A new John Deere tractor was delivered to the UMaine Extension Office in Falmouth this morning. The tractor will be used for work on Tidewater Farm. UMaine Extension, Center for African Heritage and Cultivating Communities have been cultivating fields at the Farm.
In this picture from left to right: Program Administrator Lisa Phelps, Horticulturist Amy Witt and Extension Educator Dick Brzozowski.
Image Description: John Deere Tractor
The number of sheep producers is growing in Maine and beyond. The Maine Sheep Breeders Association, in partnership with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, has developed a 30-month long project known as the “Outreach to Emerging Maine Sheep Entrepreneurs”. The project’s purpose is to equip new sheep producers with knowledge and skills for a successful sheep enterprise. Leah Hoenen is a participant and has volunteered to write about her experiences and share them with the UMaine Extension Community. In this installment she writes about attending UMaine Extension Beginner Shearing School 2013 at Wolfsneck Farm in Freeport:
A sheared sheep wears a certain look of confusion and shame. His companions don’t recognize him, he’s a little cold and a little dazed. The shearing process is quick and efficient; demonstrating it is slightly less so. The unfortunate sheep chosen as the demo sheep on a recent rainy Saturday morning bemoaned his bad luck. Made to topple over a few times just to show the technique of unbalancing a sheep, he sat stiff-legged and stoically through a slow shear, only to suffer the indignity of being written on with a thick, green crayon (to remind prospective shearers of the direction in which a sheep is shorn). Then, they took his picture, digitally preserving his embarrassment for all time.
Watching the first of dozens of sheep to be shorn for the day, I felt pity. Reliably, I’m a bleeding heart, but I’m a practical one. I felt sorry for the sheep in the same way I feel sorry for my Beagle when she reeks of old gym sock and I plop her in the kitchen sink for a bath. She whines, cries and otherwise oozes misery, but I still wash her. Sheep have to be shorn and I get that. But, they do have a very sad countenance. They played me, and I bit.
Standing in the barn at Wolfe’s Neck Farm on a painfully damp and cold morning, I told Karl I was halfway to a David Foster Wallace moment. He thought it was poetic and weird. Sheep after sheep skidded its way across the wet concrete and was ingloriously plopped onto its rump, sitting awkwardly on its bottom like a changeling bear. Some laid limply, others quivered, from cold or muscle stiffness, who knows.
The methodology of controlling the sheep and manipulating its body for maximum effectiveness remains hazy to me; having recently been separated from my wisdom teeth, I was instructed to avoid “exerting” myself, so I didn’t practice. Figuring that wrestling an animal which weighs more than me would be on my surgeon’s list of things to avoid, and taking into serious account the relentless throbbing in my jaw, I decided it was Karl’s turn to shear a sheep and I shamelessly egged him on. Sometimes living vicariously is the best a girl can do.
Out walked the sheep, a lovely brown sheep. The instructor asked, “Whose sheep is this?” Karl raised his hand, and walked over. She was on her bottom before I knew what was happening. I read this as a good sign. But, it pretty much went downhill from there. She didn’t want to be on her bottom and she certainly did not want to be sheared. It takes a while to shear when you’re not a pro. This animal did not look kindly upon the learning curve. At every turn she was kicking, thrashing and twisting, on her feet as much as she was off of them and she and Karl were quickly bloodied in the process (no permanent damage to either party). Standing back and appreciating the show from a safe, uninvolved distance, I found it fascinating. She worked him over like any wry five-year-old would a substitute teacher, seeking every possible opening and taking each one. It was genius. And impressive. So often, people accuse sheep of being stupid. That is not true. I’m never in favor of someone hurting or frustrating my husband, but I admired her tenacity. She knew what she was in for and she said, “No, thank you.”
The exercise is not simply to rid the sheep of its fleece. You do need to do that, but the trick is to take the fleece off such that the majority of it is in a sellable, solid piece – easier said than done, especially when the critter in that coat of wool is wriggling for all it’s worth. The shearer’s goal is to keep the sheep off balance so he can’t get back on his feet: you’ll see shearers tuck their toes under the sheep’s hips or shoulders and squeeze the animals between their knees to help keep them still. The shearing all done in a specific order, moving the sheep’s body around the shearer so that the undesirable wool (the belly wool) is eliminated first and the good stuff comes off in a contiguous mass. After the belly, one shears down the right side of the animal, down the back and then diagonally across the left side, remaining still while moving the sheep and positioning the animal so that its mass presses against its skin, filling out and stretching the skin for easier shaving. Thankfully, there’s a chart.
