Extension Viewpoints – The Pagosa Springs SUN http://www.pagosasun.com The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Thu, 23 Jan 2020 21:45:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.5 Extension Viewpoints: Winter weather and illness prevention http://www.pagosasun.com/extension-viewpoints-winter-weather-and-illness-prevention/ Fri, 24 Jan 2020 12:00:50 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=195989 By Robin Young and
Nicole Clark
SUN Columnist

Ever noticed how the onset of winter weather tends to increase the frequency of illness? While weather does play a role, it is not the direct cause. Rather, place blame on the true culprits causing your illness; for example rhinovirus (common cold) and influenza virus (flu).

The connection between winter and illness
The connection lies in the fact that cold, dry weather is the preferred environment for pathogens to replicate and thrive. Consequently, your body is exposed to more germs during winter. Aside from heading south when temperatures drop, your next best bet is to prepare for battle. Fortunately, with the right support, your body is equipped with a highly efficient immune system.

Your immune system in a nutshell
This defense system is composed of many specialized cells, which are generally referred to as white blood cells. The first responsibility of immune cells is to recognize foreign pathogens in your body. Once recognized, the next step is to destroy them. Finally, your immune cells memorize the pathogen in order to destroy it quickly upon the next exposure. Coordinating this effort is a full-time job, requiring immune cells to function at the top of their game.

Support your hardworking immune system
Support for your immune system includes everything from diet to physical activity to hygiene. Here are a few suggestions on what you can do and why it works.

Vitamin D
Eat or consume foods high in vitamin D, which helps your immune cells recognize unwanted bacteria.
Considerable controversy exists among health professionals regarding the definition of vitamin D deficiency. Consult with your provider for information specific to you.
Eat 3 ounces of fish one to three times a week. Fish such as salmon, herring, tuna and trout are good sources of dietary vitamin D.
Incorporate mushrooms into your diet. Mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D and phytochemicals, both of which support your immune system.
Try adding mushrooms to soups, sauces and casseroles. The water in these dishes extracts the phytochemicals found in mushrooms such as button, oyster and shiitake.
Other good sources of vitamin D include fortified dairy milk, plant-based milk or juices.

Move your body
Short bouts (15 minutes) of moderate-intensity exercise help boost immune function.
Moderate intensity means you are breathing harder than normal, but can still talk.

Early to bed, later to rise
During sleep, the body not only produces immune cells, but also enhances existing cells’ ability to quickly respond to disease-causing microorganisms known as pathogens.
Aim for seven to nine hours when you are feeling well.

Feed gut microbes with fiber
Complex carbohydrates such as those found in lentils, beans, barley and oats (to name a few) feed the bacteria in your gut.
Gut microbes convert complex carbs to short-chain fatty acids that, once absorbed, help immune cells recognize and destroy pathogens.
Plus, short-chain fatty acids strengthen the epithelial cells lining your intestine, thus improving your natural barrier to pathogens.

Wash your hands frequently
The best defense starts externally.
Prevent the introduction of pathogens into your mouth or nose by washing hands often.

If all else fails
If all else fails, rest, recover, hydrate and stay warm.
Contrary to human tendency, when you begin to feel ill, the quickest route to recovery means taking some down time, no matter how busy you are.

Upcoming events
January/February: Support your local 4-H Program by purchasing soup from a 4-H member.
Feb. 11: The 36th annual Beef Symposium will be held at the Archuleta County Extension office. The cost is $25 per person and includes lunch. Please call the Extension office at 264-5931 for more information and to register.
Feb. 12: The Agricultural Financial Management Strategies workshop, hosted by the CSU Agriculture and Business Management Team, will cover topics such as risk management, business planning, enterprise budgeting, record keeping and more. Please go to www.2020fms.eventbrite.com to register or come into the office to pay. The cost is $15.

CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.

