March 4H Day–Emergency Preparedness Presentation by the Red Cross

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This month, there were so many children or parents sick that we had less than half of our 4H group that was able to come to the meeting.  Things looked a little different as a result. After all, less children means less parents to teach classes, so we grouped the members together into 2 groups instead of 3 or 4, and did lots of united learning.  We cancelled some classes altogether.

One class that everyone attended was a class with a speaker from the Red Cross.  This gentleman had slides to show to the children and parents and spoke about preparing for disasters.  He let the kids know that they could expect things like floods, earthquakes and tsunamis in Oregon, as well as fires and accidents of other sorts.  Then he explained how to prepare for those times of disaster.  He had an entire 72 hour kit that he laid out for everyone to study and some handouts.  The kids and parents seemed to enjoy the presentation and learn from it.

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One thing I did not know before was that the Red Cross will bring free fire alarms to your house and install them for you.  We already have some, but I will certainly keep that little tidbit of information in mind.

We did cook in the kitchen this month, a few girls did work on their sewing a bit, we had one presentation, this presentation by the Red Cross, lunch, and then everyone went home.  It was a very low-key day, but it turned out fine.  Hopefully, everyone will get better quickly.

DIY Instant Oatmeal Packets at 4H Club

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At the last 4H meeting day, Rob had his kids in Outdoors class make home-made food for camping.  He showed them how to re-constitute freeze-dried peas and spaghetti and how to make DIY instant oatmeal packets.  He also had the ingredients for trail mix, but ran out of time.

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At the last meeting, we had them dry bananas, a little pineapple, and some apples.  We mixed the pineapple and bananas in one bag (pina colada), and kept the others separate as choices.  We also put out raisins as a choice.  Because there are so many of them, he divided them into teams and had them rotate through the stations.

At the instant oatmeal station, he gave them this recipe:  It’s simple.

Into a ziplock bag, put:

1/3 cup instant oatmeal (we got ours from Bob’s Red Mill)

Add the following into your bag, as desired.

2 teaspoons powdered milk (for the creamy oatmeal)

1-2 teaspoons dried fruit (he had them snip the fruit up with scissors)

2 teaspoons brown sugar

Seal bag and shake to mix.

Then he gave them a piece of paper with the instructions:

When ready to use, put 2/3 cup boiling water in bowl and add contents of packet.  Salt to taste.

This was a mixture of all the recipes we found on Pinterest, etc., made as simple as we could make it for the kids, since the range is from kindergarten-11th grade this year and the oldest ones are mainly in sewing at that time.  From all of the ideas we found, people add everything from coffee to chocolate, to freeze-dried fruit, chia seeds, flax meal, and on and on.

This would be an excellent item to stock your camper pantry with, to take backpacking or to even make up and eat at home, as some of the 4H moms were going to head home and do!  It’s much more inexpensive than buying the boxes, and more than one batch can be made in a bag to cut down on packaging for hungry teens (you know, the ones who want 2-3 packets each time).  The packets can be “made-to-order” and names written on the bag with a Sharpie so everyone can have their own way with no hassle.   As a mother of 8, that is important to me–camping should be fun and feel like fun–so I’m all about making everyone feel special and have choices, as much as possible.

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Suet Bird Feeders

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Last month at 4H, Rob decided to have the Outdoors Club members make bird feeders that would hold a purchased suet block.  He has only a one-hour block of time to work with the kids that take the Outdoors project, so the kits needed to be pre-cut.  He had some scrap cedar fence boards to work with that someone had kindly donated.

He cut the larger, flat boards 6″ x 8″ and the end pieces (2 of them) 3/4″ x 1-1/2″ x 6″.    The wire is 1/2″ x 1/2″ square mesh wire and it was cut to 5″ x 6″ size.  He gave each member 2 kits, and provided hammers, 1-1/2″ galvanized nails, and 4–1/2″ roofing tacks to hold down the screen.  The kids hammered the end pieces onto the flat boards and then attached the screen.   One end piece is attached right on the end of the board.  The other one is attached about 1″ down from the end, so that a hole can be drilled for hanging. You could adjust that measurement a little bit if your suet block was a little bigger or smaller.  It needs to fit into the opening, so make sure it will before hammering.  The 2 sides are left open so the suet block can slide in, and easily be replaced when eaten by the hungry birds.

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As is this picture, 1/2″ fencing staples can be used instead of the roofing tacks, but they proved to be much harder than the roofing tacks for the younger members.  Our members range from Kindergarten through high school.  The older ones help the younger ones, but the projects need to be do-able for all ages, as much as possible, without being boring for the older ones.  It’s a challenge, but having the older kids be junior leaders helps tremendously.

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The 1/4″ hole needs to be drilled in the top for hanging, and the suet feeder will be done.  Rob estimates that this project can be made for $3 or less.  He came in far under that price because the boards and wire had both been donated.  He had to buy nails, etc., but got a really good sale on the suet blocks–only 67c each.  Each member got to make 2–one to give away for Christmas and one to keep.  Everyone seemed to enjoy making the suet feeders.