Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fruitcake 101

Photo credit: Jonathunder, via Wikimedia Commons
As we approach the holidays, fruitcake may be on the menu.  Can you keep a fruitcake for extended time and it still be safe to eat?  Find the answer below.  

More on fruitcake safety here:

By: Matt Shipman
NC State News

The Art of Making Cheese

wedge of cheeseInterested in learning more about making cheese?  Visit the links below to learn more.  Great information and lessons for kids and adults.

 The age level each resource is geared towards is included as well as a content overview:

Compiled by: Zandra Alford
Extension Associate, Foods and Nutrition
Youth, Family, and Community Sciences 
NC State University

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Gluten Free & Sugar Free Baking Options

Looking for some Gluten Free and Sugar Free Options?  Visit the links below

One resource that focuses on gluten-free baking and provides a suggested substitute for sugar is They offer gluten-free baking videos, tips & tricks, and recipes ( For sugar substitution they suggest, "3/4 cup honey can be substituted for 1 cup of granulated or brown sugar, if liquid in the recipe is reduced by 1/4 cup.  Maple syrup, brown rice syrup and agave can also be used instead of honey." (from

In regards to gluten-free baking in general, this resource out of Oregon Coop Ext. provides some helpful tips (
grandmother and child baking

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Diabetes Today / Healthy Holiday Side Dishes

Make plans to join us at the Alleghany Wellness Center on Monday, November 7th from 12 - 1 pm as we learn about eating healthy during the holidays.  There will be delicious recipes and free food samples will be provided.  Please register by calling 336-372-5597.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Well Owner Tip Sheet - October 2016

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October, 2016
Hydrogen Sulfide: Its effects and elimination

Hydrogen sulfide is a gas with a characteristic rotten-egg odor. In groundwater systems, it is common and originates from bacterial reactions with organic matter or hydrocarbons often associated with oil and natural gas.
In groundwater, hydrogen sulfide may occur in water dissolved or as a gas.
What kind of problems does hydrogen sulfide cause?
Hydrogen sulfide is pungent to humans at low concentrations—often at levels above 0.03 parts per million (ppm). Human reactions to hydrogen sulfide may include:
  • Discomfort, at 0.04 ppm
  • Headaches, depression, dizziness, 0.08 to 2 ppm
  • Coughing, throat irritation, shortness of breath, 2.5 to 5 ppm
  • Nausea, vomiting, 0.32 to 20 ppm
  • Irritability, sleep loss, fatigue, memory loss, 0.32 to 20 ppm
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss, 0.7 to 40 ppm
  • Bronchitis, 10 ppm
  • Eye irritation, 10 to 20 ppm
  • Conjunctivitis and pain, 50 ppm for one-hour exposure
  • Eye damage, 50 to 100 ppm
  • Pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), 200 ppm
  • Death, 600 to 800 ppm.
Hydrogen sulfide forms an explosive mixture with air from 5.9 percent to 77.2 percent by volume. Ten (10) ppm is the standard concentration in air established by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to trigger an on-site warning; 50 ppm is the standard for trigging emergency actions.
Unless properly ventilated, hydrogen sulfide will remain in places such as a well house or pump house because it is heavier than air.
Effects on well systems

As little as 1 ppm can corrode iron, steel, copper, and brass found in pumps, faucets, appliances, and some well casings. Corrosion can leach metal into the water.
Often high dissolved sulfide concentrations in a well can be reduced by mechanical cleaning of the well and disinfection that kills the type of bacteria that causes it.
Sometimes a rotten-egg odor is present in hot water only. This could be caused by the reaction of sulfur ions in the water with a magnesium rod in the hot water tank. If so, these rods can often be replaced with aluminum fixtures or removed (check with the manufacturer) to eliminate the problem.
Testing is best done on site because hydrogen sulfide evaporates and oxidizes rapidly. If you buy a test kit, test immediately after collecting a sample.
If using a laboratory, the lab will provide bottles with a stabilizing agent to ensure an accurate result.
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Eliminating the problem
Sometimes it is possible to deepen an existing well or drill a new well that yields water without unacceptable hydrogen sulfide levels. A gas-venting well cap also can be effective.
In other cases, some form of water treatment may be needed.
Among the technologies used are:
  • Aeration, which mixes air with water to separate out sulfide
  • Carbon filters
  • Chlorination
  • Ion exchange in which a resin absorbs hydrogen sulfide
  • Manganese greensand filtration
  • Oxidizing filters that change the hydrogen sulfide to sulfur for removal
  • Ozone treatment that chemically separates sulfur for removal.
Always work with qualified water well system or water treatment professionals when considering well system modifications or water treatment. Learn more at

