Monday, November 16, 2015

Maintain, Don't Gain Holiday Challenge

Are you worried that you will gain weight during the upcoming holiday season?  If so, you can join the 10th annual Eat Smart, Move More, Maintain, don't gain! Holiday Challenge.

Instead of focusing on losing weight during throughout the holiday season, you can use this FREE information to gain tips, tricks and ideas to help you maintain your weight.

Click here for the link to help you begin your personal Holiday Challenge.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November 15th is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day

It’s time to tackle the one job that is dreaded by most but is an important task none the less.  It is often due to our hectic and busy lifestyles that the cleaning of the refrigerator gets neglected so hence the creation of National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day that is observed annually on November 15. 
It is perfect timing for this day as the holidays are coming soon and we will need room for all of the leftovers.   You might be surprised what you find on the back of the shelves.  Things are often pushed back as new food is put in the front and it is forgotten.
Here is a fun fact sheet that might help you...
Some suggestions for cleaning your refrigerator are:
  • Empty each shelf.
  • Completely wipe down the inside of refrigerator.
  • Wash drawers and under drawers.
  • Throw away all expired food.
  • Throw away any moldy food.
  •  Get rid of anything that you do not use.
  • Vacuum condenser coils.
  • Vacuum out under refrigerator.
  • Restock shelves and drawers with good food.
  • Enjoy your nice, clean, organized refrigerator.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

4th Annual 4-H Holiday Poinsettia Plant Sale

It's time for the 4th Annual Alleghany 4-H Holiday Poinsettia Plant Sale.  They are offering 4 color choices in 2 different sizes, as well as foil and bow options.  Click here for the description / order form.

The deadline for taking orders and payment is Friday, November 20th.  The plant pick up date will be Tuesday, November 24th from 9am to 5pm.

Help Alleghany 4-H help our local youth.  ALL proceeds are used to provide scholarship opportunities for 4-H Camp and other 4-H events.

For any questions or for more information, please call 336-372-5597 or you can email Michele Hamm.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Horse flood/wind damage disaster planning

With the heavy rains and possible hurricane conditions that are affecting the state right now, it is important to advise those with horses/horse farms about disaster planning.

Please promptly share the following links with any horse owners in your areas and stress the importance of planning for a weather disaster before it occurs.  Anyone with questions or needing assistance can contact the Extension Horse Husbandry office.
NCAGR Horse Disaster Preparedness:
Emergency Boarding Facilities in NC accepting horses for evacuation:
Un iversity of Florida Equine Hurricane Preparedness document:

Private Wellowner Tip Sheet - September 2015

Visit the Private Wellowner Tip Sheet link for valuable information from the National Ground Water Association.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Cluster Meetings discussing Avian Flu

Currently there are four cluster meetings organized to discuss Avian Flu, Biosecurity, Small Flock registrations. Speakers will be Dan Campeau and possibly Dr. Donna Carver. Please see the locations and contact information below.

Oct. 5, 2015
Time: 6:30pm
Location: Moore Co. CES Center
PIC/RSVP-Kelly McCaskill,

Oct. 13, 2015
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: Granville County Exposition Center
PIC/PSVP-Paul Westfall,

Oct. 22, 2015
Time:  6:00pm
Location: Ashe Co. Extension Center
PIC/RSVP: Micah Orfield,

Oct. 29, 2015
Time: 6:30pm
Location: Forsyth Co. CES Center
PIC/RSVP- April Bowman,

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Possible NC Avian Flu Outbreak Information

The NCDA&CS Veterinary Division has released an article concerning a possible avian influenza outbreak.  Please note that this will affect poultry growers of all size models, large and small scale. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Farmers Market Vendor Meeting

Farmers Market Meeting for Vendors - Wed, May 6 (2-3 pm) or Thurs, May 7 (10 - 11 am). You do not have to attend both. This is a required meeting to: learn about new Farmers Market policy,Farmers Market State Regulations, meet the new Farmers Market Manager & tour the new facility. Please RSVP to Aaron Ray Tompkins @ 336-372-5597 or

Friday, March 6, 2015

2015 Alleghany 4H Plant Sale

Alleghany 4-H is currently taking orders for their 2015 Annual 4-H Plant Sale...

The following types of plants are available to purchase:

  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Flowers
  • Herbs
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Vegetables
Order & Payment Deadlines:
For Blueberries ~ Monday, March 23rd
For All Other Plants ~ Tuesday, April 17th
Payment is due at the time orders are placed

** Credit/Debit cards can now be accepted for payment, with a small fee of 3.75% or less charged.  Phone orders can/will be accepted with a credit/debit card purchase**

Pick-Up Dates:
For Blueberries ~ April 1-2 (9am-5pm)
For All Other Plants ~ April 23-24 (9am-5pm)

CLICK HERE to view and/or print your plant description / order form or you may pick one up at the Extension Office.  Call 336-372-5597 or email Michele Hamm for more information.

