Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Five Fun Ways to be Active this Fall

Fall is a great time of year to get outside and play. The summer heat is finally subsiding and hopefully we can revel in crisp autumn air for a few weeks. One advantage of outdoor fall activities is that they can be so fun and exhilarating you’ll barely notice that you’re getting exercise. And they’re a great way to model an active lifestyle to your kids or grandkids while spending some quality time together. An article from the University California at Berkeley Wellness Center suggested some great ideas to get us started.
1. Rake some leaves
Why it’s good: Bending your legs, moving your arms, and scooping up leaves is a great way to get your heart pumping. It also builds strength in your legs, core, shoulders, and arms.
Keep it safe: Practice proper raking posture to prevent injury, especially to the low back: Keep one foot slightly forward and bend at the knees, keeping your back flat. This way your leg muscles will take the brunt of the weight, not your back.
Make it kid friendly: Create a little competition. See who can make the biggest pile of leaves; the winner gets a prize. After you’ve got a few piles set up, let the kids jump in!
2. Play in the park
Why it’s good: The park is full of swings, jungle gyms, walking paths, and open fields so you’re sure to get a good workout no matter what you want to do.
Keep it safe: Pack a healthy lunch, and plenty of water. Even though the weather is cooler, you still need to keep well hydrated.
Make it kid-friendly: Play follow the leader: Take turns being the “coach” and order each other through activities like marches, forward lunges, side steps, and jumping jacks.
3. Find a 5K
Why it’s good: Participating in a charity race shows your children or grandchildren the value of keeping fit and giving back to society.
Keep it safe: Dress in layers. The first should be made of moisture-wicking fabric to wick sweat away from your skin. If the day is gray and wet, add a windbreaker or lightweight rain shell on top to protect you from the elements.
Make it kid-friendly: If your family isn’t active already, start building endurance a few weeks before. Begin leisurely walking a few blocks, adding a little more distance each time you hit the road.
4. Buy a bike
Why it’s good: Biking as a family is a great way to connect with nature and each other.
Keep it safe. Make sure everyone wears a helmet, whatever their age.
Make it kid-friendly. Make fun the goal. That might mean frequent stops for a snack, water break, sight seeing, or even just some time to rest your bottom.
And finally, here a is a great idea for Wise County residents,
5. Go Fishing, Hiking or Camping at Wise County Park
Why it’s good. Spending time  in natural settings can benefit both your mental state and your physical health, research shows. I recently visited Wise County Park and found a place I would like to visit again. Enjoy year-round access to swimming, fishing, picnic tables, playground, public restrooms and showers, boat ramps with piers, tent camping, No fee for day use. Wise County Park is located at the north end of  Lake Bridgeport, just west of FM 2952
Keep it safe: Slather sunscreen on exposed skin. Even on a cloudy autumn day, the sun can still do damage. Protect your eyes from hooks and the sun’s harmful rays with some kind of glasses. Wear a hat.  Children should have a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device.
Make it kid-friendly: Start simple, consider a cane pole. Depending  upon their age, allow time for skipping stones, catching frogs, floating sticks and leaves, playing ball, collecting rocks and finding insects. Make it a fun adventure so they will want to go fishing again.

Pesticide Applicator License - 5 Hour CEU Program

All TDA Pesticide Applicator License holders who need to obtain Continuing Education Units for their Pesticide Applicator License need to be at the Decatur Civic Center, Thursday, December 8, 2016.  Participants will receive 5 hours of CEU’s consisting of 1 hour of Laws and Regulations, 1 hour of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and 3 hours of general.  The program will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will run until 3:00 p.m.

This year we will have high quality speakers and diverse topics:

· Pollinators and Native Plants, Forever Intertwined
            Ricky Linex, USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Weatherford, TX
· Weed and Brush Management Research in Texas
            James Jackson, Texas A&M AgriLife Ext Program Specialist, Range Management, Stephenville
· Pasture Management Application Technology
            James Jackson, Texas A&M AgriLife Ext Program Specialist, Range Management, Stephenville
· Weed Management in Pasture & Forage Production Update
            Emi Kimura, Assistant Professor and Ext Agronomist, Texas A&M AgriLife Ext Service, Vernon
· Laws and Regulations
            Todd Vineyard, County Extension Agent, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Wise County
The registration fee for the program is $45, due by Monday, December 5, 2016.  Lunch included.  Checks need to be payable to: Extension Livestock Committee and sent to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, 206 S. State Street, Decatur, 76234. 

