Position: From the Extension Office

Email: ricekw@co.laplata.co.us

From the Extension Office to April 14, 2019

About: Family and consumer science agent for the La Plata County Extension Office.

Meal planning tips for your Thanksgiving Day feast

It is again time for giving thanks and feasting. Whether you are an expert cook or a new cook, it can be stressful trying to make sure you have enough food or accommodating guests with food...

DATE: Nov. 8, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Prebiotics, probiotics in natural foods can benefit your gut health

Many of us spend time carefully perusing grocery shelves looking for healthier foods, particularly items advertising prebiotics and probiotics. New research is showing how important these two...

DATE: Oct. 11, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Take these simple steps to avoid foodborne illness

If 49 percent of adult meals are eaten away from home, according to the National Restaurant Association, what about the other 51 percent? The majority of “stomach flu” is actually food poisoning....

DATE: Sept. 7, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Smart planning can go a long way when it’s time to retire

Over the last few weeks, four friends have decided that it was time to retire. Retirement should take some planning – at least five years is the recommendation. Because the national average age...

DATE: Aug. 10, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Don’t let fear of carbohydrates cut into vegetable consumption

It is the season for corn, fresh vegetables and wonderful fruits. When I hear someone say, “Corn isn’t a vegetable! It’s all starch, I don’t eat it” or “I don’t eat anything white – it’s bad,” it...

DATE: June 7, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Nutrient-dense asparagus can be prepared in many ways

Oh yes, spring is my favorite season. Calves, lambs, fawns appearing across the fields and, best of all, the asparagus! It starts appearing mid-April and ends in June. As one of the few perennial...

DATE: May 10, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Skip the vitamins, focus on nutrient-dense foods

This is the time of year when we are overwhelmed with a wonderful variety of fresh produce. It is easy to fulfill the recommendation of 2½ cups daily of any combination of fruits and vegetables....

DATE: Sept. 8, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

La Plata County Fair brings out the best in our community

It’s time for the La Plata County Fair! A time to hear kids laugh, watch them focus during their time in front of a fair judge and hear the pride in their voices when they talk about their...

DATE: Aug. 9, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

College students must plan carefully when taking out a loan

This is the time of year students, parents and grandparents are excited as students prepare to “emancipate” to college. There is so much to figure out: what to pack, campus safety, class schedules,...

DATE: July 5, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Food in its natural state provides the nutrition we need

It’s definitely hard to put a nutrition label on that strawberry – for reasons beyond its compact size. A single cup of strawberries can provide 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of...

DATE: May 31, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

For healthy food, seek out natural, simple ingredients

The choices we make about “healthy” foods to put in our cupboards rest with each of us, not on Food and Drug Administration. Yes, companies find ways to label food to make us think it is healthy....

DATE: April 27, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Don’t allow ‘dirty,’ ‘clean’ produce lists to lead you astray

I know spring has arrived, not only because yellow flowers are popping up but because the annual “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Dozen” lists have been presented. This is a report by the Environmental...

DATE: March 30, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Make sure gift cards hold their value

Now that Thanksgiving is past, we are being bombarded with opportunities to spend our money for gifts. Many choose the option of gift cards. The incentives are everywhere. The upside is one size...

DATE: Dec. 8, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

College students need to learn rules of shopping, cooking

Now is the time of year we send our students off to college after loading them up with microwaves, tabletop grills and mini-fridges. Many don't know what it takes to protect themselves from...

DATE: Aug. 25, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Community support for 4-H’ers was touching during county fair

The community provided amazing support to our 4-H’ers at the La Plata County Fair this year. Let me share just some of what I saw.More than 65 adults took an entire day off to judge 4-H projects –...

DATE: Aug. 18, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Treatments vary to lower cholesterol

The American Heart Association estimates that more than 100 million adults have cholesterol values greater than 200 mg/dl. Of those, one-third have levels greater than 240. For the first time,...

DATE: July 28, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Going green savvy move for eateries

We are spending a lot of time (and energy) going green. What about food-service establishments? Here's a way to enticecustomers while saving real dollars. Going green can save operational costs,...

DATE: June 24, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Gluten-free foods, diets are gaining in popularity

Since I last wrote about celiac sprue and gluten-free diets, there has been an increase in the number of peoplefollowing the gluten-free diet in our community and nationally.So if you are finding...

DATE: April 15, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Easter's coming: Do you know how to boil an egg?

At this time of year eggs are in higher demand. Figuring that a hen lays one egg a day, it takes a lot of chickens toproduce the 72 billion eggs we use every year.Whether you are planning an Easter...

DATE: April 1, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Colorado is no different: Good diet, exercise vital

Obesity. We have been told for a long time that this is a national problem. But how does that relate to all of us in“lean"Colorado?According to Weight of the State for 2009, a report from the...

DATE: March 18, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

It's a good idea to test your home for harmful radon gas

With snow comes the opportunity for you to find out if your home is harboring the No. 2 cause of lung cancer: radongas.Do you know the level of radon in your home? Is it below 4 picocuries per...

DATE: Jan. 28, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Census worthwhile, although you may have questions

Last weekend, I had occasion to discuss our upcoming census.The Census Bureau has taken great efforts to protect the confidentiality of residents. Beginning in February, advancemailouts begin; in...

DATE: Nov. 19, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Small changes can make big differences around the house

We keep hearing about the $1,500 tax credit to help with energy savings for your home, but how about changes that costlittle or nothing and can save you more than $1,500 over the course of a year...

DATE: Nov. 5, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

There's no time like now to prepare for disaster

Over the last few months, four tornado traumas have involved friends and family.Disaster preparedness has been a topic of conversation as they recount bumping around the house looking for...

DATE: Oct. 22, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Getting picky eaters to be healthy

Are you raising a picky eater? For a child, this is a normal part of development, though it can become difficult behavior when allowed to persist (even into adulthood).Numerous studies have been...

DATE: Sept. 10, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

When it comes to food, you alone make the choices

I recently had the opportunity to view a very graphic, interesting movie now showing in one of our local theaters. The movie, "Food, Inc.," was thought-provoking, but you should stay with facts and...

DATE: July 30, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Keep close eye on calorie count when using children's menus

Now that summer is here, it is much easier and more enjoyable to garner that 2½- 4 cups of fruits and vegetables to know that we are taking good care of our bodies. Good for us.But have you noticed...

DATE: July 9, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

For your health, nuts aren't so crazy

Nuts - every day? Research shows one small handful a day can actually result in health gains. Diets that include 1 to 1.5 ounces of nuts (not salted or honey glazed) daily are more satisfying,...

DATE: March 26, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Healthy diet idea: Modified Mediterranean

Because this is still American Heart Month, instead of feeling guilty for less desirable choices, consider adopting lifestyle changes to improve your health. Pounds come off with portion control,...

DATE: Feb. 26, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Health and wealth have unique relationship

Will Rogers is credited with the statement, "I'm not as concerned about the return on my money as I am the return of my money."Hopefully 2009 will grace us with more than a temporary respite from...

DATE: Jan. 1, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

I’m preparing to begin a new chapter in my life: Retirement

Along with many others, I too have chosen retirement this year. Feb. 2 will be my last day employed by Colorado State University as family and consumer science extension agent in La Plata County....

DATE: Jan. 4, 2019 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Don’t let our altitude foil your favorite holiday recipe

At this time of year, many people are baking more than usual. People are often frustrated to find that a recipe that works at sea level is a disaster at this altitude. Whether you are boiling eggs,...

DATE: Dec. 14, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H partnership brings gardening classes to elementary schools

Community partners are an essential factor in delivering quality programming through your local Colorado State University Extension Office. As educators, we strive to build solid relationships...

DATE: Nov. 16, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

After a fire, assess possible damage to food, medications

Skies are turning gray and thunder is here. We are happy the rains will finish off the 416 Fire and hopefully make a dent in this unprecedented drought. People have returned to their homes, but...

DATE: July 13, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Real food powers your health, not vitamin supplements

Being raised on whole-grain homemade bread, farm fresh eggs, fresh yogurt, garden produce and, of course, raw milk was a matter of logic to my progressive mother who followed 20th-century author...

DATE: April 13, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Young people must learn the basics of financial literacy

Recently, I enjoyed working with and learning from seventh-graders at Miller Middle School as we discussed financial literacy. Know Your Dough provided the curriculum – which is designed for...

DATE: March 15, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H livestock projects teach skills that last a lifetime

4-H livestock and animal projects inspire lifelong learning in young people. 4-H members can enroll in horse, dog, cat, cow, sheep, goat, swine, poultry and rabbit animal projects. They can begin...

DATE: Feb. 17, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Despite the headlines, not all wheat is bad for you

Ah, fresh warm bread. Whether it is hot out of the oven, dipped into a steaming bowl of soup or enveloping your favorite sandwich, it is easy to see why it is such a staple food. Wheat makes up...

DATE: Feb. 9, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Radon can pose serious health risks, test your home now

January is National Radon Action Month. Radon in our homes is a significant health issue. Forty-nine percent of homes in La Plata County have required mitigation of the colorless, odorless gas...

DATE: Jan. 10, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

The fascinating process of olive production in Spain

Olives – wait, what? I write this as I sit on the edge of a canal in Seville, Spain. I am immersing myself in the Mediterranean way of eating. They refer to the olive tree as the “tree of life.” I...

DATE: Dec. 7, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Cooking, baking at high altitude are part science, part art

Holidays are fast approaching, and we tend to spend more time baking, entertaining and making special treats and candy for gatherings. I’m starting to get more questions about tough dinner rolls,...

