Sunday, June 9, 2013

Goshen First Fridays: Rain Barrel Auction!

Friday night we went to Goshen First Fridays! When the weather is nice, there are lots of people there. The city, downtown businesses, and other community groups work hard to make this a great night out.

So, nature, you ask?
There were plenty of natural chalk drawings by children. I saw a few of the ever popular sun. I like to draw this one too!

There was also the RAIN BARREL AUCTION . This was the highlight of the evening, with generous donors reaching deep in pockets to purchase BEAUTIFUL and useful artwork! Can art be functional? Can functional items be art? I remember these questions from college art classes. 

We won our own rain barrel as part of the Watershed Treasure Hunt, too! Now to work on our painting skills! I'll share our experiences with using a rain barrel as part of the blog posts. Did you know there are FREE classes and INCENTIVE programs for using rain barrels? It is definitely a program to check out. Rain gardens can classify as well. We had several questions about the rain barrel as we lugged it around--there is interest. Selling a moderately priced rain barrel at the auction might be a good addition.

We checked out several of the nearby booths, such as the 4-H program. There is plenty of nature through 4-H. We also stopped at the Edible Michiana booth for a taste test with the children. I love their photography and information on local foods. I snagged a copy of the magazine while there and immediately wanted to make mozzarella cheese again. The last time was a great success. 

For the taste test, the children were supposed to close their eyes and then they were given several fresh, local veggies to taste. This was well thought through. They started with strawberries, which is something most children are used to eating. Then they tried sugar snap peas, another fairly normal one. By the time the "game" reached rhubarb, they were all willing to try it. It was tart, but they tried it and one son, in particular, liked it very much. I didn't share any of my strawberry rhubarb pie with him earlier in the week. Good thing I snagged more rhubarb at the Harvest Market at Woodlawn Nature Center again yesterday. This afternoon, he asked to eat some on its own, having a whole stalk! After the kids finished the taste test, they were awarded a free gelato from The Nut Shoppe! Yummy! 

They also had a beautiful and unique flower arrangement. I loved the veggies and fruit tucked in with greenery and flowers! How delightful to see a stalk of asparagus sticking out in the arrangement. Now I want to make beautiful things, too. 

Transition Goshen was also out in full force. This organization is raising community awareness about local sustainable communities. They are teaching skills, connecting people, sharing inspirational films, and more! 

Hens for Goshen is advocating a change in laws to allow a moderate number of hens within the city limits. Reading their information is making me want to get hens! We've had fresh eggs from the area. While having chickens does require some effort, it's convenient to have them, is a good skill to have, promotes responsibility with the kids, and gives fresh eggs! Plus, we'd know exactly how they were raised. 

The Elkhart River Restoration Association shared information on watersheds and water quality in the area. We all drink and use water for a variety of purposes--this is important!

There were several macroinvertabrates to explore and a large guide to look at them. This reminded me of the Hoosier Riverwatch training!

They even got to hold a crawdad (or crawfish, depending on where you live) with Eric Kurtz from SWCD! What do you call it?

The Elkhart City Biologist was out with his team and his boat they use to do fish inventories. 

We enjoy seeing these fish different places. We just saw them earlier this week at Science Sleuths

We missed the jump rope contest, but it's another great way to be active. We also saw a video later of drumming on big inflatable balls. It looked like loads of fun! They were at Rhapsody in Green, too. Love this interactive music and movement. 

We stopped at The Nut Shoppe for the kids' gelatos. They were delicious, though the lemon ice made me pucker! It's strong, yet good! The chocolate drizzled strawberries looked delicious! 

I saw this rock water feature nearby--I love to see natural elements. I'm not sure of the policy, but I suspect children love playing with the water. Water can be very calming!

I also stopped in Ten Thousand Villages as I headed back to the car. I love the pieces they have inside. Many are very nature based.

Another fun and successful Goshen First Fridays