It's once again time to get ready for the gardening and canning season.
The U of I Extension annual canner testing day will be held on Tuesday, June 5 at the Extension office between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Bring only the lid from dial-gauge canners to the office, and we'll test them for accuracy while you wait and at no charge.
A parts list will be available from Presto if you need to order gauges, gaskets, etc.
Do you can or freeze foods too? Or do you dry your fresh fruits and vegetables? Charts to help you determine the correct processing times for canners, blanching times for freezing, and drying times (in an oven or a dehydrator) for fruits and vegetables will also be available.
Whether you're a recent grad, a UI graduate of many years, or just a good Illini fan, our 2007 tour to the University of Illinois on Thursday, June 14 will surely include some things you'll really enjoy.
We will leave the Extension office parking lot at 7:00 a.m. and travel to Champaign-Urbana by van, where we will tour the new the Demirjian Golf Practice Facility (completed in March 2007); the new Institute for Genomic Biology, located next to the Morrow Plots; an up-close and personal look at Krannert Art Center; lunch in the Illini Union; and the Campbell Hall for Public Communications (home of the WILL-AM-FM-TV public broadcasting system). Plans are to return to Taylorville by 5:00 p.m.
The cost of the tour is $25 per person, and includes all tours, lunch and transportation costs. Paid reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis. Please make checks payable to U of I Extension.
The Dudley Smith Farm in Christian County will be the host site for a Beef Cow-Calf Field Day on Thursday, June 14 beginning with registration at 9:30 a.m., program at 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
The field day will place special emphasis on the research of Frank Ireland, U of I–Dixon Springs Ag Center. Ireland's work covers a broad range of animal issues in the areas of "conventional/traditional" versus "natural" beef production.
Matt Maughan, UI Department of Crop Sciences graduate student, will provide an update on grazing conditions, project progress, and the performance of paddocks this past year.
Justin Sexten, UI Extension Animal Systems Specialist from the Mt. Vernon Center will discuss the use of Distiller Dry Grains and their nutritional benefits to livestock.
Ed Ballard (retired Extension, Animal Systems Educator) and other Extension staff will provide a look at pasture-grazing and biofuels research taking place on the Dudley Smith Farm.
To attend and assure a lunch, please contact the University of Illinois Extension, Christian County Unit office at 287-7246 by noon on Friday, June 8.
For additional details on the June 14 Dudley Smith Field Day, please contact University of Illinois Extension, Christian County Unit at 217-287-7246.
In recognition of the contributions agriculture makes in Christian County, the Christian County Agriculture Group, the Christian County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Christian County Fair, and the University of Illinois Extension Christian County office are hosting the 9th Annual Agriculture Appreciation Dinner at the Christian County Fair on Thursday, July 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Eric Cornelius, a market analyst from Archer, Daniels, Midland in Decatur, IL, will address marketing issues and give a presentation called "Grains & Oilseeds Outlook."
Kevin Semlow, Director of State Legislation with the Illinois Farm Bureau, will present an update on Illinois legislative issues.
A chicken dinner will be served by Nelson's Catering.
The meal is free, and tickets are now available at the University of Illinois Extension Christian County office, the Christian County Farm Bureau, or the Christian County Soil & Water Conservation District office.
Please make your reservation by noon on July 6 as tickets cannot be obtained the day of the event.
The next Safe Sitter class for girls and boys ages 11 to 13 will be held on Wednesday, August 1 and Thursday, August 2, 2007, from 8:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at the Christian County Extension Office.
The two-day Safe Sitter program is sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension Christian County, Christian County Home and Community Education Association, and Taylorville Memorial Hospital.
During the course, students get hands-on practice in basic life-saving techniques so they are prepared to act in a crisis, with medical information taught by a certified professional.
Safe Sitter participants also receive helpful tips to make them more confident caregivers, learning safety and security precautions, such as what to do if a stranger comes to the door and when and how to call for help. Information on child development and age-appropriate activities, and the business aspects of babysitting are also taught.
To become a certified Safe Sitter, students have to pass a rigorous practical and written test to show they have mastered the key concepts and have the skills necessary to handle an emergency.
