Friday, July 10, 2015

:: County Fair Week ::

This week has been our local County Fair Week & we are almost to the end.
This is the boys' 2nd year in 4H. The first year I let them choose one general project each. Meaning they choose a category (Chase did baking & Coe did Forestry) & they make a poster about what they learn. Well needless to say, after watching their friends show animals last year they were dead set on showing their own this year.
But, I still insisted they submit a few general projects because I think it's an important part of the 4H & Fair experience.
The Fair kicked off Monday with the general project judging. Chase chose to do an Animal Science Display about how we hatched our own chicks this year.
Coe chose Animal Science which he shared how we butcher our meat chickens,
as well as Forests of Fun & Vegetable Garden Display.
Coe's Sprouting Sweet Potato poster (which also doubled as his Science Fair project this last school year) won a State qualifying ribbon.
His Farm to Table entry and Chase's Hatching Chicken Eggs were both awarded State Alternate ribbons. 
Both boys were super excited and proud!

Tuesday (Day 2) brought a bit more craziness. It was Poultry & Rabbit Show Day!
The alarm went off at 5:45 and we were up and getting the birds & rabbits loaded.
We had organized most everything the night before, but a few loose chickens and crabby moments lead to a not so perfect morning. Hell, to put it lightly we were all stressed to the max by the time we pulled the truck out of the driveway at 7:10.
We wheeled into the fair with fake smiles & good behavior death threats. To my relief the other parents seemed to be wearing that same "we almost had a knock down drag out before we got into the truck" look. Oh thank goodness. We were normal!!!
The Poultry show came first & the boys were exhibiting a few of our chickens, turkeys, & a dozen eggs each.
 They learned SO much from the judge & had a great time with friends.
The Egg judging was so interesting and everyone learned a lot about what to look for in a good egg. They were all concentrating pretty hard on this one, even Grandpa.
The rabbit show left the boys & myself hoping to expand on our rabbit breeds for next year. Now, how do I go about telling Aaron we need to add onto the rabbit hutches? That might have to wait awhile.

Wednesday (Day 3) was a just for fun day hanging out with friends.
We watched a few of the kids' friends show their bucket calves in the morning and did pedal tractor pulls in the afternoon.
We walked around and watched the rides
 (mommy is too cheap to buy the wrist bands on kids day),
but Coe got to have his first Elephant Ear,
 & Ella got to play one game;
which resulted in a $5. plastic ice-cream cone that we got to carry around for the rest of the day. She was so proud so it was worth it ( I guess).
The afternoon ended with one of my favorite Fair week activities called AG Olympics. It's put on by the Illinois Extension office; it's free (again, cheap mom here), and the kids have an absolute blast!
It started with an egg toss & a lot of yolk on kids' clothes.
 It was a chilly day in the 60s for this years fair games, but it didn't stop the kids from participating in the water races.
 Sack races in the Show Ring are always hysterical to watch.
 And watching rough and tumble farm kids shake it with their hula-hoops is just priceless.

Thursday (Day 4) was Goat Show Day. 
Chase was all about showing goats & he did fantastic!
With a lot of help from some friends of ours we got our goats ready and to the show on Thursday morning. 
When I was a kid  I wanted sheep or any kind of animal I could show at the fair. I remember being so jealous of my cousin who got to wear the cool button up shirts & rope belts & she even got to sleep in her camper at the fair ALL week! Every once in awhile I got to help wash a sheep and lead it back to it's holding pin. Oh how I longed to be one of the "fair kids". 
Coe had no interest in showing goats this year, but did get a chance to help a friend show a hog. And now he is hooked and begging for hogs for next year. I of course say, okay!
Again, when to tell Aaron we need a hog pen...
Tonight is the 4H Livestock Auction and then the Truck & Tractor Pulls followed by the Demo Derby tomorrow night. We've almost made it! What a week!

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