Fair Time!

It was county fair time last week, and the kids and I quietly gathered a few items to exhibit in the open class…just for fun.

A few of my photographs…this first one, such a sweet little duckling, and such a sad story! My dear friend Linda, my country neighbor…her little son called me up several weeks ago, entreating us all to come and see! the baby ducks had been born! We all just oohed and ahed at the darlings, hiding there under the mama. It was hot, and a tray of water had been set out for them to wade in. Somehow, no one quite knows how, every one of the six ducklings drowned two days after this picture. I’ll frame this for Linda.
Rawlins duck

This old fence, like any other country fence, its splintered wood and barbed wire marking a boundary, just captured me. Who twisted those wires way back before rust took hold? What was this barrier keeping in or keeping out?
wire fene

Did you grow up looking forward to the fair? For me it was the Cochise County Fair in Douglas, Arizona when I was very young. You must know about the cotton candy, cowboy hats and rodeo, happy music, dizzying rides, the earthy smell of livestock, colorful people? Oh, I loved it, and also that long, quiet ride home, all exhausted from that spun out endless day, sleepy eyes on the black sky with twinkling stars, one with my name, and if I turned my head back I could still see the fireworks exploding against that great dark canopy above.

My last year there, I brought my 4-H lamb. There under the bluest sky with those classic Arizona clouds, little white puffs that went on forever, I washed my lamb in the livestock pen, preparing for a final shear, adding to those little white puffs above. This was a market lamb, and this was time for goodbye, a goodbye to daily feedings, walkings, worrying about weight, wool, and bracing a lamb. I remembered when I chose this one, there at Diane’s place down the dusty road from me, and I had the last pick since I drew the shortest straw, but this was the best lamb for me, even though he escaped more than once to explore the tumbleweeds.

My kids didn’t have animals to show this year, but perhaps next time. We submitted photographs, carvings, crafts, paintings, and joined the community of people that have been gathering for a century to show the best of their harvest and hands.

Luke won a blue ribbon for his angry-browed, scar-faced, Victorian button-eyed bear.
bluebear--is this supposed to be comforting?

Josie won a second-place ribbon for her watercolor of a glass bottle. I was glad the judges overlooked the potential awkwardness of an eight-year-old painting a wine bottle, but she just loved the design on the label.
Josie's Fish Eye bottle

Levi’s soap carving was fun, another second place. After learning how to do this at school, we spent a terrific summer day at the table slipping about in soap shavings, all the children armed with butter knives and Ivory, and Levi was the only one who could master this art. I remembered him telling his teacher, “I didn’t know I could do this.”
Fish Soap Carving
Then there were the “crazy critters”–those healthy creatures carved from our very food, the cucumber shark, the apple swan, and the potato porcupine.
the cucumber shark

apple swan

potato porcupine

Until next year, my fair friends.

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7 Responses to Fair Time!

  1. Anita says:

    Oh what fun! We’ve raised two ducklings under lights. They are adorable.
    Been to the Ohio State Fair, the Minnesota State Fair and the Virginia State Fair. Lots of similarities. I bought a lovely baby white rabbit in the Virginia State Fair!!

  2. Jen says:

    Hi Anita! A few years ago we raised ducklings–hatched from eggs and my, I had NO idea how fast they grew! I’ve never been to a STATE fair, only county fairs–will have to do that someday. And maybe a WORLD Fair?? In 2013 or 14, the World’s Fair is supposed to be in Florida. ♥

  3. Anna says:

    Oh– these projects are so cute! Such a nice variety, with paintings, bears… I love the soap carving and the food animals!! And your photographs are beautiful; I love them. That old fence has a story to tell.

    I never went to a county fair growing up… it is something new for me, as an adult! My kids joined 4H a few years ago, and since then have been participating. It is a fun thing; I love the county fair. A few days ago we went to the state fair, something my kids look forward to every year… but it rained so it had to be cut short. About 14 years ago, I went to the Minnesota State Fair… I was expecting my first child, and it was the first fair I ever attended in my life.

    When I was young, I attended a World’s Fair– in New Orleans I think, wow- had forgotten, your comment above reminded me. I didn’t know they still had a World’s Fair!? How wonderful. Florida would be a lovely place for a visit!

  4. e-Mom says:

    Loved every minute of this post!!! Your photos are stunning, esp the fence. Your colors are amazing! (Camera?)

    I’m putting my film Nikon SLR (N65) up for sale on amazon this week. Can’t wait to get a digital version. I’ve been out of the photography loof far too long. You’re inspiring me.

    Your kids’ carvings are fabulous–especially the apple swan. Wow, well done! (I taught children’s art classes for 5 years… did I mention?)


  5. e-Mom says:

    P.S. Just thought you might want to know that I linked to this page today. Outstanding! ღ

  6. Jen says:

    Anna, very cool that you attended a World’s Fair! I always think of one of the most famous of all World’s Fairs, the 1889 Paris one in which the Eiffel Tower was first displayed…and also included Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Thomas Edison, and more! Hard to beat that one!

  7. Jen says:

    e-Mom, oh, thank you so much for linking to this!! Gotta love the fair! And by the way, as to your camera question–I use a Nikon DX (D60), 18-55mm VR lens. Love it, but barely know how to use all its functions!

    I forgot you taught art; once again, I wish you were my neighbor. In your move from Washington to Arizona, you totally bypassed me.

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