Monday, September 24, 2007

Cooperative Extension Service

Check out Rowena's post at rostitchery (link above). New Mexico State U is sharing all kinds of info here, not just sewing but agronomy and wildlife (which seems to be mostly how to kill things) and horticulture. Lots of good stuff if you're interested.

I've never checked out our Extension Service here. Actually, the only time I hear much about them is when someone says to "ask your local Extension" about dates of first frosts or safe planting-out dates for gardening. Oh golly, I take that back. They also do the classes for Master Gardeners. I thought about looking into that at one point, but with all these kids I just decided I had other things to do with my time right now.

I seem to remember my mom going to meetings around the neighborhood for Extension Club. Only I don't think it was called that. Am I making it all up? Anyone else have a clue what I'm talking about? Do women still take turns and meet at each others' homes and learn things and have coffee and dessert? Oh, what was I thinking! Of course they do that- I do it myself for a "circle" at church. It's called St. Monica's Circle and we meet at members' homes. (But never at my home. Somehow the meetings to be at my home always seem to get moved. Coincidence or conspiracy?) Pretty much what we do is go over the minutes from the last meeting and then talk about what we'll do at the next meeting, and who will volunteer to help serve rolls after mass when it's our circle's turn, and will you bring cookies to the next funeral vigil, and won't somebody else take a turn at being president. Oh, and what's for dessert tonight and is it chocolate.
But that is not the same as Extension. Mom would go to someone's home for the afternoon and learn all about a new way to sew a seam or freeze sweet corn or raise rabbits for fun and profit. It seems like nowadays we do a similar thing, but we do it online or at some store somewhere and we have to pay for it, like when you take a cake decorating class at Michael's. But there's no "learn how to make pickles" class at Michael's. If you don't have a mom or mom-in-law like I do who grew up learning to make pickles from their mothers and grandmothers, I guess you have to go to your County Extension Agent and ask them to teach you. And I think they'll do it for free. Isn't that nice?

In case anyone is wondering, the "extension" part of it is because it is an outreach or extension of the university system out into the community for general education of the public. I think. I just figured that out myself, having never thought about it before.


dottycookie said...

What a brilliant idea. We do have quite a lot of evening classes over here that you can sign up to but not for one off things. Over here there's a worry that the current generation of youngsters won't even be able to cook simple dishes let alone make jam or pickles. I am determined that won't be the case for my girls.

m!les said...

I'm afraid to say that if it were up to me to pass on pickling to the next generation, they'd have to go on knowing only the fabulous pickle myths I would concoct, stalling for time because I have no idea how that works.