultuous year has many of us wishing for simpler, and seemingly better, times when we weren’t bombarded with “news” 24/7 and there was no such thing as Twitter, Facebook or selfies. The good, old days may not have been as great as we remember them, but in a time of rampant smart phone addiction, getting back to the basics of life, love and growing plants certainly is appealing.

  • Going gluten-free

     Going gluten-free is something we’re hearing more and more about these days, but it also causes a lot of confusion. You may actually be wondering, “What is gluten anyway?” My husband’s favorite comedian, John Pinette, has a routine where he says, “I don’t know what gluten is but apparently it is delicious.” Well, it isn’t quite as simple as Pinette claims, but there is some truth to that statement.

  • Med instead of meds

     Bet you’re expecting a New Year’s resolution column. Everyone else is writing them this week. I do have an idea for you on a way to eat healthier in 2017 that doesn’t involve excessive dieting, a major lifestyle change or unusual foods. I’m suggesting eating the “med” way.

  • Prevent party crashers

     New Year’s Eve parties are always such fun and joyous events when friends and family get together for the final big event of the season. The last thing you want to invite to your party is a foodborne illness.

  • Last-minute healthy gift ideas

     It’s getting down to the wire. Are you still looking for gifts for those health-conscious people on your list? You can encourage and support their efforts by giving them a health-related gift. While it’s tough (or maybe even insulting) to buy a gym or pool membership for someone unless you know that’s something they really want, here are a couple of ideas sure to please. You might even want to get a duplicate for yourself in the process.

     

    Fruit/vegetable basket

  • Recycling Christmas trees

     By Sam Marshall

    Horticulture Agent

     

    As so often happens, the holidays will be gone almost as soon as they arrived and soon it will be time to think about what to do with your old Christmas tree. Though there may be no task more disheartening (or messier) than removing your Christmas tree, it does not necessarily mean its last stop is the curb with the empty gift boxes. How about this year going for a greener approach and extending the life (and function) of that old tree this year?

     

  • Turf transition help

     This time of year, I usually write about poinsettias, Christmas trees or something sentimental (some might say “sappy”) about family, friends and days gone by. The plant breeders have made poinsettias so good, most of the things we once discussed don’t really matter anymore. Fraser fir trees are durable enough to last well into January without becoming a fire hazard. And, for whatever reason, the sentimental stuff hasn’t kicked in yet.

    So, let’s talk about the subject that always generates the most questions in my world: lawn care.

  • Sending gifts in the mail

     It’s getting close to the time to make some final decisions if you’re going to mail food gifts to someone for Christmas.

    Many people are interested in sending their own family favorites to friends and family. I’ve heard of a mom putting frozen sausage in a post office overnight envelope because the daughter couldn’t get a special kind where she moved. (Note: I don’t recommend this unless you take special care to send it in an insulated container with some form of ice. Thawing food at room, or mail truck, temperature is not recommended!)

  • Get out and play in the dirt

     Holidays bring the warm feelings of family relationships renewed, twinkling lights, roasting chestnuts and wrapping paper torn asunder around an evergreen tree cloaked in memories of Christmases past. All that Norman Rockwell imagery may not work for you if you’ve just awakened from a tryptophan-induced coma with the television remote in one hand and the shrill musings of your in-laws reverberating through your gray matter.

  • Mindful holiday eating

     Mindful. That’s a term we’ve been hearing more and more regarding lots of things in life, including healthful eating. Living (or eating) mindfully simply means paying attention to the events, activities and thoughts that make up your daily life instead of just operating on autopilot. Mindfulness is taking time to think about the choices you make and doing things on purpose.