Blount County
December 2019
From the County Coordinator

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

The Blount County Extension staff would like to wish you and your family the best Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year. The Extension office will be closed from December 23, 2019, through January 3, 2020. This schedule is in accordance with the Auburn University holiday    policy. However, if during that time, you need assistance, contact me on my cell phone at  256 – 531 – 0033.While I can’t give everyone a physical gift, I can direct you toward a few Apps. That may make your life experiences more pleasant. The first of these is an App called Farming Basics. This App was developed by the Commercial Horticulture Extension Team at Auburn. It list various fruit and vegetable crops for you to select from. Once you select your crop, tomatoes, for instance, it will pull up two options, one insect and the other diseases. Open either of the options and it will have pictures of various diseases and/or insects for that particular crop. Most often, insect and disease problems must be identified before selecting control methods. The App also has a fertilizer calculator for you to use. It doesn’t make chemical recommendations for control because they change frequently as pests become resistant or new chemicals become available. If you grow fruits and or vegetables, try it – you will like this App. I would also recommend a Beginning Farmer course you can take online that will be helpful in your vegetable gardening

or production efforts. You access it by going to and search the Beginning Farmer Course. It’s free and should only take a few hours to complete. You can stop and continue at your leisure so give it a try over the holidays.

Other Apps I use include one called Seek. It assists me in identifying plants in our area that I can’t identify. I’ve tested it a couple of times and been pleased with the results. So if you need help in identifying native plants or weeds in your pasture, give it a try. It’s free also.

For those of you that are Birders, you may want to download Merlin Bird ID. It is helpful in identifying birds that you may not know. It is free as well. 

Other Apps that I have on my phone, in case I need them, includes the following: PoisonPerils which identifies poisonous plants in our environment, that a child or livestock might ingest, MyIPM which assist with pest management options in small fruits, Invasive Plants, which identifies invasive plant species you may encounter in the county and of course a weather App, of which there are many to select from. I hope you get some use from some of these Apps!

From our staff to you and your family,
Merry Christmas 
and Happy New Year!

Dan Porch, CEC

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Palisades Park Christmas Light Display

December 1-31, 2019 from 5-9 pm

Closed Christmas Eve & Christmas Day

Palisades Park sparkles each year with thousands of lights glowing. The public is invited to drive through to see the Christmas Light extravaganza. Local businesses, churches, civic groups, individuals, and park staff will create numerous displays of thousands of twinkling lights. Admission is free, but donations are welcome



Palisades Park Santa Cottage

Get your Photo taken with Santa and Mrs. Clause at the Santa Cottage loacted at Palisades Park.

Santas cottage will be open on December 1, 7,8,14,15,21 and 22 from 5:30 - 9:00 pm




Blountsville Historical Park Christmas Open House and Program

December 1, 2019 at 2 pm

Join us for our Christmas open house Sunday December 1st. 2:00 pm. We will begin in the Chapel with a Special Soloist, a short devotional and then some Christmas Carols. The old foot pump organ will play along. There will be refreshments and of course our Museum and Cabins. Open with Christmas decorations.


Alabama 4-H Foundation Scholarship Program

Applications will be available to Seniors on December 1, 2019  in 4Honline. 

Deadline is March 1, 2020 at 11:59pm

If you have questions, contact Nancy Alexaner at

Hayden Christmas Parade

December 3, 2019 at 7 pm

 For more info call Brad Ivey 205-285-7881

Alabama Forage Conference info

Alabama Forage Conference

December 3-4, 2019 at 8:00 am

Joe Wheeler State Park
4403 McLean Drive
Rogersville, AL 35652

Leanne Dillard
(334) 844-7514

Join us for a two-day conference including field tours and in-classroom sessions on improving forage production in Alabama. Read More

Blount County Master Gardener Meeting

December 3, 2019 at 5-9 pm

Location: Frank Green Building Auditorium


Blountsville Christmas Parade

December 6, 2019 at 6pm

Open house and Parade. Refreshements will be served at the Town Hall.

