Q. Our 4-H club does several community service projects each year, where can we look for some new ideas?
A. Working with other groups is a new and challenging way your club can contribute to their community. Sometimes, when two or three groups come together, they can accomplish a larger project than any one of them could by themselves. Here are a few groups who help facilitate community projects: the Volunteer Center, the Safe Kids Coalition, the Human Services Coalition, Humane Society, schools, churches, arts councils, city governments and other youth groups, to name just a few. Keep up the good work. Teaching children to contribute to their community is basic to the fabric of our society.
Q. My mother told me that I should use a mix of bleach and sugar in the water I use to keep my Christmas tree fresh. Should I use this homemade concoction or a commercial one?
A. Neither, whether a homemade concoction containing bleach, aspirin, soda pop or fertilizer, or a commercial material is used, research has shown that plain clean tap water and a clean tree stand are key to keeping your tree fresher for longer. In fact, many of these materials have been found to shorten the freshness of trees.
Q. After I prune my fruit trees, can I chop the prunings and leave them in the orchard?
A. Absolutely! Using the mulch produced from pruning adds organic matter to the soil, which makes it a more favorable environment for beneficial organisms that will improve soil health. However, do not use clippings from diseased trees, as this could add to problems in the next season.
Q. Some of my favorite holiday recipes call for using raw and undercooked eggs. Is there something I can do to make those recipes safe?
A. Egg-containing dishes must reach an internal temperature of 160F or higher to be safe. Consider looking for an updated version of your favorite family recipes. In many cases, companies have developed new versions of old recipes to make sure they meet current food safety guidelines.
* Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.