Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fair Week 2012 - Saturday

We came. We saw. We had fun.

Another Fair Week has come and gone.  I'd be lying if I didn't say I was ready for it all to be over, but I'd also be lying if I didn't say in some ways I hate to see it end. It is fun to see the animals, watch the chicklets do their projects, eat fair food and just soak up all the excitement that is fair.  It's also very tiring and stressful to be away from home so much, especially now that Lady Bird and the Piano Man are living with us full time. 
I know the cousins are sad to see it all end too.  They are already making plans to return next year and I pray things work out that they can.  I must admit I envy them and the memories they will have of this time of their lives.

The Last Day of Fair Week 2012 ---Saturday, July 28th:
  • Today was the big awards ceremony in the Show Arena.  Boy Wonder was awarded trophies for his Reserve Grand Champion honors in both Photography and Public Speaking.  That's a grand total of 4 trophies and 16 ribbons for him.  6 ribbons for the Munchkin.  1 ribbon for the Geek and 5 ribbons for Mama Hen --- not too shabby, eh?
  • Our fair has the usual fair food offerings most county fairs do --- corn dogs, nachos, cotton candy and overpriced soda, but it also has something more.  A local catering company offers an all-you-can-eat dinner buffet in the main fair building.  We have eaten dinner every night this week and have only good things to say.  The cost is reasonable and the food is awesome.  The all-you-can-eat part was really great considering we were caring and feeding two teenage boys this week.
  • Tonight's entertainment was watching the Motocross event at the Crater.  Boy Wonder has a friend that competes in it and I always hold me breath when he's on the course.  Unfortunately, he had a bit of a crash early on in his race and was run over by a another competitor.  He was able to walk away, but by the time we saw him the adrenaline was wearing off and he was starting to feel a lot of hurt. 
  • Earlier in the day, the Munchkin and I were hanging out in the 4H activities tent playing checkers to pass the time.  A group of young boys came in and one of them struck up a conversation with us.  The most talkative one (who looked to be about 6 just like the Munchkin) said he was "with the carnival" and could get the Munchkin on the rides for free if she wanted.  I thanked him for his offer and quickly got us outta there before the Munchkin had time to set up a rendezvous.  My baby girl is so not hanging with a "carny" if I have anything to say about it.  What's that saying, "Never say never" ??? Well, fast forward several hours later, and the teens were taking her on a few carnival rides.  The Munchkin spots the young man and his posse from earlier in the day and says "Hey I know that kid --- he can get us free rides!" At that point, according to the teens, he recognized her and offered the free rides as promised.   The Munchkin accepted his offer without hesitation and he flashed his ID badge to the ride attendant and he and the Munchkin went on a  free ride on the Twister (with the teens chaperoning we were assured.)   Can I just take a moment and say, "Heaven help me! My 6 year old daughter is getting free carnival rides from a 6 year old carny-in-training.  OMG!"  The Geek and I are still trying to come to grips with this development and all that it foretells of the future ahead of us.  We are in for a rough ride with that one, folks.  A veeeeeeeeeeeeery rough ride.  Pray for us. Please. We need it :)
A Look Ahead to Tomorrow:
  • The boys are all getting up at the crack of dawn to head back to the fairgrounds to pick up the birds and help clean up.  The girls and I will be sleeping in 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fair Week 2012 - Friday

Today was a pretty mellow day at the fair.  We just kinda hung out and didn't do a whole lot.  We made our daily pilgrimage to the petting zoo.  The Little Prince loves to play with tractors in the corn box (much like a sand box, but filled with dried corn kernels), while the Munchkin gets to hold a bunny or a baby duck. The cousins spend a lot of time hanging out here too.  They get a kick out of holding the bunnies and would just love to take one home as a souvenir :)
The Munchkin also got to do her daily Rock Wall climb.  A vendor brought in a portable rock climbing wall and a couple of bounce houses.  The price is reasonable and the Little Prince and the Munchkin manage to get their daddy to let them have a go at least once a day -- the little man jumps around in the bounce house while the girl climbs the wall.  The Munchkin has even made a friend of sorts with the operator and has gotten quite a few free climbs with private lessons.  She enjoys it and we don't mind 'cuz it helps her not pout about the fact that the teens are off having fun without her.

