Thursday, February 26, 2015


Nominations are being sought for a $750 scholarship offered by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Administrative Professionals Association (NCCEAPA) through March 17, 2015.  The scholarship is available to North Carolina residents pursuing a college degree (Associates and/or Bachelors) in business or a business-related field of study.  Applicants must be enrolled to attend classes at a college during the 2015-2016 school year.

The scholarship is awarded annually to honor the work and dedication of Edith Herter and Frances O'Neal, co-leaders in forming the NCCEAPA in 1973.

Qualified applicants interested in applying for this scholarship can obtain an application packet by contacting the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, Watauga County Center, at 828-264-3061 or by visiting the center at 971 West King Street in Boone.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Shade Your Stream Livestake Giveaway

Looking for something “Green” to do on the first day of spring this year?  If so, you are in luck!  

On March 21, 2015 from 10:30 am – 2:00pm, the Watauga County Cooperative Extension and Watauga River Partners are hosting a native plant demonstration and give-away for residents in the High Country.   All are welcome, but must register in order to receive free plants and lunch.   In partnership with the Appalachian Water Project, a joint venture between Wine to Water and Appalachian Mountain Brewery (AMB), workshop participants can walk away with tips on how to care for their stream/river, free native vegetation (live stakes), and a happy belly. 

Across Western North Carolina, streambank erosion—and the resulting build-up of sediment in stream channels—is having negative impacts on water quality and habitat for “critters”, including trout that live in the streams.   Live stakes are an effective way to reduce streambank erosion.   At this point you may be wondering, “What is a live stake?”  It is a long hardwood cutting from a native shrub, adapted to moist conditions, planted outdoors without rooting hormones.   In this area, we use silky dogwood, elderberry, ninebark, silky willow, and buttonbush. 
Participants from past workshop installing livestakes on the creek.
These woody plants have extensive root systems that stabilize the soil on stream banks during rainfall and high water flow.  The shade produced by the shrubs help maintain the cooler temperatures that our mountain fish and aquatic life need to survive, while the leaves help provide habitat and food for insects and fish. (Leaves fall into the stream, aquatic insects eat and live in the leaves, trout eat the insects) “Shading Your Stream” with vegetation is really important because it acts as a filter to prevent sediment, fertilizers, pesticides, bacteria, pathogens, and heavy metals from entering our rivers.

The event will be held at the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center where experts from the New River Conservancy, the Watauga River Partners, and Watauga County Cooperative Extension will share tips on stream care and available programs that can help landowners.  If you are unfamiliar with how to install livestakes, we will demonstrate by planting a 20ft section of Kraut Creek during the day. 

Interested in participating and receiving free plants for your creek bank?  Please call the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center at (828) 264-3061, or email  The workshop will begin at 10:30 am at 252 Poplar Grove Rd in Boone. 

“Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”
                                                                                                            ---- Wendell Berry

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

2015 Rain Barrel Sale Now in Progress

Protect our Water Resources by Reusing Water Around the Home and Landscape
Go to the following website to order your rain barrel. 

Though the high country has had good precipitation amounts this past year, we still cannot take our water for granted.  As we saw a few years ago, supplies can be altered at the “drop of a hat” during drought conditions.  According to Wendy Patoprsty, Extension Agent for Watauga County, “rainwater in the high country represents a high quality source of water available to us, there is no reason we should let it flow away without using it.”  It can take a very long time for our natural groundwater to recharge.  Depending on the landscape, it can take anywhere from one year to 1,000 years to infiltrate into the aquifers. 

Lane Weiss of the Town of Boone Water Conservation Program says “harvesting rain water prevents water from pooling around the foundation of your home, and helps prevent erosion.  This harvested water can be used for various purposes including washing your dog, watering gardens, rinsing tools, washing cars and windows.”  There is no reason to use treated city water or groundwater for these types of uses. 

“Rain barrels are a great way to water your plants and shrubs or your raised bed veggie gardens.  They are so simple a kid can use them,” says Janie Poe, of Watauga County Soil and Water Conservation District.  The Town of Boone, Watauga County Cooperative Extension, and the Watauga County Soil and Water Conservation District have partnered to provide rain barrels to the community at a reduced cost.   In order to get your savings, you must order your barrel online by April 24th.  We are able to offer the discounted rates because of bulk purchasing and delivery.  These barrels typically cost $129, but we are getting them for $75!  The pick up day will be Friday May 1st, 2015.

According to the EPA, 40% of household water usage in summer is from lawn and garden watering. Homeowners can save 1,300 gallons of tap water every summer by purchasing a rain barrel.

How to order:
Go to the following website to order your rain barrel. 
You must place your order by April 24th, 2015 in order to get the discount on the barrel.    The barrels will be available for pick up on Friday May 1st for the one-day pick up event. 

What sets this rain barrel apart from others?
* Made in NC from 100% recycled plastic.
* Mosquito proof
* Best in class overflow set up to withstand heavy rains so barrel won’t back up into gutters.  This barrel has optional flow direction with capabilities to attach multiple barrels.

Top 5 Reasons to Harvest Rainwater!
* Protect our rivers and streams from runoff pollution
* Divert water from the municipal storm drain system
* Conserve this vital natural resource and reduce your water bills
* Use the rain water to grow healthy and lush plants
* Control moisture levels around the foundation of your home

For more information call 264-3061(Cooperative Extension) 268-6250(Town of Boone), or 264-0842(Watauga County Soil and Water).

