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