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Kylie Walker, left, Mackenzie Davi, 13, center, and Marissa Davi, 9, of Team Quackers of Vacaville rehearse their presentation for the Chili Cook-Off during Solano County 4-H Project Skills Day at C.A. Jacobs Middle School in Dixon, Saturday. Students presented projects showing what they have learned this year. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

Solano County

Youngsters put 4-H projects to the test

By From page A4 | January 12, 2014

DIXON — From poultry to chili, the 4-H displays Saturday ran the gamut.

As the Dixon 4-H Club hosted Project Skills Day at C.A. Jacobs Middle School, 4-H members from around the county converged for a competition in categories such as livestock/animals, outdoor cooking and other projects.

Rio Vista 4-H Club member Evelyn Young, 10, looked to her backyard chickens when cooking up a presentation for Project Skills Day.

“I have five chickens, and two of those five are laying,” she said. “I thought it would be helpful to learn how to make eggs.”

Evelyn’s project, titled “Six Ways to Cook Eggs,” included recipes for scrambled, fried and poached eggs as well as two boiling techniques.

“Hard-boiled, you cook for 10 minutes, and soft-boiled, you cook for 5 minutes,” she said.

Evelyn’s favorite egg dish turned out to be baked eggs, which are cracked into a mini-bread bowl and baked. One of the “good things” about the baked eggs, she noted on her three-fold display, was that they “taste good.” The negative, according to the fifth-grader: They take a long time to make.

Evelyn was competing in the livestock/animals category with other fourth- and fifth-graders such as Suisun Valley 4-H Club member Christopher Lang.

Instead of poultry, Christopher – a fourth-grader from Fairfield – focused on swine. His project, “This Little Piggy Went to the Market,” featured instructions on picking the right pig for show.

“You have to see if they’re sick or not,” he said. “(They) have to have even toes that point forward.”

A pigeon-toed pig, he noted in his presentation, is “undesirable.”

Christopher said he was excited because he will get his own pig on Sunday. The 9-year-old already has a host of other animals at home.

“I have five dogs – because I live with my grandma — one fish, two rabbits, three chickens – and that’s it,” he said.

After learning “how to choose a quality pig to raise and do well,” Christopher seemed equipped with the knowledge that will help him pick his Hampshire for the Dixon May Fair.

“I wanted to do this project because I want to compete in the fair,” he said.

Another livestock savant, Luis Laffitte, was on a “Nutrition Mission.” The Vaca Valley 4-H Club member was able to apply first-hand knowledge to his cattle project because last year he started raising his own steer, Boe, at home.

“I was able to witness acidosis,” said the 13-year-old Vacaville resident.

Luis said Boe displayed the symptoms of the metabolic disorder also referred to as “grain overload.”

“He had loose stools, and he wasn’t eating grain as much,” Luis said.

The 4-Her was able to treat the problem by changing his steer’s eating habits.

“We reduced his grain feed and increased his hay,” Luis said.

Now Boe, an angus with Maine-Anjou lineage, can eat in peace.

Outside the school gym, others at Project Skills Day were participating in their own feed – a chili cookoff.

Decked in firefighter gear, a group from Pleasants Valley 4-H Club offered scoops of their 4-Alarm Chili.

Randy Marley, 17, Cody Ceremony, 10, and Justin Means, 12 – all of Vacaville – tackled the firefighting theme, using a recipe from Justin’s firefighting father and 4-H leader Chuck Means.

“It’s got a little bite on the end,” Chuck Means said.

“Not too spicy, but has a little kick,” Randy said.

The group’s recipe for 4-Alarm Chili featured Pasilla, Anaheim, Serrano and green bell peppers as well as beef and beans.

“My dad, he likes stuff hot,” said Justin. “And I’m pretty sure all firefighters like stuff hot.”

Showmanship award winners

Foods (sixth-eighth grades)

Lilya Gardner, Roving Clovers 4-H Club, “Iced Pumpkin Cookies”

Food Preservation (sixth-eighth grades)

Tyler Scott, Wolfskill 4-H Club, “When Life Gives Me Lemons, I Make Lemon Curd”

Livestock/Animals (fourth-fifth grades)

Evelyn Young, Rio Vista 4-H Club, Chickens – “Six Easy Ways to Cook Eggs”

Livestock/Animals (sixth-eighth grades)

Sarah Bowen, Sherwood Forest 4-H Club, “Backing a Horse”

Makenna Caulfield, Roving Clovers, “Home Grown Goodies”

Ivy Christensen, Sherwood Forest, “Join Up With Your Horse”

Livestock/Animals (ninth-12th grades)

Josephine Linan, Sherwood Forest, “The Bridle: English or Western?”

All other projects (fourth-fifth grades)

Adilene Koelzer, Vaca Valley 4-H Club, “Gi’me Kumihimo”

Maya Miller, Suisun Valley 4-H Club, “Stretching, From Your Health Officer”

All other projects (sixth-eighth grades)

Alec Merodio, Suisun Valley, “A Rube Goldberg Machine”

All other projects (ninth-12th grades)

Carson Merodio, Suisun Valley, “The Role of the 4-H Treasurer”

Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.

Adrienne Harris

Adrienne Harris

Adrienne joined the Daily Republic in September 2009. She earned her journalism degree at the University of Florida in 2005 and has worked at newspapers in Fort Pierce, Fla.; Las Cruces, N.M.; and El Paso, Texas.

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