Burke County Center
  December, 2016

Burke County Center
National Cookie Day
December 4th

National Cookie Day is observed annually on December 4th.
We can thank the Dutch for more than windmills and tulips.  The English word "cookie" is derived from the Dutch word "koekie" meaning little cake.

There have been cookie-like hard wafers in existence for as long as baking has been documented.  This is because they traveled well however, they were usually not sweet enough to be considered cookies by modern day standards.

The origin of the cookie appears to begin in Persia in the 7th century, soon after the use of sugar became common in the region.  They were then spread to Europe through the Muslim conquest of Spain.  Cookies were common in all levels of society throughout Europe by the 14th century, from the royal cuisine to the street vendors.

Cookies arrived in America in the 17th century.  Macaroons and gingerbread cookies were among the popular early American cookies.

In most English-speaking countries outside of North America, the most common word for cookie is biscuit.  In some regions, both terms, cookies and biscuits are used.

Cookies are classified into different categories, with the most common ones being:
Bar cookies - Drop cookies - Filled cookies
Molded cookies - No bake cookies
Pressed cookies - Refrigerator cookies
Rolled cookies - Sandwich cookies

Celebrate National Cookie Day by baking some holiday cookies with family or friends!  
Dining In for Healthy Families
December 3rd

Join families across the country as they "Dine In" on December 3rd in celebration of home prepared meals.  Celebrate with the National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences as we "Dine In" for Healthy Families.  Get ideas at aafcs.org/fcsday. 
4-H County Council & Cookie Swap
Tuesday, December 6th at 6:00 pm

On Tuesdsay, December 6th we will have our Burke County Cookie Swap and 4-H County Council Meeting. Each family or person (that chooses to participate) brings a plate of 12 goodies/cookies to put on the swap table. Any extras we can put on the "eat tonight" table. Then each family or person that brought 12 goodies, will choose 12 new goodies to fill a plate and take home. Please be cautious of common allergies. Bring your recipe to share with others.
Become a Master Gardener
Classes start in January 

The 2017 class will start on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 and continue on Wednesday mornings through mid-April.
This class is for anyone who has a desire to learn about gardening. There will be hands-on activities as well as classroom work.

Cost of the class is $100 and we are accepting applications now. You can call our office at 764-9480 if you have questions or would like to have an application mailed or emailed to you or visit our website to download an application. Deadline for applications is Tuesday, January 3, 2017.   

Safe Plates
January 11-13, 2017 from 9:00 - 1:00 daily
Exam on January 18, 2017 starting at 9:00

NC Safe Plates is a food safety certification course developed by North Carolina State University. NC establishments must have at least one supervisor certified as a food protection manager through an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)- accredited program or face a two-point violation from the health department. NC Safe Plates has the same ANSI certification as ServSafe.

Upcoming Class - January 11,12, & 13, 2017. Each day will begin at 9:00 am and end at 1 pm. The two-hour exam will be on January 18, 2016 starting at 9:00 am. Please register and pay by December 28, 2016. The cost of the class is $115.00 which covers the cost of the book, exam, handouts and refreshments. Call our office at 828-764-9480 for more information.
#Extension Eats

Available mid-December

Just in time for holiday gifts!

Recipes, tips & tricks, cuts of meat and more are included in the cookbook.

Call our office to reserve your copy today.  We will call you when they arrive. 

America's Christmas Flower

What would Joel Poinsett think if he could see the modern day poinsettia? He discovered the poinsettia growing wild in Mexico when he went there in 1825 as the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico. He liked the plant so well that he sent some to his home in Greenville, SC to grow in his greenhouse there. Although it is known as the Christmas flower now it was first cultivated by the Aztec Indians long before Christianity came to the western hemisphere. Franciscan priests in Mexico first used the plant in religious Christmas processions in the seventeenth century because of their bright color.
The poinsettia of the twenty-first century is quite a bit more sophisticated. There are over one hundred cultivars of the plant and they range in color from creamy white to many different shades of pink and red. They are considered by many consumers to be temperamental but this is not true at all. Given the proper treatment the poinsettia will bloom for several months. However, there are two things they will not put up with: chilling drafts and drying out.
Never allow your poinsettia to be placed in a cold drafty location. Even when they are being transported home from the store they should be kept in the heated part of the car. Do not sit them near a door where they will be subjected to cold air. Also, never allow the poinsettia to dry out. They will drop all of their leaves and never recover if they get too dry. Keep the soil moist, but not wet, at all times. A high light area is ideal for a poinsettia but never expose them to full sun. This will cause the color to fade quickly. The color in the poinsettia comes from it's brightly colored bracts which are really a type of leaf. The actual blooms are the small, fuzzy yellow berries in the center of the bracts.
Last of all, the big debate about whether the poinsettia is poisonous or not: According to the American Medical Association's Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants, other than occasional cases of vomiting, ingestion of the poinsettia plant has been found to produce no effect.
4-H Updates

Farm Bureau 4-H Bee Project:

If you are interested in participating in the 4-H Bee Project, now is the time to get signed up. Youth ages 8 and up can participate. You will be expected to do a bee project book for next year and you cannot have participated before. Spots are limited. After completing the Bee School, youth will build hives and be given bees to care for.

