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Maddie at the County Fair

It was hot,  it was humid,  but we survived the County Fair.  The highlight for the kids was probably the annual water fight.  On the Friday of the fair all of the champion and reserve champion senior showpeople for beef, dairy, swine, goats, and sheep get to compete in something called Supreme Showmanship.  The senior showpeople get a chance to show each of the different species to the best of their ability.  Several judges determine who does the best job overall and that person is crowned the Supreme Showman.  It has become a tradition for the “Supreme Showman” to get dunked in the cow tank after winning.  After the Supreme Showman gets wet, water buckets start to fly, and the 4-Hers have one humongous waterfight on the washrack.  The kids look forward to this every year, and now come prepared with a change of clothes.

My highlight was probably having Kendrah and Maddie receive grand champion and reserve champion for swine and beef interviews.  I feel that my children’s ability to communicate effectively is more important than how their animals place.  Kendrah and Maddie’s cow/calf pairs did place well enough to earn them State Fair trips.  Now they are eagerly anticipating the Minnesota State Fair.

Beyond the fair, school is sneeking up quickly.  Kendrah started volleyball practice and drivers education classes this week.  Maddie begins volleyball practice next week, and Max will join the varsity football practices as manager.  We did some school shopping this week and now have the supplies the kids need to start the school year.  I can always tell when it is time for school to start by looking around the house…  complete disarray!   I’m not sure if the kids or I am ready for school to start, but our home definitely is.

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The kids have been working hard all summer preparing for this week and it’s finally here.  The County Fair.  The heat and humidity are brutal, but the kids don’t seem to mind a bit.

Yesterday, Kendrah, Maddie, and I worked in the 4-H building while exhibits were being brought in and judged.  It’s always fun to see all of the different projects created by the 4-Hers.  The girls brought projects that they made during the past school year, so there was no “finishing up” pressure on them during the last week.  In the evening  Brandon and the boys loaded up our show pigs and got them situated in their pens at the fair.  Brandon wanted to haul them when it was cool, but there’s no let up in the heat, so evening had to do.  Pigs can’t sweat to cool themselves off, so it’s extremely important to keep them cool with a fan or water.

Today it was the cattle’s turn to take a trailer ride to the fair.  Trying to avoid the hottest part of the day again, Brandon and the kids loaded the cattle up around 7:00am, and got them under fans before it got too hot.  The kids also had to get their market animals weighed.  It sounds like there was only one pig that escaped into the goat barn, but he was quickly put back with his penmates.

After all the chores are done, the kids get to participate in their favorite part of the fair… socializing.  On top of all the great things 4-H teaches youth, the kids make great lifelong friends.  This evening Kendrah, Maddie, and Max will all take part in beef and hog one-on-one interviews.  Being able to communicate effectively is such an important skill. 

Tomorrow the kids will participate in the beef  cattle show and Thursday will be the hog show.  By the end of the week we need to get the toothpicks out to keep our kids’ eyes open.  What a full and fun week it will be.

We are back from vacation and counting down to our County Fair.  We took the Amtrak train out to Glacier National Park for vacation.  The scenery was breathtaking and  I would highly suggest it for any family.  My daughters ran across a mama moose with her baby on a trail, we had a snowball fight on top of a mountain, and the boys skipped rocks on a crystal-clear lake.  It was the perfect mix of relaxation and activity for me.

While on vacation my brother-in-law called asking if we wanted a puppy.  We had been considering getting a puppy, hoping our older dog would help train a new puppy.  So, we came home to an adorable black and white border collie that we named Hal.  He is full of energy and is already showing his herding instincts towards the cattle, pigs, and kids.

We also came home knowing that there are only a couple weeks left before the Goodhue County Fair.  The 4-H building projects are mosting complete.  My dad helped Max build a gun rack earlier this week.  My dad has a lot of woodworking tools, so he is a great help.  We are walking the pigs twice a day now.  It’s amazing how quickly they learn the routine.  The kids are also walking and grooming the cattle daily.  Our fair starts August 10th, eleven days to go…