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Tuesday, December 12, 2017
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  • Wednesday, November 15, 2017 4:00 AM
    For many, November is the time of year to reflect on those people, things, opportunities, etc. that they are most thankful for. As a 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator, I am no different. I am thankful for the 4-H Youth Development program and all of the many opportunities that it offers our young people to learn, develop, and enhance the life skills that they will need for years to come. 
    The mission of the Indiana 4-H Youth Development program is to provide real-life educational opportunities that develop young people who will have a positive impact in their communities and the world. Each year the Montgomery County 4-H program strives to provide youth with the opportunities to fulfill this mission statement. With the new initiative of 4-H SPARK Clubs, the 4-H program is reaching new audiences in unique ways to continue to provide all youth the opportunity to learn and enhance life skills. 
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  • Thursday, November 2, 2017 4:00 AM
    Why let the Holidays win? All year we work hard to maintain a healthy weight; then suddenly we hit October and say “Why bother? The holidays are just around the corner - I’ll lose it as my New Year’s resolution!” Instead of the last-minute panic, join me in battling the bulge. 
    Battle 1: “Healthy Relationship with Food” vs. “Why Did I Eat That”
    If we are asking ourselves “why did I eat that,” chances are that we weren’t actually hungry. The more likely answer is that we ate because we were bored, or it seemed like the thing to do. We have all had to have a bag of popcorn while watching a movie, right? Know that there is a party coming up? Plan ahead! Drink lots of water, choose healthy snacks, eat for a purpose, and stop when full. Treating yourself to those once-a-year goodies? Take it home and throw it in the freezer, and you’ll be able to eat it all year long. Stop rewarding yourself or others with food. Instead find a fun activity to reward yourself with! Banning the “Clean Plate Club” is another great step. Requiring someone to clean their plate even when they are full encourages overeating, which could lead to obesity. Also, don’t feel like you have to eat a full meal just because it’s meal time! If you aren’t hungry, grab a snack like some fruit or yogurt. 
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  • Wednesday, October 25, 2017 4:00 AM
    You’ve heard the old adage that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. While that phrase might feel a little discouraging for the present moment, the second best time to plant a tree is now! Autumn is an excellent time to plant. Planting during the autumn months provides many of the same benefits for trees as it does for lawns – better root growth and more resiliency for the next year.
    If you’re planning on adding some new trees to your landscape, it should be mentioned that hardwoods are better suited to fall planting than softwoods (pines, spruces, firs). Softwoods are better suited to slightly warmer soil temperatures than we tend to get during October. Hardwoods can be safely planted until the beginning of November, when soil temperatures start to drop and precipitation can sometimes make it too wet to plant. 
    As you think about which species to select, consider your goals for your space. Are you looking for a large shade tree for keeping cool during the summer, or a smaller ornamental tree that will provide striking colors in the fall? Also consider what species are already planted around you. If there are maple trees in your neighbors’ yards as far as the eye can see, consider choosing a different species. Having more tree diversity in your neighborhood can help prevent the spread of insects and disease from tree to tree if a major pest issue rolls through the area (think Dutch elm disease and emerald ash borer).
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  •   Taste of Fall; Using Winter Squash in your late season cooking
    Saturday, October 21, 2017 4:00 AM
    Autumn is upon us which means that winter squash season is also nearly here. While it might seem that pumpkin gets all the glory this time of year there is actually a whole world of squash to explore. Pumpkin is itself a type of squash and is related to gourds and melons. Squashes comes in many different shapes and sizes, you have likely already heard of many of them: Acorn, Butternut, and Spaghetti just to name a few. However, there are also many lesser known and heirloom varieties such as: Delicata, Autumn Cup, Hubbard, Fairytale Pumpkin, among many others. Each variety has its own variations in color, texture, and flavor. 
    Almost the entire squash plant is edible including the leaves, flowers, seeds, and even the skin, although the thicker skin of many winter varieties can be tough and is often discarded. While the nutritional profile varies slightly between types all varieties of squash are low in calories. Squashes typically are source of fiber as well as several vitamins and minerals, specifically vitamins A, B6 and C. 
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  • What’s all the talk of carbs mean?