DATE: Nov. 9, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Data breaches are common; protect your finances, credit

A grand total 145.5 million people were affected by the Equifax data breach. Yahoo corrected their 2013 breach of 1 billion users to all 3 billion users. The breaches hacked names, addresses,...

DATE: Oct. 13, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Springtime means it’s time for the annual ‘Dirty Dozen’ list

I know spring has really arrived – not only are yellow flowers popping up and the winter storm watch is going on – but the revised annual “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Dozen” lists have presented. This...

DATE: March 30, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Like it or not, preparing for the worst makes good sense

Not to be morbid, but here is your reminder: You are going to die. Some of us sooner than later; some quickly; some young and some old. But it is going to happen, guaranteed. Have you and your...

DATE: March 3, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Women need to be more aware about their heart health

Stroke? Heart attack? I know … not you. Well, step into this other circle while you read this. The concern about women and heart disease is magnified because we deny or aren’t as aware as we need...

DATE: Feb. 3, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

From the Extension Office It’s that time of the year again to take measure of your radon levels

January is National Radon Action Month, when all residents – both renters and owners – are urged to test their home for radon. It is recommended that homes be screened every five years. If a...

DATE: Jan. 1, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

From the Extension Office Holidays aren’t the time to let your guard down

Whew. We have made it through Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But most of us aren’t finished shopping or joining friends and family. Thieves are out there just waiting for us to make one mistake. We...

DATE: Dec. 4, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

La Plata County 4-H expands outreach with STEM program

To succeed in the 21st-century workforce, young people will need skills in science, technology, engineering and math. They will also need life skills in public speaking, leadership and community...

DATE: Oct. 19, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Ideal conditions make for spectacular fall foliage

If you can figure out how to maneuver through the national political scene that has infected my Facebook page, you can see that almost every one of my local “friends” has taken a photo of the fall...

DATE: Oct. 5, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

La Plata County 4-H members succeed at Colorado State Fair

Local 4-H members did a fantastic job representing La Plata County at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo. This event is such a great learning experience. We had members entered in a variety of...

DATE: Sept. 14, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

From the Extension Office A few basics can help you get the most from your food preservation

Cool weather seems to have slowed produce production a bit for some of us. With the rains though, there seem to be bumper crops in gardens, farmers markets and grocery stores that encourage digging...

DATE: Sept. 3, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

In apple overload? Programs help you share the bounty

Apples. This year, we are expecting a lot of them. Apple pie, apple crisp and apple cobbler. Sauce, butter and cider, all made with apples. Caramel apples, dried apple rings and the kid’s...

DATE: Aug. 31, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Are you second-guessing your gardening goals?

Second-guessing. We all do it. Some of you may have done it as you rose from bed, or when you were deciding what to have for breakfast, or even just now, as you started reading this column. As...

DATE: Aug. 17, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

From the extension office Ripe or not?

After enjoying the season’s first corn on the cob for supper, I had to go to get more. The variety of produce available now is at its best price and quality. Trying to meet the recommended intake...

DATE: Aug. 6, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H members to star at the La Plata County Fair

The La Plata County Fair kicks off this weekend with pre-fair events. On Saturday, the public can attend the 4-H Horse Show and the open class American Rabbit Breeders Association show. These will...

DATE: Aug. 3, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H members preparing for fair

The 4-H community is getting all excited for the 2016 La Plata County Fair. The fair will be held next month and open to the public from Aug. 10-14. The fairgrounds located at 25th Street and...

DATE: July 20, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Durango Botanical Society earns the coveted Golden Shovel Award

I like awards. And trophies. Even the occasional plaque or certificate can bring a smile to my face. When I was in second grade, I got a first-place Pee Wee Championship Wrestling trophy, and...

DATE: July 6, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

From the Extension Office A little bit of planning can help make your summer travel safe

This seems like a logical weekend to think of getting into the mountains. With such high temperatures this summer, heading to the mountains is looking better and better. Last year, over 45 million...

DATE: July 2, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H adventure unites rural, urban young people

Summer is the time to take an adventure. For the last three years, La Plata County 4-H has teamed with Denver 4-H for a five-day adventure throughout Colorado. This trip is called D2D (Durango to...

DATE: June 15, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

When it comes to aging well, MIND diet really can matter

My annual nutrition conference focused this year on healthy aging and the brain. Discussion included disease prevention, healthy aging and function-preserving strategies. One speaker noted that...

DATE: June 4, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Helpful hints to grow a healthy crop of tomatoes

It’s the first week of June, which is typically the time when I write the “it’s the first week of June, it may be safe to plant those warm-season crops in the vegetable garden” article. I know...

DATE: June 1, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H grows bountiful garden, strong character

Spring is always an exciting time of year. Southwest Colorado’s weather has been predictable in its unpredictable manner. So, no matter if it is rain or shine, it’s time to get outside and start...

DATE: May 18, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Plant yourself in this gardening series

Life is a series of firsts – first steps, first words and first day at school. First crush (and subsequent first broken heart), first roller-coaster ride and first concert. As we grow older, the...

DATE: May 4, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

In many ways, 4-H teaches members how to be leaders

The presidential campaign has put the topic of leadership in the spotlight. Each candidate is trying to convince voters that he or she will be the best leader for our country. Leaders have a...

DATE: April 20, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Lucky student gardeners work alongside first lady

I was sitting down to the computer Monday, getting ready to write this article, when some pretty phenomenal news came across my email: Four local gardeners were going to the White House in...

DATE: April 6, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

From the Extension Office Here are a few tips on how you can eat away at wasting food

Nearly one third of the food we purchase ends up in the trash. Wasted food is wasted money, and that stems from a variety of reasons: leftover food purchased for a specific recipe, unused food...

DATE: April 2, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H garden is gateway to lessons about health

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. The 4-H symbol of a four leaf clover always reminds us of how lucky we are. Head, Heart, Hands and Health represent each leaf of our clover. These H’s guide us in working...

DATE: March 16, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Feels like spring out there; time to attend to fruit trees

Abnormal. Somewhat strange. A bit peculiar with an air of absurdity. No, this isn’t how my kids describe their dad or a way to describe the 2016 Chicago Cubs, the odds-on favorite to win the World...

DATE: March 2, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H clubs teach members skills to become leaders

As the 2016 election year heats up, I am reminded of how important teaching citizenship can be to our youth. Across America, the 4-H Youth Development organization believes strongly in providing...

DATE: Feb. 17, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

It’s time to get a little red about women’s heart disease Putting

Pull out that red dress. We need to increase awareness about women and heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of preventable death in persons aged 40 to 65. Check out Go Red at...

DATE: Feb. 6, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

With spring on the horizon, order seeds, map out garden

So Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow. In Pennsylvania, 1,173 miles away. While I have never lived in the Keystone State, I did live just north of there in upstate New York for a number of...

DATE: Feb. 3, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Scholarships can support youth agricultural education

La Plata County 4-H doesn’t want to discourage anyone from participating in our program because of financial concerns. Our membership fee for joining is $25 for the entire year. However, we provide...

DATE: Jan. 20, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Hot tips for growing peppers in Colorado’s cool climate

As another storm passes over our corner of Colorado, many of us huddle up in the kitchen or living room, toes cold from another morning of shoveling or legs sore from another powder day at the...

DATE: Jan. 6, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

May the financial force be with you in 2016

2015 is done, and here we are already at 2016. I again remember the excitement when Yoda first shared so much wisdom. It is all back again so I decided to look at some of the things he shared and...

DATE: Jan. 2, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Snow, fewer late freezes and more wishes for Santa

A week until Christmas and it’s nice to see snow on the ground. I hope it will last, or be added to, so Santa and his reindeer will leave foot (and paw) prints. Growing up in Durango back in the...

DATE: Dec. 16, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Let’s get cooking; it’s the holidays

This is the time of year for those special times – food with family and friends, parties and banquets, leftovers and, of course, wonderful food gifts. Holiday time is often turkey time when we get...

DATE: Dec. 5, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Cultivate your knowledge with master gardener class

As you may or may not know, I’m charged with running the Colorado Master Gardener program in La Plata County. There’s the chance the majority of you who peruse the article are either: a) master...

DATE: Dec. 2, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Collaboration gives young people chance to grow

La Plata County 4-H finds collaboration is essential for maintaining strong communities. During the last five years, we have developed a partnership with Celebrating Healthy Communities, which is a...

DATE: Nov. 18, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Wrap up your outside chores and put your garden to bed

I have a tendency to be late. Not really late, but not “fashionably late” either, as I really am not that fashionable. But ask my office mates, fellow board members, my kids or even my dentist on...

DATE: Nov. 4, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Grieving for a family changed forever

Each of us has a special day that changes one’s life. Mine was 12 years ago Oct. 31 when my daughter passed away while at college. Grieving the loss of a child is a unique and lifelong process. I...

DATE: Oct. 31, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H projects develop character, skills: Enroll now

La Plata County 4-H club enrollment for the 2015-16 year begins Friday. All enrollments for 4-H club members, leaders and volunteers will be done online at https://colorado.4honline.com. This is a...

DATE: Oct. 14, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Charm of Apple Days lies in its simplicity, utility

Over the years, I’ve assisted in putting on numerous outdoor events in Southwest Colorado. For eight years, I’ve worked on the Iron Horse Chef and Tour de Farms; I’ve organized countless workshops,...

DATE: Sept. 30, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

County 4-H’ers compete successfully at state fair

Last week, I had the pleasure of heading to the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo. Each year, this hard-working “steel” city impresses me. It looks rough on the outside; however, this blue-collar...

DATE: Sept. 16, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

The many joys of apple season are upon us

Apples – the autumnal fruit. They have the ability to conjure images of crisp mornings, warm afternoons and cold nights as well as dew that hangs on the grass well into the morning. Apples remind...

