The Power of 4-H

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The power of 4-H. For those who fall in the category of thinking 4-H is just about agriculture and raising animals, you do not know the whole story. In Indiana, only about thirty percent of the total enrollment comes from farms, the rest from urban areas.
4-H is a chance for youth to handle responsibility, learn new things and work hard to achieve goals. The primary benefits of 4-H are leadership, citizenship and the opportunity for youth to learn things of interest at their own ability level.
Last year’s most popular projects were: Crafts, Foods, Photography, and Clothing. There are over fifty projects ranging from Aerospace to Creative Writing. All projects include hands-on activities and the manuals are being continuously updated.
My nephew opted to take The Horseless Horse Project. This allows him to learn all aspects of the animal, without the tremendous cost that comes with owning and caring for a horse. He attended the Horse Club meetings, did posters and filled out his workbooks. It was an especially great project for him as he couldn’t at this time own a horse. He wants to be a horse racing jockey.
A few years ago—more years than I would like to admit—I was in 4-H and have a few blue ribbons in the closet to prove it. I remember the Action Demonstration Project. It allowed members to compete in a certain category without having to be judged against other entries. I stood and gave my demonstration on the steps required to make a pie, but never actually put the finished pie product in competition. I was judged for the demonstration and not for the pie. Maybe that was a good thing. I doubt if I would have won any ribbons on my pie.
The 4-H program provides a learning environment for the youth of the community. They can test their skills with various projects and animals. Like this year’s motto proclaims, you must experience “The Power of 4-H” for yourself to truly understand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Superstitious? Take the Day off Work

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Superstition is a continuous conversation today at work. Basically because Janice isn’t at work today.
Janice suffers from paraskevidekatriaphobia. Yes – that’s a word. It’s a clinical definition for saying its Friday the 13th and she’s staying home.
Is she just staying home or is her stress management really doing a number on her. Statistics do have the fear of this day the most feared day in history.
Superstitious? I was once with my sister when we literally stopped the car and backed up in a drive way and went around the block ….because a black cat had run across the street in front of us.
Wayne would never walk under a ladder but then again he is over six feet tall and would more than likely hit his head. Ronnie does carry around a rabbit’s foot on his key ring. I question how lucky that was for the rabbit.
I have been to her desk and seen Karen literally knock on her wood (desk) twice for luck. And walking with Cathy if she sees a penny lying around she will say, “See a penny pick it up and all the day you have good luck.” So she does pick it up.
By far the most annoying superstition to me is when I am at my uncle’s house. Once I was going out the back door. “Oh no!” he said looking at me. “You have to go out the front door. You must go out the door you came in.” Really? I am here with my hand on the door knob and I can see my car.
Once I opened up my umbrella in the office, and Dianna snapped at me. “Don’t open that up in here. You’ll put someone’s eye out.” Well excuse me the only person in the office is you on the other side of the room. Whatever.
My aunt taught us kids to throw salt over our left shoulder anytime the salt shaker fell over. My mother put a stop to that real quick but we secretly still kept it up.
Oh oh…my left palm itches. That means I am coming into money. I have to remember and pick up a lottery ticket tonight…maybe even a powerball ticket too.
Yeah….right… that will be a winner for sure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Jump Start to Bridge

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My Aunt Mayrose is proud to say she is a “Life Master”.   Yes a Life Mater of the card game Bridge. Aunt Mayrose has been playing the age-old card game since she learned it while my Uncle Earl was in World War II. Wanting to learn the game I recently tagged along to one of her bridge games.

She belongs to more than one club. Members range in age 19 to 99. While youngsters learn the game each year, bridge is dominated mostly by older adults.

True, Aunt Mayrose spent the better part of one afternoon introducing me to the game. Perhaps some people are just not meant to play bridge.

Before we begin she explains, “In order to make the most of your hands, you will probably have to play them through more than once. “ I raise my arms in the air, “Sorry, I only brought one set of hands.” She was not amused.

A standard deck of cards is used: Ace (high) through 2 (low). There are four players, each pair forming a partnership. Partners sit opposite each other. A game is won by scoring 100 points, earned by taking tricks during the hand. Sounded simple so far.

Aunt Mayrose leaned over and said, “The auction begins once players have had a chance to study their cards.” I was more than a tad confused. Were we playing cards or having an auction?

Terms like – clear suit, long suit, follow suit, major suit, minor suit, plain suit, side suit, short suit, and void suit – were used all afternoon. I wondered why they were so worried about suits when most of these ladies were wearing sun dresses.

My Aunt Mayrose spoke right up and said, “First lead the King of Spades from the Dummy and follow suit.” What a remark. Obvious to me: I was the dummy of the group not the lady to my left.

“Take the early tricks in the short hand and the later tricks in the long hand,” Aunt Mayrose says. Who’s the dummy now? I look down at both of my hands: they are the same.

I should have known that the afternoon was a wash out from the start. First they call each other by positions. South, West, North and East. I am quite certain that I was sitting northwest all afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Order: Chaos

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My  sister-in-law is a wonderful person. She is exquisite but her house is a mess. I’ve always wondered if there was any truth to the rumor that they won’t even sell her a subscription to Good Housekeeping Magazine.

True, clutter makes the home looked lived in. It is not necessary to be so clean that you can eat off the floor. But it would be nice to eat off your plate and see the table. I can’t recall ever once seeing the top of her kitchen table.