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Bird migration timing skewed by climate http://www.pagosasun.com/bird-migration-timing-skewed-by-climate/ Thu, 16 Jan 2020 22:00:58 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=195466 Life cycles for birds, insects and trees are shifting in this current era of a rapidly changing climate. How migration patterns, in particular, are changing and whether birds can track climate change is an open question.
Kyle Horton, assistant professor at Colorado State University (CSU), led a new study analyzing nocturnal bird migration that he hopes will lead to more answers about shifting migration patterns. He and the research team used 24 years of radar data from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for the study.
The research team — including scientists from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the University of Massachusetts — found that spring migrants were likely to pass certain stops earlier now than they would have 20 years ago. Temperature and migration timing were closely aligned, with the greatest changes in migration timing occurring in regions warming most rapidly. During fall, shifts in migration timing were less apparent.
The study, one of the first to examine the impacts of climate change on migration timing at a continental scale, was published Dec. 16, 2019, in Nature Climate Change.
Horton described the breadth of the research as “critically important,” with the team observing the nocturnal migratory behaviors of hundreds of species representing billions of birds.
“To see changes in timing at continental scales is truly impressive, especially considering the diversity of behaviors and strategies used by the many species the radars capture,” he said.
Yet, while the team saw these shifts, Horton noted that this doesn’t necessarily mean that migrants are keeping pace with climate change.
Migratory birds serve an important role in ecosystems. They eat and take insects off the land, disperse seeds and serve other significant functions, including measuring health in these ecosystems.
Andrew Farnsworth, the study’s senior author and a research associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, said the team’s research answered, for the first time, key questions on birds and climate change.
“Bird migration evolved largely as a response to changing climate,” he said. “It’s a global phenomenon involving billions of birds annually. And it’s not a surprise that birds’ movements track changing climates. But how assemblages of bird populations respond in an era of such rapid and extreme changes in climate has been a black box. Capturing scales and magnitudes of migration in space and time has been impossible until recently.”
Researchers accessed NOAA datasets as part of the agency’s Big Data Project, designed to provide access to data in a more efficient way.
Horton explained that this access to the data and cloud computing greatly enhanced the team’s ability to synthesize the findings.
“To process all of these data, without cloud computing, it would have taken over a year of continuous computing,” he said. Instead, the team crunched the numbers in about 48 hours.
While Amazon Web Services provided access to the data, new algorithms designed by scientists at the University of Massachusetts revealed the potential of these radar data for biologists. Specifically, the scientists designed new computer vision techniques to remove weather data, a problem that had challenged biologists from decades.
“Historically, a person had to look at each radar image to determine whether it contained rain or birds,” said Dan Sheldon, associate professor of computer science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “We developed ‘MistNet,’ an artificial intelligence system to detect patterns in radar images and remove rain automatically.”
Horton, who works in the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at CSU, said that the lack of change in fall migration patterns was a little surprising, though migration also tends to be a “little bit messier” during those months.
“In the spring, we see bursts of migrants, moving at a fairly rapid pace, ultimately to reach the breeding grounds,” he explained. “However, during the fall, there’s not as much pressure to reach the wintering grounds, and migration tends to move at a slower, more punctuated pace.”
During the fall, birds are not competing for mates and the path to reach their destination is more relaxed. There is also a wider age range of birds migrating, as the young eventually realize they need to migrate, too. The combination of these factors makes fall migration more challenging to study.
Horton said the findings have implications for understanding future patterns of bird migration, since the birds rely on food and other resources as they travel. Under climate change, the timing of blooming vegetation or emergence of insects may be out of sync with the passage of migratory birds. This seemingly subtle shift could have negative consequences for the health of migratory birds.
Researchers plan to expand their data analysis to include Alaska, where climate change is having more serious impacts than in the lower 48 states in the U.S.
Upcoming events
January/February: Support your local 4-H Program by purchasing soup from a 4-H member.
Jan. 18: Cottage Foods Certification, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Extension office. This certification allows certain foods to be produced in home kitchens and be sold directly to the consumer. For more information, please call the office at 264-5931. To register, go to www.eventbrite.com/cottage-foods-pagosa-co-tickets-83416072719 or come into the office to pay. The cost is $40.

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Growing bulbs indoors for winter color http://www.pagosasun.com/growing-bulbs-indoors-for-winter-color/ Tue, 14 Jan 2020 12:00:20 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=194600 By Sherie Caffey and
Robin Young
SUN Columnist
Bulbs are so beautiful and give such a pop of color in the spring. Did you buy bulbs this fall that you never got planted? Or maybe you just want to give a new indoor gardening project a try? If so, you can try forcing your bulbs to bloom indoors. It’s fun, will bring some winter color to your home and cure your winter gardening blues. If you don’t have bulbs left over from the fall, you can order some from an online retailer or see if a local gardening store has any left over.
Paperwhites are very easy to grow indoors. They don’t need to be refrigerated and take only about six weeks to bloom after planting. Place them in a bulb pan with a couple inches of soil, pointy end up. Then cover them to about half way with more soil and water them. You can also do this with no soil and just a pan of water. Place the pan in a cool, dark room until you see growth, and then move them to a room with light. PlantTalk script No. 1322 has more information on paperwhites.
Amaryllis are very popular around the holiday season and are easy to grow indoors, too. They like a small pot, so choose one that is about an inch taller than your bulb and a couple of inches wider. Plant the bulb so that about half of it is sticking out of the soil. Water it once and then not again until you see it starting to grow. Start watering and fertilizing regularly, and you should have blooms soon. Cut the flower stalk off once the blooms fade and keep watering the leaves if you want to have it again next year. See PlantTalk script No. 1303 for more information on re blooming your amaryllis.
For other bulbs such as tulips, hyacinths and crocus, you will need to give them a chilling period before they will bloom. Plant the same variety in one pot so they all have the same chilling times. Place a loose layer of soil in the bottom of a pot. For a 6-inch pot, you can usually fit about six tulips, three hyacinths or 15 crocus bulbs. The pointy side of the bulb should be facing up. Add more soil so that the bulbs are about halfway exposed. Water your bulbs and don’t let the soil become dry from here on out.
Now your pots will need to move into a dark, cold place for a while. Try an unheated garage, attic, basement or refrigerator. Don’t let them freeze or dry out. Tulips will need to chill for 14-20 weeks, hyacinths for 10-14 weeks and crocus for 14-15 weeks. Bring your pots in after they have chilled and they should bloom within a month. Start them off in a cooler (50-60 degrees Fahrenheit) room at first and then move them a warmer room after a week or so. Read more about forcing bulbs in PlantTalk script No. 1319.
Some bulbs are easy to bloom inside; some take a little more effort. Either way, it will be worth it when you have beautiful blooms in your home during the off-season.
Sherie Caffey is the CSU Extension-Pueblo County Horticulture agent.
Upcoming events
January/February: Support your local 4-H Program by purchasing soup from a 4-H member.
Jan. 18: Cottage Foods Certification, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Extension office. This certification allows certain foods to be produced in home kitchens and be sold directly to the consumer. For more information, please call the office at 264-5931. To register, go to www.eventbrite.com/cottage-foods-pagosa-co-tickets-83416072719 or come into the office to pay. The cost is $40.
Feb. 11: The 36th annual Beef Symposium will be held at the Archuleta County Extension office. The cost is $25 per person and includes lunch. Please call the Extension office at 264-5931 for more information and to register.
Feb. 12: The Agricultural Financial Management Strategies workshop hosted by the CSU Agriculture and Business Management Team will cover topics such as risk management, business planning, enterprise budgeting, record keeping and more. Please go to www.2020fms.eventbrite.com to register or come into the office to pay. The cost is $15.

