Monday, July 21, 2008

Field Trip - Back to the Fair

We need to go back to the fair. The Jersey Girls are feeling left out, what with all this focus on jumping goats and dozing pigs. There's a big dairy cow barn at the fair and it's one of my favorites. When I was a kid we had friends who owned a dairy farm in Wisconsin. Bev and Wolfgang always made us feel welcome and we were invited to help with the chores.

Their life was so different from ours in the city and we loved the cows. We named them, each and every one. I still love the smell of a dairy barn.

Here are the Jersey Girls.


Ooops, that their backside. Here's a look at their sweet doe-eyed faces. I love this breed.


There was a sign up in the barn that read, "Not all cows are black and white," and that is so true. Here's another look at the Jersey line up. These girls were all named and from a dairy called, "Three a Day". Very clever.


This young woman was working hard at keeping the barn clean. Big dairy cows produce alot of compost.


Here's a Holstein, which is what most of us picture when we think of dairy cows. This cow was SO HUGE... I can't even begin to tell you how large she was. It's a good thing they are basically docile animals, but still, if you find yourself between one of these cows and a fence, it can be fatal.

The next barn houses the beef cattle. They name fits because they are big and beefy and a little more difficult to handle. I can't imagine trying to wrangle a 1,600 lb. steer. Before they enter the show ring they must have a spa treatment. First they're vacuumed.


I don't know if they're given a bath, but they are vacuumed. Following that they are groomed.


A beauty salon's got nothing on them because they are combed and sprayed and combed and sprayed some more. The spray is something that makes their coat look smooth and shiny. Remember, there are big bucks on the line. Some kids do a good job of bankrolling part of their college fund in this way.


That's enough of looking at the livestock, I'm hungry. Didn't someone here say they wanted a turkey leg?


There's funnel cakes.


Cheese curds .......


There's those caramel apples again.


I had a big dilemma - funnel cake or cheese curds. Hmmmmm. The funnel cake won out.


I washed it down with a lemon shake-up.


Refreshed and ready for more I headed off to the hoticulture and home economics display. It was somewhat disappointing. I remember it being much bigger than this.


Here's some nice corn.


Jars of grain. Soybeans are in the middle.


There were some artistic vegetable displays.


By this time, sensible shoes or not, my feet were hurting. I did show up for the bull riding event but it was simply an exercise in being human. I found myself with two cameras, whose batteries died within five minutes of my arrival. Wow, did I feel stupid. But here's the thing. Our imaginations can create wonderful images so I'll just say that the cowboys are on their way back home.


They were all terrific looking human specimens, strong and healthy, with six-pack abs and hands callosed from their work. They had perfect white teeth and warm smiles. They had true grit and were made of the right stuff.

The color has faded from the midway for another year. It's sad to see the fair end.


I've promised myself to enter next year. At least an apron or two.


Heidi said...

OOOOOO how I LOVE the beef barn!!! Those steers are SO SO SO spoiled. They are washed before they are 'blown dry'. Then they are blown again with special spray so that the hair lays a certain way that makes them look blocky-er. Not sure how to spell that. There is SO much that goes into showing those cattle that its amazing, if not a bit crazy!

I am partial to the Angus but that red roan in the last picture is a beautiful animal - hope he got a nice price.

and the apples - thanks another 5lbs on the rump!! LOL

Chris is *Refining Life* said...

That was a fun visit Suzanne! I really enjoy the State & County fairs too. The livestock barns are a favorite, especially the raucous poultry. The harness races are another "must-see" for me.

You know, of all the fair food I have eaten, I've never had a funnel cake! Can you imagine? That's on the list for this year.

BTW, thanks for the tip on the "Something's Gotta Give" kitchen. You got it exactly right!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

It is fun to see all the grooming that goes on. I always like to watch the horses being groomed for their shows...all the plaiting, etc.

Sounds as if your food choices were limited. I think you definitely needed a deep fried whoopie pie.

Did you know that yummy funnel cakes can be made at home? Prolly you don't need to know that. One winter day, my niece talked me into whipping up a batch. Since there wasn't much else to do I did. Big hit.

Oh yes! I think you definitely should enter a few of your beautiful aprons. I know that they'd win!

carolyn at cranberry crossings: said...

LOL! I love your description of the cowboys at the end!
Thanks for sharing your fair with us and for the big smile! :)

M.K. said...

Great photos! However, your Grammar Nazi is not doing her job: you should take the apostrophe out of "Chihuahuas" in your side bar :)

Mamahut said...

