1 Child + 17 Cows = 1 Crazy Fair

Life in the Farm Lane

8/12/2013 5:32 AM

It may have been a while since my last post, but I have good reason – fair week. Every year, my family and I exhibit dairy cows at the Lebanon Area Fair.

As you’re previously read, prepping for the fair put a huge time drain on our summer. But once the week actually arrives, it flies by so quickly that it’s actually pretty hard for me to remember a lot. To make matters worse, I got a nasty cold/cough/throat thing on Day 4 of the eight-day event. On top of that, my mom and I basically forgot about breaking out the camera all week. Oops …

So here are some brief highlights that I can remember:

  • Moved the animals in Saturday morning. Beside our showbox and behind our smallest four Jersey calves, Brady’s playpen became the “laughing and pointing” attraction for lots of fairgoers. He was pretty good at staying in it while mom and grandma picked up “poop.”
  • Woke up at 4 a.m. Sunday morning to do morning chores at the fair. No one to watch my son, so he had to come along. Luckily it wasn’t boiling hot all week, but at that time of the morning, my son thought it was “freezin.” He quickly went back to sleep in his stroller so grandma and mom could get to work.
  • By Sunday afternoon, my boy had settled in and made some new friends, racing up and down the walkway playing with his tractors. At this point of the week, one of his favorite new people was neighboring exhibitor Clayton.
  • My brother took vacation days on Monday and Tuesday, and we had the intent to leave my son in his crib at home while doing morning chores, but Brady didn’t agree on Monday. He screamed bloody murder when grandma tried to leave, so he and Uncle B came to the fair too.
  • Monday evening – what was supposed to be the highlight of his week. A few months ago, my husband and I decided to transfer a calf, Rachael, into our son’s name, a calf that he can walk and easily play with. Each year, youth that aren’t old enough for 4-H are allowed to show a calf in the kiddy showmanship. So Brady and I took a practice walk in the show ring Monday afternoon and he and the calf both did great. Come time for the actual event, my son was far more interested in the sawdust than his calf. Big surprise. But the chocolate bar and ribbon he got were pretty awesome.
  • Tuesday – show day. I got sick, some of the cows should’ve placed better than they did – in my opinion anyway – basically a typically Jersey show day. The best part, the Jersey cow that had never been off the farm before behaved wonderfully and won her class.
  • Wednesday was the first day my son really came into his element. Tuesday evening all the Jerseys went home and we moved in Holsteins. We also got new neighbors, the Bomgardner family and three of their little girls. Megan, 6, instantly became my son’s favorite, letting her carry him all over and playing so nicely with her. Lyndsie wanted to play with him so badly, but Megan was still his choice of playmate. Then there’s Grace. High-strung and full of energy like my little man, he and Grace weren’t exactly each other’s favorite person. Plus, Grace was a cleaning machine and her constant aisle ranking got in the way of his tractor playing.
  • If I would’ve had my head out of the cold-induced clouds, I could’ve had the best photo of the week on Thursday. My husband was fitting one of our cows and my son was simply standing there trying to peer under the cow to see what was going on. Priceless photo – even if it’s just in my head now.
  • Enter Reagan. This pre-teen has five other siblings and is absolutely wonderful with kids. I may be a protective mommy, but I trusted her with my boy, even enough to take him onto the midway for balloon animals.
  • Thank God for my sister on Friday. My son and Aunt Wendy are quite the pair – goofy, wild, energetic, playful, etc. By this time of the week, we’re all tired and worn out. If I would have had to worry about my son on top of showing my Holsteins, it would’ve been a disaster!
  • Besides exposing my son to the life my family and I love (sometimes I question why), the highlight(s) of my week came thanks to Farrah. She’s a white winter calf Holstein my husband and I bred. Unlike animals that stem from my 4-H and FFA projects, this calf carries the Harmony Springs prefix of my husband’s farm. It’s pretty gratifying/comical when people stare at her all week, ask where we bought her, and then seeing the stunned look on their faces when they hear we bred her. Add that when entering the show ring, a notable local Holstein breeder says “now that’s a calf.” She may have placed third out of almost 30 calves, but the judge did say she and the two calves ahead of her were all very close placings. I was pretty pleased.

Friday night finally arrived. Cows were taken home, stalls torn down. Sleep! Besides taking Farrah to a show next week, our show season is done until next year. One calf is much easier to care for versus 17.

~Jessica Rose Spangler, market reporter

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