DATE: Sept. 2, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

‘They’ll be riding ... so look out for those beauties’

Somewhere back in the 1980s, I went through a Queen phase. No, I wasn’t infatuated with the Queen of England, nor was I into chess. It was the band out of England, and I enjoyed their take on rock...

DATE: Aug. 5, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Catch the best of 4-H program at fairgrounds

The La Plata County pre-fair events kick off Saturday and Sunday. The community is welcome to come to the fairgrounds, 2500 Main Ave., on Saturday to watch the ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders...

DATE: July 29, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H’ers make final preparations for county fair

The La Plata County 4-H program has had a busy summer. We have completed exchange trips, a natural resource camp, project days and the state 4-H conference. In addition, we are starting to...

DATE: July 15, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

The aphids are coming; take action to protect your plants

Sometimes I assume that, given our dry and cool environment, I have seen the vast majority of pest and disease issues in the area. I seem to know when the questions about aspens will arrive: Early...

DATE: July 1, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Exchange program provides 4-H’ers new view of Colorado

This week, some adventurous 4-H’ers are taking part in an exciting program. Building off the success of last year, we have again teamed with the Denver County Extension Office to offer a great...

DATE: June 17, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Our topsy-turvy spring yields to summer’s rituals

Seasons. Sometimes they get a little screwy. Enough that there’s this uneasiness inside me, as I seem to write about their idiosyncrasies frequently. Maybe not as much as my daughter’s disdain for...

DATE: June 3, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Scholarship winners earn success

La Plata County 4-H would like to congratulate all local students graduating from high school. This is a major accomplishment, and we wish you the best going forward. We also are pleased to...

DATE: May 27, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Bacteria play critical role in overall health, well-being

The microbiome is a community of microorganisms that live in and on our bodies, and gut health is rapidly showing a long-term influence on our microbiome. For every cell in the human body, there...

DATE: May 20, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Welcome the recent rain, now monitor soil moisture

With all the recent moisture (2.5 inches since the first of April), it’s easy to get excited about gardening. After a relatively dry and warm winter, pessimism abounded, and it was easy to cast a...

DATE: May 13, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H’ers learn how to raise livestock, grow produce

Consumers have become increasingly aware of how their food is produced. More and more people want to know where and what methods were used in the growing of the foods they eat. This mentality...

DATE: May 6, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Think ahead to minimize the burden of student loans

This is a time of year many families are having discussions about college. For starters, who is paying? A recent study of 1,000 students revealed that 84 percent presumed parents would be paying....

DATE: April 29, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

There’s no ‘perfect’ tree, but there’s a lot to love

This Friday is National Arbor Day. Really, it should be a recognized holiday – no school, no postal deliveries. We could all find a tree and decorate it, yarn-bomb it, perhaps. Give it hugs,...

DATE: April 22, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Giving Back Garden highlights power of local food

The 4-H Giving Back Garden is gearing up for another year of growing local food. We are excited to continue our partnership with the Old Fort Incubator Plot program in Hesperus. This program...

DATE: April 15, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

How you can prevent food poisoning

“From farm to plate, make food safe” was the theme of this year’s World Health Day. On Tuesday, the World Health Organization highlighted the importance of food safety. Because that is a key focus...

DATE: April 8, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Early delights: Asparagus, garlic

With the (early) arrival of spring so comes the flowering shrubs and trees – forsythia, plums, apricots and crabapples – as well as the initial vegetable growth from asparagus and garlic. A...

DATE: April 1, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Female 4-H’ers soak up experience at stock show

In celebration of Women’s History Month, I would like to highlight some amazing young women in our La Plata County 4-H Youth Development program. They are extremely passionate about raising and...

DATE: March 25, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Young or old, estate planning wise

Ready or not, life happens. I’m talking about estate planning. No, it isn’t just for the wealthy, and it isn’t just to prepare for death. Each of us can benefit. Yes, estate planning is about...

DATE: March 18, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

In our community, local food is growing ever deeper roots

Lists. This time of year, I tend to make them. Deep into the “educational season,” it’s easy for me to get confused about where I am supposed to be and whom I am supposed to be talking to. Talks...

DATE: March 11, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Young people share passion for agriculture’s future

Last weekend did not provide the snowstorm many expected. However, it did provide a strong storm of passion for local agriculture and food justice in our area. My Saturday was full. I attended the...

DATE: March 4, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Build your savings account by setting goals, making plan

This week is National America Saves Week Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Are you ready to leave the realm of...

DATE: Feb. 25, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

For our plant world, sound of alarm bells grows louder

It’s that time again. I am starting to despise this process – writing an article to change the weather. I typically disapprove of messing with Mother Nature, but when push comes to shove, I will...

DATE: Feb. 18, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Shooting-sports competitor sets sights on national contest

The Colorado 4-H Shooting Sports Program trains members in the responsible and ethical use of archery and firearms. Here in La Plata County, our 4-H shooting program has grown tremendously in the...

DATE: Feb. 11, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Food-safety awareness crucial for producers and consumers

Not only will we have produce this summer from local farms, more local producers will be selling baked goods, jams, jellies, tea mixes, spice rubs and flavored honeys. I am referring to...

DATE: Feb. 4, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Young farmers plant seeds for success in our region

Way back when – perhaps the late 1990s – I wanted to be a farmer. I was close to getting mybachelor of science degree at Montana State University and was taking those “fluff” classes, so I could...

DATE: Jan. 27, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Steampunk Wipeout will test kids’ obstacle-course skills

In anticipation of Steampunk Snowdown 2015, La Plata County 4-H is teaming with great local sponsors to put on a fun event for families. Celebrating Healthy Communities, Durango Coffee Co., Zia...

DATE: Jan. 21, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Radon: Winter best time to test your home for this silent killer

Radon – a gas second only to cigarette smoke in its ability to cause lung cancer – can’t be seen, smelled or tasted. This gas kills about 500 Coloradans annually. It is a Class A carcinogen and...

DATE: Jan. 14, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Build cold frame to grow vegetables during winter

In the middle of winter, the selection of “fresh” vegetables can be quite meager. Sure, the produce on the store’s shelves could be considered fresh, but it’s highly unlikely it was harvested from...

DATE: Jan. 7, 2015 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H volunteer leaders provide invaluable support to program

Happy New Year! I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. It is always exciting to embrace a new year and the possibilities of new opportunities on the horizon. Personally, I find myself...

DATE: Dec. 31, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

You can celebrate holidays without eating too much

By now, you are probably quite busy with community or family gatherings. The dinner is cooking (or you already have plans for eating out), and Christmas wrapping and gifts are scattered all over...

DATE: Dec. 24, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

This parasitic plant gives us reason to pucker up at holidays

Traditions. Many of our families have them. You may remember my last column talked about the “new” Parmenter tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving somewhere in the desert – dinner by lanterns and...

DATE: Dec. 17, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H’er starts fundraising campaign for 6-year-old suffering from cancer

La Plata County 4-H is a partner of the Celebrating Healthy Communities coalition, which collaborates with organizations to provide education and awareness to community members. A core model for...

DATE: Dec. 10, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Protect personal information when holiday shopping online

’Tis the season! Whew, we have made it past Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but there still are 20 shopping days left. This season also is a busy time for theft. According to the Consumer Sentinel...

DATE: Dec. 3, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Wherever you are today, gives thanks and smile

I had a date on Tuesday night. Nice dinner, warm atmosphere, engaging conversation. It wasn’t our first, but it has been a while since we just sat and talked, so it was nice to just reconnect. Of...

DATE: Nov. 26, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

La Plata County earns award for garden at state 4-H forum

I attended the annual Colorado State University Extension Forum in Fort Collins last week. The forum is an opportunity for Extension agents from around the state to review and plan programming...

DATE: Nov. 19, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Don’t let food poisoning sour your Thanksgiving dinner celebration

At Thanksgiving, we gather with family and friends to appreciate the gift of each other. Traditionally, this celebration involves lots of food – typically turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Turkey,...

DATE: Nov. 12, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Oddities filled county’s 2014 growing season

Abnormal is the new normal. That is my new catchphrase. Actually, I’ve been using it for quite some time, and now that I think about it, it really hasn’t caught on. Perhaps, I need to rethink my...

DATE: Nov. 5, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H kicks off year; join one of many clubs in county

Trick or treat? La Plata County 4-H wants to wish everyone a fun and safe Halloween. It could get a little scary out there, so remember to use your head, heart, hands and health to keep ghosts and...

DATE: Oct. 29, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

The magic of compounding will make your nest egg grow

Today, I would like to share with you the magic of compounding. Being wealthy, in my personal definition, is not about earning more, it’s about saving consistently. The simple fact is that people...

DATE: Oct. 22, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Master gardeners shine during successful year

If one were to say – completely hypothetically, of course – that I may not be the most “organized” person, then there could be a smidgen of truth to that. That’s not to say that I am forgetful or...

DATE: Oct. 15, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H celebrates harvest season

What a beautiful time of year. Autumn always has a way of reawakening and refreshing my body, mind and soul. Because summer seems to go by so fast, fall is ripe for slowing down and celebrating...

DATE: Oct. 8, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Behold the wonders of the simple apple

Apples, apples, apples everywhere! Yes, apple harvesting and gleaning is encouraged, and, of course, I hope you join the fun activities at Homegrown Apple Days. My apple butter and apple sauce are...

DATE: Oct. 1, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Sink your teeth into Apple Days

Freeze watch: Day 3 of autumn and still nothing. Not even a frost. Yes, the Durango area has received lots of rain – and mud, and rocks, and floating trash cans – but nights have stayed well above...

