Today was a much quieter day at 4H than usual. Due to sickness and some other issues, only about 1/2 of our 23 clubbers were able to attend. That meant that only about 1/2 of our parents, who act as teachers and helpers were there as well. It made for an interesting day! I still had over 20 people running around my house all day, and that felt quiet, so imagine how it is when there are about 35 people there–kids and parents and teachers
A few of the missing members knew ahead of time that they couldn’t come. Many called first thing this morning to let me know they were sick. 4H day usually runs like a well-oiled machine. Today, we made it through like a dryer with a rock inside, but we did make it!
I am in charge of 3 cooking classes. Rob is in charge of 1 outdoor cooking class and a class called, simply, Outdoors. Heavy rain was in the forecast, so, after taking Lovana to work at 6:30, (1 hour round trip), he put up an awning and set up his Dutch oven table and a table for a work area near his Traeger barbecue. It hardly ended up raining a drop, but it was a nice set-up just in case. He made Dutch oven peach cobbler, Kielbasa foil packets on the grill, and barbecued steak with the kids in his cooking class. For his Outdoors class, he had pre-made kits and the kids hammered them together to make suet holders for feeding birds. They each got to make 2, one for a gift and one for themselves. Of course, he had made enough kits for all the kids, so there are many left over. He may connect with the families that were sick or gone and see if they still want to build them another day.
There are also other classes going on all morning. There are craft classes for the youngest children, horticulture for many, sewing for those who want to, and Junior Leader class for the older ones. They get to make decisions during that class about activities they want to promote to the club, parties we are having, and they do activities to build leadership skills. We use upstairs, the garage, the front room, the kitchen and the shop. Many times there are kids in almost every room in the house. I love it. I couldn’t ask for anything better.
Supplies for cooking were all in the house, purchased over the last few days. I set the kids up in center, working with partners. There is a mom or dad helping each group, especially on the classes with younger members. The Cloverbuds (K-3’s) made a potato-Kielbasa skillet. The Juniors (4th-6th) made an egg bake, and stuffed sweet potatoes. They also made a pumpkin custard when one of the girls accidentally poured much too much brown sugar into the wrong bowl. There were some eggs in there and so I thawed some squash quickly in the microwave and added it to the eggs and sugar and we baked it. Another girl creatively added a few spices. It turned out yummy, although I realize there was no milk or cream in there.
The oldest group (7th grade and up) made a gluten free deep dish apple pie and gluten-free vegetarian stuffed shell pasta.
At noon, we eat the food the kids have made. We have a meeting to discuss upcoming community service projects and activities for the club. We give the kids a chance to give a presentation on any subject and bribe them with prizes to do so. Today, a young lady brought her new puppy and told us all about the breed, the dog, etc.
After lunch, a few go upstairs to sew, but most go out to the shop with Rob and some of the moms. A few moms stay inside to help clean up the huge mess. They sweep, do dishes, and put things away in close to the right spots. One time, it took me 6 months or more to find a salt shaker they had put away! We are so blessed to have such a network of people helping. We have 2 teachers that don’t even have kids in the program anymore. Rob’s mom comes just to wash dishes. What a gift! One dad is coming regularly to run a class, so Rob doesn’t have to feel like the only man around anymore!
After they had gone, the house settled back down into quietness. The floor is swept, the rugs shaken. The fridge is stuffed with leftovers because the food had already been purchased and the kids cooked it all, but many of the hungry eaters were absent. I think tomorrow I may take some of it to the family that is sick. Right now, I’m just enjoying listening to the rain that finally showed up and is falling right outside my window and basking in the pleasantly tired feeling that comes after a day well spent.