MMMM funnel cake...I am starving now. Hey I have something for you over at my house! Come see me!

jazzi said...

I hope you were able to find some of your favorite fried Oreos this year as well!
It was a great fair, thanks for taking us along!

chocolatechic said...

Jerseys produce the richest milk, and they are such pretty animals.

Fair food, it is the only thing that gets me out there....that and the boy entering contests.

Thirkellgirl said...

I love your photos. Your fair looks just like our fair, except that your cowboys are better looking. What are cheese curds?

Amy said...

The fair just isn't the fair without the those funnel cakes :)

Susan said...

I love your fair pics especially of the farm kids! Those kids work so hard on their projects and deserve some recognition. Oh the lessons learned from hard physical work!

I bet there were some tears shed after the livestock auction-I know my boys were sad to let their animals go

LauraP said...

I've been lurking for a little bit so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to come out of the woodwork. When you first mentioned Kane County, I couldn't figure out why it sounded so familiar. Then when you mentioned Randall Rd, I was like...wait just a minute. Randall Rd...Kane County...that's where my grandparents and aunt lived. I made many a summer visit to that area. They all passed away within the past couple years, so I haven't made a trip to that part of IL in quite a while. Thanks for waking up some memories!

Kim's Treasures said...

Your photos are awesome! Thanks for taking us along!
Have a great day!

Louise said...

Definitely enter your aprons.

And funnel cake or cheese curds? WHY NOT BOTH?!

Merisi said...

Very interesting images! Love the cowboys, but the last one, the black and white photo, is out of this world evocative. :-)

Karen said...

Great pics, Suzanne !!

The cows are so my favourite !!

Brings back so many memories of showing calves. I don't think people realise the work that goes into getting them ready.

We recently had the reno Rodeo. It was a litle sad to see all those studly cowboys leave town. Sounds as though many of them headed your way. :-)

Mental P Mama said...

I wish we had something like that here. I used to love the fair when I was growing up. Such great stuff. I think I would have picked the funnel cake too.

Tiffany said...

Our Jersey's name is Violet. She is beautiful. My husband thinks she is ugly. Big Poop.

Thanks for your glimpse of the fair. Ours is next week.

I think I'm gonna have to have me some funnel cake....

Sisiggy said...

As a Jersey girl myself, I have to admit noticing a Jersey girl's backside first is a common error everyone makes. I'm often told I have a sweet doe-eyed face also...(sigh).

Dana said...

Again, I loved your photos and commentary! What a great way to end with the midway in black and white! When I was in college I took "Ag and Life"---I had to learn the names of all of the breeds of cattle, pigs and chickens. I must say your fair posts jogged a few memories of that class---fun, fun blog. YES, you do need to enter your aprons.

Jill said...

Wow - those are GREAT photos!

Suzanne said...

Heidi - The beef barn...the BEEF???? I specifically made sure I got pics of those dairy cows, just for you!! OK, I get it, you can see those dairy cows any day. Every day, in facts. The beef cattle are very pampered.

Chris - The poultry barn got wild. One chicken started a ruckus and pretty soon they all joined in. I can't imagine catching them in order to get them to the fair. I wonder if there's a secret method to catching a chicken.

Vee - The grooming is quite the task. Like Heidi said they're sprayed with some stuff, kind of like beef cattle beauty parlor product. Oh, the food choices were not limited, there was tons of food, I simply limited myself to those two choice. What in the world is a whoppie pie? And no, I don't need to be making funnel cakes at home, or maybe I do.

Carolyn, the cowboys were awesome. Since my cameras had dead batteries I had to dig into my photo archives for the cowboy pic. It was taken in an airport somewhere (can't remember right now), but I do remember trying to guess where they were headed. Imagine my surprise when they got up and headed to the gate of the plane that was headed to Chicago. Chicago has cowboys? I haven't seen any.

m.k. - WOO're hired as the Grammar Nazi's back-up. Paula is busy helping her daughter put on a wedding, this week or next, I can't remember. So get out your red pen and go to work. Apostrophes will be the death of me.

Mamahut - Oh, oh, I'm headed over there now.

Jazzi - I took a pass on the fried oreos this year. I had to cut back my fair food consumption.

Chocolatechic - They are such beautiful cows. My favorite writer, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, was crazy for her Jersey cow and her heavy cream. She loved that COW.

Thirkellgirl - I'm trying to think how to explain cheese curds. They're like string cheese. At the fair they're fried. Well, they fry everything at the fair!

