Tag Archive: Steps

Take Steps to Minimize Mosquitoes

Take Steps to Minimize Mosquitoes

It is an often made wish of summer that the cold weather of winter will kill all the mosquitoes, gnats and no-see-ums. This climactic fete would spare people, pets and livestock the irritation of encountering these low flying pest and their predatory behavior.

Unfortunately, the thermometer would have to drop to levels approaching the surface temperature of the planet Neptune to eliminate these winged annoyances.

There are individual steps which will help minimize the potential for exposure to exotic diseases.

 

Check surroundings for standing water, especially in secluded spots or small quantities. The home landscape and patio garden can produce hundreds, if not thousands, of hungry mosquitos during the summer if standing water is left for long.

 

Trays and dishes under flower pots commonly collect water which is usually left to evaporate or be absorbed by the plant over time. To mama mosquito this shallow and protected source is an ideal location to deposit eggs for the next generation of voracious airborne insects.

 

Plants with natural depressions or “cups” can accumulate enough irrigation and rain water to establish an effective mosquito nursery. Even though it may evaporate, these tiny pools will last long enough to hatch many mosquito larvae into potential disease vectors.

 

Back porch bromeliads can easily deliver this undesirable outcome. So too can mature live oak trees which commonly have hollow spaces between large branches.

 

Even a wheelbarrow left to the elements can serve as a portable pond to maternity minded mosquitos. Dumping the water on a frequent basis is the easiest method, but there are also larvae-cides which are effective in difficult to dump reservoirs.

 

Protective clothing when outdoors is useful to reduce exposed skin which mosquitos view as an excellent dining site. Heavier fabrics and loose-fitting designs provide the best protection while maintaining maximum comfort for the wearer.

 

Minimizing exposure at dusk and dawn, when native mosquitos are most active, will reduce the probability of serving as an unsuspecting blood meal for a swarm or lone hunter. Unfortunately, some of the exotic mosquitos are prowling 24 hours a day and are pleased to attack at any opportunity.

 

As the weather warms, be ready for mosquito season. This past winter only whetted their appetite.

 

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Author: Les Harrison – harrisog@ufl.edu

Les Harrison is the UF/IFAS Wakulla County Extension Director, Agriculture and Natural Resources. He works with small and medium sized producers in the Big Bend region of north Florida on a wide range of topics. He has a Master’s of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics from Auburn University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism from the University of Florida.

Les Harrison

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/03/11/take-steps-to-minimize-mosquitoes/

Gardening Baby Steps with Radishes

Gardening Baby Steps with Radishes

Radish. Photo credit: UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions

If you’ve considered starting a vegetable garden but are intimidated by the idea, this time of year is a great time to give radishes a try. Radishes are a cool season crop and will grow well in the mild winter climate of North Florida. The ease of growing this cool season vegetable also make them an ideal starter plant to get kids interested in gardening.

Radishes germinate with soil temperatures of 45-85⁰F and grow well when temperatures average 50-65⁰F, so October to November is a good time to plant in the fall. They develop quickly and are ready to harvest in as little as 3-4 weeks, so the quick results keep children interested.

Don’t have a garden area setup yet? No problem, grow radishes in a container! They take up very little space both in width and depth and can be easily grown in a modest sized pot. Radish seeds are small so should be planted very shallow, only cover with about ¼” of soil. Space plants about 6 inches apart and stagger planting dates through the fall and winter so that you can harvest as needed and still have a new crop coming on. For best flavor and texture, harvest when radish roots are ¾ inch diameter or less.

For more information on vegetable gardening see Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide.

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Author: Julie McConnell – juliebmcconnell@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS Bay County Horticulture Extension Agent I

Julie McConnell

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/11/02/gardening-baby-steps-with-radishes/

5 Steps to Poultry Showmanship

4-Hers are waiting for their moment with the poultry judge. Photo Credit: Misty Smith

4-Hers are waiting for their moment with the poultry judge. Photo Credit: Misty Smith

I am often asked, “How do you wash a chicken?” I reply, “Just like a turkey, only on a smaller scale!” But for many 4-H’ers, washing chickens is part of showing chickens and is a skill they have to master.

