4-H cares for its adopted barn

Shayne Poland of East Wenatchee screws in a new latch on a pen in the sheep and goat barn as his son August watches. (Empire Press photos by Karen Larsen)

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

For the past seven years the Gone Country 4-H Club has held an annual workday at the NCW Fair sheep and goat barn. The group has adopted the barn and, in addition to other work, the members spend a day each spring cleaning it and getting it ready for the next fair. They also often have a special project that they do in the barn that day to make it a little more functional.

This year the workday was held April 21 and the special project was installing 113 heavy-duty latches to replace the cumbersome chains that were previously used to fasten the doors to the pens.

Group leader Patty Cheek said that the chains were difficult for the younger children to operate?the latches will be much more manageable.

The money to purchase the latches came from a 50/50 drawing sponsored by G.S. Long at the last Hell on Hooves rodeo at the Town Toyota Center.

Coastal Farm & Ranch also gave the group a discount on the price of the latches.

Jaymie Pierson of East Wenatchee works to sweep out the sheep and goat barn. Sienna Thames of Wenatchee holds a broom in the background. (Empire Press Photo/ Karen Larsen )

On April 21 many of the group members were using hammers or pliers to remove nails and staples from the sides of the pens. One such group was composed of three 12-year-olds: Chloie Troxler, Zack Pock and Sarah Watts.

The three 4-H members were working hard, but they were also having fun.

When asked what they liked about the work day, each had a ready answer.

?I like that everyone?s involved and they all have a job to do,? Watts said.

?I like to help because you get to use your hands and it is doing something for the fair,? Troxler said.

?I like that we do something for the barn every year,? Pock said.

Asked what he liked about the barn, Pock said, ?This is the barn I use the most.?

Cheek said that the group has adopted the sheep and goat barn because these animals are a focus for the group. Members, who come mostly from Wenatchee and East Wenatchee, also show rabbits, poultry, swine and alpacas. Most of the group members show their animals at the NCW Fair, though some also show at other area fairs.

Chloie Troxler of East Wenatchee, Zack Pock of Wenatchee and Sarah Watts of Wenatchee take a break from pulling out nails and staples around a pen in the sheep and goat barn. (Empire Press Photo/ Karen Larsen )

All 4-H groups need to do community service projects. Cheek said the group chose this project because of their involvement at this fair.

?Why not give back to the institution that gives to us?? Cheek said.

In addition to their work at the goat and sheep barn, the group plans to purchase about 30 24-by 24-inch rabbit cages for the rabbit exhibit this year. The 18 by 24 inch cages that are currently in the rabbit barn are too small for some of the larger breeds.

In order to raise money for these cages, the group held a petting zoo and hamburger feed at Coastal Farm & Ranch in March that brought in $450. They plan to hold a second petting zoo at the store from 10 to 2 p.m. June 16.

As the members worked they had their eyes out for future projects.

?We need to repaint this next year,? Pock said of the interior of the sheep and goat barn.