I don’t even want to talk about the family room. We always have to clear a space on the couch just to sit down. I’d be afraid to ask her to use the telephone. Her husband said the phone has been missing for weeks. Her son swears if he ever needed change, all he had to do was look under the couch cushions.

I once heard her blame the dust on a faulty flue. Yes, there is a fireplace in the living room. But really a faulty flue ? You have a Portable Walnut Fireplace Heater with a “fake” fireplace.

She always has a sink full of dishes. My husband suspects it is a good way to cover up a dirty sink. By the way, I’m not saying it’s time to defrost the refrigerator — but you can see frost on the outside.

Instead of washing the light fixtures, her husband swears she just uses stronger bulbs. In the fifteen years of marriage they have gone from 25 watts to a three hundred watt.

She has a Rubbermaid tote in the garage for Goodwill. I think it gives the impression that something might actually be going to a worthy cause. She once mentioned she was doing a magazine article and can’t change anything until she takes the “before” picture. And when will she be finishing this article?

She laughs that they live in a home not a house. She will start picking up items after her boys grow up and leave home. She might be better off leaving home with them.

Next month — maybe I’ll talk about my aunt. I’m not saying she is a lousy cook. But it is rumored that in her house they have Alka Seltzer on tap.

 

 

 

Skating taught me to set a goal

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Roller blades, also called in-line skates, are an increasingly popular summer activity for families. So I agreed to give them a try. “It’s a great way to get around and a fun way to exercise,” Ann said. “If I can do it, anybody can.” I wondered, would it be that easy to learn?

The cost and quality of in-line skates varies dramatically from store to store. You can get generic-looking skates for $30 to $60, while sports shops sell brand name rollerblades starting at $100 and up.

Basically, you get what you pay for. When you get the more expensive ones, you get a better grade of bearing, and it’s got a better grade of carriage underneath. Everything is better quality and lasts longer.

I was satisfied buying a discount pair. Fashion isn’t a main concern. I wear wrist, elbow and knee pads.

It’s Saturday afternoon: Ann and Nancee, two cousins, are skating around Northeast Elementary School in Greenwood. I will admit that I scooted around the parking lot until I gained confidence. At first the knees were shaky but my spirit soared.

Learning to control the brake was the most difficult part for me. I still don’t have the knack of speed and brake. It’s more like speed and spin to stop.

I did question what I would feel the first time I saw the pavement coming to meet me. Much to my surprise I got up faster than I thought I would. I was having too much fun not to.

Now I can say it. Roller blades are not for everyone, but yes if I can do it anyone can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sound of Birds Stopping By…..

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Construction of birdhouses and bird feeders can be as simple or as complex as you wish to make it. Bird feeders can look like tiny bungalows, wooden A-frames or miniature chalets. Bird houses need no ornamentation to serve the birds using them, but an attractive design can enhance a yard. Thus, the custom built bird feeders are for the person filling them not for the birds.

My neighbor has two wood salad bowls with a wooden rod through the center. The house across the street has a large glass hanging feeder.  

A feeder could be attached to any window.   It will bring the  bird up  close for an exciting view.   The tube bird feeder,  found in any variety store,  could be fun.   One neighbor has a  bird feeder  made from old car license plates.

My  nephew  made an egg carton bird feeder in school. My Aunt Hilda has bird houses made out of gourds hanging off of her porch. My grandmother has a rustic barn creation bird feeder that has painted on the top, “See Rock City.”

Building a bird house can be purely practical or absolutely outrageous.   In   Greenwood  I have found bird house  and  feeders built to resemble a  gazebo,  a church,  a log cabin,  a totem-like housing complex,  a pagoda,  a school house,  even a little outhouse!    It was a one-holer of a different sort.

Would the blue jays, sparrows, starlings or finches that visit the feeder in my yard be more excited if I had a little deck for the feathered guests to stand on? I think not.

Bird feeder and houses are designed to bring pleasure for you and benefit our feathered friends. Where is it written that I have to build a fanciful birdhouse? It doesn’t seem to matter to the birds.

Mix together my plain and simple looking bird feeder with bird seed and it looks like a scene from the movie  The Birds  in the back yard.  Works for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road Signs

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Have you noticed all the different signs around town? True, more than one sign is strictly advertisements — periodically they are interesting.

One can’t help but notice the flashing neon sign on Madison near the Greenwood Shopping Mall. More than a few letters are gone. It blinks “quor” instead of advertising the establishment sells Liquor.

Did you happen to see the portable marquee sign on Meridian? “Tina, I love you – please come back.”   I wonder what ever happened to Tina.

The canopy sign outside of Fazoli’s advertised: All you “care to eat for $2.99”. I took my nephews and couldn’t help but notice they took the sign down the next day.  

Within a few blocks of the Shopping Mall, there is a deer crossing sign. True, plenty of deer cross a highway causing more than one accident. But honestly, have you ever seen a deer cross at where the signs are?

More than a few banks have electronic signs giving the date, time and temperature.   However; when it is 93 degrees outside, who needs to read a sign to know it’s hot.

There is a stop sign on Main Street in Greenwood that obviously doesn’t mean stop. More often than not when the cars come up to the street they roll right through.   I got a ticket there once. Now I stop.

By far my favorite sign is the billboard on I-65. As you head south toward Columbus you can’t miss it.   “Tattoos While You Wait”   Well, I would certainly hope so.