Thursday, October 30, 2014

What is 4H?

Whenever a reader asks a question, I can pretty much guarantee that others are wondering.

When I was growing up, all of my rural cousins (which really meant *all* of my cousins!) were involved in something called 4H. I'd hear about a cousin's calf that she was raising, or a welding project that he was working on. My impression was that 4H taught young people how to be farmers. And they all seemed to be having SO much fun. I wanted to be involved. I really did.

I just asked Mom "Why wasn't I in 4H?" She said, "Because we lived in town." Actually, I'm not sure that that was fair. Had they been willing to drive us out, we probably could have belonged.

The neighbours might not have liked me raising beef cattle in the yard, though. :D

Officially, "4-H is one of Canada’s longest-running youth organizations for young people between the ages of 8 and 21." That's from the website.

I must admit, though, I still think of it as an organization for rural children that grows future farmers. Right now they have a science contest: "If you could invent something that would change the world of agriculture, what would it be?" Farm Credit Canada helps to fund them. The projects that they can get involved in are things like "beef, cavy, draft horse, farm tractor, dairy, environment, farm safety, veterinary, swine ..."

It's not JUST to raise future farmers. Their mission is to raise community leaders and solid, active citizens.

And farmers. :D
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He's Old Enough for 4H!

Somehow I thought that 4H started at age 8, but it starts at 7. So our big guy (nicknamed Explosion for his infinite energy) is now old enough! Registration is November 4 and we'll be there.

I must admit, all of my country cousins were in 4H and I grew up hearing how wonderful it was. But we lived in town ... no 4H for town kids. :(

This is probably more exciting for me than it is for him. LOL
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

In Progress

It's funny to think that we've been here a year and a half. The property has gone from a tidy, well-kept hunting cabin with manicured lawn to .... well, a messy farm-in-the-making with wood piles (lumber, cut firewood and uncut firewood), an almost-finished barn (needs the batten to finish the outer walls, hayloft door and then some inside work), a big fenced garden-in-progress ....

Everything is "in progress" and sometimes it makes me feel a bit crazy. Can't anything just be DONE?

Yesterday, my mom was visiting. The boys were getting a little shack-wacky, so I sent them out to rake leaves. The reason is that the leaves are going into the garden for mulch/fertizer. Mom looked absolutely horrified and said, "You can't make them do that! That's an impossible job." Huh? "Mom, they've been doing it. It's quite possible." She said, "But they'll NEVER get that yard cleaned up."

Oh, my goodness, she thought I was getting them to make the yard look pretty.  No, that's a bit more than I'd expect from two little boys. I think we have about 10 cleared acres. LOL

Our latest problem is figuring out what to do about our toilet. I mentioned that we've been approved for a government grant to have a new system put in. AND they approved a composting toilet/gray water system because our electricity and water usage is so low.

The problem is that we don't yet have a basement. Oh, we will eventually, but remember that "in progress" stuff? Basements are freaking expensive. The stand-alone non-electric toilet, the one that would absolutely perfect for us, has a maximum capacity of three people. The cost for it is about $1650. We have six in the house - eventually the two little girls are going to be contributing.  The system that would be perfect for us needs a tank in the basement, directly below the toilet. (I can't find the price)

See the problem? The sales rep said we'd need two of the standalone toilets and he suggested one in the house and one in a shed outside. So it would be an outhouse but without the "bury the waste in a hole in the ground" issue. I LIKE that, but I wonder if the funding will cover it?

So if things weren't "in progress" - if we already had a basement, we could put in the tank, or we would have space for the extra toilet.

I should take a photo of the mess we've made of our driveway. My mom was horrified. "Your driveway is in REALLY bad shape." From the road to our house, the driveway dips down like a long U, and in the bottom of that U, since we're on a plateau partway down from the top of the mountain, rainwater likes to collect. It comes down the road, turns into our driveway and collects whenever it rains (or the snow thaws). So when the Roads department digs out the ditches near our place, we've asked for them to deposit the dirt on our driveway.

Again, it's in progress. I reassured my mom that next year it'll settle, pack down, we'll get it leveled out  and looking nice ... and then we'll get more dirt from Roads and raise it a bit more. We have about 4' that it needs to be raised. We'll have a muddy driveway for a while.
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