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All about avocados http://www.pagosasun.com/all-about-avocados/ Mon, 06 Jan 2020 12:00:16 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=194243 Avocados have an ancient, curious history. Native to the tropics of Central America, legend has it that a Mayan princess ate the first avocado and that it held mystical and magical power.
From easy-to-digest baby food to appetizer, salad, main dish or dessert, avocados can be enjoyed in many different ways. They remain popular in modern-day cuisine due to their versatility and nutritional value.
Avocados are a rich fruit with a smooth, creamy texture and a delicate, nutty flavor.
They are grown year-round and are typically pear-shaped. The skin and large seed must be removed before eating, which leaves a fleshy interior ranging in color from shades of yellow to yellow-green.
Avocados contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate, potassium, riboflavin, niacin and magnesium. They are a great source of fiber, which aids in healthy digestion, keeps us feeling full and promotes heart health.
They are also high in monounsaturated fats. These healthy fats are known to improve cholesterol levels, decrease risk of heart disease, aid in controlling blood sugar and provide benefits to your skin, brain and digestive system.
Avocados provide a great opportunity to talk to your kids about healthy fats. Explain the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats. Unhealthy fats are those that mostly come from animal products and processed foods. Healthy fats are those that typically come from plant-based foods, oils and fish. Unhealthy fats increase cholesterol levels and lead to a higher risk of heart disease, whereas healthy fats, like those found in avocados, can improve cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Invite your kids to help you prepare an easy snack with avocados. Slice the avocado in half, and have them scoop out the flesh and spread it on toast instead of butter. Alternatively, use mashed avocado on a sandwich instead of mayonnaise. You could also fill the small “bowl” in the middle of the fruit with tuna or chicken salad.
Or, make guacamole, a classic avocado dish that is often associated with Mexican cuisine. Just mash the avocado, mix with a little garlic, onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Enjoy as a dip for vegetables, a topping for a main dish or a spread for sandwiches.
Choosing avocados
Ripe avocados are firm but give slightly when pressed with a finger. However, because avocados do not ripen on the tree, it is often necessary to buy them before they are ripe and allow them to ripen at home. If you buy a hard, unripe avocado, leave it on your counter for two to five days to let it ripen. To quicken ripening, place avocados in a brown paper bag with an apple.
Ripe avocados can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Preparing avocados
Follow these tips to make peeling and pitting an avocado easier:
1. Wash the fruit with cool tap water.
2. Cut the avocado in half lengthwise around the pit.
3. Rotate the halves to separate.
4. Use a spoon to gently remove the pit.
5. Peel the fruit, using your fingers or a knife to remove the skin. You can also use a spoon to scoop out the avocado meat.
6. Slice as desired with the flat side down.
Avocados taste best when eaten at room temperature. They can take on a bitter taste when exposed to high heat or prolonged cooking. When using in cooked dishes, add the avocado at the last minute, exposing the fruit to only gentle heat and preserving its delicate, nutty flavor.
Storing avocados
When exposed to air, avocado flesh turns brown. When storing, first sprinkle with lemon juice, lime juice or vinegar, place in an airtight covered container in your refrigerator and eat within two days. Although whole and sliced avocados do not freeze well, you can freeze avocado puree, though it may be slightly watery when thawed. Simply mash the avocado flesh with 2 tablespoons of lime juice and store in an airtight container with 1/2-inch headspace for up to six months in the freezer. Thaw the puree in the refrigerator and use within three days.
Salty chili chocolate
avocado mousse (vegan)
Ingredients:
• 2 medium ripe avocados
• 1/2 cup cocoa powder
• 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 scant teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
• pinch of salt
• flaked sea salt for garnish
Instructions:
1. Puree all of the ingredients except for the flaked salt in a food processor until smooth.
2. Refrigerate to cool.
3. Divide among four to six small serving dishes and top with a sprinkle of sea salt.
4. Keeps for up to two days refrigerated in an airtight container.
Erin Durant is the Gunnison County family and consumer science agent.
Upcoming events
January/February: Support your local 4-H Program by purchasing soup from a 4-H member.
Jan. 18: Cottage Foods Certification, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Extension office. This certification allows certain foods to be produced in home kitchens and be sold directly to the consumer. For more information, please call the office at 264-5931. To register, go to www.eventbrite.com/cottage-foods-pagosa-co-tickets-83416072719 or come into the office to pay. The cost is $40
Feb. 11: The 36th annual Beef Symposium will be held at the Archuleta County Extension office. The cost is $25 per person and includes lunch. Please call the Extension office at 264-5931 for more information and to register.
Feb. 12: The Agricultural Financial Management Strategies workshop hosted by the CSU Agriculture and Business Management Team will cover topics such as risk management, business planning, enterprise budgeting, record keeping and more. Please go to www.2020fms.eventbrite.com to register or come into the office to pay. The cost is $15.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.