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wipe Your Weeds Away Workshop and Pesticide Credits

NEW DATE!!!  April 16, 2015

The Watauga County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension will host a workshop on invasive plants and weed eradication at the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center on Thursday, April 16, 2015 from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM.   The workshop will begin with classroom presentations for Pesticide Credits (G, H, L, N, O, D, X).  The next hour (6:30-7:30) is participatory where attendees have an option to build a custom weed wiper to take home.  Pesticide Credits (A, G, L, N, O, D, X) can be received during this time as well.  According to Eddy Labus, Watauga County Livestock Agent, “getting chemical onto weeds with a wicking device is economical and environmental in that you use less chemical and target species that you want gone.”   A weed wiper is constructed using a specially ordered wicking rope with PVC piping, which allows for a chemical reservoir and a custom handle for easy chemical dispersal.  The workshop is free unless you want to build a weed wiper.  The cost for a hand-held wiper is $20.00, and if you would like a larger (5 foot) weed wiper to attach to a 4-wheeler or tractor it will cost $90.00.
Example of a hand held weed wiper.

 “You can target the species you want to eradicate using this method, reducing overspray and damage to non target plants,” says Paige Patterson.  Patterson will present on invasive species identification and methods of control.  Herbicide selection and use will be discussed.  Invasive species can be a problem on the farm, but are also increasingly found in neighborhoods, roadways, and streambanks. 

Wendy Patoprsty will be presenting on aquatic and riparian invasive weeds and methods of control.  There are many sizes and shapes of weed wipers out there, so depending on your target species and spatial zones, one can customize the size and shape for your specific needs.  In fact, a weed wiper can be a hand held device, or can be attached to a 4-wheeler or tractor.  This workshop will allow participants to build a weed wiper to take home with them for future use.  “Wiping your weeds is a great technique for areas close to water where you cannot get chemical in a creek, pond or river,” says Patoprsty.

If you are interested in attending this workshop, you MUST REGISTER by calling the Watauga County Cooperative Extension Service at (828) 264-3061, and let us know if you plan on building a weed wiper and what size.  Cost is $20 for a hand held wiper and $90 for a tractor or ATV mounted wiper. If you are interested in just receiving pesticide credits, it is free to attend.  For more information or questions please contact Eddy Labus at (828)264-3061, or email at

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Make 2015 the year of “real food”

As a foodie dietitian, I enjoy reading food trend predictions every year. Some seem odd, such as cricket flour being introduced into foods for the protein. Others could have value, like the forecast of no food shaming attached to diets. If this came true, gluten, dairy, carbs or soy would no longer be villains, except for those with allergies, specific diseases, or intolerances. With more pre-prepared, processed foods in stores, another predicted trend that I am in favor of is consumers choosing more “real food”. Food blogs, magazines, and even the food network have been revealing how scrumptious recipes can look when wholesome, unprocessed ingredients are used.
When creatively prepared, food that is close to nature is enjoyable to eat, boosts your immune system, and makes you look your best. You can prepare a PEACE even with limited cooking skills.
P.E.A.C.E: Practical, Easy, and Complete Entrée
Cook your grain: whole grain pasta, couscous, barley, quinoa, or rice.
Cook your protein: any kind of beans, meat, seafood, lean sausage, tofu, tempeh, or nuts.
Add vegetables. Some added fruits are delicious.
Add seasonings and/or sauce/cheese.
Layer in a bowl and enjoy!

Here are a few examples:

Whole wheat penne pasta
Lean chicken Italian sausage
Onions, bell peppers, fresh spinach
Italian seasoning and marinara sauce
Chick peas
Braising greens
Curry sauce made with ½ light coconut milk and ½ plain almond milk
Chicken thigh, toasted walnuts
Bok Choy, pineapple
Seasoning packet in couscous package
Brown rice
Black beans, cheddar cheese
Tomato and pepper salsa
Chili, cumin, oregano
Whole wheat spaghetti
Light alfredo sauce
Rice noodles
Carrots, broccoli, green onions
Peanut butter sauce
Whole wheat pasta
Marsala sauce

A recipe is a starting point for a basic cooking concept. Once you have a few concepts down, cooking can be a creative, enjoyable outlet.
To get started or increase the amount of “real food” in your diet, take a close look at your kitchen. Do you have the equipment needed to prepare unprocessed food? Good knives and cutting boards are essential. Make an equipment wish list as you try new recipes and increase your skills. 
The New Year is a great time to clean out your pantry. Out with the processed, junk food and in with the basics, such as beans and lentils, healthy snacks, whole grains, oils and vinegars and healthy sauces.
If you would like to develop skills with a little assistance, take a cooking class. Locally, I offer skill building classes periodically through NC Cooperative Extension. Check the website at or e-mail me and I will let you know about upcoming events.
Boone Healing Arts Center also offers cooking classes.
If you have the funds, week long cooking classes are available as a vacation option. This idea is becoming more and more popular, as classes are usually in beautiful settings and include visits to farmers’ markets, wineries and other outings. Plus you get to eat the delicious meals you cook.
Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with NC Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. (828)264-3061