DATE: Sept. 24, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H’ers harvest riches at Giving Back Garden

Green beans are coming out of my ears. I love green beans; however, I will be thankful when they stop producing. The La Plata County 4-H Giving Back Garden is yielding the fruits of our labor this...

DATE: Sept. 17, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Share your garden’s bounty with community’s hungry

Our gardens are thriving this year. Are you tired of green beans and squash yet? Well, I have a suggestion for that extra produce. The Colorado State University Extension Office, Cooking Matters...

DATE: Sept. 10, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Fruit-gleaning program connects trees, harvesters

Two years ago, Durango and the surrounding area had a bumper crop of apples. The lack of a spring freeze when the trees were in blossom made for heavy loads, bending branches and all sorts of...

DATE: Sept. 3, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Don’t let inflammation make you sick

Inflammation is the body’s mechanism to protect itself and heal from injury or exposure to harmful substances. The purpose of the inflammation process is to remove irritants, damaged cells and...

DATE: Aug. 20, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Take a spin to see local gardens, farms

I learned to ride a bike when I was 7 years old. My sister, for some reason, felt like a wonderful Mother’s Day gift would be for Mom to wake up and see her son proudly pedaling around the...

DATE: Aug. 13, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Annual La Plata County Fair promises something for everyone

Come one, come all to the 2014 La Plata County Fair. The annual county fair, which will be held through Sunday, is a great opportunity for the public to enjoy many family fun activities. You can...

DATE: Aug. 6, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Visit animals, wash your hands at fair

The La Plata County Fair is fast approaching with the rabbit and horse shows kicking off Saturday. There’s so much to see and enjoy. Personally, I always enjoy seeing the variety of prize animals...

DATE: July 30, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

County fair stokes memories of grandma’s roses, pickles

Way back when, perhaps as far back as the late 1970s, I remember going to the fair with my grandma. And while my memories are a bit hazy, I seem to recall her taking me to see two things: her...

DATE: July 23, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H’ers put finishing touches on projects for the county fair

The La Plata County fair kicks off in just over two weeks. Right now, many 4-H members are focused on finishing their livestock, horse and general-project record books. 4-H members are required...

DATE: July 16, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

About to trash your produce? Here’s how to make it last

We throw out a quarter of our produce because it goes bad before we can eat it. This does not have to be the case if you store it effectively. Temperature and location of storage make all the...

DATE: July 9, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Do you know our national tree?

Ask any grade school students, and I bet they could tell you all sorts of factual tidbits about the United States of America. Our nation’s capital? No problem. The first national park? While I...

DATE: July 2, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

At the 4-H state conference, La Plata County kids shine

I hope everyone is having a great start to summer. June has been a fun-filled time for many 4-H members who have participated in a successful in-state exchange program, natural resources camp...

DATE: June 25, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Let basics be foundation of your diet

“We are in this period of cacophony with food, where people are more engaged and more confused.” – The New York Times, 2013 Diet fads come and go, leaving us confused as to what information is...

DATE: June 18, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Firefly: An insect you can love

As a child, I held a small interest in insects. Sure, I did my fair share of dissecting ants, and by dissecting I mean pulling off the occasional leg and separating them between their thorax and...

DATE: June 11, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

‘D2D’ exchange opens doors to experience

Fresh spring salads are on my plate for dinner. This spring, I am harvesting mini-kales, mini-mustards, spinach and green-leaf and red-leaf lettuces. These tasty greens from my garden get me...

DATE: June 4, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Studies discount difference between organic, conventional foods

Previously, I shared current research about organic versus conventional choices for milk. This week, the focus will be nutritional and contaminant/pesticide levels of organic versus conventional...

DATE: May 28, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Are your plants suffering? Test for herbicide carryover

During the last couple of years, numerous gardeners and farmers have reported damage to vegetable crops – mainly tomatoes, potatoes, beans and peas – after applying manure, hay or straw to the...

DATE: May 21, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H’ers earn scholarships

La Plata County schools will soon be entering summer recess. I encourage all students to study hard and finish strong. I also would like to congratulate all high school students who will be...

DATE: May 14, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Is organic food better choice?

Lately, there seems to be a great deal of buzz about organic food. Is it the best way to go? When asking this question, several factors come into play, including price, quality, the presence of...

DATE: May 7, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

A flower for Mother’s Day

The great Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde once wrote: “All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.” And while I have no idea who his parents were – if...

DATE: April 30, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H can help kids mature into adults

Today, I would like to highlight Samantha Harris, a senior member of the Mountaineers 4-H Club. Samantha, who enrolled in the program when she was 5 years old, is the daughter of 4-H dog leader...

DATE: April 23, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Everyone leaving this world needs to have an estate plan

Many people tend to forget that estate planning is a two-part process. Half of the documents are to provide instruction for distribution of your assets after your death. The other half outlines how...

DATE: April 16, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

What’s your favorite vegetable to eat, plant?

The other night at dinner, I had three kids discussing their favorite – and least favorite – vegetables. Asher, the youngest, immediately says “tamales” as one of those he cannot stand, knowing...

DATE: April 9, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Gardening with kids

La Plata County 4-H is sponsoring a garden plot and pumpkin patch at the Old Fort Lewis Research Station in Hesperus. This community-engagement project aims to encourage young people to get...

DATE: April 2, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Eat well to clear brain fog brought on by menopause

Fatigue, hot flashes, an expanding waistline, brain fog. All this from vacation? Well, yes, but I think the primary diagnosis is probably the big M – menopause. It’s real, and it just keeps on...

DATE: March 26, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Gardening workshops to sharpen skills

About seven years ago, Colorado State University, New Mexico State University Extension and Fort Lewis College got together to develop an annual workshop about land management. The topics ranged...

DATE: March 19, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Investing in 4-H pays off – 6 times over

Every dollar county, state and federal agencies invest in the Colorado 4-H Program is returned to the state’s economy six times over, a new Colorado State University study reveals. “This is a...

DATE: March 12, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

1 great idea, 10 easy ways to improve your diet

March is National Nutrition Month, and I have some fantastic tips for you. The first is an opportunity to purchase fresh, high-quality produce at a dramatically reduced cost through the Bountiful...

DATE: March 5, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Surgery to change pace, not drive

While it may sound peculiar, sometimes you need a push forward to slow down. Personally, I tend to be the type who prefers to be involved, likes a project (or four) and has a really tough time...

DATE: Feb. 26, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Randy, thank you for making the county fair our prize event

Each summer, the La Plata County 4-H program celebrates the traditions and pride of our community at the annual county fair. 4-H members bring in animals, food, heritage arts projects and much...

DATE: Feb. 19, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Heart disease kills 1 woman every minute

February is Go Red For Women month, which is dedicated to increasing awareness about heart disease in women. Heart disease is our No. 1 killer in the U.S. Women are less likely to survive a first...

DATE: Feb. 12, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

In dry winter, you may need to water trees, lawn

I’ve come to the conclusion that if we need moisture, all I have to do is write about techniques for water conservation. In summer 2012, I provided suggestions for watering during drought. In the...

DATE: Feb. 5, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Coalitions work to build our community

My job encourages me to collaborate with other organizations to promote positive community development. Collaboration embraces the spirit of people working together for the benefit of the whole. ...

DATE: Jan. 29, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Small choices can lead to big savings

Are you leaving money on the table? Recently, the blog DoughRoller grabbed my attention with an item about compounding. The premise was that long-term reduced spending increases retirement...

DATE: Jan. 22, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Why not start the new year with an ambitious wish list?

Amazingly enough, “learn to garden” or “grow more vegetables” is not on very many “Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions” lists. The outrage! Instead, they are filled with trivial phrases such as “quit...

DATE: Jan. 15, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Test your home for radon

Do you know the level of radon in your home? Do you know that radon gas is the No. 2 cause of lung cancer? January is National Radon Awareness Month and with our snow and frozen ground comes the...

DATE: Jan. 8, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H Dog Project offers many opportunities

Happy New Year. The changing of the calendar year is a great time to hit the refresh button. The 4-H Youth Development Program in La Plata County is excited for what should be a memorable year....

DATE: Jan. 1, 2014 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Mother Nature can deliver challenges, glory

It’s the day after Christmas. My belly is full of my mother’s baked goodies – date-nut bars, fudge bars, caramel corn and pecan tossies. My legs are sore from skiing. We have a living room full of...

DATE: Dec. 25, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Skip vitamins, try real food to improve health

Researchers have said for years that Americans have the most expensive urine in the world. Instead of focusing on eating nutrient-dense foods, people have been willing to pay big money to swallow...

DATE: Dec. 18, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Tips to stay healthy during holidays

Holidays are a time to enjoy family, friends and food. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. In the interest of the short attention span many of us have at this time of year, I’m going for a...

DATE: Dec. 11, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Simple steps to keep your Christmas tree green

Since my last article, we have all endured the Black Friday and Cyber Monday onslaught. As an update, my daughter still has her heart set on a hermit crab (Santa does not deliver live animals,...

DATE: Dec. 4, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Many thanks to 4-H club leaders, parents

The holiday season is upon us. I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving. I hope it is filled with good food, family and friends. I am extremely thankful for all of my...

DATE: Nov. 27, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Cook your Thanksgiving turkey so it’s delicious – and safe to eat

I wait all year for Thanksgiving. There is nothing like that moist meat with gravy and whipped potatoes and, of course, the pie. Then, if I’m lucky, I get to eat it for three more days as...

DATE: Nov. 20, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

The best gift? Become a master gardener

Forty-one more shopping days until Christmas. I’m not sure what Santa has in mind for the kids, but I have seen plenty of commercials touting something called a “Furby,” which I’m thinking is some...