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‘Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions http://www.pagosasun.com/tis-the-season-for-new-years-resolutions/ Sun, 29 Dec 2019 12:00:05 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=193639 Every New Year’s Eve, millions of Americans resolve to make their life better. Whether that includes getting healthier, becoming wealthier or striving for a work-life balance, these resolutions often don’t go any further than thoughts in our minds.
Set your intentions for the new year by writing down what you want to give your attention to in 2020. Research shows by writing down your intentions, you are more likely to work toward them and succeed in reaching them. Out of that list of intentions, rate and prioritize what is most valuable and important. Then set goals. Lacking goals is like taking a trip without making a plan or having a destination; you’ll never know where you are going to end up.
Written goals increase your chances of accomplishing the behavior you desire. Written goals make it easier to plan action steps, monitor progress and define the end date. Setting a goal such as getting healthier this year is not specific enough. Behavior change occurs if there are written goals which include a deadline.
Improving your life requires planning, and it starts with setting smart goals. Smart goals should have criteria that correspond to each of the following categories: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.
• Make goals that are specific: clearly defined or outlined: Who? What? Where? When? Why?
• Make goals that are measurable: How will you measure your progress; what do you want to do?
• Goals that are attainable: neither too easy, nor too hard to accomplish. Is it likely to happen? Is it achievable? What steps are involved?
• Make goals that are realistic: What knowledge, skills, resources and abilities are necessary to reach this goal?
• Make goals that have a time line: When will it start? When will it finish? Will it be a short-term goal or a long-term goal? Set a specific deadline to the goal.
Identify small, do-able “action steps.” Procrastination is easy. Tomorrow always seems like a good day to make changes. With the small-steps approach, anything you do towards your goal is a step in the right direction. No step is too small to get started.
Consider the major obstacles that keep getting in your way. Identify them and make plans to overcome them. Is it denial, fear, lack of clear goals or just not knowing where to start? Obstacles and relapses are normal. Prepare for them by thinking about the following:
• What are obstacles that keep me from achieving these goals?
• What are strategies to overcome each obstacle?
• What factors have caused me to relapse in the past?
• What can I do to address these factors in the future?
Friends or family can be a resource or an obstacle. Enlist the support of the people that will help you be accountable to your goals. Make a commitment to change so they can be encouraging and motivating to you on your journey.
Often goals seem insurmountable, but put your mind to it. Negative thoughts such as “I can never do this” are common. Instead, think positive thoughts, such as, “I can do this one small step at a time.” Keep imagining how good it will feel to reach a goal.
Finally, take time to celebrate all of the small steps you achieved along the way. Taking small steps, being realistic and staying positive will help you keep your intentions in the New Year.
Happy new year.
Upcoming events
January/February 2020: Support your local 4-H Program by purchasing soup from a 4-H member.
Jan. 18, 2020: Cottage Foods Certification, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Extension office. This certification allows certain foods to be produced in home kitchens and be sold directly to the consumer. For more information, please call the office at 264-5931. To register, go to www.eventbrite.com/cottage-foods-pagosa-co-tickets-83416072719 or come into the office to pay. Cost is $40.
Feb. 11, 2020: The 36th annual Beef Symposium will be held at the Archuleta County Extension office. The cost is $25 per person and includes lunch. Please call the Extension office at 264-5931 for more information and to register.
Feb. 12, 2020: The Agricultural Financial Management Strategies workshop hosted by the CSU Agriculture and Business Management Team will cover topics such as risk management, business planning, enterprise budgeting, record keeping and more. Please go to www.2020fms.eventbrite.com to register or come into the office to pay. The cost is $15.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification.

