Put Your Christmas Tree to Good Use

by Sarah Browning, Extension Educator – Horticulture

Add fruit garland to your Christmas Tree

Add fruit garland to your Christmas Tree

Before taking your Christmas tree to the recycling center this year, consider using it to create backyard habitat for birds. To attract birds to your backyard, you must provide their three basic needs- food, water, and cover or shelter. Your old Christmas tree will provide excellent shelter for birds, providing protection from wind and predators. It can also serve as a feeding station, where you provide a buffet of food that our native birds love.

Before taking the tree outside, remove all decorations and lights, including tinsel. To provide the most shelter possible for the birds, place the tree on the south or east side of the house, sheltered from winter’s harsh north and west winds. Anchor the tree securely by setting the stump into the ground or a large bucket of damp sand, and securing the top of the tree with twine to nearby building, fence or trees.

There are several more ways to recycle your Christmas tree. Learn more, read the entire article “Recycling Ideas – Christmas Trees“.

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!

Soni

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

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Chicken Noodle Soup – Recipe of the Month

This recipe accompanied an article by Kayla Colgrove, MS, RDN, ACSM-CPT, Extension Educator, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County. It appears in the January 2019 issue of the NEBLINE Newsletter


Chicken Noodle Soup

(Photo by Craig Chandler, UNL Communications)

January is national soup month. Try this recipe from Nebraska Extension’s Nutrition Education Program (nep.unl.edu) which includes whole wheat egg noodles. It is easily adaptable to beef noodle or chicken and rice soup.

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
(6 Servings)

1 whole chicken*
1 teaspoon salt
Water, to cover
1 onion, chopped
3 large carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
3/4 cup whole wheat egg noodles, uncooked**

  1. In a large saucepan, place chicken and salt. Add enough water so the chicken is covered. Heat to boiling. Cover, reduce heat and simmer about 45 minutes or until chicken is tender.
  2. Remove chicken from broth and cool enough to handle. Remove skin and bones and chop the meat. Skim fat from broth.
  3. Add additional water, if needed, to make 6 cups. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add chicken, onion, carrots, celery and noodles to the broth. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

*Substitute 2 pounds roast or stew meat for chicken to make Beef Noodle Soup.
**Substitute 3/4 cup rice for noodles to make Chicken and Rice Soup.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Calories 180, Total Fat 3.5 g (5% DV), 1 g Saturated Fat (5% DV), 80 mg Cholesterol (27% DV), 520 mg Sodium (22% DV), 11 g Total Carbohydrate (4% DV), 2 g Dietary Fiber (8% DV), 3 g Sugars, 25 g Protein, Vitamin A 100%, Vitamin C 15 %, Calcium 4%, Iron 8%.

Source: Nebraska Nutrition Education Program

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!

Soni

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

Roasting chestnuts … and what has happened to American Chestnut trees?

American Chestnuts. Photo by Pixabay

American Chestnuts. Photo by Pixabay

So how do you roast chestnuts?

With a sharp knife, make an incision through the smooth outer skin and textured inner skin on the rounded side of each nut. This allows steam to escape and prevents the nuts from bursting during roasting. Roast the nuts over an open fire in a wire popcorn basket or special chestnut roasting pan, shaking periodically, for 15-20 minutes. Allow the nuts to cool slightly before peeling and eating. Chestnuts can also be roasted in the oven after scoring, at 375 ° degrees for 15-25 minutes. Place them in a shallow pan, and turn them over mid-way through the roasting time.

The information on roasting chestnuts was included in the following article written by Sarah Browning, Extension Educator. 

Is Emerald Ash Borer the Next Chestnut Blight?

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose….” We’re all familiar with this popular holiday song, but have you ever wondered how to roast chestnuts? Or exactly what a chestnut tree looks like? Why don’t we see them growing in our neighborhoods?

Once, American chestnut was a major component of eastern forests from Maine to Michigan and south to Alabama and Mississippi. Called the ‘Redwood of the East’ because of the tremendous size of mature trees, American chestnuts made up approximately 25% of forests in the eastern United States. When chestnuts bloomed in spring, the Appalachian mountains appeared covered in snow. The trees were an important part of the rural economy, as a source of highly rot-resistant lumber, and the nuts a major food source for wildlife. Trainloads of chestnuts were sent to eastern cities to be roasted and sold by street vendors during the holidays. However, today the American chestnut has been reduced to merely an under-story shrub in eastern forests.

More…. Read the entire article on the Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County Horticulture website: Is Emerald Ash Borer the Next Chestnut Blight

 

Staying connected with family during the holidays — and all year round

by Katie Krause, Extension Educator, November/December 2018 NEBLINE

Grandpa and Granddaughter working on a laptop

Stay connected over the holidays

The holidays are often times when family and friends gather together, sometimes traveling by car or plane. But how can you connect young children with family and friends this holiday season (and all year round!)?

BREAKING BARRIERS TO CONNECTION
When I moved to Nebraska a few years ago, I knew the hardest thing for me would be being so far away from my family. I have such fond memories of both sides of my family coming together for holidays; grandparents, great-grand parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. While we are able to visit with family in person a couple of times a year, being all together is just not possible for every holiday. Thankfully, there are still a lot of ways I can help my son, Weston, build a relationship with family members 800 miles away!

The traditional method of communicating over the phone is still a common way to keep in touch; however, children as old as nine can have difficulty understanding and processing phone conversations. This doesn’t mean do not try to have phone conversations, just be aware that they may not be as meaningful for a young child as they are for the adults. Also, keeping a child’s attention on a voice coming out of a tiny device isn’t usually too captivating, so plan on a hello, maybe a short conversation and probably a quick goodbye from your little one.

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