This week is fair week in our house. Those that have been involved in county fairs realize this means chaos and exhaustion by everyone in the household. Some may wonder why we put ourselves through this. The short answer is we participate because our kids are in 4-H. The longer answer is: our kids are members of 4-H because we know it builds lifelong friendships, provides unique personal growth opportunities and the kids learn by doing.
The boys brought general projects and are showing animals. Some of their general projects like photography and shop projects could be done ahead of time. Projects like livestock are conducted over several months, over the period of the lifetime of the animal, and some general projects need to be done as close to project judging time as possible such as foods and vegetable gardening.
Sam sharing his Cloverbud general projects with a judge.
Sam’s photo that he was sharing with the judge was taken from our deck following one of the recent storms. He framed the photo and said he liked the different colors in the picture and if you look closely that you can see that the roads form different letters. I appreciate how he made me step back and look at his photo through a different lense – a good life lesson.
One of Keith’s one hundred photos that sparked his idea for a theme of four photos on roads. The judge said she appreciated his perspective and understanding that you don’t always have to take a photo standing up and that he chose a different perspective in how to look at his surroundings.
Allowing the kids to complete projects with minimal guidance does take patience for both parties involved, but it allows the kids to grow. For example, learning that sometimes you need to take over 100 photos to get four really good ones that you are happy with or being persistent to find the proper way to display an item such as vegetables.
Through this journey, they are learning the value of mentorship and seeking out others that are experts or have experiences in project areas helps them to understand the value in building a community of support. Thank you to all who have been willing to help. As parents, we see the personal growth, and the humbleness they demonstrate in learning from others.
As project judging time arrived, the kids said they were nervous about the judging. Through the judging process, they learned to shake hands before and after their interviews, remove their hats when conducting their interviews and say thank you at the end of their judging. Once completed, they said it was really fun, and they were so appreciative of how helpful the judges were in teaching them more about their projects and truly seeing what they had learned by doing.
Preparing for the vegetable project was a challenge as we didn’t quite know how to properly display the vegetables for a blue ribbon display. After looking at the vegetable and potato displays last year, Keith said he wanted to bring them. He was very nervous for this judging, but as you can see he enjoyed his discussion with the judge who was very helpful in helping him to understand the vegetable project and potato project. Keith was ecstatic to receive Reserve Champion in his potato project and Honorable Mention with his Vegetable Project.
As a parent living in the chaos of fair week and in my exhaustion, I question whether it is worth it. But I am reminded by take away comments and gestures throughout each day of the fair.
As Keith was selecting his pen of two laying hens and was contemplating the final decision, he said, “Mom today isn’t about winning. It is about learning.”
I asked Sam how it went in the show arena, and how did it go answering the judges questions. He responded with a big grin, “I got the best ribbon I could get – a green.” As a 4-H Cloverbud, they all receive green participation ribbons as an opportunity to learn by doing, to gain confidence in learning that participating, learning and having fun – is the most important thing.
Yesterday, the boys washed their 4-H chickens and pig – together, no fights simply building self-confidence and experiencing new things together. As the day came to a close, I complimented them on how well they worked together. They looked at each other and said, “Yes we did, and it was fun.” The working together carried over to the fair in their pride in caring for their animals and showing them to the fairgoers.”
So from this exhausted parent to other exhausted parents, 4-H and participating in the county fair is definitely worth the investment of time and effort. Watching your kids Learn by Doing is priceless. After all, in the end it is not about the blue ribbon it is about raising a blue ribbon kid.
Did you know that we are still planting seeds in the a garden? These will be some of the last crops planted this year. The plan is for these to reach maturity the last few weeks of the growing season and hoping to have a later frost.
Tilling up another area to replant with the final round of lettuce, spinach, kohlrabi and cucumbers.
This weekend we replanted peas and reinstalled the pea fence that had been twisted a bit in some earlier storm winds.
Boxes of Produce
This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating. Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.
Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – Are you having challenges storing your lettuce? This is what I do. Wash it, place in a salad spinner, drain the water off the salad spinner, spin again and then place in a plastic bag in my vegetable crisper. It lasts me the full week or more.
Prizeleaf and Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love these beautiful lettuces – Prizeleaf is green with reddish tips and Red Oak Leaf is a red lettuce leaf. They add such a wonderful color to salads and sandwiches.
Spinach – The spinach is in the lettuce salad mix this week. It doesn’t like the heat we have been receiving.
Green Beans – Plenty are growing – let us know if you would like any to can or freeze. Here are some recipe ideas.
Carrots – Some beautiful purple carrots this week.
Sugar Snap Peas – A new crop is in.
Kale – Here are some recipes for this vegetable. Two varieties Dwarf Blue Curled Vates and Ursa Kale.
Kohlrabi – You either have a purple or green kohlrabi in your box. Peel it and eat it like an apple.
Beets – Dark Detroit Red Beets – Learn how to cook beets here.
Radishes – Watermelon radishes – let us know what you think about this vegetable.
Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash – The best-tasting squash in Burpee’s taste trials for 2 years in a row.
Zucchini – The zucchini is growing like crazy. Learn how to save it for use during the cold winter months From the Farm Table and try some of the recipe ideas from Martha Stewart.
Onions – Yellow Candy – These onions are beautiful. Enjoy!
Cucumbers – Enjoy these in your box. Let us know if you are interested in canning quantities and dill for pickles.
Fresh Basil – some of you have basil in your herb pots and some do not. Check out these basil ideas.
Fresh cut arrangement – Zinnias and sunflowers
Recipe of the Week
Chocolate Zucchini Bread Recipe
2 cups sugar
1 cup applesauce
3 large eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups shredded peeled zucchini
1/4 miniature chocolate chips (optional)
- In a large bowl, beat the sugar, applesauce, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and baking powder; gradually beat into sugar mixture until blended. Stir in zucchini. Transfer to two 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray.
- Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each)