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Winter watering for dry landscapes http://www.pagosasun.com/winter-watering-for-dry-landscapes/ Fri, 20 Dec 2019 12:00:27 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=193291 Woody plants with shallow root systems require supplemental watering during extended dry fall and winter periods. These include European white and paper birches; Norway, silver, red, Rocky Mountain and hybrid maples; lindens, alder, hornbeams, dogwood, willows and mountain ash. Evergreen plants that benefit include spruce, fir, arborvitae, yew, Oregon grape-holly, boxwood and Manhattan euonymus. Woody plants benefit from mulch to conserve soil moisture.
Herbaceous perennials and ground covers in exposed sites are more subject to winter freezing and thawing. This opens cracks in soil that expose roots to cold and drying. Winter watering combined with mulching can prevent damage.
Lawns also are prone to winter damage. Newly established lawns, whether seed or sod, are especially susceptible to damage. Susceptibility increases for lawns with south or west exposures.
Watering guidelines
Water only when air temperatures are above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Apply water at mid-day so it will have time to soak in before possible freezing at night. A solid layer (persisting for more than a month) of ice on lawns can cause suffocation or result in matting of the grass.
Plants receiving reflected heat from buildings, walls and fences are more subject to damage. The low angle of winter sun makes this more likely in south or west exposures. Windy sites result in faster drying of sod and plants and require additional water. Lawns in warm exposures are prone to late winter mite damage. Water is the best treatment to prevent turf injury.
Monitor weather conditions and water during extended dry periods without snow cover — one to two times per month.
Newly planted versus established plants
Newly planted trees are most susceptible to winter drought injury. Woody trees generally take one year to establish for each inch of trunk diameter. For example, a 2-inch diameter (caliper) tree takes a minimum of two years to establish under normal conditions.
Trees obtain water best when it is allowed to soak into the soil slowly to a depth of 12 inches. Methods of watering trees include sprinklers, deep-root fork or needle, soaker hose or soft spray wand.
Apply water to many locations under the drip line and beyond if possible. If you use a deep-root fork or needle, insert no deeper than 8 inches into the soil. As a general survival rule, apply 10 gallons of water for each diameter inch of the tree. For example, a 2-inch diameter tree needs 20 gallons per watering. Use a ruler to measure your tree’s diameter.
Newly planted shrubs require more water than established shrubs that have been planted for at least one year. The following recommendations assume shrubs are mulched to retain moisture. In dry winters, all shrubs benefit from winter watering from October through March. Apply 5 gallons two times per month for a newly planted shrub. Small-established shrubs (less than 3 feet tall) should receive 5 gallons monthly. Large established shrubs (more than 6 feet) require 18 gallons on a monthly basis. Decrease amounts to account for precipitation. Water within the drip line of the shrub and around the base.
Herbaceous perennial establishment periods vary. Bare root plants require longer to establish than container plants. Perennials transplanted late in the fall will not establish as quickly as plants planted in spring. Winter watering is advisable with late-planted perennials, bare root plants, and perennials located in windy or southwest exposures. For more information, contact the Colorado State University (CSU) Extension Office at -5931.
Upcoming events
January/February 2020: Support your local 4-H Program by purchasing soup from a 4-H member.
Jan. 18, 2020: Cottage Foods Certification, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Extension office. This certification allows certain foods to be produced in home kitchens and be sold directly to the consumer. For more information, please call the office at 264-5931. To register, go to www.eventbrite.com/cottage-foods-pagosa-co-tickets-83416072719 or come into the office to pay. Cost is $40
Feb. 11, 2020: The 36th annual Beef Symposium will be held at the Archuleta County Extension office. The cost is $25 per person and includes lunch. Please call the Extension office at 264-5931 for more information and to register.
Feb. 12, 2020: The Agricultural Financial Management Strategies workshop hosted by the CSU Agriculture and Business Management Team will cover topics such as risk management, business planning, enterprise budgeting, record keeping and more. Please go to www.2020fms.eventbrite.com to register or come into the office to pay. The cost is $15.

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Simple winter energy saving strategies http://www.pagosasun.com/simple-winter-energy-saving-strategies/ Tue, 17 Dec 2019 12:00:31 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=192852 During the winter season, energy conservation is crucial since heating accounts for the greatest use of energy in Colorado homes.
Before the cold weather sets in you should perform a quick inspection of your home. Simply dampen your hand and place it in locations such as attic hatches, baseboards, corners of rooms, cracks, doors, fireplace dampers, outlets, outdoor faucets (make sure these are tightly closed and all hoses have been detached), switch plates and windows. Your hand will feel cold near a draft.
Better yet, borrow a thermal leak detector from your local county Extension office. Then seal windows, doors and other leaks with caulking, weatherstripping, spray foam or other material as needed.
Note that unless you have mechanical ventilation for your home — like with a heat or energy recovery ventilator — you can seal a home too tightly. For this reason, it is best to consult with a professional energy auditor before sealing your home to any significant degree.
Some other simple strategies to improve the energy efficiency of your home in winter are:
• Set your thermostat as low as comfortable. Use a programmable thermostat to adjust temperature at night when you are sleeping and when you are out of the house. But make sure the temperature is not so low that pipes could break.
• Close the fireplace damper unless you are using the fireplace.
• Close curtains and shades at night and open them on sunny winter days.
• Have your furnace checked before winter. Regularly check furnace filters and replace them every month or so during the heating season.
• Remove any obstructions blocking heating registers.
• Seal any gaps in your ductwork with a liquid duct mastic.
• If you have single-paned windows, use a window insulator kit that can be inexpensively purchased at a hardware store.
• Install compact fluorescent lamps and string LED lights during the holidays.
• If your hot water heater is warm to the touch, wrap it with an insulating blanket specifically designed for this purpose.
• Finally, adding insulation is a larger project, but can significantly reduce the loss of heat out of your home.
Colorado Master
Gardener program
applications being taken
The Master Gardener program is innovative and flexible in its outreach and works to match volunteer skills and schedules. Each year, Colorado Master Gardeners all over the state help people make the right choices for their garden care. Anyone who would like to play an active role in the education of gardeners of all ages is invited to join our Colorado Master Gardener team.
Classes typically meet once a week on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for 11 consecutive weeks. The cost of the Master Gardener apprentice training is $170 and the Colorado Gardener Certificate is $530. Partial scholarships are available as well for the apprentice program.
If you would like to learn more about successful gardening in Archuleta County, be sure to call the CSU Extension office in Archuleta County today at 264-5931. To register for the 2020 Colorado Master Gardener Program, which tentatively begins Jan. 23, 2020, please go to www.cmg.extension.colostate.edu. Hard copies are accepted at the local office, too. Applications will be accepted until Dec. 15. Apply today.
Testing of dial pressure canner gauges
The CSU Extension — Archuleta County office is now offering to test dial pressure canner gauges for $5 for Archuleta County residents. For more information, contact Terry Schaaf at 264-5931.
Save the dates
Jan. 18, 2020: Cottage Foods Class.
Feb. 11, 2020: Beef Symposium.
Feb. 12, 2020: Agricultural Financial Management Strategies.

