Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Visiting the County Fair

We go to the beef barn first, and I marvel at the steers' size, which we discover is small compared to the Holstein cows in the dairy barn. I prefer the smaller Jerseys.

The spouse wants to visit the swine barn where the market hogs snooze two by two on sawdust in pens.

"It'd be nice to see some variety in breeds," he says as we leave.

We find some variety in the sheep barn where the size varies from the waist-high Corriedales to the just-above-the-knee Shetlands.

In the goat barn, I was happy to see more dairy goat breeds this year. When I saw one goat leaning over the pen and chewing an unattended lawn chair, I was glad we no longer had goats.

When walking through the rabbit barn, I comment, "Maybe we should bring Barney the Beagle here and teach him to track rabbits, not cats."

In the horse barns, I wondered why kids no longer ride ponies. Instead, they're opting for the 15 and 16-hand horses. And I cringed when I saw the kids imitating their elders and jerking on the reins.

We lingered in the poultry barn where breed variety is alive and well. I admired the Old English Game rooster's black and white plumage and imagined him walking around the farm... until I saw his spurs.

"Those could really rip the jeans," the husband says.

I studied the colors and heft of the Cochins, Jersey Giants, Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orphingtons, and more. I noticed that the ducks I'd always called Indian Runners were now Black Runners, Tan Runners, White Runners. Their upright posture still makes me laugh. We checked out the heritage turkeys with their red, black and bronze feathers.

We skipped most of the youth projects -- the white, commercial market chickens and turkeys whose out-of-proportion bodies make it difficult to walk.

And we watched the people...

The woman crowing at a rooster.

The father and tween daughter in matching Batman t-shirts.

The five-year-old girl in a pink pageant dress.

People pushing strollers, pulling wagons, pushing wheelchairs, riding scooters. Tattoos, piercings, jeans, boots.

The fair still attracts varieties in people.

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