For more information call the Extension Office at 940-627-3341.  The event is sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Wise County Extension Forage and Livestock Committee.

It’s Apple Season!

It is Apple Season! These days, there are so many varieties of apples available that you may be wondering which variety to buy.  Which apple is best for a specific use, how to store apples for best quality, or how many apples are in a pound or bushel?
Apples are considered a great snack food as an average sized apple contains about 90 calories and is about 85% water. That makes them thirst quenching and a quick energy provider with their natural sugars, plus the bulky pulp makes the eater feel full.  They also make a great portable snack; take one along to work, school, or when you are running errands.
Apples may be displayed in a fruit bowl at room temperature for a short period of time but that will dramatically reduce their usable life. Apples will last the longest when kept close to 32 degrees. For most of us that would mean the refrigerator. Apples stored near 32 degrees in perforated plastic bags or covered containers will last 8-10 times longer than if stored at room temperature.

Here are some fun apple math facts:
3 medium sized apples equal approximately 1 pound
Pared and sliced, 1 pound apples yields 2 3/4 cups
A peck of apples weighs 10.5 pounds
A bushel of apples weighs 42 pounds
A bushel of apples will yield 15 – 20 quarts of applesauce

     The best baking apples offer a balance of sweet and tart flavors as well as flesh that doesn’t break down in the oven. Granny Smith apples are generally thought of as the go-to baking apples but there are others that hold up well under heat and balance the sweet-tart flavor. The crisp texture of the Honey Crisp apple will hold firm when baked or caramelized.  Pink Lady apples will retain a distinct shape when diced and added to coffee cake or muffins.  Jonathans are tart and tangy and have been pie favorites for many years.  Red Delicious are not good for baking. They are mild-flavored, sweet, and juicy.  Other apples good for eating fresh are Gala, Fuji, and Braeburn.  These apples also work well in salads. Enjoy apple season this year and have fun experimenting with different variety combinations in your baking. Following is a favorite apple recipe. Enjoy.

Fruit Crisp

4 cups apples (peeled and sliced) or 1 can (29 ounces) sliced peaches in light syrup or juice, drained
1/2 cup quick or old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1/3 cup white or brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup margarine or butter, cold (cut into chunks)
1/4 cup dried cranberries, raisins, or chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease or spray with cooking spray the bottom of an 8” round or square pan. Spread sliced apples or drained peaches over bottom of pan. Stir together the oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the margarine using a pastry cutter, knives, or by squeezing through your clean hands. (It will be easier to spread on the fruit with smaller chunks.) Add dried fruit or nuts, if desired. Sprinkle flour mixture over fruit. Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes or until topping is golden and fruit is bubbly.

Source: Iowa State University’s Spend Smart, Eat Smart

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Consider Spraying Brush In The Fall

