Native Gifts for the Holidays

December 15, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Gift certificates for UDairy Creamery ice cream make a great holiday treat.

The holiday season is right around the corner. Some folks wrapped up their shopping on Black Friday but plenty haven’t finished the task – and some haven’t even started.

No worries. We’ve rounded up some great gift ideas. Best yet, these gifts have a uniquely Delaware focus. Some choices – like landscape design classes – are tailor-made for outdoorsy types. Others gifts – like Delaware wool blankets — work equally well for couch potatoes who just gaze at the landscape from their windows.

From spices to vines 

A few years ago, New Castle County Master Gardeners began offering winter workshops in addition to their regular fall and spring classes. “The response was overwhelming,” says Carrie Murphy, the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension horticultural agent for New Castle County. “January and February aren’t good for gardening but they’re perfect for learning new ways to garden and planning for the season ahead.”

Winter workshop topics include vines and espaliers, downsizing your garden, and the origin of cooking spices. For the complete list, go to this website.

To purchase a gift certificate for a Master Garden workshop, call 302-831-COOP.

Keep warm with Delaware wool

UD’s flock of Dorset ewes get sheared every spring before going out to summer pasture. Previously, their wool was sold at a regional auction to wool processors. Then farm superintendent Scott Hopkins and animal science professor Lesa Griffiths put their heads together and, soon after, Blue Hen Blankets and Yarn was born. Now, after the sheep are sheared, the wool is sent to a Canadian mill to create cozy blankets in two styles — a lap throw and a queen-size version.

The blankets have plenty of heft — each lap throw requires four pounds of wool and the queen-sized contain 12 pounds.  The lap size is $100 and queen-size $175. Buy them at the UDairy Creamery on UD’s South Campus. For creamery location and hours, see the website.

A gift that lasts all year

Surfing at Indian River Inlet and swimming at Fenwick Island. Hiking at Alapocas Run and biking at White Clay Creek. Pond fishing at Killens Pond and surf fishing at Cape Henlopen. Give them an annual pass to Delaware’s state parks, where they can enjoy their favorite outdoor activity — or try something new.

Annual passes range in price from $12 for a senior citizen to $54 for an of-state resident. For more info, or to buy a pass online, go to the state parks website.

UD profs and other experts at Longwood

Don’t let “Tips for Turf Diagnosis: Insect and Disease Management” scare you. Sure, Longwood Gardens’ continuing education program has serious classes for pros. But there’s also “beginning bonsai” and “orchids for beginners.” Your gift recipient doesn’t even have to be a gardener — birding, photography, art and flower arranging classes also are offered.

UD prof Sue Barton teaches the fundamentals of sustainable landscape design in a five-session class; UD adjunct instructor Jon Cox presents the secrets to photographing water in an all-day session. For the full schedule of classes go to the Longwood website and click on “education.”

Longwood gift cards can be purchased on Longwood’s website or at the Kennett Square, Pa., gardens.

Give ’em Delaware River Mud

Mud pie ice cream, that is.

Delaware River Mud Pie is the most popular flavor at the UDairy Creamery, according to manager Melinda Litvinas. This ice cream pairs vanilla and chocolate cookie with swirls of fudge.

Plus, the creamery offers seasonal selections, including peppermint bark, eggnog, gingerbread and peppermint hot chocolate. Gift certificates are available in $5 denominations, perfect for stocking stuffers.

You may want to pick up All Nighter for yourself. This concoction of coffee ice cream and cookie dough chunks, crushed cookies and fudge swirl won a recent flavor creation contest. It was concocted by UD senior Kate Maloney. According to her contest entry, “Every college student has to pull an all-nighter at some point… [this ice cream] gives you the sugar rush you need to survive a 24-hour cram session.”

All Nighter could be just thing for assembling toys late on Christmas Eve, too.

The UDairy Creamery is located behind Townsend Hall on the Newark campus. The creamery closes on Dec. 23 at 5 p.m. (and re-opens Jan. 3). For more information, see the UDairy Creamery website.

Article by Margo McDonough

Photo by Danielle Quigley


CANR Holiday Gifts

December 6, 2011 under CANR News

Need a holiday gift for someone that’s distinctively Delaware? Think about a blanket or skein of yarn made from the wool of University of Delaware sheep.

Products featured by Blue Hen Blankets and Yarn, established in 2009, are made with wool from UD’s flock of Dorset sheep at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

All proceeds from the sale of Blue Hen Blankets and Yarn help to support to the undergraduate large animal teaching programs of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences.

Two blankets sizes are available: lap throws ($100) and queen-sized blankets ($175).

The un-dyed natural wool blankets are edged in blue in true UD spirit.  Each blanket is labeled with an individual serial number.  Customers can request a specific serial number for a surcharge of $10 per item  (subject to availability based on a total of 200 throws and 25 blankets produced in 2010).

Yarn is ideal for making natural handcrafts. Four-ounce hands are available in un-dyed natural ($10), blue ($12) and yellow ($12).

Blankets and yarn are available for purchase at the UDairy Creamery store. If you are not able to visit the Creamery, visit the Blue Hen Blankets website to complete an online order form.  Shipping is available for an additional fee.


Need a gift for a grad?