DATE: Nov. 13, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H puts emphasis on science, technology

Last month, thousands of youths across the country celebrated the sixth annual 4-H National Youth Science Day. This year’s experiment was designed by colleagues of mine at Colorado State University...

DATE: Nov. 6, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

CSU research puts dementia in new light

With each decade of life, our deep fears change. Some are realized and some are not. The fear of brain deterioration, memory loss and a loss of independence affects many of us. More than 25...

DATE: Oct. 29, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

In finest season, school garden project a joy

Two more days until the weekend. I find it difficult on these crisp fall days to sit inside the office, catching up on phone calls, emails and webinars, while the last of the sunlight dips behind...

DATE: Oct. 23, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

The 4-H year has begun, join a club now

The 2013-14 La Plata County 4-H program has begun. Open enrollment has started, and now is a great time for new families to join a club. The best way to see if a particular club is right for your...

DATE: Oct. 16, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Can or freeze your excess tomatoes

For many of us, gardens produce abundant quantities of tomatoes. There can be too much to eat, and when we start getting sores in our mouths, we know it’s time to stop. But what can be done with...

DATE: Oct. 9, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Apples: From Asia to Buckley Park

The apple. Malus spp. The fruit, synonymous with fall, school teachers Newton’s universal law of gravity, has a past much more storied than what many Americans believed started with Johnny...

DATE: Oct. 2, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

‘Code of the West’ can serve county’s 4-H’ers

The recent storms have caused considerable damage to our great state of Colorado. My thoughts and well wishes go out to all the victims and people affected by the destructive weather. In...

DATE: Sept. 25, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

When using the proper recipe, natural cleaners are effective

Homemade cleaners are surfacing more frequently as we are put off by chemicals in our lives. Often touted as natural, eco-friendly and less expensive, safe cleaning can be serious business and be...

DATE: Sept. 18, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Feeling ‘bleh’ about your garden? Plant some bulbs

I enjoy watching my landscape change with the months of the year – bulbs in the spring, flowering shrubs and trees in the early summer, perennials throughout the summer and the vegetable garden in...

DATE: Sept. 11, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Celebrate Neighborhood Days with friends

La Plata County is celebrating Neighborhood Days. Neighborhood Days provide our communities the opportunity to meet, reconnect and strengthen the bonds neighbors have with each other. This...

DATE: Sept. 4, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Time to prepare to preserve tomatoes

“Este paratus.” While we horticulturists sometimes like to wax Latin with our binomial nomenclature, this is not the genus and species of some exotic plant. It translates as “be prepared.” The...

DATE: Aug. 28, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

When canning, adjust recipe for altitude

Gardens are now producing because of the monsoon season, and many gardeners are preserving their produce. After seeing many of the canning entries at fairs in La Plata, Montezuma and Archuleta...

DATE: Aug. 21, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H volunteers, participants make a leader proud

Volunteers are the heart of 4-H. Each year, I am continually grateful and appreciative for the hard work and dedication the La Plata County 4-H volunteers exhibit. This wonderful group of people...

DATE: Aug. 13, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Celebrate our heritage, culture at the fair

Hour two into an eight-hour flight, leg one of a three-leg day. Isn’t flying fun? Airlines have taught us that if we actually wind up at our final destination, close to being on time and with all...

DATE: Aug. 7, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

80:20 rule: A simple path to health

Well, now, who would have expected it? Eating more produce and certain grains may help prevent the development of multiple chronic diseases. This is the conclusion from a study involving 1,020...

DATE: July 31, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Choose your college major carefully; it will affect student-loan repayment

Go to college to gain knowledge and become a better human being. Do what you love, and the money will follow. In today’s world, this dream needs a little substance. The right college degree...

DATE: July 10, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Campers discover their inner scientist

Happy Independence Day. It’s time to celebrate the good old red, white and blue. I hope everyone gets to enjoy the holiday in a fun and safe manner. I want to give a big “thank you” to all the...

DATE: July 2, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

At farmers market, learn about food

Even though I would never consider myself a “social butterfly,” I am not short on the gift of gab. If you get me talking about broad topics such as farming, gardening, landscaping or even baseball...

DATE: June 26, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

High-altitude adjustments will raise your baking game

Are you a transplant or summer resident having trouble with your cooking and baked goods? Do your cakes and meringues fall, is your rice hard, are your eggs raw or is your bread lacking flavor?...

DATE: June 19, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Local 4-H’ers to compete in state contests

La Plata County 4-H is excited to send 15 of its members to the Colorado State 4-H Conference next week in Fort Collins. The 2013 Colorado State 4-H Conference will be held Monday through June 21....

DATE: June 11, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Summer will bloom with garden events

Only 16 days until the nights start getting shorter. That’s right, our beloved summer days, lasting long into the early evening, will be getting shorter already. Interestingly enough, that also...

DATE: June 5, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Keep assets covered in digital jungle

Digital assets? What in the world are digital assets? You know about assets (savings and investments) in a bank account, jewelry or a car. Assets are all those things that have value and can be...

DATE: May 29, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

A capital opportunity comes to local 4-H’er

Riley Van Soelen has been selected to represent La Plata County for the Citizenship Washington Focus trip slated for June. He will experience the nation’s capital and governmental processes...

DATE: May 22, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Chilling effects come from tempting fate here

The Walls of Water are filled, the modified and jerry-rigged greenhouses are up, the black plastic is laid down on top of the soil. These are all ways that we gardeners try to get a jump on the...

DATE: May 15, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Celiac disease a hard one to keep up with

Celiac disease continues to be an increasing issue for local residents. It’s not our imagination, it is increasing. Based on 2012 information from the Mayo Clinic, 1 percent of the U.S. population...

DATE: May 8, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Students talk about benefits of 4-H before moving on

The end of the school year is near. Many La Plata County youths are buckling down to finish off strong. I suggest that students get good sleep at night, eat a healthy breakfast and stay positive...

DATE: April 30, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

My favorite month? Definitely not April

Topic of conversation at Sunday’s dinner: What are your favorite and least-favorite months of the year? Both kids quickly said December as their No. 1 favorite. Perhaps it’s because that’s...

DATE: April 24, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Apps are here to build your healthy diet

Smart phones, tablets, notebooks – take your pick. You have probably found that apps have an important place, be it radar weather alerts, changes in times and gates for flights, money budgets,...

DATE: April 17, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Media campaign targets youths to make positive choices

Animation films usually are not my cup of tea. However, at “4-H Movie Night” on Friday, I enjoyed watching “Despicable Me.” I am a sucker for good-overcoming-evil themes, and this movie nailed it....

DATE: April 10, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Organic stuff, mulch, water make excellent birthday gifts

Three weeks ago, I lamented about the poor snowpack, the dismal drought forecast and the potential ramifications that these situations could have on our growing season. And I may have mentioned...

DATE: April 3, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Certain papers very important this time of year

This is the time of year we go through those stacks of papers to find critical receipts, bank statements and tax returns, and then wonder what we need to keep. A handy chart can help guide you on...

DATE: March 27, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Going abroad can broaden outlook

Ten years ago, I took my first big adventure outside the United States. I grabbed a backpack and headed for New Zealand. I took part in a seven-month sustainable agriculture program with others...

DATE: March 20, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Time to start planning for more dryness

So yes, Hawaii was nice. It’s nice to sleep with the doors and windows open in February. It was pleasant to eat bananas, avocados and mangoes right from the trees. I found it enjoyable to go...

DATE: March 13, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Want financial health? Try these calculations

The automatic cuts by the federal government went into effect March 1 – $85 billion is actually 2.4 percent of total federal budget. How many of us are making cuts so much greater than that? Where...

DATE: March 6, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Bayfield girl is a shining light of 4-H

All over this county we have shining stars. One bright star I would like to highlight today is Sadie Yates. Sadie is the daughter of Troy and Molly Yates of Bayfield. Sadie has been a member of the...

DATE: Feb. 27, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Pineapple on the beach and upcoming events

Just want to let you all know that I am taking one for the team this week. I am sacrificing my Tuesday morning to make sure that I give you readers some pertinent gardening information. In...

DATE: Feb. 20, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

The power of red: Good for you and delicious

Today is the ultimate special heart day and month – red for Valentine’s Day as well as American Heart Month. Red is a color that deserves a special place in your life daily. Consider including red...

DATE: Feb. 13, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

‘Country Nerds’ circle county for Catch-it

I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable 2013 Snowdown. My experience was losing in the first round of the Snowdown Cribbage Tournament and catching a cold that kept me away from any weekend...

DATE: Feb. 6, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

It’s time when ideas plant in my brain

My loving wife frequently asks me: “Where would you be without a project?” And while I feel like I am more than willing to relax in a lounge chair during the doldrums of winter or the dog-days of...

DATE: Jan. 30, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

If you are seeing red Feb. 1, that’s good

Next Friday, Feb. 1, is the best day to wear red – to support National Wear Red Day and the battle against women’s heart disease. This is the 11th year that wearing red for women’s heart awareness...

DATE: Jan. 23, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

There are 4 of them: Which ‘H’ are you?

What’s your H? The Colorado State University 4-H program has released a new media campaign. This campaign engages people to discover which one of the four H’s they most likely represent. To refresh...

DATE: Jan. 16, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Companies sow seeds early – lots of them

Years ago, seed companies would start sending out their vegetable catalogs in late winter with the hopes of capitalizing on upcoming spring fever. But in some evolutionary fashion, one that has run...

DATE: Jan. 9, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Ideas, meetings to keep you healthy in 2013

Here’s to a healthy new year. What can you do to enhance the good things you already do? Focusing on small steps and improvements provides a greater chance for success. I suggest a couple of health...