For most brush species, ranchers tend to think of late spring and early summer as the season for herbicide spraying.  That is the best time for foliar applications on many hardwood species.  But if you run out of time before you run out of brush, you can change your tactics to continue brush control into the fall.
            You can spray brush that’s susceptible to foliar application in the fall, or switch to methods of application that don’t depend on leaves to absorb the herbicide.
            Basal bark applications aren’t dependent on leaves, and cool fall days may be the most comfortable time for working at individual plant treatment.  With Remedy herbicide, streamline basal application and low volume basal application are effective on a wide variety of brush species year-round.
            For some species, such as mesquite, optimal control has been achieved by treating anytime the brush has mature leaves, roughly May through September.  But later basal applications still provide acceptable control – often better than optimally timed foliar treatments.  Compared to foliar applications, basal applications are more consistent from year to year.  On greenbriar, dormant season treatment can be just as effective as a growing season application.
            With low volume basal application, fall applications have been successful with a mix of 25% Remedy herbicide and 75% diesel fuel.  Spray the lower 15 to 20 inches of stem.  Wet all sides of the stem, but not to the point of runoff.  The method is best suited to slick-barked stems less than 6 inches in diameter.
            For streamline basal application, fall applications have been successful with a mix of either 25% Remedy and 75% diesel, or 25% Remedy, 10% penetrant (such as Cide-Kick, Cide-Kick II, AD 100 or Quick Step II) and 65% diesel.  Apply the mix with a straight stream nozzle in a 2 to 3 inch wide band completely around the stem.  Streamline basal is best suited to slick-barked stems less than 3 inches in diameter.
            With streamline basal, the penetrant seems to improve control on greenbriar, yaupon, pricklyash and Texas persimmon.  On other species it may not increase control, but it may improve coverage around the stem, especially on cooler days when diesel is more viscous.  If the penetrant saves a little time, the additional cost may be made up in labor savings.  If you can spray the stem from one side – and still have the solution circle the stem – you can save mixture.
            For almost any brush species, an option that’s effective any time of year, including winter, is cutting the brush and then treating the freshly cut stump.  For these applications, use a mixture of 25% Remedy and 75% diesel fuel.  Spray the sides and outer portion of the cut surface including the cambium.  Thoroughly wet the cut surface, stem and root collar, but not to the point of runoff.
            For more information on fall brush control methods, contact me at the County Extension office at 940-627-3341.

Trunk or Treat and Halloween Activities

Trunk or Treat and Halloween activities are festive days that kids enjoy, because they get dressed up and get treats. For health-conscious parents, these days can be tricky. Do you set limits? Do you let kids decide how much to eat? I found advice on the and Clemson Cooperative Extension websites that I thought worthy of passing along.
There isn't just one right answer. Instead, use your best judgment based on your child's personality and eating habits. Kids who generally eat just a couple of pieces and save the rest might be trusted to decide how much to eat. But if your child tends to overdo it, consider setting limits. Here are some more tips for handling the treats:
·         Before kids go trick-or-treating, try to serve a healthy meal so they're not hungry when the candy starts coming in. 
  • Know how much candy your child has collected and don't store it in his or her bedroom. Having it so handy can be an irresistible temptation for many kids.
  • Consider being somewhat lenient about candy eating on Halloween, within reason, and talk about how the rest of the candy will be handled.  Candy and snacks shouldn't get in the way of kids eating healthy meals.
  • If a child is overweight — or you'd just like to reduce the Halloween stash — consider buying back some or all of the remaining Halloween candy. This acknowledges the candy belongs to the child and provides a treat in the form of a little spending money.
  • Be a role model by eating candy in moderation yourself. To help avoid temptation, buy your candy at the last minute and get rid of any leftovers.
  • Encourage your kids to be mindful of the amount of candy and snacks eaten — and to stop before they feel full or sick.
You also can offer some alternatives to candy to the trick-or-treaters who come to your door. Here are some treats (individually wrapped items are best) you might give out:
  • treats to promote physical activity like bouncy balls, jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, or plastic/foam fliers.
  • snacks such as small bags of pretzels, sugar-free gum, sugar-free candy, trail mix, small boxes of raisins, and popcorn
  • small boxes of cereal, cereal bars animal crackers,
  • non-food treats, like stickers, toys, temporary tattoos, false teeth, little bottles of bubbles and small games, like tiny decks of cards (party-supply stores can be great sources for these)
  • consider being a part of the Teal Pumpkin Project which has raised awareness of those children with food allergies and their struggles to enjoy trick or treating. You can take part in this project by providing non-food treats and displaying a teal pumpkin in front of your home/vehicle trunk to indicate to passersby that you have non-food treats available.
Steer clear of any snacks or toys — like small plastic objects — that could pose choking hazards to very young children.
And remember that Trunk or Treat/Halloween, like other holidays, are a single day on the calendar.  If your family eats sensibly during the rest of the year, it will have a more lasting impact than a few days of overindulgence.
For additional information on children’s health, contact Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Wise County Extension office at 940/627-3341.