Be more fuel efficient this Summer!

man pumping gasoline fuel in car at gas station

Fuel-efficient driving is a challenge during the summer months when both fuel prices and temperatures are high. The best way to reduce fuel consumption is to drive fewer miles, but that is not always an option. Drivers who commute to work, transport family members to summer activities and complete numerous errands should combine trips, plan stops for efficient travel and, where possible, carpool.

Smart summer driving strategies include planning routes that avoid traffic congestion, leaving early when temperatures are cool and staying off the road during the hottest part of the day. When combined with the following suggestions, these strategies can reduce fuel costs.

  • Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard braking. These can increase fuel use by up to 40 percent and significantly increase wear on the car’s engine and brakes. Gradual accelerating and stopping are easy ways to save money in fuel costs when driving in town.
  • Reduce the amount of time the car is stationary and the engine is idle when driving in town. Getting stuck in traffic, waiting in line at the drive-through or running the engine to power the air conditioner are examples of fuel use that can be reduced and/or eliminated.
  • For efficient highway and distance driving, stay at or below the speed limit, utilize the cruise control and minimize quick accelerations when passing other vehicles. Aggressive driving that includes frequent accelerations, lane changing and braking decreases fuel efficiency.
  • Reduce unnecessary weight in the vehicle and remove exterior racks used to transport bicycles and other gear. Each additional 100 pounds of weight in a medium-sized vehicle can reduce fuel efficiency by 2 percent. Exterior racks alter the aerodynamics of a vehicle and when not in use, should be removed.
  • Inflate tires to the appropriate pressure. Under-inflated tires increase the rolling resistance of a vehicle. Radial tires that are operated with low pressure can reduce fuel efficiency by 5 percent or more.
  • Reduce power accessories in vans and other multipurpose vehicles. Reducing the use of such electrical equipment, specifically the air conditioner, will contribute significantly to improved fuel efficiency.
  • Regularly maintain your vehicle. Regular maintenance is a worthwhile investment. Engines that are not serviced properly can use 50 percent more fuel than those that are properly maintained. Clean air filters and properly adjusted fuel injectors/carburetors are essential requirements for efficient fuel consumption.
  • Eliminate one or more longer trips common to summer travel. The weekly out-of-town shopping trip, the vacation that requires long distance driving or the repeated daily trips to town are examples of fuel use that can be reduced or eliminated. The one sure way to reduce fuel costs is to drive fewer miles.

You can find more tips and even join in a challenge with the Clear the Air Campaign
beard, richardRichard Beard is an Extension agricultural engineer and pesticide safety specialist.  His is also a Certified Energy Auditor with the Association of Energy Engineers and has worked with agricultural safety and energy conservation and efficiency for the past 37 years.


Pruning Fruit Trees – Quick Tips and Tricks

how to prune fruit trees - LiveWellUtah.org

Pruning can be an unexpected way to get some physical and functional fitness as Suzanne Prevedalshared just a few days ago.  Sometimes it is difficult to know where to begin when pruning fruit trees. Some cuts are more important to make than others. Here are quick tips for pruning fruit trees!

Pruning steps by order of priority are:

(1) remove problems,

(2) establish and maintain tree shape,

(3) space wood to allow for adequate light penetration.

Problems to address include removing diseased, broken or damaged branches, branches that are crossing or rubbing, or that form a narrow angle from the main scaffold. Old branches with long complex spurs should also be removed to make room for younger, more productive branches.

Tree shape should be maintained through selective thinning cuts. Pay attention to branch orientation, remembering the “45-degree rule.” Branches that are too upright will remain vegetative, while pendant branches (below horizontal) are typically shaded and too weak to be very productive.

Branch density is the final objective. Frequently evaluate branch density during pruning. Periodically take a step or two back to see what the tree shape looks like. Are dense masses of limbs present? Can light penetrate into the tree interior? Could you conceivably throw a baseball cap through the tree without it hitting a branch? You should be able to see through the tree when leaves are not present. Don’t just look through the tree from side to side. Also, look upward through the canopy. You should be able to see through the canopy this way as well.

What sort of Fruit Trees do you have in your yard?

Looking for more about pruning? The USU Extension site is full of information for you!

Baby Animal Days – this weekend!

baby animal days logo

This weekend! Now is the time to hop over to Kaysville and get in on this wonderful family event – Baby animal days!

A weekend full of animals and activities. Don’t miss it! Get all the details, hours, prices, activities, and more.

baby animal days sheep baby animal days ducks

We will see you there!