DATE: Jan. 2, 2013 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Local 4-H shooter qualifies for national event

A 4-H member in western La Plata County dreams of one day being an Olympic athlete. Cole Crawford of the Mountain Shadows 4-H club is working on that dream through his dedicated participation in...

DATE: Dec. 26, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Nature and hugs – two ways to stop the violence

Last Friday, I sat in my office watching the snow fall, delaying the brutally tedious task of reporting a year full of projects, contacts, outcomes and evaluation results. In an attempt to...

DATE: Dec. 19, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Spend money smartly and enjoy holidays

What do holiday parties, trips, family gatherings, decorating and shopping have in common this time of year? Next month’s paycheck! Being out and about while shopping and feeling the mood, it’s...

DATE: Dec. 12, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H’ers make good adults, study says

What do Faith Hill, Julia Roberts, David Letterman, Temple Grandin, Reba McIntire and Herschel Walker have in common? Each is an American icon. Each is known to be a consummate professional. And...

DATE: Dec. 5, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Master Gardeners – once scary, now a necessity

Way back when, in a previous Extension lifetime, I worked in Palm Beach County, Fla. For those of you unfamiliar with Florida geography, Palm Beach County lies on the east coast of the state, just...

DATE: Nov. 28, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Reflux may be unwelcome post-meal visitor

This is a time we enjoy our family and friends, eat more, stress more, sleep less and change our routines. While you are around family and friends more than usual you might notice some...

DATE: Nov. 21, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Visiting 4-H clubs a highlight of the job

Getting out of the office and into the field is always a highlight of the work I get to do. For me, that means visiting 4-H clubs all over La Plata County. The focus of my present visits is to...

DATE: Nov. 14, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

School gardens are good place to learn

The other day I was having a discussion with my soon-to-be 7-year-old son. While our “discussions” frequently surround engrossing topics such as Pokémon cards (the most confusing “game” known to...

DATE: Nov. 7, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Tips on helping others deal with tragedy

Each of us has a special day that changed our life. Mine was nine years ago today. My life and my family’s life were forever altered in ways I never imagined. I have found that others who have had...

DATE: Oct. 31, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Everyone can vote for youth assets

Blue or red? Republican or Democrat? Liberal or conservative? That’s right, it’s election time. I encourage all eligible voters to take part in democracy and go out and vote. It has been quite an...

DATE: Oct. 24, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Apple Days were a sweet success

Although I am getting older and my memories are growing fuzzier, for the life of me – year after year – I cannot think of a more enjoyable month than October. It seems as if each year when this...

DATE: Oct. 17, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Here’s how to use reusable bags

There is lot of current controversy about grocery bags. Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, the bigger issue is the safety of the bags you put your groceries into and what comes out....

DATE: Oct. 10, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

National 4-H Week is made for celebrating

National 4-H Week will be held Oct. 7-13, and La Plata County is celebrating the program’s youths who have made an impact on the community and are stepping up to the challenges of a complex and...

DATE: Oct. 3, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Many reasons for the bear buzz

Apparently, bears have replaced the strange summer weather, politics and even the debatable worthiness of plastic bags as the most popular dinner table conversation. “What’s with all these bears?...

DATE: Sept. 26, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

What a community bounty it was

Many of our gardens are winding down, and finding ways to keep some for later and sharing some of the bounty with others keeps us busy. This last weekend, more than 28 local garden owners (private...

DATE: Sept. 19, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Local 4-H kids make mark at state level

Each year I get to go to the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo and help set up the buildings that display all the 4-H projects. And each year, I am truly amazed at the wide diversity of projects and...

DATE: Sept. 12, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

For fruits, it’s a dangerous, goofy time

September: the most dangerous month, outside of June, for gardeners. Yes, in June we can get freezes into the second week of the month, and then the next day temperatures could be in the 90s. But...

DATE: Sept. 5, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Food for thought, and for the less fortunate

It’s exciting how local gardens are now really producing. If your garden is producing more than you need, here’s a thought: Drop off extra produce at the La Plata County Fairgrounds between 8 a.m....

DATE: Aug. 29, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Thanks to all who helped make fair a success

The La Plata County 4-H community came together once again earlier this month for another successful county fair. The success of such a large event cannot be done without the help of so many great...

DATE: Aug. 22, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

New noise heard in fair’s wake

Ah, the fair is over. Without the chickens, hogs, carnival rides and packed Exhibit Hall, this place seems a little quiet. Kind of like when the teenagers go off to college – the silence is bliss,...

DATE: Aug. 15, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Healthy stew of topics – just don’t eat too much

So many choices to write about – the new requirements for school lunches, the La Plata County Fair (in full swing), food preservation, recent fitness findings. ... Today, it will be a...

DATE: Aug. 8, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

See what 4-H members have been up to

“Sew it, Grow it, Show it!” The 2012 La Plata County Fair events will begin this weekend and will run through Aug. 12. The County Fair is always a great celebration of our community and 4-H youths....

DATE: Aug. 1, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

’Tis the season to get busy with events galore

While I may be a very season-focused person – can’t wait to ski when it’s October; itching to start gardening in February; dying for days when jumping in the river feels good in April; and longing...

DATE: July 25, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Evacuation: It’s scary, but don’t be afraid to study up

We are thrilled with the recent rains, and it appears our monsoon is having an effect. Many of us survived without rushing home “in case of fire evacuation.” We all had friends, co-workers or...

DATE: July 18, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H’ers enjoy Minn. cultural exchange

The La Plata County 4-H interstate exchange club has just returned home from a wonderful week visiting with Pipestone County, Minn., 4-H. The interstate exchange is a two-year program. This year...

DATE: July 11, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Maybe it’s dry enough to rethink your landscape

Wow, it’s dry. The limited snowpack was a precursor of things to come, but I’m not sure that very many of us expected to have such a long period of drought. We’re beyond weeks – now we are at...

DATE: July 4, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

A new way of thinking about hydration

During these hot days of summer, I offer one small way each of us can conserve more water. Just doing various, everyday activities, the average person in the United States uses 100 to 123 gallons...

DATE: June 27, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Responsibility, not rainmaking

I think we can all agree with country music star Luke Bryan when he sings, “But where I come from, rain is a good thing.” As we officially enter the summer season, we can only hope the skies above...

DATE: June 20, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

They’re colorful, and they’re not too thirsty

The Durango Botanical Society just returned from its inaugural – and incredibly successful – pilgrimage to visit public and private gardens in and around the Denver metro area. The group gained...

DATE: June 13, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Getting healthy with the Durango diet

Summer is here in all its glory. Gardens are being planted and, for many of us, summer renews our love of this area. As you plant your garden, I encourage you to plant an extra row for those who...

DATE: June 6, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

For me, ornamentals a pretty new development

Truth be told, I’m a vegetable kind of guy. No, not because my head is as bald as a melon; it’s just that in the horticultural world, my interests tend to lie with edible crops. While earning my...

DATE: May 23, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Are you ready? How to prepare for an emergency

During the last month, people I know have had homes burn down. It makes one think: Just how prepared are each of us, personally? Personal safety comes in many forms. As with everything else, the...

DATE: May 16, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Dog urine: It just comes with the territory

I am always amazed as to how the mind works in relation to the seasons.During the latter part of winter, while I do enjoy perusing the seed catalogs and ordering way too much for my space, I’m in...

DATE: May 2, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Wash reusable bags – they can breed bacteria

Reusable tote bags have become popular in our community, and they serve as an eco-friendly, trendy way to transport groceries. But, they might be getting you sick. Cross-contamination occurs when...

DATE: April 25, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H relevant by changing with times

If you were to ask people what 4-H is about, a large number would say, “cooking and cows.” Yes, that’s where the emphasis of 4-H was years ago, and those quality projects are still important...

DATE: April 18, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

You asked for it: More about raspberries

Boy, you all are quite the impatient group. Three weeks ago I gave an introduction on raspberries and how they grow. I gave you the “teaser” that in my next article, which is this one, we would...

DATE: April 11, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

State bill should help cottage foods

A new opportunity was just signed into law two weeks ago – the Colorado Cottage Foods Act. The bill’s intent is to support economic development by generating entrepreneurial opportunities and...

DATE: April 4, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Time to address cyber-bullying is now

Cyber-bullying, an issue taking on greater societal concern, was the focus last week during a La Plata County 4-H/FFA anti-bullying night I hosted for our senior-level members. In preparing for the...

DATE: March 28, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Raspberries: Worth bite out of your time

When my son was 3, his older sister convinced him that a ripe red raspberry was nothing but a piece of fruit that had a bunch of bug bites on it. Keep in mind this was a 3- and 5-year-old having a...

DATE: March 21, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Corned beef a St. Patrick’s Day treat

Not only is this National Nutrition Month, it is also a time many of us enjoy a meal typically associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, this is an entrée inherently high in fat and sodium but also a...

DATE: March 14, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Sometimes, life lesson begins with baling twine

As the saying goes, “Think globally, act locally.” With that in mind, I would like to start off this article with a unique community service announcement from one of our La Plata County 4-H clubs....

DATE: March 7, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Spring nears; is it time to start ‘doing’?

Last weekend at the annual Homegrown Retreat, I had the pleasure of listening to two inspiring speakers. Friday night, Andy Nowak, (who has become the volunteer-to-end-all-volunteers for school...

DATE: Feb. 29, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Your first goal: Set up a winning plan

We are almost two months into the new year. How are those New Year’s resolutions going? Are you well on your way to reaching your weight or that financial goal, or have you fallen off? Is the...

