Friday, July 29, 2016

Cooking with Kids

Ashley Goudey - Nutrition, Food Safety, and Health Agent

Include your child or grandchild while preparing food to make it more enjoyable! You will not only prepare a meal together but your child will learn to become independent and develop positive self-esteem. When children help make food they are less likely to reject it and more willing to try food they have never tried before. Keep in mind that children develop at different rates and that all children are different. The main point of cooking with children is to have an enjoyable time together. Remember to have fun, expect a few spills, and to be patient with your child while letting them help out with the following tasks.

Assist children with handwashing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water before handling food.

2 Years:

· Rinse fresh produce
· Throw away trash
· Turn pages of a cookbook
· Wipe table tops
· Put bread in toaster

3 Years:

All that a 2 year-old can do, plus:
· Add ingredients
· Talk about cooking
· Name and count ingredients
· Help assemble a pizza
· Pour liquids
· Pour cereal
· Spread soft spreads

4 Years:

All that a 3 year-old can do, plus:
· Crack an egg
· Set the table
· Help measure dry ingredients
· Peel oranges
· Mash bananas

5 Years:

All that a 4 year-old can do, plus:
· Measure liquids
· Use an egg beater
· Cut soft fruits with a dull knife
· Unload dishwasher

For fun recipes to try with your children visit:

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Blue-Green Algae in Ponds

-Neil Cates, Livestock Agent

When it comes to ponds in our pastures, we often think about quantity.  Will I have enough water to get my cows through the grazing season?  What we often over-look is the quality of that pond water.  Blue-green algae is something you should have on your radar.  Typically, we start seeing blue-green algae blooms during the latter part of summer, but our early hot weather has created perfect conditions for the algae.

Blue-green algae can be toxic to animals and people.  Kansas State Universities Veterinary Diagnostic Lab has already confirmed two cases and another suspected case of cattle deaths related to the algae this summer.  The name blue-green algae is misleading because it is basically a bacteria (cyanobacteria).  Health problems can arise when animals come into contact with the various toxins produced by the cyanobacteria.  The most prominent problem involves a toxin, which affects the gastrointestinal tract and liver.  When animals are exposed to this toxin, they may experience vomiting or diarrhea.  If the exposure is severe, it can be lethal and cause liver failure.  Muscle trimmers and open mouth breathing are other clinical signs.  

Dogs are more commonly affected by the algae because of their behaviors around water.  If you suspect your dog has been in waters containing a blue-green algae bloom, you will want to bathe them immediately.  Be sure to protect yourself during this process and wear protective gloves.  If your dog begins exhibiting clinical signs, see your veterinarian immediately.

 Problems with blue-green algae occur only under specific environmental conditions.  Hot, dry, calm days stimulate reproduction of the organism, and under normal conditions, the algae are homogenously suspended in the water.  When large numbers of algae start to die, gas is produced inside the cells, and the colonies tend to float to the pond surface.

After this, even a gentle wind will concentrate the organisms downwind to form a scum on or just below the pond surface.  Rain or any disturbance of the water tends to break up the scum and make poisoning less likely.  Living blue-green algae start out as green in color and turn blue after the algae die and dry on the surface or shoreline.  Blue-green algae are not the type that grows in mats of plant material along shorelines.  When picked up, it will disperse in the water and does not hang together in a stringy mass.  The algae bloom almost has the appearance of green paint spread across the surface.
There are a couple of tests that you can perform on your own.  Those being the “jar and stick tests”.  They are relatively simple to conduct and are free of charge.  For information on how to conduct these tests, contact your local extension office, for an instructional handout or to speak with myself.  These tests will not tell you what kind of bloom it is or if toxins are present, but serves as an indicator to whether blue-green algae are present and if precautions should be taken.  Samples can also be submitted through our office to the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab for a more accurate determination.  There are specific collection instructions for all tests, so be sure to contact us prior to coming to the office to submit your sample.

Once a blue-green algae bloom is suspected, it is best to fence off the concentrated areas of the pond or the whole pond if the bloom is wide-spread.  There are proactive and reactive measures that can be taken to prevent and control blue-green algae.  However, some of the control options may create alternative problems.  For more information on blue-green algae please call myself, Neil Cates at 785-738-3597.  I would be happy to assist you in testing or to discuss the proactive and reactive measures available.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Advance Health Care Directives Important to All Adults

Nora Rhoades - Family and Youth Development Agent

As a cognitively healthy adult, you have the right to be informed about the state of your health and make your own decisions about medical treatment. But, what happens if you become unable to voice your own decisions?

If a person becomes incapacitated, either temporarily or permanently, advance health care planning comes into play. Forming advance health care directives while being cognitively healthy allows a person to voice his or her wishes regarding future health care, in the event that person eventually becomes unable to do so.

Many people start the planning process as older adults, but this is something any person over the age of 18 should consider. At any point in life, tragedies – a car accident, farming accident or sudden serious disease – can happen.

The most common advance directives include a durable power of attorney for health care, living will and a do not resuscitate directive. A booklet with a copy of the Kansas statute forms for these directives, in addition to other important health care information, is available from K-State Research and Extension. You can access the “Advance Health Care Planning in Kansas” booklet at or by visiting any Post Rock District Extension Office.

Updating and Storing Documentation
People should review their advance health care directives documentation at least once a year to make sure it still aligns with their wishes. Also review the documents any time after a major life event, such as a marriage, divorce or separation.

To revoke the documentation, simply destroy it and complete new state statute forms. Keep note on who has copies of the forms, so that those copies are destroyed and replaced with new copies.

Make sure the durable power of attorney for health care, close family and friends, the local hospital and a primary care physician have copies of the forms. Consider keeping a copy in the glove box of the car, on the refrigerator, or somewhere open and accessible at home. Don’t just keep it in a safety deposit box at your bank because if something were to happen to you, there are few people, if anyone, who have access to that box and can get the documents for you.

The booklet available through K-State Research and Extension has a wallet card for people to carry that allows them to list places where their advance health care documentation is stored.

It’s important to note that copies are valid. So even if you keep an original in a safety deposit box, for example, if your son is your agent and he comes with a copy, that will be honored.

People should also know that each state has its own statute forms, and it is not guaranteed another state will accept the Kansas forms. If you move to or spend a large amount of time in another state, fill out forms in that state as well. This will help ensure your wishes will be honored no matter what state you’re in.

Again, a booklet with a copy of the Kansas statute forms for advance health care directives, in addition to other important health care information, is available from K-State Research and Extension. You can access the “Advance Health Care Planning in Kansas” booklet at or by visiting any Post Rock District Extension Office.