Shearing is a skill to have in your back pocket for the spring when the shearer can’t come to you or you can’t get to him or her. If you’re raising sheep for fiber, however, like we hope to, it’s probably a job for the pros. There is the fear of skinning the sheep instead of shearing it and the concern about trashing the fleece. You might also consider the health of your back. This is not a task for the faint-hearted or the unfit, but it’s one of those off-the-radar skills that is fun to try on a lark, says the girl who didn’t shear.
Image Description: instructor and student shear sheep
Image Description: Instructor and student shearing sheep
At the recent Maine Extension Homemakers Council Spring Meeting, the theme was “Hats Off To 4-H 100th Birthday” and 4-H clubs all over the state were invited to submit a centerpiece. In Cumberland County 4 clubs participated. The centerpieces had the theme of 100 years of 4-H. Some very creative and beautiful centerpieces were submitted. Happy Hoofbeats came in second place. Congratulations Happy Hoofbeats. A lot of work went into these centerpieces and we would like to thank the clubs that submitted them. Thank you Merry Makers, Warm Up Maine, Stitch-A-Dee-Do-Dahs and Happy Hoofbeats for all your hard work and creativity!
Image Description: Stitch-A-Dee-Do-Dahs 4-H centerpiece
Image Description: Merry Makers centerpiece
Image Description: Warm Up Maine centerpiece
Image Description: 2nd Place winner, Happy Hoofbeats centerpiece
Image Description: Marie Temm, Extension Homemakers President
Image Description: Mitch Mason, 4-H Educator
Date: May 29, 2013
Topic: Preserving Fiddleheads
Location: UMaine Regional Learning Center, 75 Clearwater Dr, Falmouth
Time: 5:30 – 8:30 PM
Cost: $15 (scholarships are available)
To register: Call Lois Elwell at 207-781-6099 or 1-800-287-1471 (in Maine) or register online
Taught by: Kate McCarty, Community Educator and Master Food Preserver Volunteers
Ever wonder how to preserve all those great garden vegetables? University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s hands-on food preservation workshops will teach you the basics of canning and freezing, including how to use pressure canners and water bath canners to preserve pickles, jam, and vegetables. Learn from the experts. We will provide fresh produce and canning jars. For a current listing of upcoming food preserving workshops go to: http://umaine.edu/food-health/food-preservation/hands-on-workshops/
Maine Home Garden News is published during the Maine gardening season. The May issue is now available at:
To receive this free online gardening newsletter:
For more information, contact us at 1-800-287-1471. UMaine Extension no longer designs “for print” publications, except for as needed by clients who don’t have online access including e-mail.
Image Description: Colorful vegetables from the garden
Image Description: remsberg_11081030369
Would you consider planting an extra row of fruit and vegetables this year and donating it
to local soup kitchens and food pantries through our annual Maine Harvest for Hunger program?
The Maine Harvest for Hunger program is open to all interested gardeners and
is coordinated through University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program.
Most wanted: Fruit of all types, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, potatoes. tomatoes, and winter squash.
Your garden could make a difference.
Did you know?
14.7% of Maine households (approximately 200,000 individuals) are “food insecure”.
Maine ranks first in New England in terms of child food insecurity.
Maine ranks 2nd in New England and 18th in the nation in terms of food insecurity.
Help feed Maine’s hungry!
For more information or to enroll in the program, click here. Or, contact Amy Witt at firstname.lastname@example.org
Image Description: Colorful vegetables from the garden
Maine’s 2013 4-H Paper Clover Campaign in partnership with Tractor Supply Company (TSC) will be May 8-19, part of a nationwide in-store fundraiser that benefits state and local 4 H programming in each of the communities where a TSC or Del’s Farm and Feed Supply store is located.
“Funds raised through this promotion help improve our 4-H programs and allow us to offer more programs for youth in Maine,” says Lisa Phelps, University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H Program Administrator.
This is third year of the 4-H Paper Clover Campaign, shoppers at the TSC store’s will have the opportunity to support 4-H by choosing to purchase paper clovers for a $1, $5, or more at checkout. All funds raised will be donated to 4-H, and will support 4-H youth development activities in our counties.
“Through this highly impactful community event, we have been able to raise funds nationally over the past few years for thousands of 4-H youth across the country,” says Donald Floyd Jr., president and CEO of National 4-H Council. “We are more than pleased with the success of the 4-H Paper Clover Campaign, and we are even more honored to continue the tremendous partnership that drives support for 4-H clubs and programs in the communities of more than 1,000 Tractor Supply Company and Del’s Feed and Farm Supply stores.”