Water rights compilation available
A summary of groundwater rights in the United States, Who Owns the Water?, is available from the Water Systems Council through support by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The report summarizes common law and statutory rules for groundwater rights in the 50 states and is intended for educational purposes only.
An electronic version is available for download on the WSC website. Hard copies can be obtained by

Recorded and live webinars
Click here to register and to view recordings of other webinars that already have taken place.
Scheduled webinars/FREE:
  • October 25—Water Treatment System Maintenance Basics

The Private Well Class: webinars and workshops
What Environmental Health Professionals Need to Know about Wells
November 7, 2016 from 1-2:30 p.m. CDT
The event has been submitted for pre-approval of 1.5 NEHA CE Credits and will be recorded.
Register for the webinar

Private Well Assessment and Outreach for EHPs
Learn private well fundamentals, how to assess a private well using the assessment tool, effectively engage private well owners, develop a program for outreach to well owners, and best practices for managing a well owner program. 

Approved for 4.0 NEHA CE credits with three dates available:
November 30, RegisterDecember 12, RegisterJanuary 6, Register

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National Ground Water Association
601 Dempsey Road
Westerville, Ohio 43081
(800) 551-7379
View in a browser | Unsubscribe


Pesticide Disposal Collection Day

When:  Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Where:  Alleghany County Fairgrounds
Time:  10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Sponsors:  NC Cooperative Extension - Alleghany Center & NCDA & CS

  • Most pesticide products will be accepted including banned and out-dated pesticides.
  • If label is unreadable or missing, contact the Extension Office for instructions @ 336-372-5597
  • Unknown materials cannot be accepted
  • Quantities greater than 5 gallons you must contact the Extension Office prior to pick-up day

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Decorating for Fall

Love the look of fall colored leaves and pumpkins? Bring some of these beautiful gifts of nature to the inside of your home.  Learn easy, inexpensive ways to transform your home to showcase some of our fall favorites.  

Join Alleghany County Cooperative Extension as we present "Decorating for Fall on a Budget" on Friday, October 7th from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm at the Alleghany County Public Library.  Bring a bag lunch and a fun fall desert will be provided.  Please call the Library at 336-372-5573 to register.  This is a free program.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Edible Arrangement Workshop

Celebrate Fruit & Vegetable Month by learning to make your own edible arrangements on Thursday, September 22nd from 4:30—5:30 pm at the Alleghany Public Library.  

The cost for the workshop is $10 and includes everything you need to make your own arrangement to take home. 

During the class we will: *Learn the procedure for constructing a simple fruit masterpiece  *Select items for edible centerpieces  *Make edible flowers  *Determine how many servings of fruit you should eat each day  *Identify some benefits of increased fruit consumption

Class size is limited, so call 336-372-5573 to register by September 21st.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Family & Consumer Sciences Newsletter / August-October 2016

The August-October edition of the Alleghany County Family & Consumer Sciences Newsletter is now available online.

Click Here to read this informational newsletter.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Food Safety on the Farm

Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 26th, as there will be a GAP training in Surry County. This workshop is targeted to produce/fruit growers needing GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) Certification.

Particpating  growers will receive the information and tools needed to create their own plan of action food safety manual. There is NO fee for this training. Extension has partnered with Surry Community College and through the Surry Skill-Up Project (Tobacco Trust Fund), the workshop and materials for participants will be PAID. 

Class is limited to the first 20, so register early. If you have questions, call Wythe Morris or Joanna Radford at the Surry Extension office at 336.401.8025.  

Monday, April 11, 2016

Dining With Diabetes

Alleghany Cooperative Extension, partnering with Appalachian District Health Department and Alleghany Wellness Center, is presenting Dining with Diabetes.

This 4 week course is a series of classes that will be presented by nutrition professionals and will include food samplings, recipes and help with planning menus for individuals with diabetes.