Raising and showing poultry is quickly becoming a hobby for people of all ages. Youth who are active in a 4-H poultry project, are already one step ahead of the rest. Not only do they learn about poultry health, bio-security, and nutrition, they also learn about sportsmanship and other aspects of the poultry industry through showmanship.  Many UF/IFAS Extension Offices offer day camps and clinics to help youth learn how to raise and show poultry, so contact your local office for more information- there’s one in every county!  Here are a few steps 4-H youth can take to prepare for a poultry show:

Step 1: Handle your chicken daily. By handling your chicken daily, this will ensure that it is used to people, and will be friendly to the judge. A friendly chicken shows the judge that the chicken’s owner has been dedicated to preparing the bird for showing, not just ignoring it and bringing it to the show on show day.

Step 2: Practice holding your chicken. There is a correct way to hold a chicken when you are showing it and you will need to practice, practice, practice. When you and your bird feel comfortable around each other, you can start practicing holding and walking around with the bird the correct way, by placing your middle and fourth finger between the bird’s legs. Using your first finger and pinkie, hold the bird’s wings down.  For carrying, put the bird’s head under your arm. When youth practice holding and carrying their bird, the bird becomes very docile and calm which makes for a great show chicken.

Step 3: Know the parts of the chicken. This step is one of the hardest in the entire showmanship procedure.

Poultry Showmanship can help youth build communication skills and confidence. Photo Credit: Julie Dillard

Poultry Showmanship can help youth build communication skills and confidence. Photo Credit: Julie Dillard

It is based on simply remembering the steps and practicing with your bird. Youth are quizzed on the parts of the chicken and whoever knows the most, does the best. Make sure you know about the head, wings, under color, width of body, breast, vent, abdomen, pubic bone, legs and feet, and how to cage a bird. All of these will ensure to the judge that youth have studied about their bird and are very knowledgeable on the parts of a chicken. Also, know about the breed of your chicken. You will want to do your homework on the breed of chicken that you are showing so any questions that the judge may ask about your bird you will know how to answer correctly.

Step 4: Know how to bathe your chicken. The easiest way to bathe a chicken is with a 5 gallon bucket of lukewarm water and dish soap. You want to “dip” the chicken 2-3 times in the soapy water, avoiding getting the head wet, and then dip them in clean water to rinse them off. Never submerge a chickens head in the water due to the fact that the chicken can aspirate and die. If your chicken’s head is soiled, use a wet cloth to wipe it clean. The chicken will take care of the rest by preening itself so make sure that you bathe the chicken 48 hours prior to the show so that there will be time for natural oil replacement. Place your chicken in a wire cage to ensure it stays clean before the show.

Step 5: Have fun! Showing chickens is a great and rewarding experience for youth. Poultry shows are a great opportunity for youth to demonstrate their skills, gain confidence, make lifelong friends and practice responsibility.  The 4-H poultry project can be the spark that leads youth to a career in animal science industry where the possibilities are endless!

Do you have a passion for poultry?  If so, consider using your knowledge, skills and interests as a 4-H poultry volunteer.  We could use your expertise planning shows, teaching workshops and helping youth experience success with their poultry project.  Contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org for more info.

Recommended Resources for Poultry Showmanship:

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Author: mismith – mismith@ufl.edu

mismith

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/10/27/5-steps-to-poultry-showmanship/

Small Steps Are the Key to Healthy Change

drinking waterOliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said, “The greatest thing in the world is not so much where we are, but in which direction we are moving.” That saying holds true when it comes to our health and our finances.

Health and personal financial issues affect millions of Americans. We struggle with epidemic obesity rates, over 79 million Americans have “pre-diabetes”, debt and bankruptcy filings remain high and millions of Americans live on the “financial edge” with less than the recommended three months’ emergency fund set aside for the future. Problems that develop gradually soon become overwhelming.

Many of us, when faced with the need to change, see our problems as unbeatable and “freeze” instead of moving forward. It is true that there is no easy way to lose weight, gain wealth or become debt-free. Even drastic fixes like weight loss surgery or bankruptcy come with huge risks. So, what is the secret?