The Paper Clover efforts are one of the key ways Tractor Supply Company stores can give back to the community, says John Wendler, TSC senior vice president of marketing. “We’re proud to help improve the many communities in which we have stores through our partnership with 4-H. That is what Tractor Supply is all about.”
Funds donated during the national campaign will be tracked online and recorded by state and by store. More information about the 2013 4-H Paper Clover Campaign is online http://www.tractorsupply.com/content_landing-page_4H.html .
Our 5th Annual Backyard Locavore Day will be held on Aug. 10 in various communities within Cumberland County. Events in Brunswick, Falmouth, Freeport, North Yarmouth, Portland, Raymond, South Portland, Scarborough and Windham begin at 10 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. Registration is $15 in advance, $20 day of event and children under 12 are free. This is a rain or shine event.
Registrants will receive a booklet in July describing each site and a map showing specific locations. Locavore Day is designed to educate members of the public about learn do-it-yourself strategies for becoming a locavore, who is someone who eats food grown or produced locally. Every year more and more people grow, raise, harvest and preserve foods in a sustainable way to meet individual food needs.
Each backyard will have a Master Gardener volunteer to answer your questions on gardening methods, including vegetable and square-foot gardening, backyard composting, root cellars, greenhouses, beekeeping, backyard poultry. Specific food-preservation methods such as drying, hot water bath canning, making herbal vinegars and jam making may be discussed with a Master Food Preserver volunteer. There will be complementary food samples.
This event raises funds for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Cumberland County Food Preservation Programming at the UMaine Regional Learning Center in Falmouth.
Department: Cooperative Extension (Cumberland County
Hourly Wage: $12.20
Position is available to employees of the Associated C.O.L.T. Staff of the University of Maine from 04-26-13 through 05-02-13 and open to external applicants thereafter.
Full-time, regular position, 40 hours per week, 5 days per week. Daily work hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Employee provides a wide variety of both routine and non-routine clerical and administrative support responsibilities and tasks for agricultural and horticultural program areas at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Cumberland County Office in Falmouth. Employee also provides reception coverage and general clerical support as needed.
Essential Duties & Responsibilities: Writes, edits, and releases information regarding workshops, programs and events in collaboration with program, marketing, and other personnel. Establishes and updates Content Management System, social media and electronic media. Designs, edits, copies, and mails newsletters, directories, and other marketing materials in compliance with marketing directives. Updates volunteer records and tracks participant interest and enrollments for subscriptions, workshops, and programs. Updates and maintains databases. Communicates with a wide variety of constituents and stakeholders. Prepares a variety of documents for workshops. Registers participants for programs and workshops and prepares rosters. Monitors workshop income and expenses, receives payments, and prepares deposits. Schedules conference calls, cars, video conferences, meetings and classrooms. Designs and distributes paper and electronic forms and surveys, monitors responses, and prepares reports. Keeps informed regarding UMaine Extension events and directives. Records meeting minutes. Maintains both paper and electronic files. Supervises volunteers as assigned. Receives and greets office visitors, answers telephones. Purchases supplies and materials, troubleshoots office equipment and may arrange for repairs. Performs other reasonably related duties as assigned.
Knowledge & Skill Qualifications:
To apply, please submit a current application along with a cover letter and resume describing how your qualification skills and experiences relate to this position. Incomplete application materials cannot be accepted. Deadline for applications is May 10, 2013.
The University of Maine is a tobacco-free campus. Information regarding UMaine’s tobacco-free policy is online at http://umaine.edu/tobaccofree/
100 Years of 4-H Celebration
The Oxford County 4-H Leaders’ Association is pleased to announce
Maine 4-H: Celebrating 100 Years
All Maine 4-H clubs, volunteers & members, past &present are invited to attend a reception, banquet,and awards ceremony
May 10, 2013 at 5:30pm
Cumberland County 4-H will honor the following clubs at the event for being the longest
continuous 4-H clubs in our county:
4-H All-Star Dairy
Cumberland County Sheep Club
Red & White Faces 4-H Club
Brass Knobs 4-H Club
The Maine Inn
The Poland Spring Resort
22 Robbins Way, Poland Spring ME
$18.00 per person includes
Banquet Buffet of Roast Turkey and Roast Beef with all the fixings
RSVP to Lisa Waters by May 1, 2013
(781-6099 or email@example.com)
To request a disability accommodation, call 207.743.6329.