Friday, July 31, 2015

Rancher's Gathering is just around the corner

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Wise County, invites you to the Ranchers Gathering on Thursday, August 13th at the First Baptist Church in Decatur.  Doors open at 5:30 and cost $10, dinner included.  Jason Cleere, Associate Professor and Extension Beef Cattle Specialist will be discussing “Top 10 Ways to Generate Dollars in the Cattle Business”.  Come enjoy the Agriculture Trade Show with over 20 booths.  For more information please call the Wise County Extension Office at 940-627-3341 or come by 206 S. State Street.  Please pre-register before August 12th to help with meal count.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fleas in Abundance this Spring and Summer

For some reason this spring and summer we have seen rapid increases in flea populations.
            Fleas tend to be more of an itching nuisance than a threat to human health, primarily because the worst diseases they carried have been eradicated.

            The chief sources of flea infestation in the home are family pets, but once indoors fleas thrive in floor cracks, carpets, upholstered furniture, and pet bedding.  Fleas, of course, are also abundant outside; larvae burrow into the top surface of the soil.

            If flea problems are occurring in the house, the yard, and on the pets, all three must be treated at the same time.

            Use only approved products for treating animals.  Dusts are acceptable because they are generally effective longer.  However, the newer products, such as Frontline and Advantage, contain an insect growth regulator that can reduce subsequent egg and larval production and can be applied directly to the animal.

            Outdoors, treat areas that pets frequent.  Use only approved products to thoroughly cover and saturate soil and grass areas.  Make sure that application equipment is carefully calibrated to measure dosages exactly.

            In the house, thoroughly vacuum or sweep carpets, rugs, furniture, cracks, and crevices.  Be sure to reach under furniture and along baseboards. Discard the vacuum bag afterwards.

            Use a coarse spray (large droplets) in treating likely infested areas.  It is always more effective to treat all carpets, furniture, and baseboards at one time.  After spraying, use total-release aerosol applications to reduce adult fleas.

            Because flea pupae are hard to kill with insecticides, an additional follow-up treatment is usually needed 7 to 10 days after the first application.  When using short-residual insecticides such as pyrethrins, two or three follow-up sprays at 5 to 10 day intervals may be required.

            Don’t wait until fleas get out of hand.  Begin your flea control program early for best results.  Start a thorough sanitation program, regularly inspect pets for fleas, and follow label directions on all pesticide containers.

            The table below lists some common flea control products.  For more information come by the Extension office and pick up a publication entitled CONTROLLING FLEAS.

Table 1.  Common, effective household insecticides for control of fleas.
Active ingredient (trade name)*
Area of use
carbaryl (Sevin)
d-limonene (Demize)
diatomaceous earth
methoprene(Precor, Ovitrol,
propoxur (Baygon)
pyriproxifen(Archer, Nylar, BioSpot)
spray, dust
spray, dust
spray, wipe-on, collar

spray, dip, collar
spray, shampoo, dip
spray, shampoo, dip, spot-on
outdoor, pet treatment
indoor, pet treatment
pet bedding
IGR indoor, pet treatment

outdoor, indoor, pet treatment
indoor, pet treatment
IGR outdoor, indoor, pet treatment
Imidacloprid (Advantage)
drop on
pet treatment
Fipronil (Frontline)
drop on
pet treatment
indoor/outdoor and pet treatment
*Trade names are registered® or trade marked™.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Enjoying Texas Produce

How fortunate for us that Texas is one of the largest producers of fresh fruits and vegetables which makers our choices almost endless.  This fact is important because of their high nutritional value. According to the 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines, fruits and vegetables are major contributors of nutrients that are under-consumed in the United States, including folate, magnesium, potassium, fiber, and vitamins A, C and K. According to the Texas Department of Agriculture, more than 60 commercial fruit and vegetable crops are grown in the Lone Star State- from apples to zucchini and everything in between.  The Texas Red Grapefruit is the official state fruit and the sweet onion is the official vegetable.
            Blackberries may not be the state’s official fruit, but this summer is a prime time to pick fresh berries. Berries are the crown jewels of summer, the gems that inspire pies, parfaits, cobblers, ice cream treats, and whipped cream wonders. Best of all, berries deliver super-healthy antioxidants that help fight disease.  I hope you try out the following recipe, courtesy of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s, Dinner Tonight -Taste of Texas showcase.

Blackberry Chili Chicken

Blackberries are not just for desserts.  This savory recipe is perfect for chicken or try it on pork tenderloin.


Chili-Black Berry Sauce
Chicken Breasts
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place tenderloins on a baking sheet and sprinkle 2 teaspoons of olive oil, salt and pepper on chicken. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature has reached 165 degrees F.
  2. While chicken is cooking in the oven, heat a 3 quart saucepan on medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and the diced shallots. Sauté for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add blackberries, chipotle pepper, brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove sauce from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Serve the sauce over the chicken and top with mint leaves
Servings per 3 oz serving: 4
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dinner Tonight - Healthy Cooking School

Our annual Dinner Tonight Cooking school is just around the corner. Make sure to mark your calendars and RSVP early!

Monday, July 20, 2015


With the current economy and the return of escalating summertime temperatures, no one wants to spend extra energy dollars cooling a hot kitchen. But what can you fix for dinner without using the oven? Plenty! Here are some suggestions to get you thinking.
Appliances such as a microwave, slow cooker, outdoor grill, toaster oven, stove top for quick items, and electric skillet may be used instead of the oven to keep your kitchen cool. Remember that rice and pasta may be cooked in the microwave rather than heating a large pot of water on top of the stove.
To reduce oven time it is wise to consider ingredients first.  In the summer especially we eat many fruits and vegetables raw or with minimal cooking.  They are both refreshing and nutritious.
There are many choices for protein such as canned chicken, meat, or fish require no heating.  Canned beans may be drained and rinsed (add to a lettuce or pasta salad to stretch or substitute for other protein); peanut butter is a great choices if allergies are not an issue.  Eggs can be cooked on top of the stove, in an egg cooker or even in the microwave.  If they will be added to a salad they would be chopped up anyway so just scramble and cook in the microwave.
Dairy products such as cottage cheese, yogurt, and aged cheese are cool and quick. Cottage cheese and yogurt pair well with fruits or vegetables to make a quick meal. Just combine cheese.
It is also a good idea to consider your cooking method.  Cook once; serve twice.  Cook extra pasta, rice or potatoes enjoy hot the first day and make the leftover into a salad.  Roast or grill extra meat or chicken one night; enjoy the leftovers in a salad or sandwiches another night; or freeze for later use. Try out the recipe idea below and let me know how it turned out. Contact the Wise County Extension Office at 940/627-3341.

Pasta Salad with Peas and Ham
Number of Servings: 6

  • 12 ounces rotini pasta
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup lean, cooked, diced ham
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, cooked until just tender
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup light ranch dressing
  • Dash garlic powder
  • Ground pepper to taste
  1. Cook rotini in boiling salted water just until tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Rinse under cool running water, drain, and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Stir in all remaining ingredients, adding more mayonnaise as needed.
  4. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Calories 380, Calories Fat 80, Total Fat 9g 14%, Saturated Fat 1.5g 8%, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 25mg 8%, Sodium 530mg 22%, Total Carbohydrate 57g 19%, Dietary Fiber 5g 20%, Sugars 8g, Protein 16g, Vitamin A 20%, Vitamin C 10%, Calcium 2%, Iron 15%