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Learning the Art
Of Living Here

By Jeanne Sager
SULLIVAN COUNTY — January 2, 2004 – So you think you’re ready to tackle Sullivan County living?
Not so fast.
The folks at Cornell Cooperative Extension have seen a lot of people making the move from city to country with trepidation.
Not everyone is as akin to old pipes and growing their own produce as they are to riding the rails to work and picking up coffee from a corner street vendor.
So to make our new residents feel welcome and part of the community, the extension educators at the Liberty facility have pooled their resources to develop a program for folks new to rural living.
Want to start planting your own flowers? Take gardening basics with a horticulture expert on Saturday morning.
Looking to develop a mini-farm on your freshly plowed land? Stop by “Making the Most of Your Rural Property.”
According to Extension Educator Kate Schmidt, there are 11 classes that should answer the needs of everyone out there.
The program is set to begin with an emergency preparedness session on January 10 followed by “Safe Drinking Water” on January 13.
“There’s a pretty broad suite of classes being offered, and hopefully one will be interesting to someone,” Schmidt noted. “We hope these will be an introduction to the skills you might find in a rural area for a hobby or as necessary skills for living in a new place.”
Some people are prepared for the change to living in the country, but others are stricken when the electricity goes out and they find they can’t even use the water faucet.
“Suddenly you have to deal with losing well water because of a storm, and you might be out for several days rather than 24 hours,” Schmidt explained.
The program is designed to help people take advantage of their own resources rather than panicking in a new situation.
Some classes are also designed to get people more involved in their new environs, whether they pick up tips on canning and head out into the orchard in their backyard or decide to start growing produce and selling it at a local farm market.
“Basically, you need to look at how much you want to know about your community, how involved do you want to be and what are your interests,” Schmidt said.
People can pick and choose the classes they find most interesting and pay only for those they want to attend.
Schmidt hopes that those who drop by the extension office will also find out about the other services offered by the Liberty facility, from well water testing to 4-H programs for the kids.
“We’re looking at trying to expand our audience base,” Schmidt explained.
That means new people in the community or folks who have lived here all their lives are invited to stop by and take advantage of the rural living programs or any other the extension has to offer.
So far, the two-hour-long classes planned include “Pond Management,” “Environmental Hazards Around the Home,” “Energy and Efficiency Around the Home,” “Wildlife Management,” “Landscaping,” “Storing Fresh Produce,” “Aging in Your Home,” and those listed above.
The first class taken will cost participants $10, and each additional class will come with an $8 charge.
For more information, call Cornell Cooperative Extension at 292-6180.

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