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Simple winter energy saving tips http://www.pagosasun.com/simple-winter-energy-saving-tips/ Mon, 09 Dec 2019 12:00:05 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=192407 During the winter season, energy conservation is crucial since heating accounts for the greatest use of energy in Colorado homes.
Before the cold weather sets in you should perform a quick inspection of your home. Simply dampen your hand and place it in locations such as attic hatches, baseboards, corners of rooms, cracks, doors, fireplace dampers, outlets, outdoor faucets (make sure these are tightly closed and all hoses have been detached), switch plates and windows. Your hand will feel cold near a draft.
Better yet, borrow a thermal leak detector from your local county Extension office. Then seal windows, doors and other leaks with caulking, weatherstripping, spray foam or other material as needed.
Note that unless you have mechanical ventilation for your home — like with a heat or energy recovery ventilator — you can seal a home too tightly. For this reason, it is best to consult with a professional energy auditor before sealing your home to any significant degree.
Some other simple strategies to improve the energy efficiency of your home in winter are:
• Set your thermostat as low as comfortable. Use a programmable thermostat to adjust temperature at night when you are sleeping and when you are out of the house. But make sure the temperature is not so low that pipes could break.
• Close the fireplace damper unless you are using the fireplace.
• Close curtains and shades at night and open them on sunny winter days.
• Have your furnace checked before winter. Regularly check furnace filters and replace them every month or so during the heating season.
• Remove any obstructions blocking heating registers.
• Seal any gaps in your ductwork with a liquid duct mastic.
• If you have single-paned windows, use a window insulator kit that can be inexpensively purchased at a hardware store.
• Install compact fluorescent lamps and string LED lights during the holidays.
• If your hot water heater is warm to the touch, wrap it with an insulating blanket specifically designed for this purpose.
• Finally, adding insulation is a larger project, but can significantly reduce the loss of heat out of your home.
Colorado Master
Gardener program
applications being taken
The Master Gardener program is innovative and flexible in its outreach and works to match volunteer skills and schedules. Each year, Colorado Master Gardeners all over the state help people make the right choices for their garden care. Anyone who would like to play an active role in the education of gardeners of all ages is invited to join our Colorado Master Gardener team.
Classes typically meet once a week on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for 11 consecutive weeks. The cost of the Master Gardener apprentice training is $170 and the Colorado Gardener Certificate is $530. Partial scholarships are available as well for the apprentice program.
If you would like to learn more about successful gardening in Archuleta County, be sure to call the CSU Extension office in Archuleta County today at 264-5931. To register for the 2020 Colorado Master Gardener Program, which tentatively begins Jan. 23, 2020, please go to www.cmg.extension.colostate.edu. Hard copies are accepted at the local office, too. Applications will be accepted until Dec. 15. Apply today.
Testing of dial pressure canner gauges
The CSU Extension — Archuleta County office is now offering to test dial pressure canner gauges for $5 for Archuleta County residents. For more information, contact Terry Schaaf at 264-5931.
Save the dates
Jan.18, 2020: Cottage Foods Class.
Feb. 11, 2020: Beef Symposium.
Feb. 12, 2020: Agricultural Financial Management Strategies.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.

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CSU Extension announces producer programs available in 2020 http://www.pagosasun.com/csu-extension-announces-producer-programs-available-in-2020/ Wed, 04 Dec 2019 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=192135 The Colorado State University Extension Agriculture and Business Management (ABM) Team will present two programs in 2019 and 2020 that are designed to assist farmers and ranchers in managing these difficult financial times in agriculture.
The Financial Management Strategies program will cover topics including risk management, business planning, enterprise budgeting, record keeping, interpretation of financial statements and selecting farm financial software.
The program will be hosted by ABM economists Jenny Beiermann, Dr. Brent Young and Dr. Norm Dalsted. Program dates and locations are Dec. 12 in Glenwood Springs; Jan. 15, 2020, in Fairplay; Jan. 16, 2020, in Westcliffe; Jan. 20, 2020, in Julesburg; Feb. 12, 2020, in Pagosa Springs; and March 11, 2020, in Steamboat Springs.
For more information and to register online, visit: http://2020fms.eventbrite.com. The cost of the program is $15 and includes lunch. This program is funded in partnership by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Risk Management Agency.
The 2019 Ag Outlook and Strategy Forum program will cover topics including market outlook, breakeven analysis, using commodity insurance as a part of a comprehensive marketing plan, using futures and options to manage risk and cross-hedging weaned calves. The program will be hosted by Young and Beiermann. Program dates and locations are Jan. 22, 2020, in Burlington; Feb. 11, 2020, in Cortez; March 10, 2020, in Delta; and March 12, 2020, in Steamboat Springs.
For more information and to register online, visit: http://2020agoutlook.eventbrite.com. The cost of the program is $15 and includes lunch. This program is funded in partnership by USDA, Risk Management Agency.
For further questions on this program, please contact Beiermann at (970) 241-3346. The local program will be held at the CSU Extension office on Feb. 12, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information and to register online, visit: http://2020agoutlook.eventbrite.com.
Colorado Master
Gardener program
applications being taken
The Master Gardener program is innovative and flexible in its outreach and works to match volunteer skills and schedules. Each year, Colorado Master Gardeners all over the state help people make the right choices for their garden care. Anyone who would like to play an active role in the education of gardeners of all ages is invited to join our Colorado Master Gardener team.
Classes typically meet once a week on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for 11 consecutive weeks. The cost of the Master Gardener apprentice training is $170 and the Colorado Gardener Certificate is $530. Partial scholarships are available as well for the apprentice program.
If you would like to learn more about successful gardening in Archuleta County, be sure to call the CSU Extension office in Archuleta County today at 264-5931. To register for the 2020 Colorado Master Gardener Program, which tentatively begins Jan. 23, 2020, please go to www.cmg.extension.colostate.edu. Hard copies are accepted at the local office, too. Applications will be accepted until Dec. 15. Apply today.
Testing of dial pressure canner gauges
The CSU Extension — Archuleta County office is now offering to test dial pressure canner gauges for $5 to Archuleta County residents. For more information, contact Terry Schaaf at 264-5931.
Save the dates
Jan.18, 2020: Cottage Foods Class.
Feb. 11, 2020: Beef Symposium.
Feb. 12, 2020: Agricultural Financial Management Strategies.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.

