Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It was a bittersweet farewell to Santa Barbara County as E wrapped up her 4H year. She had served on her club's leadership, taken part in several projects and made some friends including her first best friend. Though we moved months ago, she carried on her projects via commute, and finally wrapped it all up with entries in the Santa Barbara County Fair.

E found her way into 4H thanks to friends who understood her. Until then, we all thought 4H was all about animals, raising and sending to the fair and, ultimately, to slaughter. Yes, we like to eat meat, but convincing the girls that killing "their friends" as they put it was OK isn't so easy. Heathyr, however, was a lifelong 4H junkie with lots of experience in all aspects of the organization. She started us easy with beginning and cooking and beginning sewing; she knew which of E's buttons to push.

In the end, E took part in projects that taught her how to keep those darned record books and introduced her to the intricacies of 4H. She took sewing and canning, cooking and cooking again, horse project, porcelain doll project. Ultimately, she served as junior leader on a fiber arts project which she led in practice, though I was the "leader." (Let's face it, she knows more about fiber arts at this point than I do.)

Funny that the first year she was in 4H, E didn't want to enter anything in the fair. She'd entered in various fairs several of the previous years. But in 2012, she was on with entries in fiber arts (a crocheted hat from wool she'd spun with a drop spindle) and an entry in the special "denim decorating" category commemorating this year's Bluejean & Country Dreams theme. Unfortunately her canned goods (strawberry jam and apple pie filling) didn't qualify for the entry - who knew you needed to enter TWO containers of EACH entry? Live and learn.

E was happy with the results, particularly the check for her denim effort. She used her winnings to buy more yarn, and she's already working on next year's fair entries in multiple categories. And looking forward, though with a little trepidation, to joining 4H again in our new community.

What we learned:
4H is about LOADS more than raising animals;
4H is very fair focused;
don't rely on anyone else when it comes to fair entries - read all the rules yourself.

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