Friday, August 29, 2014

The Last County 4-H Fair

So, I can't decide just want I want to post in regards to my brother's last year in 4-H and the fair in general.  I think, you really have to be a part of county 4-H to really get it.  So trying to explain it in writing just isn't going to happen.  But as a big part of the patchwork that makes up my family, I feel I have to include it somewhere in this blog.  It seems my sister's and I always dated/married guys who weren't in 4-H at all, or very minimally, and they never could quite understand how we could spend a whole week at the fairgrounds.  But, it's just what we did.  We didn't go on vacations often when I was growing up because we didn't want to leave all the animals for very long.  So this was the one week where my parents took off work and we all spent a significant amount of time together.  And we always had plenty to do.  Eating delicious fair food, preparing all our animals for show, seeing lots of friends and extended family, and keeping an eye on all our exhibits.

Between the five kids, my siblings and I took a myriad of projects that we would prepare early in the summer (or at least by judging day).  Over the years, these included:  alfalfa, aquatic science, arts & crafts, cake decorating, child development, consumer clothing, electric, entomology, fashion revue, floriculture, foods, forestry, genealogy, geology, health, home environment, junior leaders, personality, photography, reading, sewing, soil & water conservation, weather, and wildlife (I think I got them all).  From this list it shouldn't be that surprising that three of us walked away with the tenure award (based on your record for projects completed).

Over the years we also exhibited seven different "species" of animals: always beef, most of the years pigs and rabbits, and some years goat, sheep, and starter calves/veal.  We even had a year or two with chickens.  Most of the time we bought our show animals, but over the years we bred and raised beautiful baby pigs, rabbits, calves, and even had a goat kid. 

In true fair form, I had planned to share some recipes, but my diet's been keeping me away from baking for awhile so I do not have photos to go with them yet.  Eventually, I'd like to share the champion recipes I remember:  my chocolate chip biscuits, the salsa my Aunt Denise helped me prepare, Megan's champion apple pie, Erin's champion baklava (Brian even helped her look to cook this one), and one of Matthew's many champions from food preservation.  Hopefully I'll get these up eventually!

But, as my family wraps up our 23 years in a rural, Indiana 4-H program, we're about to begin Theodore in a very different, suburban, Virginia 4-H program.  He is old enough for Cloverbuds (mini-4-H for you Hoosiers) this year!!  But, considering his father managed to take two projects I never enrolled in (vet science and dog), I have no idea what areas Theodore is going to pick to study for 4-H.  I'm afraid I'm going to have to really release my grip on his life when he signs up, so he can make 4-H meaningful for himself.  But, I'm sure I'll be adding a post or two about this next summer.

Show Arena:  2003, the last year I showed


Ashley said...

Andy and I talked about this recently. ...he grew up in the city and it was totally foreign to him. He'll never get why or how it was so important...but it was. At least we have each other :-)

Shannon E said...

Exactly. :)