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Holiday dinner planning checklist http://www.pagosasun.com/holiday-dinner-planning-checklist/ Sat, 16 Nov 2019 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=191315 Planning for your holiday dinner can alleviate stress and ensure you have everything you need to serve a wonderful holiday meal. Here is a checklist to help you plan, and guidelines for cooking a turkey that will be safe and delicious.
Two to three weeks before:
• Make your guest list and invite them.
• Plan your menu (keep the list handy so you can add or delete items).
• Decide how much food to buy for the number of guests being served.
• Order fresh meat. If buying a frozen turkey or other meat, make sure you have plenty of freezer space to store.
• If you are asking your guests for help, give them a heads up.
• Will they bring a side dish?
• Will they help set up and/or clean up (this is really a great job for spouses and kids; just let them know you need their help).
A few days before:
• Start defrosting frozen turkey in refrigerator (see the chart below).
• Make sure your shopping list is up to date and go shopping.
• Make pies and desserts (day before).
• Make other sides that will keep overnight (cranberry sauce is best when it has a few days to sit).
The morning of the dinner:
• Get the coffee going.
• Set the table, assemble dishes, platters and serving utensils.
• Prepare vegetables for the side dishes. Clean, peel and cover. Store in refrigerator or place on the stove so they are ready to start.
• Chill wine and other beverages.
• Check your menu to make sure you haven’t forgotten any dishes.
Hours before the dinner:
• Start cooking your turkey (see the chart below for cooking times, plan for 30 minutes after your turkey is cooked to carve and serve).
• Set out snacks and beverages for your guests — not too much so they don’t get full.
• Start cooking vegetables.
• Check the temperature of your turkey (see below for temperatures).
• Prepare gravy.
Dinnertime:
• Place food in serving dishes and take to dining table.
• Put wine and water on the table.
• Call guests to the table.
• Reflect on what you are thankful for.
• Enjoy an impressive holiday dinner with your guests.
Let’s talk turkey: A USDA consumer guide to safely roasting a turkey
Fresh or frozen?
Fresh turkeys
• Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.
• Buy your turkey only one to two days before you plan to cook it. You may need to preorder your turkey; ask your market.
• Keep it stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook it. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak.
• Do not buy fresh pre-stuffed turkeys. If not handled properly, any harmful bacteria that may be in the stuffing can multiply very quickly.
Frozen turkeys
• Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.
• Keep frozen until you’re ready to thaw it.
• Turkeys can be kept frozen in the freezer indefinitely; however, cook within one year for best quality.
• See “Thawing your turkey” for thawing instructions.
Frozen pre-stuffed turkeys
The USDA recommends only buying frozen pre-stuffed turkeys that display the USDA or state mark of inspection on the packaging. These turkeys are safe because they have been processed under controlled conditions.
Do not thaw before cooking. Cook from the frozen state. Follow package directions for proper handling and cooking.
Allow 1 1/4 pounds of turkey per person.
Thawing your turkey
There are three ways to thaw your turkey safely — in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave oven.
In the refrigerator
In the refrigerator (40 degrees Fahrenheit or below). Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds:
• 4 to 12 pounds — one to three days.
• 12 to 16 pounds — three to four days.
• 16 to 20 pounds — four to five days.
• 20 to 24 pounds — five to six days.
Keep the turkey in its original wrapper. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for one to two days. If necessary, a turkey that has been properly thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen.
In cold water
Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound:
• 4 to 12 pounds — two to six hours.
• 12 to 16 pounds — six to eight hours.
• 16 to 20 pounds — eight to 10 hours.
• 20 to 24 pounds — 10 to 12 hours.
Wrap your turkey securely, making sure the water is not able to leak through the wrapping. Submerge your wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze.
In the microwave oven
• Check your owner’s manual for the size turkey that will fit in your microwave oven, the minutes per pound and power level to use for thawing.
• Remove all outside wrapping.
• Place on a microwave-safe dish to catch any juices that may leak.
• Cook your turkey immediately. Do not refreeze or refrigerate your turkey after thawing in the microwave oven.
Reminder: Remove the giblets from the turkey cavities after thawing. Cook separately.
Roasting your turkey
• Set your oven temperature no lower than 325 degrees F.
• Place your turkey or turkey breast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
• For optimum safety, stuffing a turkey is not recommended. For more even cooking, it is recommended you cook your stuffing outside the bird in a casserole. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the stuffing. The stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
• If you choose to stuff your turkey, the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time; however, keep wet and dry ingredients separate. Chill all of the wet ingredients (butter/margarine, cooked celery and onions, broth, etc.). Mix wet and dry ingredients just before filling the turkey cavities. Fill the cavities loosely. Cook the turkey immediately. Use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