    Wednesday, October 18, 2017 4:00 AM
    You hear a lot about carbohydrates, or carbs, in the media. You have probably heard that they are bad for you, or maybe that they’re good for you. You should eat a lot of them, or you shouldn’t eat very many, or maybe it is only certain kinds you can eat? You have probably heard some combination of things about carbohydrates, with varying levels of accuracy. So what is a carb anyway? A carbohydrate is a chain of sugars that your body can easily metabolize for energy. I’m guessing that didn’t really tell you much about what they are though. 
    The foods we eat contain nutrients that provide energy and other things the body needs. Most of the nutrients in food fall into three major groups called macronutrients (macros): proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates come in primarily two forms, “simple”, known as in sugars known as glucose and sucrose (table sugar) or “complex” in the form of starches, which are really just long chains of sugars, like you find in pastas and potatoes. The body breaks down most carbohydrates into the sugar glucose, which is absorbed into the bloodstream. When this process occurs quickly, when you consume “simple” carbs, you are more likely to feel hungry again quickly. Absorption occurs slowly when you consume “complex” carbs such as those found in whole grains allowing you to feel full longer. Eating starches in their whole food form, such as whole skin-on potatoes or brown rice, brings another kind of carbohydrate to the party, fiber. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate your body can’t digest and it slows down the digestion process which both keeps you feeling full longer and helps keep things moving. However, even complex carbs are, at the end of the digestion process, reduced to sugars.
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  • Wednesday, October 4, 2017 4:00 AM
    The Montgomery County 4-H Program is gearing up for the 2017-2018 4-H year. Last year, there were 755 youth in grades K-12 enrolled in the Montgomery County 4-H program. With each year, the goal is to continue to grow the amount of youth involved in the 4-H program and provide youth with experiences to help them become the best they can be. 4-H enrollment starts October 1st and the deadline is January 15th. Youth can enroll in 4-H by visiting http://in.4honline.com or contact the Purdue Extension-Montgomery County office at (765)364-6363 or visit us at 400 Parke Avenue, Crawfordsville, IN 47933. 
    There are many fun and exciting upcoming opportunities provided by Purdue Extension. The first is STEM Camp, which is October 19th and 20th from 9:00 am- 3:00 pm at the Montgomery County 4-H Fairgrounds. This camp is for youth currently in grades 3-6 and the cost is $15, which covers the 4-H program fee, supplies, and resources. STEM Camp will teach youth topics related to Engineering and Design, Food Science, Makerspace, and Natural Resources. To register for this fun, hands-on, and educational opportunity, please contact the Purdue Extension-Montgomery County office at (765)364-6363. 
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  • Thursday, September 28, 2017 4:00 AM
    Although it’s hot and humid like the middle of summer, it’s officiall fall! More than likely, most of you have all of your canning and food preservation done for the year and you’re thinking about putting the garden to bed for the season. Here are a few tips to make sure that the process goes smoothly and that your garden will be ready for another productive year next year:
    • Plant – this may seem an odd first bullet point, but you can plant onions, carrots, salad greens, spinach, and radishes at this time of year for a last hurrah before the first frosts of fall. This is also the time of year to plant biennials like garlic and perennials like asparagus.
    • Harvest – some tomatoes and peppers may still be hanging on from the summer months. Make sure to continue harvesting salad greens for as long as they’re viable. Winter squash, such as butternut, acorn, and pumpkin, are all maturing at this time of year, so make sure to keep an eye on them and learn the signs for when each variety is ready for picking. Garlic and onion tops will fall over when the bulbs are ready, so watch out for that as well.
    • Clear out plant residue – remove fallen fruits, dead plants, and other “spent” plant matter from the garden and either compost it or bag it for disposal. Clearing out as much plant tissue as possible will help keep plant pests and diseases out of the garden, which will help keep your plants healthier next year.