ALL proceeds are used for scholarships for Alleghany County youth to attend 4-H Camp and other 4-H programming.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Growing Together Newsletter

The newsletter for parents of preschool children.

March Growing Together Newsletter

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Italian Peasant Soup

On a cold, snowy day like today, thought i'd share a recipe given to me by a co-worker, thank you Deb.  It's rich, hearty and healthy plus super easy to throw together.

Originally from Taste of Home this one is sure to warm you up on even the coldest night.

TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 25 min. MAKES: 11 servings

1 lb. Italian Sausage, casings removed and cute into 1 inch slices
2 medium onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cans (15 ounces each) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped

Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

In a Dutch oven, cook sausage and onions over medium heat until no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Add chicken; cook and stir until no longer pink.
Stir in the beans, broth, tomatoes, basil and oregano. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add the spinach and heat just until wilted. Serve with cheese if desired. 

Yield: 11 servings (2-3/4 quarts).

1 serving (1 cup) equals 169 calories, 7 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 39 mg cholesterol, 471 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 16 g protein.

Originally published as Italian Peasant Soup in Quick Cooking January/February 2003, p27

Monday, January 26, 2015

Radon Test Kits

Just a reminder, Radon kits are still currently available at the Extension Office.   These are short-term test kits and are free of charge (limit one per household).  

Radon is the odorless, colorless gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The effects upon the families it touches can be just as devastating as lung cancer caused by smoking tobacco.

January is National Radon Action Month.  Each year upwards to 22,000 people die from radon-induced lung cancer. Roughly 54 percent of those diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer are expected to live no more than five years after diagnosis.

The Alleghany Cooperative Extension Service is partnering with the NC Radon program to provide free short-term radon test kits in recognition of National Radon Action Month.  A limited supply of radon test kits are being made available locally during the month of January at the Alleghany County Office Building – third floor -90 S Main St, Sparta.  No kits will be mailed and will be limited to one per household. 

Approximately 7,000 kits are being distributed statewide. Only one kit per home is needed to determine if your home has a high level.  The North Carolina Radon Program website,, will have a list of all 83 participating organizations across North Carolina. The NC Radon Program website will also have a limited supply of kits available.  Once the supply of free kits have been exhausted, the NC Radon Program website will return to providing short-term radon test kits at a reduced cost of $5.34, a kit retailed at $15.00.

The North Carolina Radon Program of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services educates families and homeowners about radon gas, how to test for radon gas and how to lower the radon levels within a home. Lowering the radon levels in a home lower the risk of lung cancer.

The North Carolina Radon Program website also contains a new mobile application.  Meant to particularly help real estate brokers working in North Carolina, the mobile application will assist the user in determining how many tests have been conducted within a zip code as well as the highest radon level recorded in that zip code.  The user of the APP will also be able to locate a certified professional to assist them in testing or fixing the radon issue in their home.

For more information - contact the Extension Office @ (336) 372-5597.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Grant Money Available - Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture

Grants up to $5,000 Available to Farmers in a Five County Region
BOONE, NC – Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture is releasing a request for proposals for farmers focusing on increasing production through innovation and sustainable methods. Letters of intent are mandatory and will be due by January 16, 2014. Applications will be due by February 6, 2014. Farmers are required to work with their local extension agent on the application and throughout the grant cycle. Please contact the County Extension Agents in your county listed below.
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) is dedicated to strengthening the High Country's local food system by supporting women and their families with resources, education, and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture. With funding from Heifer International, a global non-profit organization dedicated to working with community to end hunger and poverty while learning to care for the earth, roughly $30,000 will be distributed to local farmers in Alleghany, Ashe, Wilkes, and Watauga counties in North Carolina and Johnson County, Tennessee.
Applicants are able to apply for funds up to $5,000. Those who are interested in grants of $3,001 to $5,000 are required to develop a business plan during the grant cycle. Resources on business plan development are available through BRWIA and local extension agents. This grant program is modeled after WNC AgOptions, exclusively funded by the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.
Applicants should be farmers who demonstrate the economic viability of farms in the five-county region. Support is provided to farmers who are diversifying or expanding their operations to increase farm income and encourage the sustainability of the farm businesses. Funding requests should be for items directly related to the growing and harvesting of crops for sale, including livestock.
Please contact Carol Coulter by email ( or phone (828-386-1537) with any questions. Applications for the grant are available on BRWIA’s website ( or through your local extension agent.