Other Fair highlights for Friday, July 27th:
  • Because her parents lost track of time, the Munchkin almost didn't make it to the final Pedal Tractor Pull competition, in fact she missed her age group and had to compete with the "Big Boys" in the 8 year old class.  She didn't let that faze her and proudly brought home a nice big 3rd Place ribbon for her collection. Princes Pia decided that one trophy was enough and that the farm boys should have a shot at winning, so she didn't compete again.
  • The Poultry Superintendent awarded Boy Wonder with a coin commemorating the Fair's 75th Anniversary.  Apparently only a few coins were made, so they are extra special.  She chose to honor him because he has gone above and beyond the "call of duty" helping with the Poultry department.  We had no idea he would be getting this acknowledgement and it was a very pleasant surprise.
  • The teens spent some time watching the demolition derby in the rain.  The weather was far from picture perfect again today.  It rained off and on most of the day, but on the plus side it was much more bearable temperature wise.
  • We all took a few trolley rides around the fairgrounds, as we have every day this week.  It entertains the Little Prince for a few moments and we all get a kick out of it too.  The tractor pulled trolleys are okay, but what's really special is being on a horse-pulled one.  There's something about listening to the clop-clop-clop that soothes the soul.  It is definitely one of my favorite parts about Fair Week.
  • Had a taste of my favorite fair food treat -- elephant ears! Mmmm! There's something about that warm, cinnamon-y, sugary goodness that can't be beat!
A Look Ahead to Tomorrow:
  • Boy Wonder will be receiving a trophy or two at the Awards Presentation.
  • Taking a trip to the Swine Barn and seeing what info we can glean from the "pros".  We have just about decided to let Boy Wonder raise a couple of hogs for next years fair.  Also considering some market chickens and turkeys.  All of these projects have limited time commitment (a few months tops) and could potentially earn Boy Wonder a little cash for his college fund. 
  • Saturday night is Motocross Night at the arena.  This is one event we all enjoy watching.  Boy Wonder's friend competes in it which makes it fun to have someone to root for.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate.  I am getting a little tired of the wet!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fair Week 2012 - Thursday

We all slept in today with the hopes we'd finally get our oomph back --- didn't work.  The copious amounts of caffiene consumed with lunch, however, did wonders and and we managed to meet our biggest goal for the day --- to have fun.  We didn't let a little lot of rain stand in our way, we danced in it and made memories.  This IS the stuff folks!

Thursday, July 26th:
  • The Munchkin gave it her best shot at the Pedal Tractor Pull competition, but she couldn't beat out those 6 year old farmboys-in-training.  Princes Pia (aka my lovely niece), however, won one for the girls and beat out some brawny 12 year old lads.  The rain held off just until it was her time to pull and we thought it might be a "no go" but the show went on.  The clouds opened up just as she took the wheel and we got soaked to the bone.  It was all worth it though to be able to take home top honors for her class and one very sweet trophy.
  • The rain pretty much put everything on hold for a bit after that, but right around sundown it cleared enough for the "headline entertainment" to go on with his show.  It was a Tim McGraw tribute artist and he was totally worth sitting in soaking wet clothes just to see him perform.   The Munchkin informed me she thought he was kinda cute (he bore a very uncanny resemblance to Mr. McGraw) and asked if she could please have him for her birthday present.  Gotta love a girl who knows what she wants!
What is in the cards for tomorrow:
  • The Munchkin will try once again to bring home a trophy in the Pedal Tractor Pull. We tried to get the Little Prince to do it today, but he wigged out at the last minute --- maybe he'll get over his anxiety and give it a try tomorrow.  Princess Pia would love to add another trophy to her collection too.
  • The teens are planning on watching the demolition derby --- once again I'm thinking this Mama Hen and my better half are prolly gonna pass --- we just don't dig all the loudness anymore.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fair Week 2012 - Wednesday

Three days down, three to go.  Fair week is a marathon and I am not quite in marathon running shape.  All of us are starting to drag a bit, but I'm hoping counting on catching our second wind.  Competitions are all behind us now and we just have one focus for the rest of the week -- have fun!

