Foster County Fair Fun…and A Few Observations

After a really busy Monday and Tuesday, we have a day break from the fair before we spend the majority of the day there tomorrow. Overall, we had a good entry day; my son did well on his 4-H projects and earned a reserve champion on his jelly roll as well as blues and yes, even two reds. He was in line for his welding and wood projects (the two reds) when his antennae fell off his welded butterfly. Yep, that would earn you a red and justifiably so. It’s ok; I’m still putting it in my front garden when it comes home on Thursday. He WILL fix the antennae first, but I think it’s a cute project for his first time welding. I have horror stories of welding in high school…and I’m sure my ag teachers would agree! I will say this and since it’s my blog, I don’t feel bad about saying it. If you’ve got a comment, please leave one or start your own blog. I have been the 4-H judge’s helper in foods for four years and after awhile you get to know the kids and what they are capable of doing. So two observations: parents, stop making the projects for your kids! Do you really think we don’t know the child didn’t make it when he/she tells us they ‘beat the muffin dough for 8 minutes’? If you know anything about muffins, you would have hockey pucks for muffins, not the beautiful, domed muffins sitting before us. You aren’t teaching the child anything about the project (or life for that matter) when YOU do the work. Will it take the child longer to do it? Yes. Will he/she make mistakes? Absolutely. Will the muffins be blue ribbon worthy? Perhaps not, but they will have learned something, and that is the whole point of 4-H. It’s not to see how many projects your child can enter and collect money for,  but rather to make something from their own hands and learn something in the process. If the child doesn’t want to do the project, don’t make them. When they don’t get a premium, maybe it will stir something within them and they will try next year. Or not. But YOU doing it teaches them mom and dad will do the work and they will get the reward. Bad lesson. Secondly, (as if that wasn’t a big enough soapbox!), once you make a recipe, such as chocolate chip cookies, and receive a blue ribbon, it’s not ethical to make them again. You’ve made them, you succeeded, now move on and learn something new. A person who has been in the project for more than three years should be making more complicated baked goods, not the easiest recipe in the world. Yesterday, I saw  4-Hers make the same baked good for the second or third year in a row…and get a blue ribbon each year. Where’s the growth?! A senior should not be making something a fourth grader can easily make, nor should the same bar or bread recipe be made year after year. If a red ribbon was earned, try again and improve the technique to earn the blue. But come on…I may forget names and faces, but I never forget a recipe and who made it.  I think the funniest thing was yesterday when a child was being interviewed and had to go ask grandma how to make it. Captain Obvious was skulking around at that moment. I want to see the younger ones making snicker doodles, no bake and chocolate chip cookies. The older ones should be tackling braids, twists, fried baked goods, etc. not caramel corn made in the microwave. Ok, moving on…this is a topic on which I could write a book. I ended the night by working at the Carrington FFA Alumni pork barbecue, an event I enjoy working at each year. Those men make some delicious pork loin, the potato salad by Cheryl is to die for, and Linda makes top notch cookies each year. I handed out the cookies and my pickles-it’s fun to chat with the people coming through the line, visit with the other alumni, and do something for the FFA.

We missed the rain again! The west got it, the east really got it, and we got thunder and lightening. Nice show, but no rain. So we are out to the garden in a few minutes to weed, mulch, and water. The strawberries should be ready today for the first picking. It’s crucial to water them from here on out as well as the raspberries. Usually, we have a week or so in between the crops but not this year…the strawberries were late yet the raspberries are right on schedule. We also have a fridge full of rhubarb to process and a lawn to mow. I use that term loosely-it’s ten acres and takes a long time. We need a bigger mower but need to win the lottery for that to happen. We are also harvesting the first of the spinach. Yum! I love spinach and strawberry salad! Can’t wait to make that…

It’s going to be warm, so we need to get outside. May the middle of your week be merry-hey, you’ve made it to the hardest day of the week! Celebrate!

1 Response

  1. Theresa Bachmeier

    I am a certified 4-H judge in Minnesota. Several years ago, I judged a county 4-H pet show. When I asked the 16 yr-old boy how he selected his cat for the show, he said “My Mom chose the cat for me”. He received a blue-ribbon but was not named grand or reserve champion as he did in the prior year. Morale of the story is similar to yours: 4-H’ers do your own work as judges are very intuitive or have exceptional questioning skills!

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