Monday, January 30, 2006

Crazy weekend, and the secret lives of chicken people.

I think I've recovered from the weekend. I didn't get up til quite late today, and I napped for three hours when I got home yesterday, so all that certainly ought to put me on the road to recovery. In case you've forgotten, I was at the PPBA show in Stockton over the weekend, and I had a blast.

I've never shown as many birds as I did this weekend. I ended up taking 29 of them (was going to be more but some of them started to molt...random..). It took an hour and a half for me to load everything into the car here, and an hour and a half to unload them all into the cages at the show. I also had the art booth to contend with, so all in all it took me almost 4 hours to unload the car Friday afternoon and get the birds all cooped and fed. There were somewhere around 3000 birds entered, which is huge for a show in CA (shows used to be much larger, but the Newcastle problem really cut things back a few years ago). The Rosecomb class was VERY impressive, with breeders here from all over the US. Strangely though, I never did get around to counting all the Rosecombs... There were a lot, and there were 6 colors represented.

I think I got over to the hotel around 8, and I called up D.W., who I had talked to on line but never met in person. We yacked for a hour or so and then headed down to the lobby, where I wasn't yet feeling quite brave enough to indulge in a beverage, but sat around and yacked some more with various chicken people, and then finally A.R. showed up around 11something and I headed off to bed....

Where I tossed and turned for hours and hours and hours, thinking about all the stuff I had to set up and clean up and fix up Saturday morning, and the more I thought about trying NOT to think about it, the more I ended up thinking about it. The last time I saw the clock, out the corner of my eye, the number in front was a 2, so when the alarm went off at 5:45, I wasn't exactly thrilled (have I mentioned I'm not a morning person? I am NOT a morning person!).

A.R. and I got over to the fairgrounds around 7. She headed off to be drooled upon by game fowl guys all day (ha ha! Such tales to tell!) and I got to work cleaning up the birds, which took about an hour and a half (that seems to be the magic number over the weekend). Exhibitors like to think that we have things all figured out before the judge ever gets around to judging the class. I never even had time to carefully look at all the Rosecombs (this weekend was INSANE) but the "big time" guys were sure I had the class whooped. Well, unfortunately the judge didn't see things that way. I got Reserve of Breed with my hotshot pullet (now aptly named "Diva" by P.A.) but the cockerel that everyone thought would win didn't do much of anything, and the bird who got Reserve of Show last time around placed second. Go figure. You never know about these things. Although the standards by which they are judged do not change, the ways that one person interprets them do, so you could have five judges pick the winners and you might get five different birds up on top. I have a great deal of respect for judges, and I would not want to be in their shoes, but the outcome of not only the breed but the whole RCCL class surprised me, and I certainly didn't see what the judge saw (nor did a lot of other people). You just never know. But that's fine, winning is never something I count it, it's just a nice thing when it happens. :-)

Anyway, I set up the art booth starting a little after 9, and it seems to me it took, you guessed it, about an hour and a half to set up. GOLLY that's a lot of work, but it turns out looking nice. I often wonder if it's really worth it to do that, it's such a stressful thing to deal with, but it does pay for the whole show and then some, so in that respect it's definitely worth doing every year. Business went pretty well, I sold a couple tiles, some mugs, one original painting (a dog, go figure), and lots of cards. Once again, thank goodness for note cards. Many people dropped by just to visit and see what I've been working on, and look at the Standard drawings, and that was sooooo nice to get some compliments on those, since for the most part the only people who have seen them are the standard committee. It really makes me excited about being done with them, some day... :-) Plus it was just cool to meet a bunch of new people, some of whom I had emailed before about various things, or who came up to me all excited and told me that they'd seen the website and it was so nice to see everything in person, etc.

The art booth:

It sure didn't seem like long before it was late afternoon, and time to take all the art stuff down. I couldn't believe how the day flew past. I'd hoped to sell a lot more of the tiles. I think the "problem" with selling stuff at a show like this, is that people don't have time to come over and look. So many people are running around insanely busy just trying to catch up with things that they just aren't even aware that I'm in there wheeling and dealing. So I have a whole slew of tiles left, which will be going up on my website soon, and maybe onto eggbid or something...we'll see.

That evening was the banquet, which is a traditional part of CA poultry shows. Most people go to them. They raffle off wine, let the judges talk about the classes they judged, present a couple of non bird related awards, and mostly we stuff ourselves and talk about poultry. I stayed after the banquet for the APA and ABA business meetings, looking forward to hearing the decisions the SOP committee had made about a couple of the revisions, but as luck would have it I had stepped out of the room for just a moment when that stuff was discussed (impeccable timing, as always), though it sounds like I didn't miss anything anyway because I don't think they actually decided anything. Sooo...yeah, hopefully they do at some point.