Wednesday, July 25th:
  • Spent most of the day prepping Boy Wonder for his Public Speaking competition.  The cramming paid off and he brought home Reserve Grand Champion honors for his project.  He gave us fits preparing for this event -- don't know why because he's pretty much a natural at it.  Maybe it was because it was his first year trying it, or maybe he just was embracing his cantankerous adolescence, but whatever it was -- that boy was not on my favoritist people list by this afternoon.  It all worked out in the end and hopefully the high honors will convince him this is something he's good at and next year he can come back even stronger and not wait til the last minute to pull it together.
  • The kids took a few rounds around the carnival, but everyone was feeling a little off so we headed home "early" at 8 o'clock.  The plan is to get a good night's sleep and get our stamina back. 
What's in the plans for tomorrow:
  • Made a mistake yesterday while reading the fair schedule --- It's tomorrow that the Munchkin will be trying to bring home a trophy in the Pedal Tractor Pull.  I know a little three year old who would love to join her, but I'm pretty sure competition begins at age four, so he's got another year to wait for his turn at the wheel.
  • The teens are planning on watching the Truck and Tractor Pull --- Mama Hen and the Geek are prolly gonna pass on that one --- it's too loud for the old farts
  • Looking forward to listening to a country music band under the stars

Fair Week 2012 - Tuesday

Thankfully a few prayers were answered and we got a reprieve from the heat a bit today.  Shady spots are few and far between on the fairgrounds and are quickly "claimed" by a lucky few.  Even sans shade, however, today was not too shabby.  Bringing home a few more ribbons and trophies just added to the goodness.

Tuesday, July 24th:
  • Two of Boy Wonder's Photography projects earned high honors.  One set of prints earned Reserve Grand Champion (the BIG ribbon and a nice big trophy) and another set was ranked Best in Class.  In fact, all of Boy Wonder's photos earned blue ribbons for quality.
Photography, by the way, is one of the toughest (if not THE toughest) project areas in which to earn a ribbon -- Boy Wonder makes it look easy
  •  The Munchkin has wicked interviewing skills and flew through her Clover Sprout Project Interview with ease.  Her artwork earned two awesome aqua Clover Sprout ribbons and high praise from the judges.
  • Boy Wonder's first attempt in Fine Arts was a success and garnered another blue ribbon for quality.  The judges complimented his skill and encouraged him to continue on with the project again next year.
  • The teens spent a lot of time exploring the fair on their own today.  Word has it, they are getting our money's worth out of the"All You Can Ride" carnival wristbands we bought them for the week.
  • Mama Hen, the Geek and the Little Prince enjoyed some of the free entertainment and jammed to the sounds of a Jimmy Buffet cover band while sipping $5 per glass lemonade --- the band rocked, the lemonade not-so-much
On the docket for tomorrow:
  • Boy Wonder will be competing in Public Speaking
  • The Munchkin will be trying to bring home a trophy in the Pedal Tractor Pull
  • Watching the Bump and Run Demo Derby
  • Taking the little chicks to the carnival area for a few rides on the ol' merry-go-round.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fair Week 2012 - Monday

Well, we made it through Day One of Fair Week.  It was long,  It was hot.  It was occasionally boring.  Don't let anyone tell you Chicken Showmanship is a spectator sport -- 'cuz it ain't!  That said, it was a successful start to what is one of the craziest weeks of our year.

Monday, July 23rd:
  • Boy Wonder brought home 1st place in Poultry Showmanship for his class (Junior Division, ages 12-15)
  • All of Boy Wonder's chickens placed in the top three spots for his breed and one even took home Reserve Grand Champion for Bantams -- kinda a big deal.
  • Boy Wonder was given the opportunity to "shadow" the poultry judge as he judged all of the birds.  A really rare opportunity for someone as young as Boy Wonder, but the judge (who also happened to judge Showmanship as well) recognized Boy Wonder's strong grasp of all things poultry.  He strongly encouraged him to one day persue becoming a poultry judge himself and putting all that usless knowledge to good use.
  • Mama Hen and The Geek's photographs, as well as Mama Hen's mixed media collage, all received blue ribbons for quality. 
  • Mama Hen's short story won top honors for non-fiction and received Reserve Grand Champion for Creative Writing.
Just a bit of what else lies ahead for our motley crew this week:
  • Boy Wonder will be competing in Photography and Public Speaking
  • The Munchkin will be doing her Clover Sprout thing in Drawing and Painting

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Night Before Fair Week

'Twas the night before Fair Week and all through the house
Not a person was sleeping not even the mouse.

The cousins from Boston had flown in to stay ---
Here on the farm 'til a week from Monday.

The Showmanship clothes were hung up with care,
So Boy Wonder'd look sharp, when he's at the fair.

