Friday, May 25, 2012

Plants, Friends & Competition

This May was our North Carolina State Horticulture Competition. It has taken awhile to get ourselves prepared to compete. This was actually our 3rd year participating in the hort competition. It's exciting and if you're a plant geek like me then you would love this. Farmers, Gardeners, Survivalists, Outdoorsy people and Naturalists alike would all take interest in this topic and I encourage you to learn more.
It takes a few months to prepare for the competition. There are 3 different parts of the competition that test your knowledge on the subject. You have to learn to identify 4 categories: Flowers & Indoor plants, Vegetables, Landscape Ornamentals, and Fruits, Nuts & Berries. For each category there are 25 items to identify by leaves, stems, fruit, seeds, roots, bulbs and flowers. Then there is a judging potion where there will be 4 plates of say, Blueberries, that you have to look at and decide which plate looks best and more unified compared to the others. Label them best to worst and you're ready for the 3rd portion of the test. This includes the written portion, a test composed of 80 true/false and multiple choice questions.
Every year the winning senior team and the winning senior individual get to compete at the national level and each year this state the national level is held in is changed. Last year it was in San Francisco and this year it was in Wisconsin. Our team did our best, we even had a new member added to our team and it was good competition. Sadly we only placed 3rd in State, meaning no Wisconsin. Disappointment? Yes. Will we live? Yes. Alyse did compete as a junior individual and was awarded 1st over all in her division. Friends of ours from another county competed for their first time this year and placed 2nd as a junior team! It is always exciting to see new interest in horticulture and already making such great progress.
                      Go here to see more information on Horticulture or Plant & Soils!
                 Most everything is the same despite the dates shown, it would be great
                       for you to contact Liz Driscollif you have any further questions :) 

Wilkes Horticulture Team: Moriah, Gabby, Anna & Alyse
Look out Raleigh! Here comes Lincoln County 4-H!
Congratulations to Joseph, Daniel & Noah! 
The Senior Team placed 3rd in State 
Alyse was the highest placing Junior there! 

    Many thanks to our instructors and team members!
Mr. Morris, Moriah, Alyse, Gabby, Anna & Mr. Bill

The Junior in the ID room with
100 plants to judge.
The Lincoln guys did great for their first Hort. Competition!
Noah, Joseph & Daniel


Along with the competition there was a special honor received by me from Mrs. Liz. Back in February I had written a honey bee essay that was part of a state competition that would lead to nationals. I am very happy to share with yall that I am the State Winner of the essay contest. It was great and Mrs. Liz took the opportunity to have me share about it and she presented me with an award from the State Beekeepers Association.  :) Thanks Mrs. Liz!! 

Gabby .V.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Expresss Yourself

A couple weeks ago was our 4-H talent show. Yes.... I'm late at uploading it on here, but better late than never? We have put "talent" into this show like everyone else competing for the past few years. 
This year, the boys, Gabby and I decided to be funny. 
The boys had an act put together with Lucca being the puppet 
and Malachi being a ventriloquist. 
Before "Rusty" was awakened 
I love the outfit. 
Gabby and I did a bit of acting too. We get along great, so what better way to show our team work than to be 'better' than each other? We performed the Anything you can do I can do better song from Annie Get Your Gun. 

No you can't! Yes I Can! 
I can do most anything! 
We weren't the best of the best... but we had fun, and that's what our goal was. 


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Buy Local- OrGaNiC fArMiNg

Our Red Dirt Diggers 4-H Gardening club went to a local organic farm. It was great to see all they had to offer.  Tumbling Shoals Farm gave us a wonderful tour of their green houses despite the rainy day. About 3 years ago me and my sister had the opportunity to see their farm while learning about entrepreneurship and going back after these past years and being able to see how they added on was really inspiring. I know it seems like slow going when you're in the middle of it all but these farmers have come a long way in the little time they have been up and running. So it was the perfect opportunity for our blooming club to see how they did it, get ideas, and be encouraged. I'm sure everyone had a great time on our trip, especially when Mrs. Shiloh let us pick a whole row of strawberries! They were delicious. The club had good questions, and we learned a lot while Mrs. Shiloh was talking to us.
 In their green houses they leave one side "removable" (for lack of better words) so that each year they are able to bring in a tractor and til the soil inside the green house. A great idea! Mrs. Shiloh also told us that a few years ago they had some tomato plants out in the field, and it was a very wet, rainy season so they had barely any produce from the tomatoes. The next year they put a tarp of sorts over the plants, just to shield the top from rain and elements, and they had 3 times the produce off of Half the amount of plants they had grown the previous year. In the green house, that they have strawberries planted, the sides of the house have the ability to be rolled up so that there is air flow and rain getting to the plants. They have lots of great ideas and there is a link below that will take you to their website.
One more thing I thought was great...and incredible was this:  Whatever crop they have a planted out in their fields then it is 7 years!! before they plant the same crop there again. If it is in the green house then it is 3 years before the same crop is there again. If there is anything to be learned in the art of gardening (and yes! It is an art!) then it is that it's not an automatic thing, it takes a lot of time. Everything in life takes time but in the life of Agriculture it take more time, because it bring the best results if done properly.
Like always, here are some pictures of our trip... like I've said before, you take pictures to have a memory. And a memory is nothing unless you can share it. I love sharing it with yall, hope you enjoy it!

