The Power of 4-H

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Wander Indiana

My friend Charlotte works for the Indiana Department of Tourism. She told me she was going to Samaria for dinner. No, it does not border Galilee but is located down south in Johnson County.
Last week she went to Paris for lunch. Now who would have thought Paris was a simple trip down to Jennings County. Made me wonder if anyone actually owns any wooden Dutch clogs in the city of Holland, Indiana.
My niece just returned from Girl Scout camp at Poland, Indiana. While Moscow is a town up in Rush County – Warsaw, Indiana is located in Kosciusko County.
My friend, Katrina was quick to mention the city of Hardscrabble, Indiana in Madison County. Did the city get its name from the board game scrabble?
I did know that Cincinnati was down in Greene County and next door in Daviess County is Scotland. My husband swears Bethlehem is south of Greenwood on I-65.
The city Santa Claus, Indiana is located in Spencer County, while the town of Spencer is located in Owen County. The city of Franklin is in Johnson County not Franklin County. Go figure.
I did know that Peru was home to the circus life but did not know that you could  actually visit Siberia in  January  without  putting  snow chains on your car.
You can spend St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, Indiana or go to Jericho on any Sunday. A trip to Canaan or, if you like salsa, a trip up north to Mexico might be fun.  Visit Cuba and tell your  friends you forgot to bring them back a  Cuban cigar.
As the Indiana license plates once read: Wander Indiana.
My biggest concern now is on our wedding anniversary next month; my husband mentioned since we both have an Italian heritage we might pack a bag for Rome. I can’t help but think we’ll end up in southern Indiana.

 

 

 

 

 

………..Truths ……….

There is no truth to the rumor that my family is taking bets at how much weight I gained after vacation. However; it is true that there is something about eating at quaint restaurants on the road.
There is no truth to the rumor that when I saw my neighbor coming I said “Here comes the neighbor and she’s bringing more zucchinis”. Yes, one zucchini vine does produce a great deal of the vegetable. Thank you, we have had enough zucchini for this year.
There is truth to the rumor that cucumbers can keep the bees away. At the Greenwood Festival a booth had bowls of sliced cucumbers around and they were never bothered by the bees. Since the bees are extremely bad this year – you can sit outside only if you hold a bowl of cucumbers.
No, I do not believe there is any truths to the rumor that chewing gum will help get rid of gophers or moles. My sister’s back yard is over-wrought with mole mounds. She is busy setting traps while coworkers suggests that chewing gum (and it must be Juicy Fruit) will kill the moles. They say moles can’t digest it and they will die. More than likely the gum gets on their little dentures and they can’t chew any longer.
There is truth to the rumor that I could use another week of vacation. I, along with many Americans, are discovering that there is a name to this post-vacation feeling. It’s called “I need another week to recover syndrome.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

…………. The “M” word …………

 

These past winter months, I noticed unusual bits and pieces in my daily life. My knees and sometimes my elbows ache. Some mornings my shoulder blade feels like it is on fire.
I told my husband one morning and he said simply, “Oh, it’s probably arthritis.”
“What?” I said. “My much older sister suffers from arthritis…not me.”
“So what’s your point?” He said with a smile.
I have noticed since last winter that my body has shifted. I have discovered a couple more changes. My hips are getting wider and higher.
I’m being obsessed with my hands. I examine my arms for liver spots. I’m afraid my hands will suddenly look like my great aunt Mona’s. Her hands looked like chopped corn flakes attached to flabby arms.
In the office yesterday, I noticed my toes were doing this strange curl up and spasm. I had to stop, remove my shoe and massage my toes and ankle.
I had a case of spring fever so I went shopping. Standing in front of the dressing room mirror I discovered a couple more changes. I think I’m looking more and more like a peanut covered M & M.
I left, stopping by the local fast food restaurant. Perhaps the afternoon out would do the trick to lift my spirits.
Then it happened suddenly, with no warning whatever! I was minding my own business in the food lane, waiting at the counter for my fries when it happened. The “M” word.
“Here’s your change, Ma’am!” chirped some freckle-face kid who didn’t look old enough to count change, let alone have a job.

 

 

 

 

Do-Si-Do and Do-Si-Don’t

 


For more years than she cares to admit, my neighbor Jan, has slipped into a lacy blouse, ruffled skirt, and frilly petticoat to Do-si-do her partner, then promenade.
She rarely misses square dances. Dancing is a big part of her life. She loads up the car and travels throughout the USA with her square dance partner . . . her hubby.
Square dancing is a type of American folk dancing performed by groups of four or more couples. The couples may dance in a square formation or in a circle. They follow the directions of a caller, who calls out different movements and patterns.
Popular calls include the ‘weave the ring’ or ‘swing your partner’ and ‘for a star’. Main stream square dancing includes more than 100 different calls. All this is done to music provided by fiddles, banjos or guitars.
If you are intimidated by the outfits square dancers wear, you can relax. Some people come in their street clothes, but part of the fun for Jan is dressing up. Women often wear ruffled underwear under wide petticoats and full skirts. The men put on western shirts, sometimes with scarves or bolo ties. Yes, she has multiple pairs of cowboy boots.
A night out dancing usually doesn’t cost anymore than five dollars a person to get into the dance. Square dancers come in all ages from 9 to 90.
“You don’t have to be a dancer to square dance,” she tells me as she tried to convince me to join. Me? I can occasionally confuse my left hand with my right foot
“It’s just good clean fun,” Jan says. “If you can listen and walk fast you can square dance.”
Listen and walk fast? This leaves the blonde lady with dark roots unable to promenade let alone Do-Si-Do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Decoration Rules…….Really?

 

Christmas begins early. The week before Thanksgiving, boxes are carried down from the attic. Boxes and more boxes filled with generations of memories. My sister once told me “You never can decorate a Christmas tree right. Why is your garland going up and down when it is obviously needs to be wrapped in circles around the tree?”
Where are the rules to decorating a Christmas tree? No two homes decorated for the holidays look alike.
My neighbor in Colonial springs has a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, but she has not one set of Christmas lights on the tree. Red ribbons, red ornament balls, and red bows fill each branch of the tree.
There is a Christmas tree on the south side that has the old fashion bubble lights. More than one tree in Greenwood has miniature blinking lights. There is a tree in Villa Heights with only blue lights. In Oak Meadow there is a house with the larger lights that do not blink at all.
My cousin in New Mexico has a train that runs underneath his Christmas Tree. He placed plywood beneath the Christmas tree skirt. When the Christmas lights are on the train runs continually around and around underneath the tree. He must position each wrapped gift just so or it might derail the train.
In my parents’ home you will find a traditional tree trimmed with pretty heirloom ornaments. Children’s ornaments made at school or church decorates the tree. Saving these treasures to display each year shows visitors how special and wonderful their artwork is to the entire family.
I decorate for the holidays in a haphazard way. I have no master plan when it comes to the Christmas tree. I set a day for family gathering and make it an event. I serve an informal supper and have a tree-trimming party. It is a wonderful way to get some holiday decorating accomplished and have fun at the same time. I keep a pot of soup on the stove and give each one of my nephew’s two boxes of ornaments. We don’t get to eat until the tree is finished.
My husband brings the Christmas boxes down from the attic and my nephews come over to help me decorate the tree. Regardless of my sister’s opinion, once again my garland will be placed in an up and down direction.
One of my nephews did let it slip that his mom can’t understand why I decorate a pine tree when everyone knows it should be a spruce tree.
Just where is this book on Christmas tree rules anyway?

 

 

 

A Jump Start to Bridge

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.