Fairs and Gardens | Week 10

Again, this past week has flown by so fast, especially since it was another fair week for me!

Mysterious Smells

It was herb week this past week at PoP Club! The kids had to identify different kinds of herbs based on their appearance, texture, and smell. In Sheldon, the herb selection included spearmint, basil, oregano, parsley, dill, cilantro, and sage. The kids were able to guess the mint and dill easily, but the others were harder. Many kids needed some verbal clues to help them out, which is understandable since identifying herbs can be very tricky. Many kids had never been exposed to fresh herbs because their parents buy dried herbs at the store.

After identifying the herbs, the kids had the opportunity to try some of the herbs they smelled that day. I made a homemade ranch dip that included dill and parsley. The kids were given a cucumber to try the dip with. Most of the kids enjoyed the dip and cucumber, with only 2 that were maybes. The maybes didn’t like sour cream, which was a main ingredient in the dip, so it is understandable.

Dairy Detectives

This week I did my Dairy Detectives Camp at the Lyon County Fair. I had to postpone the camp a couple of minutes due to the dairy show going longer than expected, which was no problem. Eventually, I did start the camp, even though the dairy show was still occurring (they were still doing showmanship when I started). We started out our day by talking about the difference between beef and dairy cows. Then, we took a field trip to the barn to see the dairy cows. The Lyon County kids had a different experience in the dairy barn than in the other counties. Since the dairy show was that morning, the fresh cows were still in the barn. For those of you who don’t know very much about the dairy industry, a fresh cow is a cow that is currently being milked, and a dry cow is a cow that is not currently producing milk. So, it was easier for the kids to understand what I was talking about. There were also guys in the barn milking their cows after the show. So, the kids watched the modern milking process and asked them questions about their cows. The guys were very excited to interact with the kids. After our trip to the dairy barn, we returned to the show arena to practice milking Bessie and to talk about milk processing. Each of the kids had to name a product that contains milk, and then they got to make homemade ice cream!

Return to the Garden!

I had the opportunity this week to return to the Rock Rapids Demonstration Garden to present at their annual garden tour. This is the garden where I spent many hours last summer, and I helped plant this summer. Every year during the fair, they give a tour to the public. First, the kids present what they have learned and done over the summer in the garden. Then, Dustin and I presented the informational tour of the donation garden. We talked about why we chose each plant to plant, explained some characteristics of each plant, and gave gardening advice. After the tour, Cheryl and I made salsa that featured some of the plants in the garden for spectators to taste. I also made some fruit-infused water to keep everyone hydrated since it was a scorching day. Everyone enjoyed the salsa and learned something new!

I also started writing my final report this week. Writing it really made it sink in that this experience is almost over, and soon I will be back on campus for classes. This definitely has been a fun summer, and I have had many great experiences! Next week, I will be at the O’Brien County Fair on Tuesday, July 27, for Dairy Detectives and their garden tour. Come see Bessie and me next week before she heads back home!

– Alex

Alex and Bessie