                       Tumbling Shoals Farm- Organic Farm  
        ^^CLICK HERE^^ I highly suggest you seeing everything they have to offer on their site... learn more about them, read their story! They are more than ready to share anything they know and they are have a wealth of information.
Inside the green house, the wall behind us is the removable one.

The tomato plants look great! 

Us in our..ummm...Memorable Attire :) 
This was part of the field she showed us at the farm.
Strawberry Time!! 
Everyone gets so excited for strawberry time! They were sooo good.

After our trip to Tumbling Shoals Farm we had a picnic at Rendezvous Mountain. Ohhh that was a fun part of the day. You can see everyone in their wind and rain gear, trying to stay warm...all of us were trying to convince Mr. Morris to make a fire in that big fire place behind him. No matter how "manly" you were trying to be up there, it was still freezing! We were high enough up that the clouds would surround us and wrap a chilly blanket over any part of us that wasn't covered. Despite the cold and dreary, rain and windy, the group took away some laughs and "bonding" off the mountain.  

Gabby .V. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Blooming Beauty - RDD Style

Yall know this is a blog all about 4-H. The big things and the little. Well, our club had the field trip -as seen in previous post- and I wanted to make sure everyone knew what we were. Red Dirt Diggers is a youth gardening club. (Mission Statement!) We want to learn more, a Lot more, before we go into business full force.  While in Asheville we took the chance to go to the wonderful Arboretum they have there. Everything was in bloom around Asheville, and with that area already being so creative and artsy it made the journey even better! Mrs. Jamie also made sure that we got into the "experience" with our eating endeavor. So we went to the Mellow Mushroom and had a blast! The food was delicioso!
                                                                   Pictures from our Journey

A small cherry Bonsai tree, very bright and beautiful :)
These were Bonsai trees, so many varieties!
Our club president loved them, right Addison?

Anna and Mrs. Jamie admiring every little plant. 
A Bonsai tree exhibit was going on, there were sooo many! 

The group coming out of the green houses . 

This would be the great and massive Ashville Arboretum.

This was the entrance, and it had
everyone's attention. 

Haha! Prez Addison loves his picture take, VP Anna
excited to see what's behind him! :)

Inside there was an exhibit on poisonous flowers, some of the
you would never guess were harmful.... like geraniums. 
Mr. Morris and Addison discussing the wide "domestic" range
of killer flowers. 

This was just an awesome shed that was on the property,
we thought it was cool and we think we need one! 

Morriah trying to I wash my hands,
or water the flowers? 

Beautiful isn't it? 
Inside there were benches and vines and unbelievable archways. 
Mrs. Jamie and Anna, looking like models. :) Very Pretty

This was the view of the green house attached to the Arboretum. 

Our Prez!! A little confused on which path to
take for our walk in the woods. Ummm, Mr. Morris?

Sorry Addison, he's busy talkin to a snake we found. 

Four of our RDD members are Horticulture Judging members as well. Anna and Alyse were
studying the different leaves shown, Morriah and  myself are the other two Hort. team members. 

"These boys..." They found another creature in the woods :)

We were all trying to figure out which way to go,
 what path this time Addison?

The Meeks brothers, Addison is a little too tall isn't he Eli? 

That would be a really cool stone bench I saw, and that
 would be me. I'm not in many of the photos because I am the
 historian of our club, and I do my job better behind the camera :) 
This was a statue made of Iron and it was
really neat to see how much was put into it. 

Here is another earthy, creative bench. Love the way the trees wrap around it. 

The waterfalls at the Arboretum were beautiful! 

Mrs. Julie and Eli enjoying the sun  :)

After that walk it was nice to cool off by the ponds, or on the
stepping stones. 

We took a group picture infront of this and all of us stepped away
with some water on our backs from the wind that caught the waterfall! 

As we were leaving we crossed over this bridge, the whole day was nice
and beautiful at the Asheville Arboretum.

A BIG Thank You to Mr. Morris, he is our volunteer leader, and the
best we could ask for. He deals with everything we have and gives it
right back sometimes. He is a great traffic stopper as well. :) 

Gabby .V.