May 19, 2011 under CANR News

Know a Blue Hen who’s earning a sheepskin? Or need a gift for someone that’s distinctly Delaware. Think about a blanket made from the wool of University of Delaware sheep.

Blue Hen Blankets and Yarn, established in 2009, creates blankets and yarn, made from wool shorn from UD’s flock of Dorset sheep at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“Blue Hen Blankets make the perfect gift for graduation, special occasions of UD alumni and friends, or keeping warm during a Fightin’ Blue Hens football game,” says Tom Sims, CANR deputy dean.

Two blankets sizes are available: lap throws and queen-sized blankets. The un-dyed natural wool blankets are edged with blue in true UD spirit. Each blanket is labeled with an individual serial number. Profits from the sale of Blue Hen Blankets and Yarn help to support the undergraduate large animal teaching programs of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences.

The wool provided to the mill in 2010 produced 200 lap throws and 25 queen blankets.  Once these are sold, customers will have to wait until a future production date (yet to be determined).

Blankets and yarn are now for sale at the UDairy Creamery store.  Please visit the store’swebsite for store hours.

Customers can request a specific serial number from the stock (subject to availability) for a surcharge of $10 per item.

Customers who are not able to visit the Creamery and wish to buy a blanket, can complete a Blue Hen Blankets order form (PDF). Further instructions are given on the form.

A limited number of throws and blankets with prime serial numbers (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 11) have been reserved for an auction to occur later this year.  Prices may vary.

UD Dorset ewes are shorn each spring before going out to summer pasture. Each ewe produces about seven to eight pounds of wool. The wool is scoured (washed) and carded (combed) and can then be spun into yarn and woven into blankets.

The lap throws each require four pounds of wool and the queen-sized blankets each require 12 pounds of wool. Wool is a natural, sustainable fiber that is strong and durable, lightweight and breathable, but warm enough for the chilliest of days. A truly renewable resource, wool is the only fiber that is naturally fire-resistant.

For more information, visit the Blue Hen Blankets and Yarn website.


“Anything Once” reporter finds shearing sheep is hard work

April 4, 2011 under CANR News

Shearing sheep is not an easy spring task on the farm.  On March 22, Justin Williams, a reporter with the News Journal found out just how back breaking it can be.

Williams writes a column for the News Journal called “Anything Once” where he travels around Delaware shadowing people with interesting jobs.  He joined UD farm employees, Scott Hopkins and Larry Armstrong, at the Webb Farm on March 22 to try his hand at sheep shearing.

The full article can be viewed online by clicking here.

To see the accompanying YouTube video, click here.


New Crosswalk Installed on Rt. 72 at the Webb Farm

August 3, 2010 under CANR News

As summer begins to draw to a close and classes are just around the corner for students at UD, those taking classes on the Webb Farm will return to the campus to find a new kind of traffic signal — one meant to make it easier and safer for students, faculty members, and visitors to cross Route 72 at Farm/Webb Lane.

The signal is a High-intensity Activated crossWalK (HAWK) and is being installed as a joint partnership between the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT). The location is the first in the state to be outfitted with this new type of signal.

Route 72 separates two areas of the farm used by the college. Robin Morgan, dean of the college, said students and faculty often have trouble crossing the intersection, which currently does not have traffic signals or a crosswalk.

“This project really belongs to our students,” Morgan said.

The project gathered momentum in 2008 when members of the Ag College Council presented a petition to DelDOT from concerned students and local citizens. They then worked with DelDOT to devise a plan that would make the intersection safer for pedestrians.

“This traffic signal is unique,” said Mark Luszcz, assistant chief traffic engineer with DelDOT. “These signals were developed to be used at locations that do not meet the criteria for a traditional traffic signal. They provide a reasonably safe way for pedestrians to cross the roadway, while being less disruptive to traffic.”

Luszcz, who worked with UD on the project, said the HAWK signal has been experimentally used across the country for 10 years, with impressive results. The device received approval for national use in January.

The HAWK system, originally developed by the city of Tucson, Ariz., is only activated when a pedestrian approaches the signal and presses a button, like they would at a traditional signalized crosswalk. Once it is activated, the signal will go through a series of stages that will stop traffic long enough for pedestrians to safely cross the roadway.

Traffic will then be allowed to proceed and the signal will reset itself until activated again. When the signal is not active, it will be dark to allow traffic to move freely.

“We realize that there will be a learning curve with this system since it is new to the citizens of Delaware,” said Luszcz. “We have been working with the University of Delaware to get the word out to their students before the school year begins, as well as to citizens who travel the road.”

An informational session for students will be held at the start of the fall semester.

DelDOT began installing the system in July and it is tentatively scheduled to be activated on Friday, Aug. 6. Citizens will also notice new informational signs as they approach the intersection, which alert them to the presence of the new signal.

“This new type of signal is another tool that we can use to ensure the safety of our citizens as they cross our roadways at intersections that would traditionally be outfitted with only a flashing yellow beacon or a crosswalk without a traffic signal,” said DelDOT Secretary Carolann Wicks. “This system has been tested and proven to be highly effective in numerous jurisdictions throughout the United States and we are happy to be bringing it to Delaware.”

If the HAWK signal is successful, Luszcz said, DelDOT will consider using the system in other locations throughout the state.

“We feel this is a good place for us to start with these devices,” he said.

You can read the article on UDaily by clicking here.