The 52 Week Money Challenge

Author – Amanda Christensen

Piggy Bank and Coins on Calendar

April is the perfect time of year for the 52 Week Money Challenge! It’s simple. There are 52 weeks in a year. Starting on week one save $1. On week two save $2. On week three save $3. On week 20 save $20 and so on until the final week (52) when you’ll put $52 in savings. By the end of the 52 Week Money Challenge you’ll have saved over $1,300 to put towards debt, start an emergency or retirement fund or use for a fabulous summer vacation! Here are some simple steps to get started:

  • Tip: Create a Separate Savings Account
    • Open a separate savings account just for the money you’ll be saving with the 52 Week Money Challenge. This way you can easily transfer money into the account from your checking but you’ll still have separated the funds so you’re not tempted to spend them.
  • Tip: Involve the entire family
    • If you have kids at home, bring them together for a family meeting and explain how the $52 week money challenge works.
    • Explain what the money will be used for. This helps everyone have motivation to make the sacrifices necessary to save the money each week.
  • Tip: Create a 52 Week Money Challenge Chart
    • Help family members feel a part of the challenge by creating a chart to track each of your 52 weeks.
    • You can use poster board or even just a piece of paper. Draw lines to make 52 boxes, decorate, hang where the family can see and watch the check marks fill up as you save each week!
  • Tip: Variation
    • Have you ever played Phase 10? At my house we pick our phase according to the cards we are dealt instead of going from phase 1-10 in order. This gives each player the freedom to tackle whichever phase they have the best hand for. You can tweak the 52 Week Money Challenge to best suit your needs in the same way! As you begin your challenge, some weeks you may be able to save $30, $40 or $50 a little easier than others. When that happens, put the money in your account and put an “X” through the square with the corresponding dollar amount on your chart. This gives you  little flexibility on weeks where funds are a little tight.

Show us a picture of your 52-Week Money Challenge chart! Tweet and tag on Instagram @livewellutah.

Christensen, Amanda-42 Amanda is an Extension Assistant Professor for Utah State University. She has a master’s degree in consumer sciences from Utah State and is proud to  call herself an Aggie! Amanda loves teaching and enabling individuals and families to make smart money decisions. @FamFinPro.

Utah Water Week May 4 – 10



Utah Water Week promotes the importance of water quality and water conservation. Water week provides a unique opportunity for Utah citizens to join and recognize the vital role water plays in our daily lives. Statewide and local activities promote the importance of water quality and water conservation.

Learn more at: www.waterweek.org OR www.extension.usu.edu/waterquality


Want a whole list of events going on around the state? Click over to Extension.usu.edu/waterquality to get details on the water festival, water fairs, tours, golf tournament and more.


Cleaning Supplies – Time to Clean Out!

Author – Teresa Hunsaker

Easy cleaning tips and tricks

Spring cleaning is great for your house, but does your cleaning supply closet or cupboard need a little attention too? Now is a great time to simplify and ‘clean out’ the cleaning closet. What should you toss and what should you keep? I’m sharing just a few of my favorite cleaning products and how to use them, plus a couple of recipes you may want to try for yourself, if you haven’t already.

Here’s my go-to list of the cleaners I like to use:

All Purpose Cleaner
In my opinion, every home should have one good all-purpose cleaner. The intent of the all-purpose cleaner is to clean most surfaces and tackle many tasks. While they have their limitations, a good one will serve many functions in cleaning. They can clean floors when damp mopping, walls and counters, cupboard shelves and windows. The trick in their use may be in the strength and cleaning rag or scrubber, as well as the rinse. I have even been known to use them on a laundry stain or two.

Commercial favorites: Greased Lightening, Simple Green, Seventh Generation Free and Clear, Lysol All Purpose Cleaner, Fantastik Orange Action and 409.

Note: You can make your own cleaners with a few basic ingredients mixed with water. Here is one I like:

2 cups warm water

1 cup vinegar

1 TBS borax

1 TBS liquid Castile soap (or 1 TBS liquid dish detergent)

Mix all ingredients and put in a spray bottle.

Soft Scrubbing Cleanser
It is possible to make your own scrubbing cleansers, and they work pretty well, but for a few cents extra, it is nice to have one handy and ready to go for those tough spots and stains on porcelain, some tile and even on pots and pans.

Natural Soft Scrub
½ cup baking soda
½ cup liquid soap
5 – 10 drops pure antiseptic essential oil (lavender, tea tree or rosemary)

Place the baking soda in a bowl. Slowly pour in liquid soap, stirring constantly, until frosting-like. Add oil.

Dish Detergent
Dish detergent is a basic staple in any cleaning cupboard. It can be used to clean many surfaces and lift many stains.

Commercial Favorites: Dawn Liquid Hand Dish Detergent, Palmolive and Ivory—especially the formulas for de-greasing.