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  • Wednesday, September 20, 2017 4:00 AM
    Another school year has officially began. The school supplies have been bought, the teachers are ready, and the school was prepared for the student’s arrival. Along with quality learning and teaching experiences, school lunch is also a very important aspect of a child’s school day. School lunches aren’t what they use to be, in fact they have changed a lot. In the 1980s school lunches began being regulated by the federal government for their portion sizes, fat content, protein value, and vitamins. Many parents believe that school lunches are to blame for the rise in childhood obesity. However, this is not the case. In fact school lunches provide students with healthy well balanced meals that offer choices children may not get at home. 
    One of the most prominent obstacles that hinders a child’s education is hunger. Children can’t focus when their stomach is growling at them, all they can think about is when they are going to eat again. Schools are serving more nutrient dense foods in order to keep children full and focused. For example, school lunches are now required to serve whole grain, fruits and vegetables as two separate meal components, and vegetables daily at lunch specifically dark green and orange vegetables (USDA, 2012). In 2012 it was estimated that 31.6 million children got food every day from the school lunch program, making it extremely important for them to be regulated. 
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  • Saturday, September 9, 2017 4:00 AM
    Farm finances are an important topic in today’s agricultural world. Low commodity prices and high input costs make running a farm a particularly stressful venture. Purdue’s ACRE Agronomy Field Day aims to arm farmers with tools to help them make more cost-effective herbicide, fertilizer, and other management decisions while maintaining productivity on their acres.
    This year’s field day was Sept. 7 at the ACRE Agronomy farm at 4540 US-52 in West Lafayette. The field day program went outside to demonstration plots on the farm. People-movers were in service once again to travel from demo to demo. Indoor sessions will took place inside the Beck Agricultural Center at ACRE. This year’s speakers include:
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  • Garden to Grill program teaches youth skills to last a lifetime
    Wednesday, August 23, 2017 4:00 AM
    This spring and summer, the Purdue Extension Montgomery County office offered the first Garden to Grill SPARK club for youth in grades 3-12. The goal of this program was to teach youth about the daily care and maintenance that a garden requires to be productive and healthy. Furthermore, youth learned how to cook many of the vegetables grown on the grill as a healthy dinner or snack option. So what is a SPARK club? A SPARK club is a 4-H club that is subject-specific and is designed to SPARK interest in various fields. Youth do not have to be 4-H members to register to participate in a SPARK Club, but will become 4-H members with their payment of the $15.00 State program fee.
    This six-week program introduced youth to a variety of topics such as plant biology, human nutrition, pest management, food safety, culinary skills, and STEM! Each week youth were responsible for pulling weeds, watering if needed, harvesting ripe vegetables, and preparing their own snack for the day. 
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  • Look out for Anthracnose in trees
    Monday, August 14, 2017 4:00 AM

    As we enter the month of August, you’ll notice some changes that come with the season: shorter daylight hours, drier weather, tasseling corn, and bright, sunny days. You may also notice some changes in your backyard. This time of year is typically stressful for the lawn and garden, with more infrequent rainfall and higher temperatures. Alarmingly, you may notice trees with blemished leaves or trees that have lost their newer leaves prematurely!

    What you’re seeing could be a case of anthracnose, a term used to describe a complex of symptoms that is caused by a variety of fungal pathogens in trees. These symptoms can range from blotchy leaves and blistered twigs to leaf cupping and leaf drop. Many tree species native to Indiana suffer from anthracnose infections throughout their lives, including white oak, ash, maple, walnut, and hornbeam. Anthracnose is caused by host-specific pathogens, meaning that each species of tree has one, or a few, fungal species that cause anthracnose. In maples, for example, four different fungi cause anthracnose. Fortunately, anthracnose is generally not harmful to trees in the long run. Anthracnose might be comparable to the common cold in people – it rarely causes permanent damage, but certainly causes some unpleasant symptoms.

    Anthracnose is most common when weather is cool and damp. Early spring is prime time for infection as trees begin to push out new leaves and shoots, which are particularly susceptible. Mature leaves are less susceptible to infection, but can still acquire anthracnose if leaves become damaged, such as through insect feeding. We have had cool, dry weather lately in Montgomery County, but any rain we receive could potentially open up the floor for anthracnose fungi to gain a foothold on susceptible trees.