According to Former HHS Secretary Tommy G.Thompson, small steps are the key! Mr. Thompson stated, “Consumers don’t need to go to extremes – such as joining a gym or taking part in the latest diet plan – to make improvements to their health. But they do need to get active and eat healthier.” No step is too small to get started and you can never be too early or too late. Examples might include walking during your lunch break, cutting out 100 calories a day, saving the change you accumulate each day or tracking your spending for a month. Anything you do daily over a period of time will soon become a habit, or an “automated” behavior. When your healthy behaviors become automated – no matter how small – you’ve just taken a step toward physical and/or financial wellness.

In the end, your health is in your hands. Set realistic goals, take small steps to reach them, learn from the obstacles and believe that you can achieve. And remember, “In the end, the only people who fail are those who do not try.” – David Viscott

 

Adapted from Small Steps to Health and Wealth, B. O’Neill and K. Ensle, 2013.

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Author: Ginny Hinton – ghinton@ufl.edu

Santa Rosa County Extension Agent with UF/IFAS. Focus areas include nutrition, food safety, injury prevention, and healthy families. Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from University of West Florida. Master’s degree in Public Health/Health Education from University of South Florida.
http://santarosa.ifas.ufl.edu

Ginny Hinton

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/04/01/small-steps-are-the-key-to-healthy-change/

Simple Steps to Seasonal Savings

bagrygbFor many people, their holiday shopping begins on Black Friday. Cyber Monday, which falls after the Thanksgiving weekend is a great way to order gifts online- especially if you do not like crowds. Many retailers will lure shoppers in on Cyber Monday with free shipping deals. UF IFAS Extension offers some great tips for keeping your personal information secure when shopping online, as well as advantages and disadvantages of using prepaid cards. Between Brown Thursday (businesses that are open for shopping on Thanksgiving Day), Black Friday and Cyber Monday, here are a few tips to help cope with the phenomenon after-Thanksgiving shopping has become.

  1. Plan ahead—many retailers will have their ads out for the season well before Thanksgiving to allow for consumers to plan ahead and see who is offering which item at the best price. Planning ahead will help you have a fun experience.
  2. Set a budget—this is a vital step to any shopping! You have to decide how much total you plan to spend or you will have to eat bread and water all December and January! Seriously, set a budget and stick to it. Make your list and remember, if you said $ 20 each person, you really mean $ 20 limit for each person. There is some wiggle room with this if you find a great gift for one person on sale, the extra $ 5 or $ 10 could go to someone else’s gift.
  3. Check the ads—know what retail cost is before you fall into a trap. Retailers may taught a great television at only $ 150, however, what is the regular retail for that brand? Is it really a $ 175 television? The internet can be your friend with consumer reviews and the information is already out for the ads. Check out www.blackfriday.com for the deals and do some research ahead of time.
  4. Form a team—this sounds strange, I know. I have a group of friends that are a Black Friday Team. We get together and look at the ads. If I am interested in bed sheets that are on sale at one retailer and my friends wants some tools at a completely different retailer, we will divide and conquer. I will go to the tool store and she can pick up my sheets. We are able to both get what we want and essentially be in two places at once!

Holiday shopping can be leisurely and enjoyable. That is not shopping that is done on Black Friday. The shopping that is done on Black Friday is more like a sport. It’s fast-paced, very exciting and can also be rewarding. Follow the tips above and have fun shopping, oh yeah, and drink some coffee. It’s hard to get up at 3:00 in the morning and face the crowds without some coffee!

For more information on smart strategies for seasonal savings, read this factsheet. If you have a passion for smart shopping, consider coaching a 4-H Consumer Choices Team. This 4-H event helps prepare youth to make smart and informed shopping decisions. For more information about this and other 4-H money management programs, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http:/florida4h.org.

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Author: Prudence Caskey – prudencecaskey@ufl.edu

Prudence Caskey

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/11/20/simple-steps-to-seasonal-savings/

5 Easy Steps to Save for Big Ticket Items

Large Screen TV

Large Screen TV

Very few of us have money ready to cover an emergency, never mind the money for the larger purchases we’d like to make. This is why it’s so important to prioritize savings to cover both the items you need as well as those you want.

Whether you’re saving for a new computer or a car, the security deposit for an apartment or a house down payment, a little planning and an easy-to-maintain budget will be instrumental in making your big ticket purchase a savings reality. With these direct and easy steps, big ticket items don’t have to be limited to big dreams:

Set Your Goal. It’s easy to keep dreaming of the things you want or even things you might need, but making it a point to establish your big ticket item as an actual savings goal is a necessary first step in making the goal a reality.

