Jam packed and growing roots

By: By Christy Strickland

If you follow us on Facebook, you may have noticed a new feature posted on Fridays called “Extension Friday Follow-Up.” It features highlights from the week involving Extension staff, clients, and volunteers.

Our 4-H agent does a great job capturing all the activity.

With this in mind, I want to offer a follow-up on some of my experiences this summer. I have often shared personal knowledge I gain every day in my work with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center. We take our mission to promote research-based information very seriously and, often, take it upon ourselves to test things first before we share. Here are just a few things I researched this summer for myself.

Rooting flowers can be fun and fruitful. We always have lots of things going on related to plants in our office. Most of the time, it’s related to some sort of disease agents are trying to figure out or a weed a client is trying to get rid of in their garden or field. The plants in the office are not often related to new growth. Recently, we had some blue hydrangeas, cut from a dear friend’s yard, in our office for an event. These beautiful flowers have been a favorite for many events in my own life. So when someone suggested we root some, I was eager to volunteer my help. Hopefully, you will see the fruits of our labor come springtime. The best part is all of the information I needed to be successful was available right here at Cooperative Extension.

This might be one of the best experiences I had this summer — being introduced to tomato jam. I didn’t even know it existed until now, and it’s great. While I love tomatoes, I was reluctant to think it would be good on the food normally enjoyed with jam. But tomato jam doesn’t even taste like tomatoes; its taste is similar to apple butter in my opinion. Luckily, food preservation classes were offered this summer, and I was able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Local tomatoes are still available, and I can’t wait to try my hand at making my own batch of jam. As usual, all I need to know to be successful is available through Extension.

Never underestimate how quickly young people can learn something new. It was my pleasure to help with the 4-H Arts and Crafts Day Camp this year. My coworker and I were given the task of teaching the group chicken scratch. This is needlework similar to cross stitch and is done on gingham fabric. Chicken scratch has been around for a long time, but we weren’t sure it would be very popular with our younger crafters; we were wrong. Not only did they learn quickly, they loved it. So much so that we had to find more thread to help some campers add to their designs and complete their projects.

The last experience I want to share is very simple. When someone retires, you really miss them. I have known lots of people who have retired, but this was my first experience as a supervisor. Aletha Mebane, who served Extension for 20 years, had the most pleasant voice you have ever heard on the other end of a phone. We are doing our best to fill her shoes, but it is not easy. If you call our office over the next few weeks, you will hear a variety of pleasant and helpful voices from staff and volunteers eager to serve your needs. Thank you Mrs. Aletha for showing us how customer service should be done.

To learn more about Extension, please contact Christy Strickland, County Extension Director with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 671-3276, by E-mail at Christy_Strickland@ncsu.edu, or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.


By Christy Strickland

Christy Strickland is the County Extension Director and Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences in Robeson County. She can be reached at 671-3276 or by email l at Christy_Strickland@ncsu.edu.

Christy Strickland is the County Extension Director and Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences in Robeson County. She can be reached at 671-3276 or by email l at Christy_Strickland@ncsu.edu.