I suppose I owe you a few notes from Monday’s trip to the 4H fair. That’s why we’re here, after all, right?

I looked back and, unfortunately, our last trip to the fair two years ago fell in that missing gap in the site’s history. So I’ll apologize if I’m repeating details. If I can’t remember them, I doubt any of you will, either.

Luckily it was about 20 degrees cooler than two years ago. It was still a warm 85 or so, but not being in triple digits went a long way toward us enjoying it more.

While waiting for the cousins to show their pigs, we toured the other animal barns. We found our old friend from two years ago, Megan the pygmy goat. And Megan is now a mom! She had little Mallory with her. Our M. was kind of delighted by that.

In fact, she was delighted by pretty much everything. While C. and L. were rushing around in excitement, M. was nearly bursting with happiness. Each time she saw something funny, to her city eyes at least, she would burst out laughing. A pig starts squealing loudly? Laughter. A turkey gobbles at her? Laughter. A rooster crows at her? Insane laughter. As we approached the “Rabbits/Poultry” building, she turned and screamed at us, “There are rabbits and chickens in there!!!!!” I love it when she’s totally into a moment like that.

Speaking of into the moment, L. had no fear around the pigs. When Uncle John came by, she said she wanted to get in the pen and pet the pigs. These are big, fat pigs, too, not cuddly little pot bellied pigs you can keep as pets. But he crawled in with her and she happily pet the snoozing porkers. He asked M. and C. if they wanted to get in, too, and they quickly, nervously shook their heads.

He looked at me with a smile on his face and I said, “Those are my girls. L. is clearly her mom’s kid!” Not that S. raised pigs growing up, but she was in 4H and didn’t grow up with the city kid fear of farm animals I had.1

We saw some sheep being shorn (sheared?) and L. also delighted in the piles of wool laying on the ground. The wool was being judged in the hall where the crafts and food was being judged. As we walked through that area, L. snatched a handful off the table where it was being held for judging. She proudly showed off her “sheep’s fur” the rest of the day. Sheep’s fur…We need to get these kids out more.

The girls had fond memories of the milkshakes from two years ago. They were still gigantic, I’ll guess 22 ounces at least, still delicious, and still cheap: just two bucks. Quite the bargain, although they melt quick and when you’ve scarfed down that much ice cream that fast, stomach distress of some degree is pretty much guaranteed.

As for the pig judging, well that was a new experience. We got in to see the end of the first section, when the pigs themselves are judged. As you would expect, that went over all our heads. I guess the judge knew what he was doing, though.

Later, the kids came back and were judged on their showmanship abilities. The oddest part of that is they are supposed to keep eye contact with the judge at all times while keeping their pig under control. So each kid looks completely crazed as they try to keep their heads aimed toward the judge while doing their best to keep half an eye on their pig. All the kids looked mentally exhausted after their 10 minutes in the ring. Or pen. Or floor. Or whatever it’s called.

Oh, and M. laughed like a maniac when she saw one of the pigs on the floor taking a dump while he was waddling around the floor.

Her final contribution to our mirth on the day came when she heard that there are “domestic” breeds of animals. We explained that means the breeds come from here in the United States rather than from overseas. But no, she insisted, “Domestic means tamed! They’re tamed pigs!” Followed my more laughter.

That kid laughed a lot on Monday.

  1. I always have to defend myself by noting my cousins and uncles deliberately scared horses I was riding, ensuring I was thrown off, or sent me to feed the meanest goats on my summer trips to my farming relatives. I had legitimate reasons for my farm fears.