Project Record Books:

Holiday break is the perfect time to finish up those project record books. Record books, club scrapbooks, and award applications are all due by January 6, 2017. Forms can be accessed from our county website,
Livestock Producers Need to Obtain Their Winter Feed Needs
Dr. Matt Poore, NC Cooperative Extension

Livestock Producers in Western North Carolina have been impacted by the worst drought in recent years. There has been little rainfall in the region since mid-summer and the available forage in pastures has been eaten, forcing producers to start feeding hay early. It is critical that farmers with livestock determine how much hay or other feeds they will need to make it through the winter and to obtain it soon.

Because drought has also impacted Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama we expect a shortage of hay and anticipate that hay will eventually have to be shipped in from long distances. To determine how much hay is needed farmers need to inventory the number of animals they have and their average weight.
Then they need to determine how much hay they have on hand, and their expected shortage that they need to be shopping for. Cooperative Extension Livestock Agents have the ability to work with farmers to determine their hay needs and to help them locate hay or alternative feeds that can be purchased. When hay is not available it is possible to feed silage or concentrate feeds, but they require different management, so again ask your agent for help.

There are several tools that can be used to locate hay and other feeds including the Hay Alert website maintained by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (
www.ncagr.gov/hayalert ). This website can be used to advertise hay for sale and producers can also use it to advertise that they need hay. There also are listings of trucking companies available to help move hay. If you need help using this tool your Cooperative Extension Livestock Agent can also help you with that.
Winterizing the Lawnmower
Now that the leaves are falling, it won't be long before the lawn mower can be put away until next year. Whether you have a big riding mower or a small push model, what you do now will decide how well your equipment starts up in the spring.
  • Drain the gas-the easiest way to do this is to let the mower run until it is out of gas. Leaving gas in the tank invites varnish and other debris to form in the carburetor over winter. If you don't want to drain the gas, at least add a fuel stablizer to the tank
  • Change the oil and the air filter. Clogged air filters are famous for not allowing an engine to start.
  • Clean the mower. After removing the gas, tip the mower on it's side and scrape off all the gunk stuck to the bottom of the mower. If your mower has a steel deck, skipping this step will shorten the life of the deck because caked on grass clippings have moisture in them that will cause rust.                                    
  • Sharpen the blade. Don't wait until you get ready to mow next spring. You probably won't have it done then. A sharp blade makes for a smoother lawn and a cleaner cut.
  • Put oil in the sparkplug hole. Remove the sparkplug and add a teaspoon of regular motor oil to the hole. Replace the plug and pull the motor a few times to distribute the oil in the motor. This helps keep moving parts from corroding and seizing during storage.
  • Apply oil to any other moving parts such as the throttle control and cables.
Aside from a little overall cleaning of the outside of the mower, you're done. Finally, store your mower inside if possible. If the mower has to remain outside be sure and cover securely but loosely so that air can circulate. A properly winterized engine will reward you next spring by starting by the third pull!  
Feeding Hay During Winter
Winter-feeding is the most expensive part of cow calf production when the cost of hay and the additional expense of wasted hay is considered, Reports from the University of Illinois indicate that feed losses, even with a round bale feeder, can be as high as 30 percent. Unlimited access to large round bales can produce losses of 25 to 50 percent. Producers can significantly reduce the amount wasted by implementing certain feeding management practices.
The most common method of avoiding hay loss during feeding is to use a hay ring or other type of hay feeder, such as a wagon that has been modified to allow hay feeding. Many cattle producers unroll large round bales for feeding. This works if cattle are provided with the correct amount of hay for one feeding when the hay is unrolled. However, excess hay quickly becomes bedding. Exercise caution when unrolling hay on a hillside because a large round bale can become a safety hazard. Here are some other feeding tips:
Don't use muddy areas when feeding . A rocky outcrop or old roadbed works well for minimizing mud. Other producers create a bed of coarse gravel to use with rings. Good, clean sod works the best.
Cut and remove the strings on the bales as they are fed . This makes it easier on the cows and may reduce the tangling of strings around the base of the hay feeder. These strings are also very easily entangled around the bush hog when clipping pastures. Also, ingestion of plastic strings can cause problems for cattle.
Slightly hungry cows clean up better . If stretching hay supplies, it may pay to allow cows a little longer to clean up previously fed hay. Feeding twice daily what the cows will clean up will keep losses down. They will be hungry and will come up to the feed. It is important that all the cows be able to eat when using this feeding procedure. But, avoid this when cold fronts are approaching or if cows are thin (feed to maintain cows in body condition score of 5 or higher).
Small Fruit Sale 
Starts January 2nd 

Be on the lookout for our small fruit sale, beginning the first of the year. An assortment of small fruit plants and fruit trees will be available for purchase, beginning January 2nd. Orders will be taken throughout the months of January and February and the plants will be available for pickup in mid-March. More information about the sale will soon be coming your way so start thinking about what you want to plant in the next growing season!

Burke County Cooperative Extension
130 Ammons Drive, Morganton, NC 28655