Back to Gainesville again for the weekend. We camped at Paynes Prairie Preserve! We took a lunchtime drive out tot he Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings estate. She wrote the Yearling. The estate was wonderful. It really felt like old Florida. We walked the orange groves and were able to sample fresh kumquats and pineapple oranges! So yummy! At the campground we took a few long walks and tried to ID all the plants and trees we could! We found a really calm yellow rat snake climbing a tree! We were up early and off to Austin Cary State Forest for the 4-H Forest Ecology State contest. I was ready! I knew all my trees, plants, forest health and animals! We had a huge team this year. It is nice to have so many new members in our group! We kicked off and were sent to our stations for the contest. I made a mistake writing down my compass bearing. I caught my mistake but it was too late. I figured I was done for. Some years this contest 1-2 points off can mean the difference between 1st and 5th place! I was excited to see I got 3rd place for my poem! I was nervous but finally came to terms with my mistake on my compass part of the contest. The names were called out and I sat quiet. 3rd, 2nd… went to other kids. suddenly my name was called for 1st place! I was SO shocked! A happy forestry kid! I am glad my error didn’t ruin my chances but I know what to do next time! Ribbons ribbons everywhere. We had a great season! We celebrated with Satchel’s pizza for a late lunch and then sunset at the UF Bathouses. It was nice to have a new friend with us. We had more oranges. These ones got stuck in our mouths! hahaThe bats flew and flew for quite a long time. This is always fascinating to me!
We took Grandma Susie to Starkey Farm to pick blueberries.We were all impressed by how everything operated. It was extremely well organized. We washed up and headed out into the massive fields for picking. The berries were HUGE! We quickly filled two buckets. Mom was really impressed with the amount of fresh berries. They were so easy to pick and you didn’t have to search far to find handfuls of nice plump berries. Look how big they are! Breighton approved berry picking! I helped mom to plant grass plus in the front yard. We are hoping to get the grass to recover this year. The old printed died a few weeks ago and we finally decided to take it apart to recycle and dispose of it better. E and I sat for over 3 hours unscrewing and disassembling! E was the tool runner. Off I would send him for more tools! Finally the last screw is out! We had a wonderful time. We kept some pieces for later exploration but tossed most in the trash on Monday. We spent a lot of time this week studying for Forest Ecology. The contest is this weekend. I am ready! I am quite confident I will do well this year!
Back to the Gainesville area for another tournament for 4-H. This is the final state match of the year! We camped at Oleno Springs again. We had a great time in their little nature center looking at the giant collection of randomness. The tournament was PACKED! There were over 150 kids this year! I love that archery is growing. I ended up in 3rd place for intermediates. I was happy again to have people to compete against! BTW, my friend, Maleah, is a funny person! She is always making me laugh! We practiced our demonstrations in from of our 4-H club. County events is this weekend! I am presenting on Coleoptera of Florida and Ethical Collecting Techniques. Done at count events! My stress level just dropped. Blue ribbon! I also received 100/100 from all three judges! I am really proud of all the work paying off for me this year. Last year was a rough year but this year I am in the zone! Easter came and was a quiet weekend by choice. We had Harry Potter themed baskets and enjoyed a weekend of Harry Potter movies and movie themed snacks like acid pops, cockroach clusters and a wonderful roast. We also had a small gulf fritillary hatch from our hatching cage. Oh and I am trying to read Harry Potter in Latin! 🙂 Wish me luck!
We knew it was coming but I still wasn’t ready. I came in early in the morning to talk to Mom. Hedgie was just laying in the middle of his cage. We pulled him out to check him out and he just wobbled side to side and fell over. I knew it was time. I don’t want to see him suffer. He has been my beloved pet for 5 years. He was a huge responsibility but I had some many wonderful memories. Saying goodbye. My heart was broken. We took Hedgie to a vet and had him peacefully put to sleep. They vet brought me a small vial with a few of Hedgie’s quills. I am going to have him cremated as well. It was a rough day! Really rough!
We went out to Plant City to help with a 4-H berry picking service project. We picked over 100 quarts of berries for the local food banks. It was a beautiful day with find cool temperatures in the morning. It warmed up quickly!
There is my happy face with everything we picked and packed! On the way home we went by the Clearwater Main Library for a mini Comic-Con. I enjoyed the foam sword and archery activity. They basically play ninja but with foam stuff! It was a lot of fun!