For registration information, call the U of I Christian County Extension officeat 287-7246.
HCEA members Darlene Wilson and Marie Millman, along with several 4-H Federation members, presented Christian County Sheriff Deputy Jim Baker with one of 72 "First Response Kits" completed at the May 4-H Federation meeting.
Monetary donations totaling over $250, as well as items contributed for this project, provided the means to develop 36 kits for children from "Birth – 4" and 36 kits for children "5 – 8 years old". Each kit is a self-contained unit that includes items to clothe, comfort, feed and hydrate children involved in a methamphetamine drug arrest until proper authorities arrive.
Children are impacted more than even the users and the dealers in these situations and they become victims as well. The "First Response Kits" are an effort to help soften the blow for these children.
During June, Christian County Master Gardeners will again be staffing a "Help Desk" for the public at the University of Illinois Extension office.
Anyone with questions or concerns about their flower or vegetable gardens, lawns and/or trees may call 287-7246 or drop by the Extension office, 1120 N. Webster St. in Taylorville any time between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. on June 7, 11, 21 & 25.
The "Help Desk" is being offered by Christian County Master Gardeners to help meet the constant demand for horticultural consumer information by Christian County residents.
The Christian County Extension office is now able to process soil samples you bring in for analysis. This service will provide a convenient way to obtain test data that can be used to help answer agronomic and horticultural soil-related problems. There will be a $10 fee for each Standard Analysis Test #1 sample performed. Sample bags, provided by a reputable local lab, can be picked up at the Extension office, and samples should consist of soil that represents equal portions of the top 6 to 7 inches of the soil profile. The total volume of an individual sample should be no greater than 1½ cups of soil. Extension office staff will assist you in completing a "soil sample information sheet." The results will be sent back to the Extension Office where a trained agronomist will provide assistance in interpreting the results. Soil sample turn-around time will be approximately two weeks. Payment must accompany each sample at the time of processing. For more information, contact Gary Letterly at 287-7246.
A microwave tester is owned by the Christian County Home and Community Education Association, and is used to test microwaves for emissions.
Whether your microwave oven is new or old, now might be the time to check it out before we move into the hot summer months when microwaves tend to be used more frequently.
The tester is available at no charge to HCEA members. We simply ask for a $1 deposit prior to taking it out of the office. Your dollar will be returned when the microwave tester is returned.
Call the Extension Office at 287-7246 to reserve a time to check it out.
The University of Illinois Extension Christian County office will be providing an approved "Refresher Course for Food Handlers" on Thursday, August 23 from 3:00–8:30 p.m. at the Christian County Extension office located at 1120 N. Webster St. in Taylorville.
Certificates of certified managers expire five (5) years from the original date of issue. In order to have the certificate renewed, the individual must attend an approved five (5) hour training course or pass the Food Service Sanitation Manager Certification test, apply for renewal and pay a $35 fee to the Illinois Department of Public Health. This recertification course is available for only $30.
Contact the Extension office at 287-7246 to register. Checks are to be made payable to "University of Illinois Extension." Registration forms and accompanying checks must be received by, August 17, 2007.
Are you 18 years old or older? Do you enjoy working with children, and you would like to give back to your community in a meaningful way?
The Christian County Mental Health Association, in conjunction with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region, is looking for mentors for North, South, and West Elementary Schools.
Corporate mentoring differs from community-based mentoring in that corporate mentoring only requires one hour of your time each week, in the school during the lunch hour.
A staff member from CCMHA will be present during this time as mentors interact with the children playing games, chatting, playing outdoors, completing arts and crafts, or working on schoolwork.
It's been found that children participating in a mentoring program are more confident in their schoolwork and more trusting of their parents or guardians.
Interested persons should contact Robyn Beck at the Christian County Mental Health Association (217) 824-4905 or Susan Luckey at Big Brothers Big Sisters (217) 824-5531.
Interested applicants must also complete an interview and pass a DCFS background check. Both men and women are needed for this program. Whether you are nineteen or seventy-two, we've got a child waiting to meet you.