Vinegar is a great addition to a cleaning cupboard. Because of its acidity, it is also a pretty good disinfectant and mold inhibitor. Use it to dissolve mineral deposits, grease, remove traces of soap remove mildew or wax buildup, polish some metals and deodorize. Vinegar can clean brick or stone, and is an ingredient in some natural carpet cleaning recipes. Use it with baking soda to clean a toilet bowl, or mix it with salt to clean a tub. For a hundred other uses, go to www.vinegartips.com. It is amazing how many uses it has!

Like vinegar, lemon juice has many options for your cleaning arsenal. In fact, many of the same uses for vinegar can be interchanged with lemon juice. No all, but many. Remember, nothing acidic can go on marble! Lemon juice can be used to dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits. Lemon juice is a great substance to clean and shine brass and copper. It can be mixed with vinegar and/or baking soda to make cleaning pastes. Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle baking soda on the cut section. Use the lemon to scrub dishes, surfaces and stains.

Homemade Furniture Polish using Lemon:

Mix 1 cup olive oil with ½ cup lemon juice and you have a furniture polish for hardwood furniture.

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral, soluble in water. It can deodorize, inhibit the growth of mildew and mold, boost the cleaning power of soap or detergent, remove stains and can be used with attractants such as sugar to kill cockroaches. One great use for Borax is to kill odor-producing mold and bacteria in garbage cans: sprinkle 1/2 cup Borax in the bottom of the garbage can.

Note: Borax is toxic if ingested.

Rubbing Alcohol or Isopropyl Alcohol
This is an excellent disinfectant, and can be used on most home surfaces without damaging them. It is especially nice for cleaning keyboards. It cleans dry-erase boards very well and other unwanted ink-related marks. Don’t buy special cleaners to get out baby formula stains, use a little isopropyl alcohol on the stain, then a regular detergent worked in. Works like a charm. Use an isopropyl alcohol/water solution for cleaning mirrors or chrome: 1 part alcohol to 4 parts water.

Many of our homes have “special” surfaces (travertine, marble, stainless steel, solid surface counters, brass and chrome) that we may need to be sure we know how to properly care for — but even many of these surfaces can be cared for with at least one or two of the above products. While there may be “special” cleaners to go with these “special” surfaces, checking to see if other options will do can save you some cash and some cupboard space.

Hunsaker, TeresaTeresa Hunsaker

Family and Consumer Science Educator, CFCS

USU Extension, Weber County

Teresa was raised in Arizona. She received a B.S. degree from BYU in family resource management and family finance, and a second major in nutrition and food science. She has worked for USU Extension since 1980 and has served on many state, regional and local boards—including the County Fair Board for 18 years—and has served as president of her two state associations. She has written many bulletins and publications for USU Extension and appears regularly on KSL Studio 5. She is the supervisor of the Food Stamp Nutrition program for Weber County and teaches classes on finance, home management, food storage, food preservation and food safety throughout Weber County. She is married and has two grown children. She loves to cook, sew, scrapbook, work in the garden, read, camp, hike and be involved in her community.

Functional Fitness: Spring Cleaning the Yard & Pruning the Shrubs

Author: Suzanne Prevedel

when and What to Prune in the Spring - LIveWEllUtah.org

April showers bring May flowers and April is a great month to go outside and get a head start on yard maintenance. While excising shrubbery, you will be exercising your own limbs. You will be gaining strength in your shoulders, arms and core as you engage in the functions of snipping and sawing, stacking and hauling. Consider it money saved, exercise earned, and one more spring cleaning chore crossed off the list. Children of all ages love a new pair of gloves and many hands make light work of rejuvenating the yard. It will help motivate all involved, if you have a well-defined and well-publicized reward for all to share at the end of this family project.

Spring Pruning: When and What?*

An important aspect of pruning is knowing when to prune. Proper timing helps insure attractive, healthy, productive plants. The proper times to prune varies with the different types of woody plants that we have in our yards.

Spring flowering shrubs bloom in the spring on the growth of the previous season. A couple of examples are lilac and forsythia. The proper time to prune spring flowering shrubs is determined by their condition. If spring flowering shrubs need only light pruning then do it immediately after bloom. Pruning immediately after bloom allows gardeners and others to enjoy the spring flowers and gives the shrubs adequate time to initiate new flower buds for next season. Old neglected spring flowering shrubs often require extensive pruning to rejuvenate or renew the plants. The best time to rejuvenate large, overgrown shrubs is late winter or early spring till mid April. While heavy pruning will reduce or eliminate the flowers display for a few years, the long term health of the shrubs is more important.