DATE: Feb. 22, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

‘Coalition for Kids’ can help over school break

Durango School District 9-R’s winter break will be next week, and that’s a significant change to the school calendar. The weeklong winter break is the result of the reallocation of days during the...

DATE: Feb. 15, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Eat, drink to help to support Needham arboretum

I graduated from Needham Elementary School in 1984 with a degree in “being a kid.” I am pretty sure I graduated at the top of the class, although when everyone received the same degree, there...

DATE: Feb. 8, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Health and wealth – how they intertwine

It’s time again to start thinking about documents for your income tax and making those promises to do better this year keeping track of papers and expenses. What about those promises to eat better,...

DATE: Feb. 1, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Out comes garden hose, down comes snow

While many of us have been waiting patiently for winter to arrive, these last rounds of snow showers have made us quite ecstatic. Hopefully, the pattern of multiple inches of snow followed by warm...

DATE: Jan. 25, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H teaches learning as a lifetime skill

Education is a fundamental element to the betterment of our world. By educating ourselves about a variety of topics, we have the ability to make informed decisions and live productive, responsible...

DATE: Jan. 18, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

It’s radon-action time: Do you know your numbers?

January is National Radon Action Month, as declared by the Environmental Protection Agency. Seventy-five percent of our community has not yet tested for radon, so the urgency remains. Those who...

DATE: Jan. 11, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Note to plants: Please stay underground

As we start a new year – wearing shorts and a T-shirt, mind you – we here at Extension are looking forward to another exciting year. After a well-deserved holiday break, we have all returned with...

DATE: Jan. 4, 2012 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

‘Unity of community through agriculture’

The calendar year has almost come to an end. For me, this time each year is both reflective and forward thinking. I seem to contemplate experiences from not only the latest year but all the years I...

DATE: Dec. 28, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Lucky 13 tips to avoid holiday overeating

The eating frenzy began at Halloween and will continue through New Year. We feast until the Super Bowl is over. But it isn’t necessary to hibernate during the festivities to avoid packing on those...

DATE: Dec. 21, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Santa’s visit all about helping 4-H

Santa Claus is coming to town, and everyone is invited to the Durango Mall to get their picture taken with him. Santa and his helpers will be available for pictures the upcoming three weekends of...

DATE: Dec. 7, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

It’s not too early to think about your taxes

In the middle of the holiday season we have a lot on our minds, though it usually doesn’t include managing tax liabilities. Taking a few well-thought-out steps now can help you manage taxes, save...

DATE: Nov. 30, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Thanksgiving: It’s about food, and more

The day of food is such a good day. When else do you have the excuse to put gravy on everything, and even if it mixes with the cranberries, you marvel at the surprisingly good combination it makes?...

DATE: Nov. 23, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Lots of good options for the gluten sensitive

Gluten-free diets seem to be the trend lately. People go on a gluten-free diet only to find how difficult it is and go off it. If you suspect you need a gluten-free diet, do not start the diet...

DATE: Nov. 16, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Extension has tons to offer – so does 4-H

This week, I am attending the annual Colorado State University Extension forum on the CSU campus in Fort Collins. It always is a pleasure to meet with all of the Extension agents across the state...

DATE: Nov. 9, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

It’s autumn – time to put things to sleep

At some point, I hope to find a season that has enough open weekends that will allow me to work in the yard and garden. Winter? Well, it’s winter, and of course, all weekends are usually dedicated...

DATE: Nov. 2, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Feeling the heat from your utility bill? Here are some tips

With cold snaps becoming the rule more than the occasional phenomenon, it’s seems winter has began, as well as increased energy bills. In addition to efforts to be comfortable in your home, your...

DATE: Oct. 26, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Celebrate 4-H this month, and check out our new officers

October marks national 4-H month in America. Here in La Plata County, we are celebrating this occasion through our continued commitment to positive community development. We are doing this through...

DATE: Oct. 19, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

It’s Apple Days – please, no olives

Apple aficionados are sometimes hard to find. They are not as prevalent as wine snobs, cheese heads or olive connoisseurs. The latter I find most baffling. No matter how hard I try to like it, I...

DATE: Oct. 12, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Sure your food is safe? Maybe, maybe not

Cantaloupe? Lettuce? Sprouts? Ground beef? Is anything safe? The answer is: It depends. If I buy it locally, or from my farmers market or community-supported agriculture, will it be safe? Not...

DATE: Oct. 5, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

He is not Santa, but this guest will be bringing gifts, good cheer to Durango

The other night, I told my son that someone special was coming to town. “Santa?” he exclaimed with a look of amazement (followed by confusion, because that’s how a 5-year-old’s brain works),...

DATE: Sept. 28, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Time to celebrate your La Plata County neighbor

La Plata County 4-H is a proud member of the Child Youth and Family Master Plan Implementation Team. Being on the team allows us to work with a diversity of civic organizations looking to promote...

DATE: Sept. 21, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Food, the healthy kind, to be distributed

Eating with color on your plate – not a new concept but one that many of us still have trouble accomplishing. Beyond personal gardens, local grocery stores and farmers markets, there still seems to...

DATE: Sept. 14, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

In your communities, what’s most important?

Community – nine letters creating a word that can have an endless number of definitions. In my world, I have my immediate community of family: four people, an aging dog, a surly cat and a fish that...

DATE: Sept. 7, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H year to begin; first, a look back

September marks the start of a new 4-H year. This year, we will build on the successes of the past and fine-tune programs and add learning opportunities for the future. The beginning of a fresh...

DATE: Aug. 31, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Help children be healthy while they study

School has begun, and grocery carts are filling with goods for the lunch box and snacks. Is the lunch sent from home any better than that offered by the school? Look at options such as variety,...

DATE: Aug. 24, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

An extension agent’s work never done

Now that another successful and rewarding La Plata County Fair is in the books, all of us here at Colorado State University Extension will forget to charge our so-called smart phones, put the “out...

DATE: Aug. 17, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Come for the fair, stay for barbecue

It is that time of year again to celebrate our community through the La Plata County Fair. The theme of the 63rd annual fair is “Blue Ribbon Fun.” Now, we know not everyone will receive a blue...

DATE: Aug. 10, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

A wealth of knowledge for 4-H kids

4-H members have been participating this month in two great programs. The first is the 4-H Interstate Exchange program. The second is the 4-H Natural Resources Camp. La Plata County 4-H has a proud...

DATE: July 20, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Cut the fat: Fiber found to help your battle

Yet another reason to increase intake of soluble fiber (fruits, vegetables and beans) in our diet. According to the National Institutes of Health...

DATE: July 13, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Be wary of ‘miracle grass’ in high, dry S.W. Colo.

The other day, a couple who recently relocated to our corner of Colorado from Missouri came into my office with an advertisement touting a “new cultivar of turfgrass” that will change the way we...

DATE: July 6, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

‘Norms’ is a positive project of the community

La Plata County is blessed with a wide array of spectacular outdoor adventure activities. From mountain biking to river rafting to fishing and hunting, La Plata County is a nature lover’s paradise....

DATE: June 29, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Food preservation a Fair thought

It’s official – the La Plata County Fair is a mere six weeks away.The county fair offers a fascinating cross-section of our community – not only is this a time to see longtime friends in one place,...

DATE: June 22, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Irrigation: Find system that works and use it

June can be a rough month for weather, and this year has been no exception. In what seemed to be a never-ending combination of winter/spring (maybe we should just call it “sprinter” or “wing”), we...

DATE: June 15, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Looking for a healthy lifestyle? Sign up now

Health is a core belief of the 4-H program, as evidenced by the four Hs of the 4-H clover: head, heart, health and hands. 4-H is dedicated to developing physical, mental and emotionally healthy...

DATE: June 8, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Food pyramid makes radical shape change

Word has it that there is to be a new food pyramid that won’t be a pyramid. Instead, we are getting a simplified, plate-shaped symbol sliced into wedges representing basic food groups with half the...

DATE: June 1, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Library garden under way; hopefully secret’s out

The Secret Garden is a book written by Frances Hodgson Burnett in the first part of the 20th century. Up until two weeks ago, I had never heard of it. See, I am not much of a reader. I wish I was,...

DATE: May 25, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Summer looms – how much too much for kids?

Spring is here. Summer vacation is around the corner. Let the scheduling begin! Monday is soccer practice, Tuesday is dance practice, Saturday is the sleepover and soccer game, Sunday is the...

DATE: May 18, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

STEM initiative gives youths valuable tools

A workforce strong in science, technology, engineering and math is essential for Colorado to compete in the national global economy. When they participate in the community and service projects with...

DATE: May 11, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Fruit trees may shrug off chill – or not

Even though I turned 39 a couple of days ago, I don’t want to sound like the old curmudgeon. You all know the one – or are the one – who scoffs when people complain about the weather: “I remember...

DATE: May 4, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Best to start financial planning now

One becomes conservative when one has something to conserve. We spend time building valued assets and gifts (including children). But where is that essential step in protecting these assets –...

DATE: April 27, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Volunteering: 4-H’ers know the term well

While negative stereotypes abound on the outlooks, lifestyles and attitudes of this country’s young people today, most are actually healthy, happy and productive members of society. In fact, the...

DATE: April 20, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Garden should be a place to enjoy

As I mentioned in my previous article, the kids and I recently designed the 2011 vegetable garden. They were excited to impress upon me how many different veggies they are willing to plant and try;...

DATE: April 13, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Cross-contamination an issue in gluten-free

Lately, I find myself in numerous discussions and questions involving gluten-free foods. While chatting with a dear friend, Jan Phillips (a local health educator), she shared several frustrations...

