posts tagged with '4h'

spring farm extravaganza

We can count the fair at church two weekends ago as a warm-up, because this past Saturday we jumped head-on into a bigger event: the Middlesex County 4H Spring Extravaganza. And not just as participants, either—we were there to work! But don't worry, there was plenty of time to play and enjoy as well, because the volunteer assignments were so ad-hoc and disorganized that, beyond setting up and cleaning up, there wasn't really anything for them to do. Except do fair things, and spend money!

the boys and a friend milking a life-size plastic cow

a celebration of farm life

Besides the food—hamburgers, grilled cheese, chips, brownies, popcorn, Hawaiian shaved ice—they bought raffle tickets, stuffed animals, and books. Which was almost everything they could have spent money on. Some of their friends also paid for henna tattoos, but that didn't interest them. The stuffed animals were delight enough!

Harvey with a little stuffed animal pig on his head

introducing "Hamilton"

And of course, it wouldn't be a proper old-fashioned fair without some field games. Besides the tug-of-war pictured here (Zion and Elijah's team won that contest, I was on the losing side every time I participated), there were sack races. They provided all the excitement anyone could hope for.

Zion and Elijah mid sack-race, with people falling down around them

thrills and spills!

The event was pretty well attended, and it was a cheery sunshiny atmosphere all over the grounds. I didn't take any pictures of the animals, but they were the main attraction: you could visit and pet cattle, sheep, and goats—including a few adorable tiny baby goats. And the horse girls were riding in the ring, showing off their skills. And when the boys needed some time away from the crowd, the fairground has space for that too.

boys sitting on a pavilion in the woods at the edge of a pond

a moment of quiet

This was the first ever Spring Extravaganza; usually Middlesex 4H is content with just the one fair in August. But I guess they've been missing inviting the public to the fairground over the last two years! Of course, the end-of-summer fair is still on the calendar, and promises to be a whole lot bigger and better. We're looking forward to it!

the boys walking on a dirt road on the fair ground, holding bags, balloons, and stuffed animals

after the crowds had gone

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chicken club

No, I'm not talking about a sandwich. After 12 years of non-joinerism, the boys have finally signed on with an organization formal enough to require dues: Middlesex County 4H. Specifically, the Backyard Chicken Club.

kids sitting in a semicircle of folding chairs in a farm parking lot

club meeting

In some ways it's just like things we've already been doing. The group at the first meeting last month was over 50% homeschoolers, and there's definitely a homeschool feel. The activities are loose and fun, and there are plenty of movement breaks between the sitting times. But there are also some distinctly unfamiliar elements. The cost, for one, which at $15 per kids per year is super affordable—but we've almost never paid for any group ever before! And there were all those forms to fill out. There are officers and elections. And strangest of all, every meeting starts with the Pledge of Allegiance! (and the 4H pledge, which is less noteworthy). The boys had no idea that was a thing, but they learned it pretty quick ahead of the second meeting this past Sunday.

Even though some of our best friends are also members, I had to force the boys to give the first meeting a try. Happily, they took right to it, and demonstrated once again that, while they aren't joiners by nature, they're generally pretty happy to be with other kids and are ready to jump into whatever is going on. There was a food drive last weekend that they had to help with, and Leah, who took them, reports that they were all great at talking to shoppers outside of Donelans in Acton. And while they declined to throw their hats in the ring for any of the major elected positions on Sunday Elijah tells me he's interested in running for Games Organizer when the minor positions are filled next month. Way to get into the spirit!

Elijah a chicken run holding a bantam hen, Zion watching

sometimes they even get to be with chickens!

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