4-H News – Nancy Lambert – 2-4-16

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Steer Weigh-In
The Saline County 4-H Beef Weigh-In will be held this Saturday, February 6, at 1:00 p.m. at the Saline County Fairgrounds. Beef exhibitors who want to participate in the Beef Rate of Gain Contest should plan to attend. The steers will be weighed in Saturday and weighed out again during Fair Week in July. The animal with the greatest daily rate of gain will receive a traveling trophy.
4-H members who plan to take a market steer or a market heifer to the Illinois State Fair are required to have the animal electronically tagged. We will be tagging and tattooing the steers at the weigh-in. Contact the Extension office if you will need an e-tag.
4-H Livestock Committee
At the January 4-H Livestock Committee Meeting, members present voted for committee officers and livestock superintendents. Serving as Saline County 4-H Livestock Committee officers this year are: Chairman – Dan Evans, Vice-Chairman – Amy Richey, and Secretary – Jamie Evans.
The committee also voted for livestock superintendents for the 2016 4-H show season. They are: Beef – Dan Evans, Swine – Samantha Parish, Sheep – Lonny Reed with assistant Brianna Johnson, Meat Goats – Jamie Evans, Dairy Goats – Rachel Parish, Rabbits – Cindy Boulds with assistant Gayla Heath, Dairy Cattle – Jane Carlile, Small Pets and Poultry – Matt Deal with assistant Amy Richey.
Thank you so much to these volunteers for agreeing to serve in their positions this year and for their years of service and continued support of Saline County 4-H.
The next meeting of the Saline County 4-H Livestock Committee will be held on March 3rd, at 7:00 p.m. at the Extension office.
“Pooch Power” Dog SPIN Club to Meet
Pooch Power 4-H SPIN Club will meet on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at club leader Cheri White’s shop – 613 W. Elm Street in Harrisburg.
The next Pooch Power meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 9th. Cheri has invited Great Pyrenees breeders to bring their dogs to this meeting, so you won’t want to miss it.
4-H youth enrolled in dog projects and those interested in joining 4-H and/or Pooch Power are encouraged to call Nancy at the Extension office at 252-8391 to find out more information.
Winter Gardening Activities for Kids
(The following is a special release from University of Illinois Extension.)
Winter gardening-type activities for children can make gardeners for life, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.
“Gardening activities in spring, summer, and fall are easy to do, but what do you do to keep that interest alive through the winter months?” asked Martha Smith. “You are forced indoors with a few houseplants. Well, there are many gardening-type activities you can do with your kids.”
Smith offered a few ideas for indoor gardening projects involving your family, scout troop, 4-H club, or other youth group.
“Garbage gardening is a great way to show kids that many of the things we throw away have value,” she said. “Plant parts that are normally thrown away are potentially beautiful houseplants.” Take the avocado. It needs light to germinate and there are two ways you can start it.
“Plants can be started by suspending the pit with toothpicks in a glass of water,” she said. “Put the pointy side up and remember to change the water every couple of days while waiting for it to split and send out a root. The other way to start an avocado is to plant it in soil. Let the pit dry for a day and then peel off the dark, brown covering. Put the pit in a pot filled with potting soil, pointed end up. Leave about one-third of the pit showing. Keep the soil moist and a shoot should appear in about four to six weeks. Once the tree has started and is up to at least six inches, put another layer of soil in the pot to cover the pit.”
Carrots, beets, rutabaga, and turnips are root crops with a leafy upper portion. Cut a one-inch section from the top of the vegetable and plant it in moist sand with only the upper or top part exposed. Keep the soil moist and small leaves will begin to appear in about 10 days.
“Citrus seeds like orange, lime, lemon, and grapefruit are easy to grow,” Smith said. “Kids can look for seed while they eat something that’s good for them. Soak the seeds in water overnight. Plant them about one-inch-deep in a pot filled with potting soil. Put two to three seeds in each pot.”
If you have any budding artists around the house, let them loose on some inexpensive garden containers. Kid-safe, durable paints to dress up the containers are available at most craft stores.
“Why not plant up that old fish bowl or an old mayonnaise jar?” she said. “Carefully place some soil and plants inside a clean glass container. Cover the opening with clear plastic wrap. Watch as the plants and roots grow.”
Feeding the birds, though not a true gardening project, is a fun activity. “Pine cones coated with peanut butter and then rolled in birdseed make great bird feeders,” said Smith. “Have the kids keep track of all the different types of birds that visit your backyard and what date each was first spotted.”
Source: Martha A. Smith, Extension Educator, Horticulture, smithma@illinois.edu.

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