Diane Prather: Yampa Valley Hens and Chicks off, running

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Diane Prather

It may surprise readers to know there’s an international organization known as the Farmgirl Sisterhood.

Now, there’s a local chapter, too, and its name is creative indeed.

Susan Domer, a member of the Yampa Valley Hens and Chicks, chuckled as she explained how the local chapter got its name.

First of all, the origin is in the garden where the Hen and Chicks plant often grows. Secondly, a meeting might just sound like a barnyard of chickens.

Because the names of the international and local chapters suggest they’re rural organizations, one might think that the members need to be farm or ranch women.

Domer said that’s not so.

Members have varied interests: ranching, farming, sewing, cooking, housework and a lot more.

“To be a farm girl,” Domer said, “is a condition of the heart.”

The International Farmgirl Sisterhood was started by Mary Jane Butler who, Domer said, is “a delightful woman who was raised in the state of Utah but now lives in Montana.”

She has written books and magazines that cover, among others, being a farm person, living in a small town and using a “common sense” approach to life.

Butler’s writing got the attention of local women, and during Sheep Wagon Days last year they started to talk about starting a local chapter.

“The idea mushroomed, bloomed, and grew,” Domer said.

The first official meeting of the Yampa Valley Hens and Chicks was two months ago, with six charter members attending.

By the second meeting, however, a dozen women were in attendance.

The local chapter meets from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the first Friday of the month.

So far, the meetings have been held at the Moffat County Extension Office or the basement at St. Michael Catholic Church, depending on the schedules for these locations. The date and location for each meeting is posted in the Craig Daily Press.

There are no officers for the club and no dues, unless members would like to join the international chapter.

Domer said so far some members have brought recipes for everyone to taste but with the increased attendance, they might have to start a potluck.

“It’s open to discussion, “ she said.

Members share ideas about what they’d like to do during meetings and for the community, too. Because membership is multi-generational, from pre-teens to grandmothers, there are plenty of ideas to share.

Varied activities take place during the meetings.

For example, one group got together and watched a demonstration on pressure canning and ended up canning 52 pints of chicken.

Another demonstration provided instructions for making all-purpose cleaner and laundry soap. How to take care of garden tools and how to make homemade seed strips was the topic of another. And, a couple of women took in sewing machines so women could make hot pads.

The chapter tries to involve everyone’s talents.

For example, Domer said at the next meeting two pre-teen members who have 4-H poultry projects will give a demonstration on the care of baby chicks. This demonstration will take place at Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply, 2355 W. Victory Way.

Laundry is also a topic for the next meeting.

Domer said members will share ideas about doing laundry the old-fashioned way, hanging it outdoors to save energy and to get out in the sunshine at the same time.

Members will also learn how to make a clothespin bag.

“I hope that there will be a demonstration on how to iron a man’s shirt,” Domer said.

With all of the modern fabrics that dry wrinkle-free, not everyone knows how to iron these days.

Helping the community is an important goal of the Yampa Valley Hens and Chicks.

One Tuesday, members helped out in the soup kitchen at St. Michael. Another way they help is by supporting local businesses. They talk to local merchants about their products, such as pressure cookers, and report on the findings.

“Just about every Moffat County woman is a sister — she may not know it, but she is,” Domer said.

However, not every member of the local chapter is from Moffat County. One charter member is from a ranch up by Baggs, Wyo.

The next meeting of the chapter will be May 6 at the Moffat County Extension Office.

Domer invites everyone to “just show up and have a good time.”

If you have questions about the meetings, call Susan Domer at 824-6436.

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