Monday, March 02, 2015

4H Woodsmen Water Boil

The first club meeting for the 4H woodsmen competition was held yesterday afternoon in the leader's farm yard and it was an eye-opening experience for me. Till now, 4H has been about club meetings and   projects like cake decorating and rabbit. Pretty easy stuff right in my comfort zone. Even spending Saturday morning at the club's Public Speaking and Demonstration Day was familiar ground to me.
But put a saw in my hands and show me the stance for sawing a cookie off a log in which every pull (not push) of the saw matters and it's definitely unfamiliar ground. This was the first experience I've had so far in 4H that's been true to my mission for the column, and as it turns out, to the 4H motto: Learn by doing!
Pictured above is the water boil and while I've seen photos in our newspaper from the woodsmen competition at the county rally (which is March 28), nothing compares to seeing this live. In the photo, Will and Olivia are using kindling he cut and shavings she made to light a fire -- with one of their three matches. After the fire is going, the trick is to place the can of soapy water on the fire without putting it out and then to keep the fire going. At one point, Will and Liv were both lying flat on their stomachs, one blowing on the fire while the other turned her head away.
My nerves couldn't stand it! Then again, I'm not 12 or 16 or 21 years old. But what a skill-testing event. Every second counts -- especially if it's windy.
Why the soapy water? You're done as soon as the bubbles boil over the top of the can.
I'll say more about the woodsmen competition in my next "A Year In 4H" column at the end of March.

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