The course will be held from 5 - 6:30pm at the Alleghany Wellness Center on Tuesdays, starting April 26th.  The cost of the course is $12 per person (covers all food costs for all 4 classes).

The registration deadline is Friday, April 22nd and class space is limited to 15 persons.  You mail register by mail or in person to Alleghany Cooperative Extension, P.O. Box 7, 90 S. Main Street, Sparta, NC 28675.  Checks are payable to Extension Fund.

If you have any questions or would like more information call 336-372-5597.

** You do not have to have a diabetes diagnosis to attend this course, you may have prediabetes or a family member with diabetes **

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Small Farms Food Drive - benefiting Solid Rock Food Closet

Alleghany Cooperative Extension is participating in a statewide food drive that will benefit the Solid Rock Food Closet of Sparta.  We are participating in conjunction with the 30th Annual Small Farms Week celebration, March 20-26.

Sponsored by The Cooperative Extension Program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Small Farms Week pays tribute to the state’s small-scale growers. By expanding the scope of this year’s observance to include a food drive, Cooperative Extension is hoping to acknowledges farmers’ contribution to the health and economy of North Carolina as well as bringing awareness to food insecurity across our county and state.

We are hoping to collect 125 cans by March 15 but we need your help!!!

If you have canned and non perishable items you would like to contribute, please bring them to 90 S Main St, 3rd floor.  There is a box set up for your donations.  Anything is appreciated.

If you have questions, please contact the office at 336-372-5597.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tornado Safety

With the pending weather it never hurts to review procedures on Tornado Safety!!!


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Keep your Heating Unit in Top Shape

Keep Your Heating Unit in Top Shape

Your heating unit is working hard to keep you warm this winter, why not return the favor? Properly maintaining your unit is important for making sure it is at peak condition and that you get a long lifespan out of it.

Whether you have a heat pump, furnace, or other type of unit, there are some actions you can take to ensure that your system is working well:
  • Change your air filters monthly
  • Make certain that all duct work is properly sealed
  • Keep all supply and return vents open and free from obstructions such as furniture or rugs
  • Have your unit inspected on an annual basis to ensure optimal performance
To help keep you comfortable while the heat is on, think about the following:
  • Keep heat producing appliances (such as the TV) away from the thermostat
  • Use a programmable thermostat
  • Caulk and seal air leaks
For more information, check out the Home Energy Management website.  You may also want to visit for resources on home heating, including the following infographic on Home Heating Systems.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Family & Consumer Sciences Newsletter

The February/March 2016 edition of the Alleghany Family & Consumer Sciences Newsletter is now available online.  Click here to view.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Extension & Community Association Scholarships

Alleghany County Extension & Community Association (ECA) members are proud to announce they are accepting applications for the 2016 North Central District Extension and Community Association Scholarships.  The $800.00 scholarships are given to a youth and an adult who are continuing their education beyond the high school level in any field of study, but with priority given to a degree in family and consumer sciences.

A youth applicant is defined as a high school senior or a student currently enrolled in college having completed high school without a break in his /her formal education.  An adult is an individual who has completed high school and has had a break in his/her formal education and now wishes to further his/her education.  All applicants must be North Carolina residents and planning to attend a North Carolina accredited college, community college or technical institute the fall of 2015. Scholarships are awarded based on the following criteria:

  • Financial Need ~ 25%
  • Scholarship Potential ~ 25%
  • Activities and Honors ~ 25%
  • ECA Connection ~ 25%

The deadline for applications is February 12, 2016.  To obtain an application or for more information, call the Alleghany County Center of NC Cooperative Extension at 372-5597. 

Alleghany County Extension and Community Association (ECA) has three clubs and  more than 50 members located throughout the county.  The organization’s mission is to Strengthen Families through
·         Leadership Development
·         Volunteer Work
·         Educational Support
·         Researched-based education from North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University

Thursday, January 21, 2016

How to Prepare for Winter Weather

As we all prepare for the possibility of winter weather, don't forget about the resources available on the NC Disaster Information Center portal  --  This site includes resources on preparation as well as recovery after winter storms.

There is also a guide from FEMA, How to Prepare for Winter Storms.

Monday, January 11, 2016

January is National Radon Action Month

January is National Radon Action Month.  Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless and naturally-occurring radioactive gas that can only be detected through testing.

Click here to read the NC Healthy Homes Solutions newsletter.