A dramatic backyard makeover at a Lake Taylorville villa will debut at "A Day of Wine and Roses," Taylorville's 12th annual Garden Walk on Saturday, June 16 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The bland to grand transformation became the talk of the town as stone retaining walls, paver terraces and pathways, 31 varieties of perennials and one-of-a-kind sculptures replaced a weedy slope.
Anchoring the array at the home of Babe and Cheryl Assad is the towering "King of the Hill" fountain, the work of a New Mexico sculptor, who portrayed children scaling a craggy wall. One of the beautiful havens in Central Illinois, the location will be among 10 private and estate gardens open for touring at the event sponsored by the Taylorville Tourism Council.
Christian County Master Gardeners, sponsored by the U of I Extension in Christian County, will once again share their gardens and expertise with visitors.
In a creative twist on day lily walks, Master Gardener Gwen Podeschi will demonstrate how companion plants provide color and texture to frame and accent lily blooms. Among her tips are purple Shenandoah switch grass and butterfly weed. The collection of lilies is legendary in the garden, which recently doubled in size with the addition of an adjacent lot.
Reflecting the pilgrimage theme, Podeschi will teach how to plant and trim grapevines, using a 60-year-old Concord grape in her yard as an example. She also will show how to build a grape arbor, based on a Tuscan design with benches in her yard.
Master Gardener Candy Gates, who overcame her reluctance about roses, plans to showcase a variety of the blooms, including her prized David Austin English plants. Featuring flowers of every description, her garden also sprouts exquisite outdoor light fixtures.
Assisted by Deb Leahy, president of Christian County Master Gardeners, Gates will share her secrets for roses with maximum results and minimum effort.
The pilgrimage also will feature a first-ever Grape Stomp inspired by a memorable "I Love Lucy" TV episode, with prizes to be awarded in adult and children's categories. Two-person teams (stomper and swabber) can pre-register at Market Street Wine Co. in person or by calling 217-824-5060. Sign-up will also be at the stomp, set for 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in barrels arrayed on the wine shop sidewalk at 108 E. Market St.
Other walk highlights include a wine seminar at 11:00 a.m. at One-East Market restaurant on the Taylorville Square; free tasting all afternoon at the wine shop; a "House Beautiful" magazine pergola, a tour of an English cottage kitchen, "Wild About Wildflowers" poolside workshop and book debut and Master Gardener's plant sale. Visitors in fanciful garden hats will win random prizes.
An antique engine and tractor show will be held at the Christian County Farm Bureau's "City Garden," where the first 100 diners will be served free at an "Old-Fashioned Pork Barbecue" from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
An all-day complimentary ice cream social in a 19th Century downtown building and a free English Rose Tea also await tour-goers.
Admission is $8 through June 10 and $9 thereafter; children 12 and under are free. Tickets, with garden descriptions and map, are now available at Cottage Rose Gifts & Crafts, on the east side of the Taylorville Square; The Top Drawer at The Gables in Springfield; Red Rooster Inn in Hillsboro, Junction Garden Center,and the Pana News Palladium.
On tour day, tickets will be sold at all gardens and Cottage Rose. For more information, call 217-824-9447 or 217-824-6500. Groups are welcome.
The University of Illinois Extension Christian County website located at www.extension.uiuc.edu/christian is a quick pathway to research-based facts and other information available from the University of Illinois. Click on the "Local Links" tab on the "home page" for this information.
The newly revised and updated Livestock eQuiz website, http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/equiz/, developed by the Animal Systems Team, provides youth and adults the opportunity to quiz themselves about dairy, beef, horses, sheep and forages. There are three levels of questions–elementary, high school and college. It can be especially useful for youth in preparing for the Superior Young Producers Competition at the State Fair.
The Resources for Working with Youth with Special Needs website, http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/specialneeds/, includes information about speech and language disorders, visual and deaf/hearing impairments, learning disabilities, as well as other health impairments. A new addition has been the translation of the site into Spanish.
The Selecting Trees for Your Home website, http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/treeselector/, includes detailed information about 121 different trees and criteria to use in comparing the various trees. In addition, the site provides information about 508 different pests and disease problems.