My name is Anitra Mayhann, and I am excited to be Gulf County’s new 4-H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences Agent. I started my position with UF/IFAS Extension Gulf County on August 8th.
I grew up in Monticello, Florida on an 80-acre horse & black angus farm. I loved growing up in a rural area. I spent a lot of time with animals and riding horses. I received my Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from Florida State University, and I will be pursuing a Master of Science Degree in Family, Youth & Community Sciences from the University of Florida.
I have lived in Gulf County for over 25 years and have a strong bond with this community. It is my desire to see youth and family enrichment programs continue to grow in our county.
As Gulf County’s new 4-H Agent, I have a desire to educate youth by highlighting both animal and natural sciences and the life skills that accompany these topics. I look forward to continuing our longstanding horse club and our livestock & beekeeping clubs. I am excited about establishing a new Archery & Shooting Club, as well as a Youth Naturalist Program in the future. I also plan to add/expand programming focused on leadership development, civic engagement, and healthy living, as I feel these are all crucial to prepare our youth to make a positive impact in their community and beyond.
Open enrollment for Gulf County 4-H clubs begins September 1. Volunteers are crucial to our 4-H program; if you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please let me know!
Keeping your family’s food safe is critical for our health – that’s why September is designated as Food Safety Education Month.
Foodborne illness can occur when we eat contaminated food. In order to keep our food safe, we must follow safe food handling methods when storing and cooking foods.
Following proper food handling principles helps keep our foods safe from the contaminants that can cause foodborne illness. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends these 4 steps to protect your family from foodborne illness: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.
Clean:Wash Hands, Utensils, and Surfaces Frequently
Wash your hands and kitchen surfaces before you prepare any food. Always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, using soap and warm water.
Remember: Germs can survive on surfaces in your kitchen, including on your hands, counters, utensils, and on cutting boards.
Cross contamination is common in the kitchen. Cross contamination is caused by transferring dangerous bacteria from raw foods to other foods and surfaces.
Remember: Separate any raw meat, along with poultry, seafood, and eggs and use separate, individual cutting boards. Make sure to wash cutting boards with hot soapy water in between uses.
Cook:Make Sure to Cook All Foods to the Right Temperature
Cook food to the proper internal temperature to eliminate germs and bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. Use a calibrated food thermometer to get an accurate temperature reading.
Bacteria can rapidly multiply when food is held at room temperature.
Remember: The Temperature Danger Zone is between 40°F and 140°F. This is the temperature range that best supports the growth of microorganisms like bacteria.
Chill: Properly Refrigerate and Freeze Foods
Keep your refrigerator at 39°F or below and your freezer at or below 0˚F.
Perishable foods, especially frozen meat, should never be thawed on the countertop or in hot water. Leaving meat out on the counter or in the sink while it defrosts allows the meat to reach temperatures higher than 40 degrees, the Danger Zone.
Remember: It is important to refrigerate perishable foods within 2 hours, or within 1 hour if food has been held at 90˚F or higher.
Anyone can get foodborne illness; however, older adults, children younger than 5, pregnant women, and those with a weakened immune system may be more likely to get sick from a foodborne illness.
WARNING: This article describes the signs, symptoms, and statistics of mental health challenges, particularly suicide, which may be triggering or unsuitable for some readers. Reader discretion advised.
The United States is currently experiencing a mental health crisis. The isolation and confusion of the recent pandemic brought to light an astounding number of people living with depression, anxiety, and other mental health and substance use challenges. While many of these people have been dealing with these challenges since before the pandemic, the sheer scope of the crisis has been brought into sharper focus since the onset of COVID-19.
One of the most difficult mental health issues to talk about is suicide. For many people who struggle with suicidal thoughts or for the families of those who die by suicide, it can be very painful and stigmatizing to discuss. Even for those outside those two groups, suicide is often a taboo subject.
Supporting someone during a mental health challenge is just as important as supporting them during a physical challenge. By working together, we can help reduce the stigma of mental illness. (Photo source: UF/IFAS File Photo)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the overall suicide rate in the U.S. decreased 3% during the pandemic despite the fact that calls to suicide hotlines went up nearly 800%. For me, what this shows is that when people suffering from suicidal ideation reach out to the resources available to them, they improve their chances for a better outcome.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) shares these statistics on their website: 79% of all people who die by suicide are male; suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-34 and the 12th leading cause of death overall in the U.S.; 18.8% of high school students and 11.3% of young adults aged 18-25 experience suicidal ideation each year.
When a person dies by or attempts suicide, those left behind often claim they did not see it coming, that they had no idea their loved one was having suicidal thoughts. In many cases, the person experiencing suicidal ideation conceals their thoughts and feelings from those around them. However, there are certain warning signs that may be observed in people experiencing suicidal thoughts.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) lists the following warning signs: talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself; looking for a way to kill oneself; talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose; talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain; talking about being a burden to others; increasing the use of alcohol or drugs; acting anxious, agitated, or reckless; sleeping too little or too much; withdrawing or feeling isolated; showing rage or talking about seeking revenge; and displaying extreme mood swings.
(Please note this is not an exhaustive list, but these signs may be indicators that a person may be in acute danger and may urgently need help.)