I was getting pretty tired by that point, having gotten less than 4 hours of sleep. I think I got back to the motel around 9ish, and went down to the lounge with D.W. and A.R. I was talked into indulging that evening, and had a Lemon Drop. I have no idea what is in a Lemon Drop, but it was pretty good. I would not have wanted to be in the bar alone though, yikes. Not that it was a bad place (though there was some bad karaoke and bad dancing and bad outfits...not that I'm one to talk) but I felt a little, um, scrutinized. Must have been the shirt. ;-) (D, I'll bet some people are wondering about us now...ha ha haha!) I need to be better about taking pics of people. I'm horrible about that, I think it's because I don't especially like my picture taken, but it's kind of stupid how few pictures I have of my friends, or me with friends.

I don't normally stay in town for this show, since it's practically local, but I didn't want to miss out anything this year, and staying down there definitely proved to be a whole bunch of fun (really a nice place too, I liked it). We sat around the lobby for a while and talked to various people, and I drooled over H.M. and got increasingly fuzzy feeling in my head. A large group of people left and went upstairs, and one of the guys made a point to stop and invite me up there. Hmmmm. We stayed down there for maybe another 45 minutes or so, and I was about ready to just curl up on the couch and go to sleep, but after several attempts I convinced A.R. that we needed to at least make a brief appearance up in the "party room" just for good measure, or something like that, we finally got up and went up there. I was so tired I could hardly walk straight, but it seemed like a good plan. D.W. went off to his own room. I think it was around 11something. We went up and listened at the door, trying to figure out 1) if we had the right room 2) if the party was still on 3) if we knew anyone. We heard some familiar voices, but I was on the verge of chickening out, when A.R. knocked. Ack! Oh man, we were committed to it now. D.A. answered the door and invited us in, and we stepped into a room full of....MEN. Hoo boy, I was thinking "what in the world have I gotten myself into?" Everyone turned around and looked and I sort of wanted to croak (you know the scenes in Madagascar where the lion looks at things and sees steaks? I felt like steak), but we walked in and over to the adjoining room where we found... A WOMAN! YAY!!! Whew, suddenly felt much more at ease, so we sat around and talked to C.S. and the guys until everyone finally drifted out around 1:30 or so. That was fun, I would say probably the best chicken party I've been to. I hit the sheets around 2 and was out cold.

Sunday mornings at the poultry show means time to judge the Best in Show. I got over there pretty early to try to get some good pics, but even at that I didn't manage to see all the birds, and apparently I'd forgotten to charge my extra camera battery, so I didn't get enough pics as I had wanted, and they are for the most part not very good, I was in a hurry and didn't open cage doors so I got the cage in focus but the bird blurry. Darn it!! :-( The Best in Show judging was a pretty grand production this year. I don't know the whole story but Animal Planet was there filming stuff (some guy filmed me grooming a bird on Saturday, right when the bird pecked my hand really hard...great...). Anyway, the actor Fred Willard was there, and he got to announce the winner, which was a Modern Game Bantam female. Cute little bird, and such an honor for the winners to receive Best in Show at such a large show.

After that it's the insanity of coop out, which means boxing up the birds and loading up the cars, and it's a madhouse of activity, everyone trying to get out as soon as they can. It took me, you guessed it, an hour and a half to get all the birds loaded.

Between the art and chicken sales, it was quite a good weekend, and I absolutely had a blast down there seeing everyone. It went so fast though, I'm kind of sad that it's over. I don't show that many birds or take the art stuff to any other shows, so while the PPBA show is really a work/business weekend for me, the others are MUCH more kick back and relaxing, and I'm really looking forward to going to the next show and doing absolutely nothing. :-)

Thank you to everyone who stopped by the booth, thank you even more to everyone who spent money. :-)!! It was great to meet new people, and I am definitely planning to stay in town again next year. ;-) Congratulations to the winners, and let's do it again!!

Should have brought this to the party, ha haha!!! (wink!)


Anonymous said...

It was a fun show wasnt it? Too bad you were so busy with the booth. But then we have the Eureka show to hang out more..

Glad you liked the Lemon Drop!

And I hope we game them something to talk about ;-)

Katherine Plumer said...

I know, that weekend is so crazy for me... I will definitely have a whole lot less going on in Eureka! I'll just have to make a point not to get stuck clerking! :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi again!
Ok, so now you’ve got me curious .... who is this “M” character?! Hehe. The party was a blast!
I had a great time too, and like you, I was sad to see it all end. It was a very solemn drive home; I could have stayed in the magical land of a “poultry show” for a lot longer (only chicken people would understand that statement ;-). We won’t be up in Humboldt, but we will see you at Fresno!


Anonymous said...

The paddle...hmmmmm..that would have made for an even MORE interesting poultry party...LOL


Katherine Plumer said...

Well you know me, I like to liven things up. ;-) It really is the magical land of poultry show isn't it... And I'll see you this Saturday, though that won't be quite as entertaining (I would assume!)

Oh and I have to tell you I almost did accidentally use the chicken chapstick Sunday morning. I was in my usual morning stupor and I pulled the familiar shape out of my pocket and had the cap off before I realized "oops, wrong one!" :-)