Altoona Christmas Parade 

December 6, 2019 at 7 pm

This years theme,  "Joy of the Season"


Blount County Christmas Parade


December  10, 2019 at 7pm

This years theme, "Parade of Lights"

Blountsville Historical Park host Pictures with Santa

December 7, 2019 from 10 am-3pm

December 8, 2019 from 1-3 pm



National 4-H Conference

Application Deadline 
December 9, 2019 through 4Honline

Applications must include: 4Honline application, My 4-H Story (following format options), 4-H resume, Two letters of reference (one from an Extension staff member)

If you have any qeustions, please contact Joy Scott at
or at (205)612-2790



4-H Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF)

Applications and Deposit are due
by December 9, 2019. 

Deposit is $100 nonrefundable
$400 Balance is Due March 1, 2020.

If you have any questions, please contact Joy Scott at
or 205-612-2790


Delegates will be selected and announced by February 10, 2020.


Alabama 4-H Midwinter Leadership Retreat

Registration and fees are due
by January 10, 2020
Online registration instructions are on the website at
Registration is limited to 120 participants.
Cost is $130 nonrefundable per person.

Event takes place Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at 
Alabama 4-H Center in Columbiana.




Five Star 4-H Club Meeting

December 12, 2019 from 1-3 pm

Location: Frank Green Building Auditorium



Pig Squeal Mandatory Meeting

December 16, 2019 at 6 pm

Location: Frank Green Building Auditorium

This is a mandatory meeting for all    4-H members participating in Pig Squeal. You must attend this meeting before getting your piglets. For more information contact Jenny Bishop at the Blount County Extension Office


4-H Youth & Adult Council Meeting

December 17, 2019 at 6 pm

Location: Frank Green Building Auditorium


Office Closed

December 23,  2019-January 3, 2020

We will be back in the office on January 6, 2020 to serve you.
Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!   


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Piggy Bank with savings on black board

A Few Tips to Keep Santa Out of Debt 

Every year thousands of Americans go into debt during the holidays. With people shopping, attending holiday parties and doing all sorts of activities, it is no wonder we have trouble staying out of debt.

Debt accumulated during the holidays can stick around, well into the New Year. Americans spend an average of $1,054 during the holidays. Only half plan to pay it off in 3 months or less. Of the remaining half, 29% said they will need 5 months or more.

Here are a few simple tips to help reduce your spending this holiday season.
 * Create a Holiday Budget. How much can you afford to spend this holiday season. Consider what items you can eliminate from your daily routine to put toward holiday spending.
* Make your List. Create a list of all the people you will need to buy gifts for this year and choose an amount to spend on each person ahead of time.
* Choose Thoughtful Gifts. Spending a lot on holiday gifts isn’t necessary. Take some time to consider your gift giving, personal gifts tend to mean more and can be less expensive.
* Consider Handmade gifts. This shows thought, effort, and love. Isn't a gift from the heart better than one from a retail store. Baked goods, a pillow, photos, artwork, embroidery, a personalized item would be greatly appreciated. Do your friends rave about your BBQ sauce or salad dressing? There you go, indulge their taste buds this holiday season. Think outside the gift box.
* Use Cash, Not Credit. Try to commit to using only cash or a debit card to help prevent overspending.

digital pressure cooker

Pressure Cooking Saves Time 

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.—For many busy moms and dads, supper time is a last-minute dash to whip up whatever is in the pantry for the nighttime meal. With hundreds of things to grab and hold attention throughout the day, dinner is sometimes an afterthought. Using pressure cookers can be a great way to save time when preparing meals. Read More

12 point buck in the wild

Chronic Wasting Disease: What to Know

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – There have been several reported cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in parts of the Southeast, including Mississippi and Tennessee. CWD is a neurodegenerative disease that affects cervids such as white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose and caribou. While there are not any reported cases in Alabama, it is important for outdoor enthusiast to know about this disease. Read More

Click photo to learn more about Rainwater harvesting. This is a fully operational rainwater collection system installed on 4 modern 40x500 foot poultry houses located in North Alabama. This system has 100,000 gallons of bladder-type storage capacity and water treatment for bird consumption and evaporative cooling needs.
Farming Basics Mobile App

Alabama Extension Launches Farming Basics App


Available at the touch of a finger, the Farming Basics app from Alabama Extension is a science- and research-based information gateway for small and beginning farmers. The app will serve as a pocket guide to help growers answer everyday questions in the field.

