The Journey

The Journey

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4-H Pledge – I pledge my head to clearer thinking, My heart to greater loyalty, My hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

Many see 4-H as an organization only for farm kids or as an organization where the kids only go to meetings. I see it as a land of opportunity. The doors you as a member choose to open offer different experiences that offer opportunities for personal growth.

Last week, I touched on fair week. The boys chose to open a variety of doors of opportunity. Here are some highlights of the week.

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General projects teach a variety of skills that livestock projects do not. Keith took garden vegetables, potatoes, photography, baking and shop while Sam took Cloverbud projects. During the judging of the general projects, 4-H members conduct a face to face interview with a judge and answer questions on what they have learned from the project and share their knowledge about that project area.

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Both boys showed poultry gaining a better understanding of chickens, the breeds of chickens, care of the bird and understanding of all things chicken.

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Prior to the swine (pig) show they both conducted interviews with a judge to share their knowledge of swine (pigs). In addition to showing the animal, they also participated in a showmanship class where they are judged on how well they show the pig. Keith’s pig was shown by another 4-Her that did not own the pig but learned more about pigs by showing it at the fair Throughout the duration of the fair, they were in charge of caring for the animals and conducting herdmanship (keeping their animal and area around their animal clean) and visiting with fairgoers. It is in the moments of listening to them talk to consumers and interact with other 4-Hers that you realize the personal growth they are gaining.

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.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – 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.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Beautiful color.

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Giant Duke Kohlrabi

Grand Duke Kohlrabi – We are nearing the end of this planting.

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – This plant thrives in the northern regions of Europe and North America. Kohlrabi is native to Europe and is believed to be the only common vegetable native to that area.

Sugar Snap Peas – This is the last of this planting and are hopeful the next plantings start to produce soon.

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Detroit Dark Red Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets

Green Bell Peppers – Check America’s Heartland to see how other varieties of peppers are grown.

Banana Pepper –  Check this recipe out. These peppers are producing like crazy. Let us know if you are interested in trying to pickle them.

Onion – Are you tired of tearing up when you cut onions. According to the National Onion Association to reduce tearing when cutting onions, first chill the onions for 30 minutes. Then, cut off the top and peel the outer layers leaving the root end intact. (The root end has the highest concentration of sulphuric compounds that make your eyes tear.)

CucumbersAre you thinking about cucumbers…We also have dill. If you are interested in canning your own pickles let us know.

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Carrots

CarrotsDid you know…Carrots contain a pigment called carotene that converts to vitamin A when you digest it. This vitamin helps us to see in reduced light and at night. Check out this segment on America’s Heartland for more information on this vegetable.

Green BeansA few green beans to eat raw or try in a stir fry.

Swiss Chard – If you are like me, you are still trying to figure out how to use this. Check this site out.

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French Breakfast Radishes

French Breakfast Radishes – I love the different look of these radishes. Topped with edible, leafy greens, French Breakfast radishes are very crisp and offer a mildly spicy flavor. Grilling or oven roasting will bring out the subtly sweet and nutty flavor of the French Breakfast radish.

Cilantro – Fresh cilantro has such a wonderful aroma. I have been freezing mine to use in canned salsa and soups later this year. The tomatoes are forthcoming if you are holding out for fresh salsa.

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Zinnias

Fresh cut arrangement – Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, Zinnias and Coreopsis

Recipe of the Week

This is a family favorite. Thank you to Sarah Durenberger for the recipe.

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Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Applesauce
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Baking Cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 3 cups Shredded Zucchini
  1. Beat sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla together. Mix dry ingredients. Stir into mixture.
  2. Add chocolate chips and shredded zucchini.
  3. Pour batter into 4-5 mini loaf pans (or 2 large loaf pans), coated with cooking spray.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Remove from pans and cool.
It’s Not About the Blue Ribbon

It’s Not About the Blue Ribbon

 

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4-H poultry judging

It’s fair week and for those of you that have experienced this, you know that this means exhaustion and chaos. But in the end, the experiences gained for our children are invaluable.

The boys took both 4-H general projects and 4-H livestock projects. While we try to prepare ahead of time, it doesn’t always happen. Part of the 4-H judging experience involves an interview with a judge which is part of the ribbon placement.

