If it's October, and it is, then it's time for 4-H'ers to plan their projects for next year.
I always liked October. Never mind that fall is my favorite time of year, the coming of October meant a new year in 4-H and a new year in 4-H meant I got a new calf to replace the one I had to sell the year before.
Don't get me started on that. My sister told me just a few months ago she determined never to get so attached to a pet that she'd ever cry like I did the first year I sold a 4-H calf. It wasn't just crying. I sobbed so badly the car shook on the ride home.
I maintain, however, I would have made it through that nasty process if Sunset - my Hereford steer - hadn't come back out of the big truck and been zapped with that ugly electric stick the guys used to move the cattle.
Sparks flew, Sunset jumped and tears forced themselves out of my startled eyes. What a terrible jolt for a young girl.
Back when I was in 4-H, girls couldn't belong to a boys' club without putting in a year in the girls' club first. I didn't want that, but I joined the Nifty Newark club anyway, and that's where my friendship with Jane Algoe, now Schultz, blossomed. That and sixth grade at the Vincent school.
It's the first time I realized I could choose a friend. I'd been friends with Paulette McGough, now Schuh, since I remember being, and my best friend from church was Kathleen Hofmann, now Dencklau. I don't remember ever living without their friendship, but Jane came to me through 4-H and school.
Even though we don't see each other often, all three are still good friends.
I'm betting friendships like that still happen in 4-H. You can't be part of something that's so much fun without finding friends to share it with.
In Webster County, Linda Cline is the Extension youth coordinator, and she's in charge of getting 4-H'ers signed up for projects.
"They can take anything they want from more than 50 project areas," she said. "We have a volunteer to be a food project leader. She's trying it out. The first project meeting will be Oct. 26 at the St. Edmond food lab."
Shoot, when I was in 4-H, food and nutrition was one year of projects, which rotated with clothing and home improvement, then back to food. Food was a bear at fair time because we wanted everything to be freshly baked, and with three of us baking, that took a lot of time.
That was time I wanted to be outside getting my calf ready to roll.
These days, 4-H'ers are concerned that their rockets won't blast or their chickens won't cluck or the varnish on their dressers won't dry.
It's a whole new world in the world of 4-H.
So long friends, until the next time when we're together.
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org