The Little Prince picked up on all of the tension
As for the Munchkin? She demanded attention.

Boy Wonder searched for his Royal Court cap,
While Mama and the Geek dreamed of taking a nap.

Earlier on the lawn, there'd been such a clatter
Loading up those chickens had been quite the matter.

Away to the fairgrounds they'd driven real fast.
Bird check-in a three and it was already half past.

The birds in their cages, all watered and fed.
"Everyone back in the car" Mama Hen said.

A quick head count taken and homeward they flew.
'Cuz back at the house, there was still more to do

There were pictures to mount and speeches to write.
They all knew this was gonna be a long night.

Long after sunset, the projects were done.
Everyone yawned as the big clock struck one.

Mama Hen did some laundry, the Geek sipped some Dew
He glanced at his watch and said, "How'd it get to be 2?"

Up the stairs they all headed and crawled into bed.
This was just the beginning of Fair Week ahead!

let the fun begin

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Day Without Problems? Yeah, Rght!

Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for
Maya Angelou

A day without problems? Have you ever heard of such a thing?  I know I haven't!  If by some miracle the chicklets aren't creating a ruckus, Lady Bird and the Piano Man (a.k.a. my folks) are giving me a run for my money, let me tell ya!
don't let that sweet face fool you

The chicklets and I decided to tag along with the Geek on a business trip for a few days.  I wish I could say it has been a pleasant break from the stresses back home, but I can't.  The oldest two chicklets have been been bickering nonstop and the Little Prince has entered what can best be described as a defiant stage at the moment.  5-plus hours in the family truckster with those three yahoos just about drove me straight to Crazyville!  Don't even get me started on how fun (not!) it has been being in a hotel room with the three of them.

Shortly before we left, the Piano Man took a couple of tumbles.  His health team has labeled him a "Falling Star" ---  or as we say in MamaHenSpeak:  He could very well fall down and go boom. It wasn't easy, but I finally convinced him that it's time to start using a walker.  A fall could be deadly for him at this point, not to mention the fact that I can't pick him up if the Geek isn't around to help.   I was very hesitant to leave them alone on the farm, but as an oldish song so eloquently puts it --- "Everybody needs a little time away ... from each other" (can you name that tune?) --- so I said a prayer or two (or ten) and headed out of Dodge for a few days.  I was kinda nervous about checking in tonight but it had to be done.  On the plus side? No spills.  Is everything problem free back on the farm? Not so much.  Long story short, Daddy's got excruciating back pain and needs my help getting it addressed ASAP.  Now there's never a good time for something like this, but in the next week I have  a fuller docket than normal.  There's another quick road trip planned.  My niece and nephew are arriving from Boston to enjoy some serious "cousin-time" and there's final preparations for 4H fair because (where has the summer gone?) Fair Week 2012 starts next weekend. 

So while I think Ms. Angelou has a great idea going there, it is far from reality on this wild and crazy ride called Life I'm on at the moment!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Good Day

Today was a good day because I ---

--- got to spend time with a friend.
We hadn't seen each other in a while, but you would never know it.  We fell right back into that comfortable banter that makes me treasure our friendship so much.  She "gets" me and I am blessed to have her in my life :)

--- the Geek took me out to dinner so I didn't have to cook in this 100+ degree heat. 
True it was not a quiet dinner for two --- we had to take the whole brood with us and with two hard of hearing octogenarians and three chicklets the conversation was L-O-U-D.   Even though it was anything but intimate, and our waitress was taking a ride on the "cranky train," it beat standing in front of a hot stove on a scorcher like today was.

--- the kids didn't quibble as much as usual. 
The three of them are constantly bickering, but it sure seemed like they toned it down a bit today.  Maybe it was just that the heat numbed my brain to the point where I was able to tune them out.  Either way, it was a blessing to not have to listen to them pester each other incessantly.

None of these will make the history books I suppose, but together they were more than enough to chill out this Mama  Hen a bit and when it's as hot as it has been around here lately that is enough for this ol' bird

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Stay Cool!

Don't know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods this 4th o' July, but it is HOT ... HOT ... HOT! here on the ol' farm.  The thermometer on the back porch says it's only 108 degrees in the shade ... YIKES!  We're all doing are best to stay cool, but this dude's got us all beat when it comes to coolness ... dontcha agree??

Wishing you and yours a safe (and cool) 4th of July!