• A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook turkey to higher temperatures.
• If your turkey has a “pop-up” temperature indicator, it is recommended that you also check the internal temperature of the turkey in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast with a food thermometer.
• For quality, let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to set. The turkey will carve more easily.
• Remove all stuffing from the turkey cavities.
Timetables for turkey roasting: (325° F oven temperature)
Use the timetables below to determine how long to cook your turkey. These times are approximate. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey and stuffing.
Unstuffed:
• 4 to 8 pounds (breast) — 1 1/2 to 3 1/4 hours.
• 8 to 12 pounds — 2 3/4 to 3 hours.
• 12 to 14 pounds — 3 to 3 3/4 hours.
• 14 to 18 pounds — 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours.
• 18 to 20 pounds — 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours.
• 20 to 24 pounds — 4 1/2 to 5 hours.
Stuffed:
• 4 to 6 pounds (breast) — not usually applicable.
• 6 to 8 pounds (breast) — 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours.
• 8 to 12 pounds — 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
• 12 to 14 pounds — 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
• 14 to 18 pounds — 4 to 4 1/4 hours.
• 18 to 20 pounds — 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours.
• 20 to 24 pounds — 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours.
It is safe to cook a turkey from the frozen state. The cooking time will take at least 50 percent longer than recommended for a fully thawed turkey. Remember to remove the giblet packages during the cooking time. Remove carefully with tongs or a fork.
Optional cooking hints
• Tuck wing tips under the shoulders of the bird for more even cooking. This is referred to as “akimbo.”
• Add one-half cup of water to the bottom of the pan.
• If your roasting pan does not have a lid, you may place a tent of heavy-duty aluminum foil over the turkey for the first 1 to 1 1/2 hours. This allows for maximum heat circulation, keeps the turkey moist and reduces oven splatter. To prevent overbrowning, foil may also be placed over the turkey after it reaches the desired color.
• If using an oven-proof food thermometer, place it in the turkey at the start of the cooking cycle. It will allow you to check the internal temperature of the turkey while it is cooking. For turkey breasts, place thermometer in the thickest part. For whole turkeys, place in the thickest part of the inner thigh. Once the thigh has reached 165 degrees F, check the wing and the thickest part of the breast to ensure the turkey has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F throughout the product.
• If using an oven cooking bag, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on the package.
Remember: Always wash hands, utensils, the sink and anything else that comes in contact with raw turkey and its juices with soap and water.
Storing your leftovers
• Discard any turkey, stuffing and gravy left out at room temperature longer than two hours, or one hour in temperatures above 90 degrees F.
• Divide leftovers into smaller portions. Refrigerate or freeze in covered shallow containers for quicker cooling.
• Use refrigerated turkey, stuffing and gravy within three to four days.
• If freezing leftovers, use within two to six months for best quality.
Reheating your turkey
Cooked turkey may be eaten cold or reheated.
In the oven:
• Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 degrees F.
• Reheat turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.
• To keep the turkey moist, add a little broth or water and cover.
In the microwave oven:
• Cover your food and rotate it for even heating. Allow standing time.
• Check the internal temperature of your food with a food thermometer to make sure it reaches 165 degrees F.
• Consult your microwave oven owner’s manual for recommended times and power levels.
For more information about food safety (in English and Spanish), call: USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, (888) MPHotline [(888) 674-6854)].
Colorado Master
Gardener program
applications being taken
The Master Gardener program is innovative and flexible in its outreach and works to match volunteer skills and schedules. Each year, Colorado Master Gardeners all over the state help people make the right choices for their garden care. Anyone who would like to play an active role in the education of gardeners of all ages is invited to join our Colorado Master Gardener team.
Classes typically meet once a week on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for 11 consecutive weeks. The cost of the Master Gardener apprentice training is $170 and the Colorado Gardener Certificate is $530. Partial scholarships are available as well for the apprentice program.
If you would like to learn more about successful gardening in Archuleta County, be sure to call the CSU Extension office in Archuleta County today at 264-5931. To register for the 2020 Colorado Master Gardener Program, which tentatively begins Jan. 23, 2020, please go to www.cmg.extension.colostate.edu. Hard copies are accepted at the local office, too. Applications will be accepted until Dec. 15. Apply today.
Testing of dial pressure canner gauges
The CSU Extension — Archuleta County office is now offering to test dial pressure canner gauges for $5 to Archuleta County residents. For more information, contact Terry Schaaf at 264-5931.
Save the dates
Jan.18, 2020: Cottage Foods Class.
Feb. 11, 2020: Beef Symposium.
Feb. 12, 2020: Agricultural Financial Management Strategies. More information to come.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.

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