Tanner, 10, hails from a family with a long 4-H tradition. Mom Kellie Rosales started in 4-H at age 9. Grandma Teri Penfold grew up in 4-H and is now a leader.
With more than 6 million members, 4-H is the nation's largest youth development organization, supporting students ages 9 to 19 through an expansive and varied program designed to shape future leaders and innovators, the article said.
In California, 4-H is part of UC Cooperative Extension.
The article described the months-long process Tanner has undertaken to show a farm animal at the fair. He meets weekly with the 4-H goat leader and makes one or two additional trips to work with Bonnie on his own.
4-H members are responsible for regularly walking their animals, feeding them, weekly weigh-ins, giving any oral medications, practicing showing in a ring and touching the animals so they're used to being handled.
"The 4-H program teaches the commitment needed to properly prepare a goat for show - and more importantly - how to see a project through to completion," the article said.
Rosales said she appreciated the opportunities and experiences that 4-H provided.
"I just want that for my kids," she said. "I want them to know they're going to work hard, and when they work hard it's going to pay off."
"If we had one more year of drought, it would really be ideal," said Matteo Garbelotto, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley.
The article said Garbelotto isn't hoping for more drought, but evidence shows that the drought is helping reduce SOD infection rates and in some cases is curing infected trees, "because the pathogen dies."
Each spring, the UC Berkeley SOD lab hosts a "blitz" to gauge the spread of Sudden Oak Death. Volunteers fan out across areas susceptible to SOD and collect leaf samples for analysis.
In the Cloverdale area, where an outbreak was confirmed last year, none of the trees sampled had the disease this year, the article reported.
"I would say it is there, but we just didn't find it," Garbelotto said.
East of Highway 101, the rate dropped from 26 percent infected last year to 23.3 percent in 2014, the story said.
Complete SOD blitz results will be available Sept. 29 on the UC Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology Lab website.
"If you live on a street with sycamores or maples, you usually get a little treat in the fall when they turn colors," Bill Patzert said. "This year, you have already been raking their leaves."
Patzert believes the fall may be colorless in Southern California this year, but Louis Santiago, professor of botany and plant sciences at UC Riverside, said he's not too worried about that.
“A lot of the trees we see turn colors are urban trees, and they tend to be irrigated so the drought has less of an effect on them,” Santiago said. “I wouldn't say we're going to have a terrible fall.”
For the story, UC Cooperative Extension advisor Janet Hartin provided a primer on fall colors.
When nighttime temperatures drop, leaves stop creating chlorophyll. In spring and summer, the green of chlorophyll covers up the yellow, orange and brown hues produced by carotenoids. When chlorophyll disappears, bright sunshine promotes the production of anthocyanins, which create red and orange colors.
“So in reality, foliage doesn't ‘turn' orange or red at all,” Hartin said. “Carotenoids and anthocyanins are always in the leaves; they are simply unmasked once the active growing season is finished.”
"I had the same experience that most people did," Gable said.
Banks began the 2014 summer gardening season like most home gardeners, full of hope and enthusiasm. But as fall approached she found herself with "a few spindly stalks of okra, a tangle of barren melon vines and a pepper plant loaded with misshapen pods."
Gable and another UC Cooperative Extension advisor, Janet Hartin, chalked up this year's garden frustrations in part to the state of California's water woes.
"A lot of people are calling and want to rip out their whole garden and just put in native plants," Hartin told the columnist.
But she and Gable assured the writer that vegetables are well worth the water it takes to grow them.
"... By growing fruits and vegetables, you're decreasing your carbon footprint," Gable said. "You're not using pesticides, not making trips to the grocery store.... The environmental and health benefits of home gardens are lasting and important."
Gable offered some suggestions to improve the chances for success:
- Add compost to the soil to provide nutrients and increase water-holding capacity
- Switch to water-conserving drip irrigation
- Insulate the soil surface with a thick layer of mulch
- Make careful planting decisions
"(Gable) steered me to a bevy of experts who take questions by email and phone through the University of California's Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program. I've bookmarked local planting guides and advice online at http://www.ucanr.edu," Banks wrote.
According to the CDFA (2012 statistics), he wrote, the Top-10 commodities produced in California are, in order, included milk, grapes, almonds, nursery plants, cattle and calves, strawberries, lettuce, walnuts, hay, and tomatoes.
Pitahaya must be WAY down the list, but worth a taste, Blake wrote.
Other recent news:
- UC Cooperative Extension hosted an "Insect Blitz" on Sept. 13 at UC Cooperative Extension's Elkus Ranch, which featured the opportunity to consider bugs as a delicious food source, reported the Half Moon Bay Review.
The event also included a "bio blitz," in which participants were encouraged to venture off on the 150-acre site and collect samples of plant and insect species. Elkus Ranch Director Virginia Bolshakova, UC Cooperative Extension advisor and San Mateo-San Francisco County Director, said the event gave the public a chance to learn about the biodiversity of the area.
- The San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times reported on the spread of bagrada bug to the San Francisco Bay Area. The pest was introduced into Southern California six years ago and has been marching northward and eastward ever since.
"This bug is highly nasty," said entomologist Shimat Joseph, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Monterey County. "It can make a crop unmarketable.
The story also quoted Virginia Bolshakova.
"Everybody is keeping their eyes open as it travels up the coast," she said. "It is likely just a matter of time" until it reaches the rural farms along the edge of the Pacific."