What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?

Or the other title

The 4-H Fair!

Washing and grooming, loading and unloading, showing and exhibiting really are not meant for 100 degree weather…and then there are the poor animals. 😉

The on-going heat wave and drought are making the summer miserable! God designed me to perform like a glass of iced tea … set me out on a hot, muggy day and I perspire sweat profusely. I really hate cold, nasty weather and the long hours of darkness. However, I am ready to shout from the rooftops, “Bring on sweatshirt weather!!”

When you show livestock, work for the fair begins months in advance. There is feeding, watering, scooping, washing, brushing, walking and training to do. Every day. Finally, it’s time to go to the fair. If you have never had the experience of loading livestock (particularly pigs) onto a trailer for the first time … in 100 degree weather … it can make Swamp People look downright sophisticated. 4-H is family/kid friendly … except for loading the livestock. Then, it is more truck-driver friendly. If there are two family members that are still speaking to each other upon completion of first-time, livestock loading, I consider the event a success.

Once the livestock is loaded, you may then progress on to the fair where unloading is only slightly less ugly; maybe because there tends to be spectators lurking about, waiting for the entertainment to begin?  Or maybe because there are some really innocent-looking children around that we subconsciously register we do not want to be the crazy people that introduce new words to their vocabulary.  We put on our game faces, try to peel away and fluff the sweaty shirts that are stuck to our backs, and begin unloading.  Once the animals are safely secured in their stalls, we now begin discovering the items that someone forgot to bring.

The fair is an amazing opportunity to visit with friends throughout the county, that you may only see once a year.  Our county fair is a bit of a trip to the past.  It is a non-commercialized fair.  It might seem strange to picture a fair without a carnival – but that is what we have.  It seems safer this way.  Or friendlier?  This fair is about kids, families and livestock.

Not only do you watch livestock go from this:

To this:

You also get to observe the kids change from year to year, which seems about as drastic!

It is a lot of work and time.  It takes a lot of energy (and feed).  Yet, somehow, even through all the sweat and frustration – it is worth it.  Definitely!

About Marla Rose

This blog documents our farm life in central Illinois with photographs, experiences, and a dash of cooking. Pour a cup of coffee and enjoy sharing part of our lives!
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