DATE: April 6, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H community hurting after accident claims youth

The La Plata County 4-H community is deeply saddened by the unfortunate loss of Shaniah Farmer. Shaniah was an active member of the Bayfield Riders 4-H club. She participated in horse project and...

DATE: March 30, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Spring blossoms nice, but it’s a bit early

And then it was spring. Not sure how we got here so quickly, and I can’t honestly expect it to last. Of course it will snow again (I believe I said that a couple months ago, and it really hasn’t...

DATE: March 23, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Latest tree survey shows spruce beetle on rise

The spruce beetle remains a serious threat in Southwest Colorado, according to results from the recently released 2010 forest health annual aerial survey.Each year, observers with the Colorado...

DATE: March 16, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Each of the 4 H’s provide important tools

St. Patrick’s Day is just a week away. This is a great opportunity to highlight the 4-H club emblem – the four-leaf clover with an “H” on each leaf. These “H’s” stand for Head, Heart, Hands and...

DATE: March 9, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Credit card changes still taking shape

It has been a year since changes were implemented for credit cards. An additional result, and lesser known action, was the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Its purpose is to...

DATE: March 2, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Food retreat all about finding common direction

I usually never retreat from food. Just ask my mom (peach cobbler) or my wife (Indian food) or my dad (chile rellenos). However, this Friday and Saturday, I hope to join many of you at the third...

DATE: Feb. 23, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H projects can teach vital life lessons

4-H projects are a great way to “learn by doing.” They provide members the opportunity to learn physical, mental and social skills. In addition, members gain knowledge about a specific discipline...

DATE: Feb. 16, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Home energy credits still available, with strings

It is closing in on income tax preparation time; some are stressed while others relish a return. If you get significant dollars back annually, you might want to change your deductions. Basically,...

DATE: Feb. 9, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Fruit tree status running hot and cold

Seriously? Just three short weeks ago I was all doomy-gloomy about chilly temperatures – so much so that I even advertised my next article (the one you are reading now) as to “how cold temperatures...

DATE: Feb. 2, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

A winning program that has a winning attitude

Jessica Igo and Mallory Emerson, two livestock judging coaches at Colorado State University, are eager to highlight hometown heroes all across our state, and to let people know about one of CSU’s...

DATE: Jan. 26, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

The chill can kill; if we’re lucky it won’t

Not sure if you all have noticed, but 2011 has already had some really cold nights. So cold that my wife is going to Montana today – to get warm. As plant enthusiasts, horticulturists and plant...

DATE: Jan. 12, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Hey women, take this matter to heart

The whirlwind of the holidays is almost done. As you look at the red bows and ribbons, I challenge you to put a new emphasis on them. The gift of life and health. Think about each woman who is...

DATE: Dec. 29, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Riding the storms out – it’s all we can do

“Epic snowstorm forecast for mountains,” read the link on what must have been 10 different friends’ Facebook pages this week. As an avid skier, there is probably no better phrase to hear, read,...

DATE: Dec. 22, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Santa at the Mall a fundraiser for 4-H

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas! I would like to invite everyone down to the Durango Mall to get their picture taken with Santa Claus. Santa and his helpers will be available for pictures from this...

DATE: Dec. 15, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Poignant ‘thankfuls’ come from young and old

As parents, my wife, Andrea, and I have been blessed to have both of our kids go to Children’s House Montessori. We love its teaching principles and the way the teachers let the kids decide the...

DATE: Nov. 24, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Eating breakfast always good idea

A recent study linked lack of adequate sleep to the growing problem of obesity, and other research has shown the importance of eating a good breakfast for weight management.It isn’t surprising we...

DATE: Nov. 10, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Becoming Master Gardener opens possibilities

There is a good chance that while you are reading this column, the last of this year’s harvest is making its way through the dehydration process. I still have a fair amount of food in the garden –...

DATE: Nov. 3, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Want health? Follow the rainbow

What is the connection between you, your garden and the increasing health-insurance costs? We know that heart disease, diabetes, cancer and lung disease are the leading causes of death and...

DATE: Oct. 27, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

4-H promotes positive development

Youth development is a community effort. La Plata County 4-H and other youth organizations would like to promote positive youth development in our region. We can do this by following successful...

DATE: Oct. 20, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Festival may whip up Appleseed spirit

Last year, my Master Gardener volunteers bestowed upon me a plate. Unbeknownst to me, this wasn’t a plate that one would eat dessert from, but instead the plate you display on a shelf. Painted upon...

DATE: Oct. 13, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

There are many ways to save energy

So you didn’t do the solar panels or geothermal stuff to get the tax credits for energy savings for homes. Well, the tax credits will go away Dec. 31, but there is still time for the 30 percent for...

DATE: Oct. 6, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

For many crops, growing season isn’t over

Snow on the mountains this week. Glorious. Other than the first fall frost, there is nothing else that jolts our memory into remembering that winter is around the corner. For many of us in...

DATE: Sept. 29, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Program focuses on work preparation

While the Extension Office has been successfully developing young people into capable, competent, caring, contributing citizens through 4-H for more than 100 years, it is becoming increasingly...

DATE: Sept. 22, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

New 4-H agent wants club to thrive

Greetings, San Juan Basin. My name is Greg Felsen and I am the new 4-H youth development extension agent in La Plata County. I am replacing the wonderful commitment to service and community...

DATE: July 21, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Golden years can be gold with good planning

When it comes to retirement pensions, questions abound. Will there be enough? How can I help it along? Where to put it?If you are like me, these questions leave you with your head spinning and...

DATE: June 10, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

High altitude is the bane of local bakers

This Memorial Day weekend we welcome visitors who will experience a variety of altitude problems - shortness of breath,bloody noses and faster sunburns. The same things that create these problems...

DATE: May 27, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Reading labels important when going gluten-free

To continue our discussion on gluten-free diets, this week I'll briefly discuss some pitfalls as well as findingadditional information. For starters, you need to raise your awareness, prevent...

DATE: May 12, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Hanging out on the beach, thinking about local food

Writing columns while on spring break is tough.Finding an outlet for the laptop on the beach can be a serious challenge; making sure the margarita doesn't spill andfry the motherboard is a risk...

DATE: March 11, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Exercise, health measured in nation's counties

Two weeks ago, two fascinating reports gave a snapshot for the health of Colorado.The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the first time provided ranking of counties in each state based on...

DATE: March 4, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Study includes look at 'food shed'

Local food. To some, the concept entails what you grow - your backyard, your fields, your animals. To others, “localfood" is what you buy at your neighborhood grocery store.Then there exists the...

DATE: Feb. 25, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Storing water is a good idea in case of emergency

As we experience snowstorms, broken water pipes, loss of electricity, contaminated wells and, soon to come, springfloods, we are reminded to be prepared. One basic item is water.Experts advise a...

DATE: Feb. 18, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Divorce has unconsidered emotional, financial impacts

The unspoken big D - Divorce! Divorce is one of the most damaging events in the lives of individuals and families (andfriends) who go through it - both financially and emotionally.It is hard to...

DATE: Jan. 14, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

No resolutions, just a list for 2010

New Year's Resolutions - I don't typically make them, so this year I decided to try something different: a New Year'sList.I figured that this way, there would be at least a one-in-five shot that I...

DATE: Jan. 7, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Some advice pertaining to debit and credit cards

More and more it seems, businesses no longer accept checks (unless, perhaps, with a pint of blood or my firstborn). Itis becoming a cash, debit or credit-card system.According to Visa, debit cards...

DATE: Dec. 31, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

The most valuable present of all

The Christmas tree, in the chronicles of the Parmenter family, seems to have an illustrious past that is worthy ofdocumentation.Similar to the Griswold family (from the movie “Christmas Vacation"),...

DATE: Dec. 24, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

It's best to keep your ID information to yourself

Yes, this is a time of peace, humanity and generosity, but only what and when we choose to give.This is a time to protect yourself and your family members. Again, I want to suggest you minimize...

DATE: Dec. 17, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Good luck getting a jump on this scourge

I've gotta be honest - my vegetable garden is struggling this year. And I am afraid it might be karma.To those of you who can remember, back in March I mentioned that if gardeners were feeling...

DATE: July 16, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Frost may nip longer than you think

I have a secret, and it is one that not even my family knows about. If my kids knew about this they would never leave me alone, especially around Christmas.I can see the future.I can tell when you...

DATE: May 28, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Taking a look at sugar in the diet

High fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, certainly has been given a lot of attention recently (Environmental Nutrition, November 2008). The increase in obesity coinciding with HFCS in the diet has made...

DATE: April 16, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Cold greets participants at Market Beef Weigh-in

It never fails. I guess we're fortunate the weather forecasts were off Saturday because we didn't get the snow that was predicted, but we did get the overcast skies and cold westerly winds.Those...

DATE: March 12, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Local weeds conferences to address management

Long ago, when I was a wee-young 20-something going to college, I was frequently asked, why horticulture? In fact, many people didn't even ask "why" but "what" is horticulture. Inevitably, there...

DATE: Feb. 19, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Follow these steps to help save seeds for reharvesting

For those of you who may not remember my last article, I discussed seeds - primarily those of vegetables and flowers - in all their glory. Oh, and by the way, why are you forgetting my articles?We...

DATE: Feb. 12, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

A good time to evaluate spending

A new year - clean slate, as you will.This is the time for keeping resolutions and goals. A new program I offer equates several of the actions for weight loss to establishing a financial cushion...

DATE: Feb. 5, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Radon an issue to consider in Southwest Colorado

On Jan. 5, Gov. Bill Ritter and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proclaimed January as National Radon Action Month.All residents (renters and owners) are urged to screen test their home for...

DATE: Jan. 15, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

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