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County Extension

  • Defrosting the turkey: Thanksgiving Q and A

    Already thinking about that Thanksgiving meal? I hope so. This is usually a busy month for us at the extension office with lots of questions related to food and food safety with people getting ready for the big eating day.

  • Take the Holiday Challenge for zero weight gain

    The holidays will be here before we know it. That means it’s time for the 2013 Holiday Challenge! The Holiday Challenge runs from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve and promotes weight maintenance through the busy holiday season.
    Americans tend to gain between 1 and 5 pounds during the holidays. While this doesn’t seem like much, the problem is that most don’t lose those extra pounds in the new year. Over time, that extra weight adds up. The goal of the Holiday Challenge is zero weight gain.

  • Quick quinoa quiz

    Quick: This is a quiz. What is quinoa?
                A) A girl’s name.
    B) A great word for Scrabble players.
    C) A nutritional food.
    D) All of the above.
    If you answered D, you are correct. OK, I guess this was a trick question. I wanted you to answer C – a great nutritional food – because it is. But the other answers are correct, too.

  • Enjoy fall color with winter squash

    Cooler weather is beginning to bring us beautiful autumn color in the trees and flowers. Another place we get deep, rich colors is in winter squash that is now so plentiful at local markets. They’ll be at their best price, so it’s the best time of year to add these vegetables to your family meals.

  • Making your own bee-friendly garden for three seasons

    By Judy Koehly
    Master Gardener
    When most people think of bees, the first bee that comes to mind is the honeybee, but this bee is only one of about 25,000 species known worldwide. In the U.S., we have almost 4,000 types of pollinating bees. The honeybee was adopted as North Carolina’s state insect in 1973. Not a native species, the honeybee was brought to North America by settlers from Europe. Bees native to the Carolinas are solitary bees and not subject to colony collapse.

  • Getting your lawn and landscape ready for cooler months ahead

    Fall weather is in the air and its arrival to the Cape Fear region is much appreciated, but the work isn’t over. Cooler weather means that deciduous landscape plants and warm season turfgrass will soon be going into dormancy, a period of inactivity when plants store energy for the colder months ahead. As you reclaim the outdoors and get back to your garden, you will still find there is plenty of work to do in order to get your landscape ready for winter.

  • Getting your lawn and landscape ready for cooler months ahead

    Fall weather is in the air and its arrival to the Cape Fear region is much appreciated, but the work isn’t over. Cooler weather means that deciduous landscape plants and warm season turfgrass will soon be going into dormancy, a period of inactivity when plants store energy for the colder months ahead. As you reclaim the outdoors and get back to your garden, you will still find there is plenty of work to do in order to get your landscape ready for winter.

  • Pumpkins can be more than Jack-o’-Lanterns

    Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins — they are everywhere. I’m seeing them at grocery stores, farm markets, front yards and porch steps.
    Decorating with pumpkins and carving Jack-o’-Lanterns is a wonderful fall tradition for many. I’m guessing that most people only use the pumpkins for carving, decoration or maybe a pie. This year, begin to think of it as a vegetable.

  • Backyard rain gardens manage stormwater runoff

    By Judy Koehly
    Master Gardener
    Stormwater runoff is one of the leading sources of pollution in waterways, but rain gardens can be a great way to manage storm water. Rain gardens are shallow depressions planted with perennials and woody plants, which collect water from roofs, driveways, other impervious surfaces as well as turf grass (which, like a driveway, is terrible at absorbing water).

  • Food safety mythbusters bust the ‘five-second rule’

    The popular television show “MythBusters” on Discover Channel seeks out and researches myths or urban legends to determine if they are true or not. Some of these are related to one of my favorite topics to write about: food safety.