General Projects

This week on our way to the general project judging, Keith was researching some information for his vegetable gardening project including what genus family the vegetables were in and learning about the vegetables’ nutrients. He learns this information to prepare for the interview with the judge about his project. As we were driving to the judging and having this discussion, I thought boy this is a unique discussion.

Sam general project judging

4-H general project judging

Livestock Projects

Next, we moved into the livestock project area. Poultry judging was Tuesday, and swine judging will be Friday. They both showed well in their respective poultry classes.

We had to miss the class they really hoped to show in to see the results of their choices in genetics and their decisions on bird selection. This was a hard decision, but one everyone is ok with.

Let me provide some background. Part of the journey of getting to the fair is selecting your birds. The boys went out to their pen of 25 hens on Monday morning and selected their two birds by working together, discussing the pros and cons of each bird, and coming to a common agreement of the final two birds that were going to be shown.

In addition, this past weekend Keith was asked to play it in a Miracle Network baseball game for kids with disabilities. We recognized that there was a possibility that it would be in conflict with the poultry judging at the county fair. But thought that given the past experiences at the fair that his class of brown layer hens would be completed before we would have to leave to participate in his Miracle Network event. So we agreed that he should try to participate.

Well the time came where we had to make a decision because the poultry show was not the same order as we had remembered so it would now be in direct conflict with the Miracle Network event. So he had to choose between showing his poultry or going to the Miracle Network event. While it was an extremely difficult decision to make, he chose to go to Miracle Network event and invest in another person versus investing in a ribbon for himself.

I told him that 4-H is not about the Blue Ribbon. It is about producing a blue ribbon kid, and I thought that he made a Blue Ribbon choice.

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.

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Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce

Black Seeded Simpson LettuceA new crop this week. 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.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – A new crop this week. Yum! Beautiful color.

Spinach – A new crop of spinach with a few young beet tops mixed in.

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A close of view of the kohlrabi growing.

Grand Duke Kohlrabi – The vegetable judge told Keith that more older people really like this crop. In my conversations with friends, it appears to have no boundaries. We hesitated on this crop but now we love it peeled like an apple and eaten raw and even dipped in peanut butter. Here’s a little history on the crop.

Purple Vienna KohlrabiSome interesting history of kohlrabi: The plant thrives in the northern regions of Europe and North America. Kohlrabi is native to Europe and is believed to be the only common vegetable native to that area. Kohlrabi was discovered during the 1500s and by the end of the 16th century had become popular across Europe, south into the Mediterranean region and east into Russia and Asia. Kohlrabi was first cultivated on a large-scale in Ireland in the mid-1700s and then later in England. It was brought to the United States just after the turn of the 19th century. Purple Kohlrabi can be found most often in farmer’s markets and in home gardens. 

Sugar Snap Peas – Glad to finally have a hearty harvest. Enjoy!

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Dark Red Detroit Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets – Beets were so well-regarded in Ancient Rome and Greece that methods were developed for producing them during the hot summer months. The root part of the beet was cultivated for consumption in either Germany or Italy, first recorded in 1542. Read more here and also see some recipes.

Green Bell Peppers – Check America’s Heartland to see how other varieties of peppers are grown.

Banana Pepper –  Try these in your salad or in scrambled eggs.

Onion – The onions are looking great. Enjoy! Check out how onions are grown and harvested for the grocery store.

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Cucumbers

Cucumbers – This crop is flowering like crazy with many cucumbers starting to grow. We also have dill. If you are interested in canning your own pickles let us know.

Carrots – A small taste – enjoy!

Green Beans – The first crop of green beans did not grow very well. The cold weather in May appeared to inhibit seed growth. We have more beans forthcoming in the next few weeks.

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Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard – If you are like me, you are still trying to figure out how to use this. Check this site out.

French Breakfast Radishes – I love the different look of these radishes.

Potatoes – Viking potatoes, this variety is good for

Cilantro – Fresh cilantro has such a wonderful aroma. I have been freezing mine to use in canned salsa and soups later this year. The tomatoes are forthcoming if you are holding out for fresh salsa.

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Zinnia

Fresh cut arrangement – Lilly’s, Sweat Peas, Zinnias and Coreopsis

Recipe of the Week

“With grilled onions and peppers how can you go wrong?” – Steve’s thoughts on this recipe. Enjoy!

Philly Cheesesteak – check this recipe out from Pioneer Woman.