Spirea in a garden

Summer flowering shrubs, such as potentilla and spirea, bloom in the summer on current year’s growth. Pruning these shrubs in late winter to early spring will still allow the plant to bloom in the summer.

Many deciduous shrubs don’t produce attractive flowers. These shrubs may possess attractive bark, fruit, or fall leaf color. These shrubs can be pruned in late winter or early spring before spring growth begins. Don’t prune deciduous shrubs in late summer. Pruning in late summer may encourage a late flush of growth which may not harden sufficiently before the arrival of cold weather and may be susceptible to winter injury.

Evergreen shrubs such as juniper and yew can be pruned in late March to mid April before new growth begins or light pruning may also be done in late June or early July.

While deciduous trees can be pruned anytime during the year, the best time to prune is late winter or early spring before the trees leaf out. Some trees such as maples bleed heavily when pruned however this doesn’t harm the trees. The trees won’t bleed to death and the flow of sap will gradually slow and stop.

The best time to prune fruit trees is from late winter to early April. Fruit trees pruned in the fall or early winter may be susceptible to winter injury. Happy pruning and be active and well.

Prevedal, Suzanne Suzanne Prevedel enjoys her family, farm and garden in northeastern Utah, and is a family and consumer sciences educator for USU Extension in Duchesne County.





Resources used:

*Originally published as: Pruning when to start? 2011Troy D. Cooper USU Extension Agent, Duchesne County

Pruning Resources from USU Extension https://extension.usu.edu/yardandgarden/htm/trees-shrubs/maintenance/


Food in a Jar Recipes

Delicious salad put into a jar for easy transport

We have oodles of ideas for using jars for canning, safety while you are canning, salsa recipes for canning and of course Jams & Jellies.

But the jars can be used for more than just canning. Here are a few ideas we found to make use of the jars when they aren’t full of your canned goods.

A quick solution is a salad in a jar.

salad in a jar

 More salad options – some savory and some sweet:

salad in a jar recipes

What about converting that jar so it’s more usable for a small adult lunch box?

All this talk about lunch options begs the question: What about breakfast? Have you tried this overnight oatmeal in a jar recipe?

oatmeal in a jar recipe

Hope you enjoyed these creative and helpful ways to get some use out of the jars between canning seasons. Do you have a favorite recipe in a jar? Share it with us!

Composting: A Creative Twist on Spring Cleaning

Author: Rebecca Mills 

Learning the basics of composting - LiveWEllUtah.org

This time of year has us thinking about de-cluttering our homes and getting our yards and gardens ready for summer. In the process of all this spring cleaning, we often create a fair amount of trash. Everything from broken housewares to branches and yard trimmings are gathered up for the garbage man to haul away. But does it really go “away” or are there some better alternatives?

In 2013, solid waste disposal facilities regulated by the State of Utah collected more than 4 million tons of non-hazardous waste; this figure doesn’t include all the collection happening at private, city or county facilities across the state. Nationally, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that 251 million tons of trash were collected in 2012.

Despite advances in landfill technology, the vast majority of the garbage you want out of sight, out of mind becomes stationary in the landfill — some of it will be stationary forever because it will never break down into something usable in our soils.

 What is one thing you can do this spring/summer to make a difference?

Consider getting your yard ready for composting!

Yard and garden waste and food scraps amount to 28 percent of the total national figures on waste collected. When yard, garden and food waste go to the landfill, the nutrients still present in the material are wasted (no pun intended). In fact, large amounts of organic materials such as leaves and grass clippings produce adverse gasses as they decompose in the landfill setting.

Utah State University Extension has great resources on composting to help you get started.  Check out the many ways you can compost below. The benefits will be great: you’ll be saving the landfill of bulk and getting a useable product in return!

benefits of composting and how to do it



Mills, Rebecca author bio: Rebecca Mills, Extension assistant professor in family consumer sciences and 4-H youth development, loves all things agriculture, is a wife, a mother to other  people’s kids through foster care and 4-H, a wanna-be runner and tries to make each day a healthy day.  Follow her on twitter @ext4all

Coming up – Baby Animal Days

It’s that favorite time of year again – Baby Animals Days!

Baby Animal days Utah LivewellUtah.org

Join us in Kaysville on May 9th and 10th for this fun family event!

Activities include:

• Baby Reptiles

• Come meet ducklings, chicks, bunnies, kids, lambs, piglets, calves, baby llamas and miniature horses

• Children’s Activities

• Horse Rides

• Sheep Shearing Demos

• Food Vendors

• Miniature Train Rides

• Climbing Wall

• Bouncy Houses

You can click over for a detailed list of activities, hours, prices and more.

You won’t want to miss this once-a-year event! See you there in 2 weeks!

baby animal days