  1. Do Your Research. Start with the most important question: how much is your large purchase going to cost? Some items, like a computer or a security deposit, will have a set dollar amount that you’ll need to save for, while other items, like a car or a home, will need to include associated costs for maintenance, insurance, and taxes/fees.
  2. Make a Plan. Once you know your goal and all of the costs associated with that goal, it’s time to dig into your BUDGET to determine how much you’ll be able to save each month. You might need to make some changes to your spending to make savings (or additional savings) happen. Dividing your goal’s costs by the amount you’ll be able to save will also let you know how long you’ll need to save. When you know these two items, head over to AmericaSaves.org to take the pledge and put your savings plan into action.
  3. Automate Your Savings. Start a good saving habit by automatically moving the predetermined amount into your savings account each month. Employer-based direct deposit can move the amount straight from your paycheck into your savings account or you can set up an automatic transfer through your banking institution. Regardless of which method you choose, be sure to keep your savings in a separate savings account to watch your money accumulate with interest (and the harder to access those funds, the better).
  4. Earmark windfall income. Depending on how long you’ve determined it will take to reach your savings goals, you may want to plan to move any additional unbudgeted income directly into savings. Receiving an end of year bonus? How about a tax refund? Since those funds aren’t a part of your established budget, you won’t miss the additional income by moving a portion of it into savings – plus, you’ll cut the time it takes to reach your goal!

To learn more about saving for a large purchase and take the America Saves pledge, visit AmericaSaves.org. Article adapted from AmericaSaves.org Saving for large purchases.

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Author: Elizabeth – gorimani@ufl.edu

FCS faculty with University of Florida/IFAS Extension in Gadsden County
http://gadsden.ifas.ufl

Elizabeth

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/08/29/5-easy-steps-to-save-for-big-ticket-items/

Five Steps to Seasonal Savings

 ©Feverpitched

©Feverpitched

 

Recently, UF/IFAS published Five Steps to Seasonal Savings, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FY/FY140500.pdf, an EDIS brochure which reminds us of the stress that can result from holiday spending. I would encourage each of you to print or review the brochure and ponder its message TODAY.  We are nearing the hustle and bustle of preparing for the season and it is timely information.

The five steps are:

  1. Recognize Your Seasonal Stressors
  2. Develop a Holiday Spending Plan – Make a Budget
  3. Develop a Holiday Spending Plan – Create a List
  4. Find Alternatives to Pricey Presents
  5. Fine-Tune Your Financials

It is already early December, the Thanksgiving shopping sale and Cyber Monday have passed but planning is still possible before the 2014 holiday rush if you will take some time to do so.

The section of this brochure that really spoke to me is the Fine-Tune Your Financials.  As I do every day, I try to use cash and/or debit cards when possible. I need to see the money leave my account so the holidays don’t haunt me into the new year. There is too big of an allure for me to overspend when I buy gifts with credit. There is not as much reality with credit card spending. Paying interest on the credit debt is even more troubling, as the holiday spirit is long gone before the item is paid for.

Holidays are about spending time with family and friends. It does not need to center on gift giving. Consider your spending plan in the next few weeks for a more financially comfortable 2015.

 

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Author: Shelley Swenson – sswenson@ufl.edu

Shelley is the FCS/EFNEP Agent in Wakulla County. She joined the UF/IFAS Wakulla County staff in 2008 after re-locating in Florida. She previously worked for the Kansas State University’s Extension Service for 13 years in a county position. She also spent 15 years in various administrative roles in the Kansas community college system. She owned and operated an interior business for five years.

Shelley Swenson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/12/09/five-steps-to-seasonal-savings/

Simple Steps to Savings

empty_walletWith the holiday season wrapping up, are you finding yourself saying things like:  How did this happen? Why did I spend all that money?  I can’t believe I did.  Why did I wait until the last minute to shop? At least I found a great deal on that TV I’ve been eyeing. I don’t even want to think about how long it is going to take me to pay off the credit cards. I hope I didn’t take too much money out of the ATM machine. Did I buy my mom the same gift twice?  I should have done this differently. I should have had a plan.

