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Manes and Moos 4-H club born on a remote farm in Saranac

SARANAC Two and a half years ago, Jamie and David Grubb and their large family of eight children moved to Saranac from the Middlebury, Vt., area. They happily settled in a large, white renovated farm house on Chazy Lake Road, about six miles beyond the Village of Saranac. They immediately filled the house with their children and began to fill the old, well-maintained barn and surrounding fields with livestock. From the front windows and porch of the farmhouse, one can admire the variety of horses, ponies and Dexter cattle roaming the fields with the breathtaking backdrop of the Adirondack high peaks in the distance. The family named their farm Asher Lev Farm. Asher Lev is Hebrew for happy hearts. The family quickly became more than busy with their animals and their homeschooling. One of the Grubbs teenage daughters, Joy, joined a local 4-H horse club, but Jamie was hoping to find a club that included a variety of animals. Her youngest sons prefer the Dexter cattle to the horses and also have an interest in the familys poultry flock. It was the lack of a club in Saranac that offered something other than just horses that prompted Jamie to begin contemplating about starting her own 4-H club. Originally, she thought she would start a family club because it would be less work. She could also schedule activities to meet her families needs without having to consult with the schedule of others, and the small, controlled group would make it easier for her special needs son. In the end, the family decided to open the club up to four other children. The more we thought about it, Jamie explained, the more we realized how blessed we are with our property and all of our cattle and horses. We felt we should share that blessing, and so we opened the club up to just a few others that the Lord put on our hearts. We are keeping it real small for the first year. Before the first club meeting, Jamie needed to submit an application for leadership, which included several references and a background check. The club has held two meetings so far, and Jamie plans on holding meetings two Saturdays a month at Asher Lev Farm. At the first meeting, which took most of a day, the youth filled out membership forms and voted on a name for their club. It was quite a lengthy process, Jamie laughed. The members had 20 suggestions for the club name. After much deliberation, they managed to narrow the choices down to The Asher Aggies, The Barn Rats, and Manes and Moos. In the end, Manes and Moos won out. Throughout the year, the club will focus on a variety of animals such as poultry, cattle and horses. One club member, Taylor Dann, plans on getting a piglet for her project animal. Preparing for a positive experience for these first time 4-Hers at the Clinton County Fair this summer is one of Jamies goals. Her son, Levi, is especially looking forward to taking his Dexter cattle to the fair and promoting them. This small and adorable breed of cattle is a novelty to the area. They originated in Ireland where they were developed as a dual purpose meat and dairy cow for small family farmers. These cattle normally have horns and come in several colors, red being the rarest. Another area of focus for Jamie is involving the club members in community service. Instilling in youth a desire to reach out to their community is an integral part of all 4-H programs. The club has discussed ringing bells for the Salvation Army this Christmas Season and volunteering at their soup kitchen. Before the year is over, there will likely be many in the area who will be thankful a new 4-H club has been born on a remote farm in Saranac.

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