Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Be Prepared for the Unexpected During a Tornado

It’s tornado season and hopefully Wise County residents will not be involved in a tornado this year.  However, it is always smart to be prepared for the unexpected by preparing a home tornado plan.

Pick a place in your home as a shelter, and practice having family members go there during drill sessions.  A storm cellar, center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest level of your home is best. Take your pets and your emergency kit with you.

       A basic emergency supply kit could include the following items (recommended by www.ready.gov) and should be assembled and customized according to individual needs:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • First aid kit.
  • Whistle to signal for help.
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
  • Manual can opener for food.
  • Local maps.
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger.

Develop an emergency family communication plan. Select an out-of-town friend or relative for everyone to check in with if family members are in different locations during a disaster.  Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of this contact person.

It is also a good idea to visit with neighbors to determine how you can work together during an emergency.  Also be aware of tornado warning sirens in your community and if you can hear them from your home and work.

For more information concerning preparing for the unexpected during a tornado, call Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Wise County at 940/627-3341.

Foods to Avoid?

Have you ever seen the website ads that say, “Never eat these foods.”?   If you did click on those ads or did a web search for “never eat these foods,” you might be surprised to find just how many foods different people say we shouldn’t eat.  Recently I found information from the Ohio State University Extension program that helped put this question into perspective. The article pointed out that the official position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the professional organization of registered dietitians, is that any food can fit into a healthful diet. Its list of “foods to avoid” is nonexistent, unless you have allergies or other sensitivities to consider.
In fact, the academy states in a 2013 position paper, “Some health and nutrition professionals and many ‘pseudo-experts’ promote specific types of foods to choose or avoid. A more responsible and effective approach is to help consumers understand and apply the principles of healthy diet and lifestyle choices.”
Targeting certain foods as “bad” can be counter-productive.  It encourages black-and-white thinking, which only offers a sense of control as long as a person avoids foods on the “bad” list. Too often, people eventually succumb to temptation, leading them to spiral out of control.
Instead of “never eat these foods,” registered dietitians prefer to encourage thoughtful decisions such as “I can occasionally enjoy a small portion,” or “No, I won’t indulge today.”  Helping people, especially those trying to lose weight, to make moderate food choices is a more sustainable approach to healthful eating than giving them lists of “good” and “bad” foods.
But, just to satisfy your curiosity, just what foods are on those “do not eat” lists?  It really depends on who’s writing them. Some list specific food or restaurant items that are much higher in calories, sugar, sodium or fat than you might realize. Some list foods that can cause spikes in blood sugar -- including fruit juice and, yes, bananas, which can offer health benefits.  Others list broad categories of foods such as bread and pasta, processed foods, or foods made with genetically modified crops.
The authors of such lists often cite studies to support their arguments.  But is it science or pseudo-science?  It’s often difficult for consumers to tell the difference. That’s why it’s important to look for reliable sources to help you evaluate such questions.  The academy is a good place to start. Check its website at http://eatright.org.

Call for Coops: 2018 Coop Tour

           One hobby that continues to grow in interest is the raising backyard chickens. This stems from families having the desire to grow their own food and from youth bringing home chicks from their classroom’s Egg to Chick project. Either way we are excited that we are in the middle of a chicken frenzy around here!

            The Wise Chicks Coop Tour has held an annual tour for 8 years now and I am very excited to be involved with organizing the tour. We are currently looking for families that have a coop up and running, and would like to participate in the tour. In previous years, we have seen funky and fun coops to efficient small scale coops. The best part about the tour is that each coop and the chicks that reside there are different!

            This year the coop tour will be held on May 5th and we are looking for coops all over Wise County.

            If you have a coop you would like to share with the general public please get in touch with the Extension office at 940-627-3341