On Sunday, April 7th, our 4-H club met for the first of three trail clean-ups as part of our Adopt-a-Trail program (notice our club logo on the sign in the background). We cut back encroaching vines, racked leaves and trimmed overhanging branches and did a bit of socializing in the process. It was a perfect day.
Each year the Pa. Farm Bureau sponsors an Ag Literacy Week in local schools to educate kids about where their food comes from. On March 13th, two of our 4-H kids read a book and led an activity with first graders in our local school district. They enjoyed the experience and the kids learned as well.
• On Jan. 8, our 4-H kids competed at the Pa. Farm Show. We are very proud of their performance, which was one of the best in the last few years. We garnered two 1st places, three second places, one third place, three fourth places and one sixth place in the Showmanship and Agility competitions.
Our lone senior, Sarah placed fourth in Showmanship and second in agility and was awarded Reserve Champion for her performances.
In the Intermediate Division, Kaylee finished fourth in Showmanship and second in Agility.
We had three contestants in the Junior Division. Naomi, the most experienced, placed second in Showmanship and first in Agility to earn Reserve Champion.
Our other two contestants were competing at the Farm Show for the first time. Leah placed third in Showmanship and second in Agility. Weston place fourth in Showmanship and sixth in agility.
As a conclusion to the competition each county competed in a fun event, dressing up an alpaca. No awards were given but each county dressed an alpaca and then concocted a story about it.
Our annual 4-H Fair, now called Farm, Home and Youth Fair, was held Aug. 9-11. The kids competed in Showmanship and Agility in Senior and Junior divisions.
In the Senior Showmanship, Naomi place first with 87 points, Jonathon came in second with 83 and Kylee placed third with 80. Annabelle came in first in Senior Agility with 94 points, Jonathon finished second with 92 and Maggie came in third with 87.
In the Junior Showmanship, Weston won with 85 points, Leah placed second with 80 and Vanessa was third with 74. In Agility Leah finished first with 92 points, Weston was second with 87 and Vanessa scored 79 points for third.
Our 8th Annual Invitational was a great success. We had over 30 kids from three 4-H clubs participate on May 16 at the Montgomery County 4-H Center. In the 15-18 age group, Aiden finished second in agility and third in showmanship, while Sarah was second in agility and first in showmanship; in the 12-14 age group, Naomi placed first in agility and first in showmanship, Annabelle took second in agility and second in showmanship, Kylee placed first in agility and fourth in showmanship and Jonathon finished fourth in agility and first in showmanship; in the 8-11 category, Asher was first in both agility and showmanship, Vanessa was sixth in agility and fourth in showmanship, Weston was third in both agility and showmanship, and Leah was second in agility and showmanship. Congrats to all the kis for a great showing!
Congratulations to Michele and Michael who held a bachlorette party at the farm. Some day they would like to own their own alpaca farm.
The alpacas received their spring haircut on May 3rd. Several of the adoptive parents stopped by to watch and went home with some souvenir fiber.
On May 5th, we kicked off the season with a birthday party. The weather was cooperative and everyone had a unique, good time.
By the way, we will soon be processing our fiber. If anyone is interested in learning what’s done and/or helping out, please give us a call.
Alex left the gate in the heard health room ajar and the boys had a short break of freedom. We managed to get them all back in except Dagger, who tends to do his own thing anyway. Eventually he decided he would rather be with the rest of the herd instead of on his own, and we lured him back in.
On April 23rd, the first grade from United Friends School of Quakertown visited our farm for a morning tour and fiber presentation. It was just possibly the most perfect day we’ve had this spring. After the tour they had lunch and returned to school.
We had a beautiful day for the goat/sheep shearing on April 22nd. As usual, our shearer Hoyt, gave an educational and informational commentary as he sheared the animals. Those who attended had a lot of questions and learned a great deal about shearing and the animals in general.
On Saturday, April 14, we picked up three new alpacas. These new alpacas are worry free. They don’t poop and they don’t eat hay or grain. Their only maintenance is a coat of spar varnish every two years. Stop by and get your picture taken with them.
We commissioned Todd Gladfelter, an accomplished chainsaw sculpture from New Ringgold, to do the sculpture. We met him at a chainsaw festival in western Pa. last summer. He is truly an accomplished artist.
• To help celebrate Ag Literacy Week, Sandy, Alex and Grace, one of our 4H members, visited a local elementary school on March 19th to read a book and play a bingo-related game with a class of first graders.
On the following day, Alex, Sandy and Julia visited another elementary school, where we read the same book and and played bingo.
• On a brisk March Saturday morning, our 4-Hers and parents began spring cleanup on a section of the Schuylkill River Trail in Stowe. The club has adopted that section and will perform two more cleanups during the year.
The 2018 Pa. Farm Show is in the books and we had another outstanding showing. The four 4-H kids who competed came home with four ribbons. In the Showmanship Class, Naomi followed in her sister Grace’s footsteps (two blue ribbons in two years) by winning the Junior Showmanship competition. As a winner she was eligible to compete for Grand Champion against the winners of the Senior and Intermediate classes. She was awarded Reserve Champion (second place) among the four competitors.
Also in Junior Showmanship, Jonathan placed second to Naomi in a tiebreaker.
In the Junior Agility competition Annabelle placed fifth of eight competitors.
After the main events, the kids had a great time dressing Arthur in the costume class. They were provided with a huge piles of clothes from which to choose articles to dress an alpaca. Then they had to write a short story to go along with the costume.
Congrats to the four kids who put in a lot of extra time practicing for the big event.