I like this weather! :-) It's nice!
Yesterday I was up super early and headed off for a day at the State Fair. It's a terrible time of year to be showing birds, they are all molting and look completely awful, but oh well. I took two hens anyway. Judging happened today. I did not go back in today so I'm not sure how it went but I can pretty well assure you that I didn't win anything.
I have been showing at State Fair for twenty years. I only missed one year (the year of no-poultry-shows due to the Newcastle outbreak) but I visited that year anyway, and may have had art or baked goods or something in the fair (I can't remember). It's a lot different than it used to be when I was showing as a kid. I remember we were always there on opening day, and my brother J and I would go to the main gate at opening time on opening day just to see all the fairgoers come in, and that was like SO exciting. We used to show beef cattle and chickens, so I would hoof it back and forth between buildings a zillion times a day, and be there for four solid days, all day every day, showing animals or watching horse shows for hours on end. It all seems very distant now, and the fair seems increasingly focused on the carnival and the commercial exhibits and less focused on livestock. For livestock, State Fair is a pretty big deal. For most people with poultry it's not part of the show circuit at all. It's a place full of nostalgia, remembering when people used to be able to play in the fountain, when people didn't have gang wars at night, when I used to wear the 4-H whites, when I worked on the task force in the junior show. I know it sounds cheesy, but it was another world back then.
In keeping with tradition of the last 12 years though I spent much of the day with my friend W (aka Fowlman!) and had lots of fun catching up on life. New traditions are cinnamon rolls, bad taxidermy, and horse racing. The bad taxidermy thing started probably almost 12 years ago, when there were a few junior exhibitors who did appallingly bad waterfowl taxidermy and showed it at the fair. Of course these things stand out to poultry snobs like us. So over the years this has turned into a challenge of "find the bad taxidermy at the fair." It's been harder to find in recent years since those kids shopped showing, but can usually be spotted somewhere obscure like a moth-eaten coyote in a conservation booth. This year it was an ancient looking snow goose in a county exhibit. I'm sure the nearly-empty building wondered about my gleeful outburst of "omg, bad taxidermy!" Mission accomplished. Excellent way to start the morning.
That was shortly before getting kicked out of the counties building. It didn't officially open for another hour and the police woman didn't seem to appreciate people wandering around who weren't working there (hey, the doors were all open!) I was absolutely salivating for a cinnamon roll by that point though so I wheedled and she said okay but you need to leave after you get your cinnamon roll. Fine by me! It was much nicer to eat outside in the flower garden anyway.
It was a nice day, not too hot, not too crowded. W had to take off in the early afternoon though. I toodled around for a bit on my own but State Fair is sort of a depressing solo adventure with nobody else to look at stuff with, so I only held out a few more hours before I hit the road and headed home. I did not manage to complete my trifecta of fair food (cinnamon roll, corndog, frosty). Only got to the first two. Oh well. Given another day I would have gotten shaved ice and a funnel cake too. Probably a good thing I stayed home today. ;-)
I took a lot of photos. I'll just go through them in the order I took them.
There was a Friesian out in the arena in the morning (it was about 8am, two hours before the fair opened). This was his reaction to a runaway pig:
We watched a bit of the 4-H horse showmanship in the morning before the fair opened. It's kinda boring to watch, but kinda cool to see teeny kids handling horses very well. Better than a lot of adults, I'm sure....
If you haven't seen the sculpture of San Francisco made entirely of toothpicks, you're missing out. It rocks. It boggles my mind:
I found some interesting clothing there too, like this dress. It looks... um, yeah.
I think this one is more my style though:
Art imitates life? Or is that the other way around?
A collection of cat whiskers. Oooookay. There was a whole building of "wild, weird, whacky" stuff.
Them's some big horns:
Anyone want some salad?
Sheep aren't usually my thing, but these are CUTE!!!!!! Does anyone know what these are???
I had to watch horse racing on my own this year, which isn't as fun, but on the bright side nobody got to witness me complete losing my winner-picking mojo. Dang. For for the last few years I've always found that I really *should have* bet on the races, because my pick would pretty consistently win. I can't explain it. I don't pay attention to the numbers, I don't read the board, I just watch them when they walk out and the one that my first instinct says is the best usually is the best!
Well... didn't work this year, and thank goodness I didn't bet! I chalk it up to breed difference. In the past I've always watched Thoroughbreds or Quarter Horses. The two races I saw yesterday were Arabians. In the first race, my first pick came in last. My second pick was second to last. Wow, okay. Second race, last by a loooong shot. Wow, okay. I guess I can't pick 'em after all! Definitely don't ever ask me about Arabians! :-)
My favorite horse... not even in the frame here!
So there you have it, my day at the fair. It was a fun day, but so very different than it used to be. I was home by 5 (and asleep on the floor by 5:30, oops).
Today was busy. I worked on the fence this morning, and then on scrimshaw for the most of the rest of the day.
Fence update (I have not worked on it for a while)
2856 feet to be hot wired
insulators up on all 2856 feet
1112 feet currently hot
432 feet of wire put up today (not much, I should have done more)