Amy - The food is one of the number one reasons to go. I don't ride the carnival rides, so it's livestock and food for me.

Susan - I love the kids too. I love to see them hanging out in the barn. Alot of them spend endless hours alone on the farm doing chores and so it's good to see them getting together. I know it's hard to see those animals go.

Laurap - I'm glad you decided to come out of lurkdom. I'm sorry to hear about your grandparents and aunt but I'm glad to know that you were able to spend some time here. Unfortunately, one of the sad things in our community is that all the oldtimers are passing away. It just feels like a whole way of life is gone.

Kim = I'm glad you were able to come along to the fair.

Louise - NO WAY my stomach could handle both.

Merisi - That black and white photo was taken a couple of years ago at the fair. I dragged it out of my archives. It did win some awards.

Karen - Raising and showing calves is a tremendous amount of work. I believe that in this competition they must keep records of the weight gains and feed records.

Mental P Mama - I think these events are held in agricultural areas. They ought to be everywhere.

Tiffany - Violet sounds lovely. I can't imagine who would think a Jersey is ugly. Enjoy your fair!!

Sisiggy - HA HA. No, I'm not going to say that's true. Not me.

Dana - Oh wow, that's a lot to remember. I can't remember the difference between a boar and a gilt. I've got a cheat sheet somewhere.

Jill - Thanks! I love taking photos. My favorite thing is cropping them. In my photography circles I'm known as the "Queen of Crop". HA.

Thanks everyone for going along to the fair with me. I had a good time and I hope you did too.

- Suzanne

Shelly G & Hope P said...

You captured everything I love about the fair... Beautiful pictures...

Pony Girl said...

Hi there, just discovered your whimsical blog....great post on the fair. I haven't been to one in years, and now you've inspired me to go!

P.S. I really like the Jersey's, too! ;)

Gypsy at Heart said...

The corn and the cowboys. Yummy. In that order. But wait, you said six packs right? Let's do this again - Cowboys and corn in that order... yummy.

Hi. New to your blog and I'm loving it.

Heather said...

Mmmmmm...funnel cakes and cowboys. YUMMY!!

Rue said...

Foooooood..... I love fair food :)

I could never do 4H, because you give up your animal. I'm the woman that takes in the animals walking down the street. Rich makes me wear pretend blinders driving down the road LOL

Thanks for taking us to the fair!


Anonymous said...

You mentioned cheese curds!

The best come from the proclaimed “Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin” in Ellsworth, Wisconsin. (The Governor of Wisconsin gave them that title!) They are so squeaky good! Their cheese is ALL NATURAL and is made from rBST free milk. If you are near Ellsworth, Wisconsin stop in their creamery store after 11 a.m. and take home WARM packages of FRESHLY made cheese curds! SQUEAKY FRESH!

They do have a web site and sell fresh and lightly, hand-breaded cheese curds too. They sold 104,000 lbs to the Minnesota State Fair last year and have been selling to state and county fairs for over a decade! They are also in A&W Restaurants. If you go to a Milwaukee Brewers home game at Miller Park you can buy the breaded cheese curds there.

Their cheese morsels remain the color of fresh quality milk: White!
(Have you ever drank a glass of orange milk?)

Or if you purchase one of their fresh 1# cheese curds packages (Deli section of Cub Foods for example) there is a very simple recipe on the back of their packages - it is so easy to make your own batter with only FOUR common ingredients. Additional recipes are on their web site.

If you can't get to their creamery store, these cheese morsels are in many grocery stores.
Remember to microwave for just 15 seconds to bring out the rich cheddar flavor and its trademark SQUEAK!

Jaime said...

love the post. those jersey cows are beautiful. Great photos. Love how you ended the post with the black/white pic. Great idea!

Bobbi said...

Congrats on all your ribbons! Our county fair is this week, so I've been really busy as well.

Loved the photo of "the ladies"!

Katy said...

Those jersey girls' faces are sooo cute! I LOVE them!!!

I love all your pics! Fairs are so so so much fun! :)

BettyWestern said...

Zanne, that is a fabulous post - I want to go to the fair next year!

Round here we're having a few country shows (see my friend's prize winning rare Berkshire pig over at my place). Alas no hunky cowboys to report...

Ritch in Love said...

Last year I was introduced to Funnel Cakes....I know! LAST YEAR! Don't ask me how I have ever missed out on this amazing delicious delicate treat! But I had never had them before! My husband is from Grapevine and last year we went to TCU/Utah game and there I was introduced to the famous funnel cake! And OHHHH! What heaven!