Ayanava Majumdar, an Alabama Extension specialist, has brought the Alabama Extension Beginning Farmer Program and online course to life with the help of industry partners.

“The Beginning Farmer Program is a statewide effort to support new farmers with emphasis on military veterans and underserved communities,” Majumdar said. “The Farming Basics app is going to change the way we interact with our growers.”

Majumdar said the app will allow producers to react to pest and disease situations promptly and with confidence. Read More


Download the App

Download the Alabama Extension Farming Basics app where ever apps are sold. Download via Google Play. Download for iOS.


colored image of covered bridge, winding road and river below

           Statewide Centennial Quilt Project Coloring Contest

In honor of the State Bicentennial, Ben Johnson a artist and volunteer with the Cullman County Extension System, has designed an Alabama Bicentennial Quilt with drawings that represent each of the 67 Alabama counties. The colored drawings will later be turned into a book. The Alabama 4-H youth from across the state have been asked to participate in a coloring contest to select the best rendering to represent their county. Ms. Haley Price, a Fifth grader at Locust Fork Elementary has been selected to represent Blount County. Haley is the daughter of Carrie and Tony Price. Haley's photo, seen here will join the other  winners from across the state and later be published. Thank you Haley for such a great job and thank you to all the kids who participated. 

Kids in the Kitchen

Veggie Pizza

4 English muffin halves
1/2 cup prepared pizza or spaghetti sauce
2 cups chopped vegetables--bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, etc. 
1/2 cup grated cheese

1. Put English muffins on a backing pan
2. Spread sauce on each muffin half
3. Sprinkle vegetables and cheese on top
4. Bake at 375* Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until cheese melts.

Quick Meals

Quick Skillet Lasagna

1/s cup chopped onions
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 can (16 ounces) tomatoes
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 1/2 cups of water
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 10 ounce package of spinach, cooked
2 cups cooked egg noodles
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

1. Chop onion. Cook beef and onion in a frying pan until beef is brown and onion is tender. Drain excess fat.
2. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, water, and garlic powder to the beef mixture.
3. cook noodles and spinach according to package directions
4. Drain
5. Add cooked, drained noodles and chopped-spinach to the beef mixture. Stir to prevent sticking.
6. Drop spoonfuls of cheese into the pan
7. Cover and heat over low heat about 5 minutes. refrigerate leftovers.

Looking Back
group at Petals from the past
Harold Deason speaking to class
Amanda Redman speaking to class
Amanda Redman and Deborah Harris speaking to class
Above photos 1) Jason Powell speaks to 2019 Blount County Master Gardener Interns during Petals From The Past tour  2) Master Gardener Harold Deason and Forester Matt Tucker teach Hayden Elementary 5th grade about the importance of Alabama Forest  3&4) Two of our Blount County Master Gardeners, Amanda Redman and Deborah Harris teaching photosynthesis and leaf pigments to Hayden Elementary 3rd and 4th graders.
group of kids listening to speaker
group of kids gathered around a speaker
class gathered around a fire pit
Bethany O'Rear speaking to class
Above photos from Classroom in the Forest, held on the Jones Farm in Blountsville on November 7-8. Blount County Fifth Graders took part in the two-part learning experience that began in the Classroom and moved outdoors for the second portion.
1st place Photo contest Winner
1st and 2nd place photo contest winners
Congratulations to the winners of the 4-H Photography Contest
held at Locust Fork Elementary School!
1st Place- Kiley Berry
2nd Place -Kassidy Martin , 1st Place- Zeth King
2nd Place- Julianna Faulkner, 1st Place Hadley Bonner

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