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  • Monday, August 7, 2017 4:00 AM
    It is that time of year again when the garden is putting out plenty of produce. We want to make sure we can eat that produce year-round. So, we dust off the canners and pull them out for a summer full of food preservation. But I have to stop and ask myself, “What methods are safe for which foods?” 
    If you’re looking to “can” produce from your garden, there are only two safe methods: boiling water bath canning and pressure canning. Boiling water bath canning is safe to use when canning high–acid foods, which are the majority of your fruits and pickled foods. Pressure canning is required when canning low-acid foods, which includes most vegetables and meats. 
    Low acid home canned foods are associated with Clostridium Botulinum. It has an 8 percent fatality rate and patients require hospitalization. Botulism toxin is a neurotoxin; it attacks nerve cells and paralyzes them. Symptoms appear 4 to 8 hours after eating contaminated food and begin at the head and work slowly downward. The danger of Clostridium Botulinum is the number one risk to our home canned foods, and why we must ensure proper canning techniques are being used. 
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  • Saturday, July 29, 2017 4:00 AM
    It is hard to believe that summer is almost over and the 2017 Montgomery County 4-H Fair is in the books! I just would like to take this opportunity to thank ALL of the individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and efforts to the Montgomery County 4-H program. In making plans for the upcoming year, we are focusing our efforts on growing the Montgomery County 4-H program and creating new and exciting opportunities for youth to become engaged in the program. With approximately 753 youth enrolled in the Montgomery County 4-H program, it takes many volunteers to support those youth. We are ALWAYS accepting applications to become a 4-H volunteer. Below are some ways that YOU can get involved! 
    SPARK Clubs are new hands-on educational workshops for youth in grades 3-12, which are designed to SPARK interest in various fields. Youth do not have to be 4-H members to register to participate in a SPARK Club, but will become 4-H members with their payment of the $15 State program fee. Do you have a hobby or skill that you would like to share? Then starting a SPARK Club may be a great way for you get involved. Other SPARK Clubs that have been offered are Scuba Diving Club, Chef University and Garden to Grill. Please contact the Purdue Extension-Montgomery County office at (765)364-6363 if you have an idea and are interested in starting a SPARK Club. 
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  • Some like it hot - how much do you know about peppers?
    Friday, July 21, 2017 4:00 AM
    Hot pepper season has arrived just in time for high temperatures and sweltering humidity. Whether you like to add heat to your food with hot peppers or not, these plants have a fascinating array of shape, color, flavor, and uses.
    Hot peppers have long been grown throughout the world for their ability to add flavor and heat to food. Hot peppers, along with milder sweet and bell peppers, are members of the nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes, potatoes, and tobacco. The wild ancestor of today’s pepper plants, known as the bird pepper, is native to the western hemisphere. Humans have spread peppers throughout the world and have bred dozens of different varieties. In warm climates where frost is never an issue, pepper plants are actually perennials that can grow to the size of a small shrub in just a few years!
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  • Tuesday, July 11, 2017 4:00 AM
    There are plenty of opportunities for people of all ages at the Montgomery County fair this year. The Fair begins Friday, July 14 with the popular Booth Machinery Excavator Rodeo and concludes Thursday July 20 with the 4-H Livestock Auction. Throughout the week of the fair don’t forget to take in an animal show, enjoy a lamb burger, revel in being colored green during the fun run, or learn a little more about gardening. 
    The 4-H Color Me Green Walk/Run is going to be July 15 at 8:30 a.m. Registration for adults is $10 and children $5. The run is part of the Five by 5K sponsored by Franciscan Health Crawfordsville. Registration can be completed ahead of time in the extension office or by printing the registration form from our website: extension.purdue.edu/montgomery. Race day registration will be from 7:30 to 8:30 outside the Purdue Extension office.
    The Montgomery County Open Class sponsored by the Extension Homemakers is open for people of all ages to join. Project Check-in is Friday, July 14 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. or Saturday July 15th from 7a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Closed judging will follow immediately after check in on Saturday. Registration is $4 per item. Participants only pay for the first 5 items. Classes include flowers, flower arrangements, container gardens, gardening, culinary arts, food preservation, fine arts, garden art, needlework, sewing, quilting, other arts, weaving, photography, and woodworking. Bring your special talent out for all to see. 
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