Manifolds, Manolos, and Manure
For many families, August and September bring the return of school. Routines. Schedules. Fall sports. And another month closer to Halloween. For our family, the tail end of summer brings the county fair.
Fair count to date is four: Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin; Carroll County, McHenry County, and Boone County in Illinois. I wish I could say I ate my way through each one. Heck I wish I could say I had a lemonade shakeup at each one. But I didn’t. Nor did I enter open baking, sewing, or woodworking. We have livestock.
Our big red dragon and his kid brother have graced each fair except for Carroll County. With our blue-eyed girl in tow the big red dragon showed off his smooth as butter jog. Confidence going near obstacles. And fearlessness when faced with a mailbox during the Boone County 4H Pleasure Show.
His kid brother raced through poles, flag, barrels, and plug. Nine months ago, our infamous space cadet was sailing over jumps in a hunter ring so expectations for success at Western speed events this year were quite low. Apparently, no one told him that. With his blond passenger in tow, he raced to a at poles, barrels, and plug. His brakes are still somewhat sketchy, so flag was not his forte. The weekend before he claimed his first check at a National Barrel Horse Association sanctioned barrel race.
Our three show calves affectionately known as Apple Crisp, Poppy, and Velociraptor made their debut at Boone County. Our blue-eyed girl clipped her calves. I handled the delicate work on their faces, tails, and legs. But she did most of the work. Our farmer held the biggest one still. Fluffy red and white fur tickles the nose and makes the heifer dance.
Each animal had their time in the show ring. Our grade Holstein picked from the lot over spring break went on to win Reserve Champion at the VIP Show and Junior Reserve Champion at the 4H Show. Her biggest fault is that her face is too short.
Our littlest, wildest girl, Velociraptor, was at a tremendous disadvantage, her late birthday combined with her size dropped her placing deep into the class. Our blue-eyed girl could care less about Velociraptor’s size or her placing, she adores the little monster. Unlike the other two, Velociraptor made a show ring return for Pee Wee Showmanship with our big little boy. Together they strutted their stuff and took home a bucket of goodies. Together they promptly devoured the candy.
Apple Crisp, our blue-eyed girl’s favorite yearling who identifies as a puppy, strutted her stuff to a first-place finish in the Junior Show and a second-place finish in the Open Show. Unlike her small friends, Apple Crisp did not appreciate being away from her pasture. Friends. Or pond. Unlike her neighbors, she would drag you down the aisle and out the door. Next year she will likely become our first owned and family shown animal to enter a show ring at World Dairy Expo. And I will add Show Mom to my resume.
As our fair comes to a close our blue-eyed girl’s love of her animals, 4H, and fair continues to grow. As parents, we want nothing more than blue-eyed girl to want to milk the cows. Drive the tractors. Farm. Just like her dad, grandfather, and great grandfather before her.