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. While suicide prevention is important every day of the year, I encourage everyone to take some time this month to learn more about mental illness and suicide. Taking the time to increase your awareness will help reduce the stigma of mental illness and suicide and may allow you to support someone experiencing a mental health challenge.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call or text 988 or text TALK to 741741.
Hello, I am Laurie Osgood, the UF/IFAS Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Extension Agent in Gadsden County. I have worked in Extension for over 8 years, with seven of those years in the Gadsden County office. My FCS program areas include health and wellness and financial capability.
I hold a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and have recently completed my master’s degree in Family, Youth and Community Sciences from the University of Florida.
As an Extension Agent, I enjoy working with families and youth across the state of Florida and in Gadsden County. It is very rewarding to be able to offer health and wellness programs that benefit families in my community. Working as an Extension Agent has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my career.
I have been married to my husband, Gary, for over 25 years and we have three children, which includes a set of twins. All three of my children are currently seeking their college degrees. We have two rescue dogs that are as much work as children.
My hobbies include working in my garden, traveling, and visiting Florida breweries.
As summer is coming to a close and the kids are going back to school, National Watermelon Day is upon us! We have celebrated all of July as National Watermelon Month, but there is an extra day just for this sweet, juicy treat. This August 3rd, enjoy a slice, cube, ball, or spear of watermelon to celebrate National Watermelon Day!
With the name watermelon, you could assume that the fruit is made up of mostly water. “How much water?” you may ask. 92 percent of the fruit is water! This is a great source of water for individuals who do not like drinking water, like myself. Another benefit is that since the water content is high, it helps individuals feel full. The combination of water and small amounts of fiber in this fruit helps you feel full without all of the calories. Watermelon is also beneficial in terms of digestion. Water helps the digestive tract to continue moving while fiber provides substance for your stool. This combination promotes normal, healthy bowel movements.
Not only is watermelon a great source of water for hydration, but it also has a lot of nutritional benefits. Fewer calories and no fat mean less guilt when eating the delicious fruit. There are approximately 47 calories per cup of watermelon. Watermelon also provides vitamins such as A, B1, B5, B6, and C. It also offers magnesium and potassium, both important factors in your daily intake. Vitamins A and C are critical components of healthy skin, as they assist with the production and repair of skin cells. Skin tends to look dry and flaky when you do not have enough intake of these vitamins. Vitamin C helps create collagen. Collagen keeps hair strong and skin elastic.
Now that you know why watermelon is an excellent fruit to consume, how should you celebrate it on its national day? Eating the watermelon by itself, as is, is a great place to start! If you are feeling adventurous, try making a fruit salad, adding salt or sugar, or throwing it on the grill. Check out one of my favorite recipes below for watermelon ice pops!
Ice pop molds
Ingredients (Yields 6):
1 ½ cups watermelon, seeded and diced
½ cup water
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon white sugar
Step 1: Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.
Step 2: Pour mixture into ice pop molds.
Step 3: Place into freezer and freeze until solid. This takes about 2 hours.
Step 4: Run water over the ice pop mold for a few seconds to help release the popsicle and enjoy!
Blueberries were once known as star berries because of the pointy flower calyxes on top of the berries. Blueberries have grown in North America for thousands of years. Native Americans dried the berries in the sun and crushed them into a powder to be used as a rub on meats. Whole berries were added to soups, stews, and to other ingredients to make a pudding call sautauthig.
Blueberries from a Central Florida hobbiest farm. UF/IFAS Photo: Sally Lanigan.uthig.
Luscious, sweet blueberries have a nutrition profile. Blueberries are low in fat and a good source of fiber and vitamin C. Blueberries are very high in antioxidants.
Look for fresh blueberries that are firm, dry, plump, smooth skinned, and relatively free from leaves and stems. Color should be deep purple blue to blue-black; reddish berries are not ripe but may be used in cooking.
Blueberries will keep a day or two at room temperature. They will remain fresh in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Cover berries to prevent dehydration. Reddish berries will be sour but will ripen if placed in a container with a few ripe berries and left uncovered at room temperature for a day or two.
Fresh berries should be stored covered in the refrigerator and washed just before using. Use berries within 10 days of picking or purchasing.
Blueberries are easily frozen for later use. Freeze unwashed blueberries in airtight, resealable plastic bags. If thawed, keep refrigerated and use within 3 days.
Next time you are shopping in the produce department, add fresh blueberries to your shopping cart and enjoy the delicious flavor of the berries.
BLUEBERRY PANCAKE STACKS
Vegetable oil for cooking
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
Dash of nutmeg
In a mixing bowl, stir together the milk, oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients to the milk and stir just until mixed (batter should be slightly lumpy). Gently fold in the berries. Spoon the batter onto a griddle or pan greased with vegetable oil and heated to medium-hot (dollops should be about the size of a silver dollar). Let the batter cook until the tops of the pancakes begin to bubble, then flip and cook until done.
Stack and serve immediately with softened margarine and warm syrup.
Makes about eighteen 2 ½” pancakes.
Combine 1 pint of blueberries and 1 cup of maple syrup in a saucepan.
Heat to boiling, then lower the heat and simmer until most of the fruit has burst. Remove from heat and use a fork to smoosh the berries. The syrup will thicken as it cools. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.