Happy Holidays everyone! Well, the year 2012 is coming to a close and here in Somerset County things are slowing down for a long winter season. The gardens have all been tucked in for the winter and are waiting the spring planting season. The seed companies are all looking forward to flooding our mailboxes with their new catalogs at the earliest possible time and we are looking online to get a jump on the newest garden items or seeds we can find for that special person on our holiday shopping list. Our best wishes to you all and we hope you have a very Happy Holiday! We look forward to seeing you in 2013.
- Somerset Beekeepers Basic Beekeeping for Beginners 2013
If you’ve thought about how much fun it would be to raise your own bees for their honey or to pollinate your flower garden, fruit trees, and vegetable gardens, but just didn’t know how to get started then this event is for you!
When: Starting February 19 to March 19, with a snow date of March 26; Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 PM (registration will take place between 6:00 and 6:30 on February 19).
Where: Somerset County Extension Office, 7 County Drive, Skowhegan, ME 04976
Cost: The course fee is $40 per person/couple and includes a 1 year membership with the Somerset Beekeepers, as well as the course manual “Bee Keeping Basics.”
Preregistration is preferred so that adequate course materials may be provided. A postponement notice will be announced by 3:00 p.m. on the day of the session as necessary.
Instructor: Samantha Burns
Contact: Questions about the course may be addressed to Samantha Burns, firstname.lastname@example.org or Phone 207-696-4906.
- 23rd Annual Maine Beef Conference
The Maine Beef Producers Association (MBPA) will hold its 23rd Annual Beef Conference, titled “Becoming a More Successful Marketer,” Saturday, December 1, 2012 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Bangor, ME, with registration open at 8:00 a.m.
This year, MBPA has joined forces with the Maine Grass Farmers Network (MGFN) to host the conference with sponsors University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Industry sponsors include Cargill Animal Nutrition, makers of Nutrena & Agway Feeds, Cold Spring Ranch, Pineland Farms, and the Maine Beef Industry Council.
Keynote speaker is Dr. Jim Ochterski, Cornell Extension marketing specialist. Other speakers include Walter Whitcomb, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Dr. Henrettia Beaufait, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Regulations Division, and Gabe Clark, beef producer, Cold Spring Ranch.
Non-member registration, including lunch, is $60 for the first person from the farm and $40 for all others from that farm. Discounts for MGFN and MBPA association members are available, as well as a student rate. For registration details, contact Melissa Libby at 1-800-287-7170 in Maine or 207-581-2788. Registration details will be available on the UMaine Extension beef website .
- 72nd Annual Agricultural Trades Show, Augusta Civic Center, January 8-10, 2013
Admission is FREE! This show provides an atmosphere to walk through, observe, and educate the public about different areas of agriculture. Show hours:
- Tuesday, January 8, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, January 9, 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- Thursday, January 10, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
- 2013 Somerset County Master Gardener Course:
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Somerset County is pleased to again offer its popular Master Gardener program in the Spring and Fall of 2013. This year the course will be run in a split session format with the first session starting March 4 through May 6. The second session will begin on September 9 and continue until October 7. The course will feature an online manual that requires a reliable internet connection. Please contact the extension office if you do not have reliable internet access. Participants in the Master Gardener program will receive fifteen 3-hour training sessions on gardening starting March 4. The 2013 program will focus on ornamental horticulture, ecological landscaping, and volunteerism, therefore we expect each participant to attend all of the training sessions and work actively on volunteer projects during and following the course. The fee is on a sliding scale determined by household income. Scholarships are available. The program will be held on Monday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. beginning March 4 at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office on Norridgewock Avenue in Skowhegan. For more information or to request an application, please call the UMaine Extension Somerset County office at 207-474-9622 or 1-800-287-1495 (in Maine). Applications are due on February 2, 2013.
Items of Interest
- Would you like to know how Christmas tree farms affect the environment or how to select and care for your tree? The Maine Christmas Tree Associations website has some timely information on the effects of Christmas tree farms in Maine, along with more interesting information. Visit the Maine Christmas Tree Association website for more information.
- Ever wonder what the temperature really is or how thick the ice is on your favorite fishing hole? The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has a very useful chart to help you determine the wind chill, along with a handy reference chart of how much weight the ice will hold, published by The American Pulpwood Association. See Watch That Ice & Wind Chill on their fishing website (scroll down to the bottom of the page).
- “How’s My Waterway” Training on November 28. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is holding a free Watershed Academy webinar entitled “How’s My Waterway? And Other Water Quality Apps” on November 28 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Webinars are archived on the website. The EPA recently launched a new app and website to help people find information on the condition of thousands of lakes, rivers, and streams across the United States from their smart phone, tablet or desktop computer. The How’s My Waterway app and website uses mobile device location or a user-entered zip code or city name to provide information about the quality of local water bodies. The webcast will also highlight the Swim Guide app, which helps you find your closest beach and provides beach status information. Finally, the webcast will showcase the Riverview app, which lets you share pictures of your favorite river and share information on its condition. To register for this webinar, please visit the How’s My Waterway website at www.epa.gov/watershedwebcasts.
- The People’s Garden Fall Webinar Series is back! The USDA People’s Garden Initiative is happy to announce once again a series of online trainings so you can learn about processing and storing seeds, engaging volunteers, growing native plants, composting, and school garden best practices without leaving your desk. These online trainings begin Thursday, November 29 at noon. Experts from across the country will teach the trainings. The sessions are part of the course work for the Executive Master Gardener Program at Headquarters. There is no charge for registration and all sessions are open to USDA employees and the public. Please follow your agency’s protocol for training approval. You may register for one or all of the sessions depending on your interests. Registration is open now at People’s Garden Fall Webinar Series.
Somerset County Master Gardeners!
As the gardening season comes to an end, we would like to take time to thank you for your participation in the Master Gardener program and congratulate you on your success with your volunteer projects. As a group, we have accomplished some great things.
Some of the highlights of the volunteer projects:
- You helped start community gardens in the towns of Starks and Mercer.
- You worked on and maintained raised beds here at the UMaine Extension office, to grow food for the Senior Companion Program and the food pantry in Skowhegan.
- You helped educate the public about raised bed and container gardening through programs in the county and at the Extension office.
- You went out into the schools and clinics to help children and adults learn the benefits of growing their own food along with the proper ways to garden.
- You gave talks and presentations throughout the county and your communities on gardening topics, along with answering numerous gardening questions from friends, neighbors, and family.
- You donated a combined total of 634 pounds of food for the Senior Companion Program and the food cupboards in Somerset County, valued at $1,585.00.
- Your volunteer efforts generated a total of 1,407 hours worth of time in assorted projects around the area, worth approximately $22,512.00.
The list goes on and we haven’t stopped recording your hours as you turn them in. Please take home this message: You and your accomplishments are truly appreciated. The Master Gardener Volunteers Newsletter will continue to include upcoming events and new volunteer opportunities. One of the opportunities coming up would be to join our “Mentor Program.” You could help the new Master Gardener Volunteers with their project planning and execution. Please call or e-mail us if you are interested in the opportunity. We look forward to working with you in the future. Congratulations and thank you for your participation.
Have a Great & Happy Holiday Season!
Kathy Hopkins & Tom Goodspeed