With 2014 here, some of us are making resolutions, others are vowing to break bad habits and some are in recovery mode from their holiday spending sprees.  While we are teaching fiscal responsibility to our 4-H youth, could we use a reminder ourselves?

Birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, baby showers, wedding showers, retirements, housewarmings, and of course Christmas – it seems every month we are buying something for someone!  Marketing ploys and advertising for the latest and greatest gadgets, toys, clothing and shoes target us all making it a challenge to overcome but not impossible.  Focusing on the real meaning of giving and receiving should help lower stress levels and direct our paths to fiscal responsibility.  Being knowledgeable about your specific situation, making informed decisions and communicating with loved ones can reduce the effects of spending stressors.

By developing a spending plan and making a budget, you can purposefully plan for gifts that come up during the year and prepare for in advance for the next holiday season.

Ask yourself:

  • How much have I saved?
  • How much can I save each month?
  • What dollar limit can I set on gifts?
  • Am I comfortable creating debt?
  • Am I comfortable saying “no”?

Start with knowing how much you can spend and have a spending plan; your spending plan is critical for successful money management for not only the holidays but all year long.  Surplus monies, after fixed and variable expenses, are what you should use for your gift budget. If your gift budget shows you spending more money than you have, you’ll likely take on debt.   If this is the case, you should also create a plan for paying off purchases made with credit.  Prioritize your purchases and consider omitting purchases that require taking on debt.

Create a list of everyone that you know you will purchase gifts for during the year including holidays.  Factor in decorations, cards, postage, gift wrap, food/entertainment and travel.  These are additional costs that can make a drastic impact on the gift budget.

Once you’ve researched and set your budget, you’re ready to start shopping. Remember your list and check it twice. Know for whom you’re buying, what you plan to buy, and where you’re going to buy from.  Plan ahead and spread out purchases if possible. Shopping early keeps you on budget and reduces stress, and if that’s not enough, it can also keep you from buying a bad gift. The sky’s the limit and creativity is key for saving on gift giving and all the extras.   Take advantage of coupons, special offers and/or extended hours BUT always be prepared to walk away. Be willing to prioritize and make necessary changes to your spending plan. Don’t forget…your name is not on your list. If you see something you like, write it down and suggest or hint it to someone else.

If you have a large family, start by thinking outside the box. Consider a gift exchange by drawing names from a hat.  While many families do this during the holidays, you can apply it for birthday gifts as well.  This method allows you to put more thought than money into selecting a single gift. Thoughtful and often times more creative gifts can come from shopping with local businesses. Locally grown fruit and vegetables, honey or an item from a local artist are just a few suggestions of local products. Another idea is to donate to charity in someone’s name instead of gift giving.  You could also give a “gift of time.”  By creating a coupon book or certificate, you can give loved one a gift such as a specific chore, a trip to the park, babysitting or a slumber party for the kids.  If you are feeling crafty, you could make and give arrangements like centerpieces and decorations. For the holiday season, consider purchasing a single gift for an entire family — perhaps an entertainment basket filled with DVDs and microwave popcorn.

This should go without saying, but use cash and/or debit cards when at all possible.  Money coming directly out of your pocket will likely make you think harder about your purchase.  If you are going to use a credit card, make sure you have a plan in place to pay it off when the bill is due.  You also need to understand the allure of paying with credit.   When you’re not paying with “real” money, but are instead charging your purchases, your buying can easily get out of control, and the shopping process may not seem as painful in that moment. That’s why those buy-now-pay-later campaigns are so successful. Be careful; paying with credit (unless you pay off the purchase when the bill is due) means it could cost you more (interest), not less. Record what you actually spent next to the estimated cost on your spending plan. Make necessary adjustments and remember to communicate your plan to loved ones. Special occasions are about spending time with family and loved ones. Don’t let the gifts become the main focus and risk busting your budget.

Authors
Julie Pigott Dillard, CED & 4-H Youth Development Agent, Washington County
Ricki McWilliams, Family & Consumer Science Agent, Walton County

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Author: Julie Pigott Dillard – juliepd@ufl.edu

Julie Pigott Dillard is the 4-H Youth Development Agent in Washington County..

Julie Pigott Dillard

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/01/05/simple-steps-to-savings/