Archive for the 'A Boy’s Life' Category

More Fun at the State Fair

August 19th, 2010

Yesterday there was more fun in Iowa after the rain. The sun came out and so did the crowds, but we had a goal to see a few things- it’s so big!

The Dr. Suess exhibit was enormous… That’s a lot of butter! And the butter cow too- what a tradition.

We saw sheep being trimmed for showing. One family had four people working quickly to brush and smooth the wool- you could see the pride in their work.

Then were able to see the goats! They were so cute- especially the little ones just a few days old.

I remember a friend years ago (maybe late 70’s?) that had a few milk goats- we were on their homestead for a few days and one doe was struggling to give birth. I called long distance from Arkansas to Missouri and talked with my Mom who had close friends that ran a larger milk goat farm in New Jersey (we lived there previously too and grew up on raw goats milk and eggs for a few years).

Anyway, we patched a three-way call for some expertise and I think it helped out a lot.

I remember visiting that farm in New Jersey and marveling at watching this small woman pick up those big heavy metal cans of milk and pouring it right into gallon glass bottles without spilling, as fresh as could be with thick cream at the top.

Here’s a picture of the boy milking the cow… He did really well. Chook it sounds like you’ve got some wonderful memories there!

All in all it was great fun… The crowds were huge and I was surprised at how many of the older folks really came out… Talking with many it seems this is a strong tradition for their families.

It was neat seeing the 4H exhibits and blue-ribbon chicken tractor. The boy loved his giant cold dill pickle, and I enjoyed the pork chops and free hard-boiled eggs.

We finished up with the rides; went on the “Ye Old Mill” ride which was riding a floating log through the dark. The boy said “What was the point of that!?” and as I looked around at all the teenagers I laughed and realized he would understand too soon in a few years.

We found some more rides for faster fun… where do the kids get that energy?! We need to save some of it for getting home and cleaned up :)

Maybe next year we’ll enter something in the Missouri State Fair… Or at least go. Iowa has put on a terrific Fair!

Fair Days in Iowa

August 18th, 2010

Well… This morning we entered the “land of rain” or, as Ed and the signs fondly proclaim… Iowa. I’ve read how this is such a wet year here, but wasn’t prepared to see miles of flooded fields.

We have traveled in a small camper these past two weeks, the boy, the dog and I. Now ensconced amid hundreds of other “mobile homes” this morning was a sea of mud, grass, fiberglass and aluminum while the rain poured down..

But we persevered! The Iowa State Fair is amazing in its size and scope. The boy even milked his first cow :) I love seeing all the livestock, and the ag exhibits. The 1300+ pound pumpkin won the blue ribbon.

The boy was tickled playing with that “old-fashioned” rotary phone… He was amazed we grew up that way dialing so slowly and tied to the cord… And here I am writing this from a tiny wireless device that can call anywhere.. My father would have laughed- he worked for Western Electric and the telephone industry for 34 years.

Several families walked around with “Century Farm” t-shirts, reaching that family milestone which is so impressive in this day and age.

I had my first “Beef Sundae” (think pulled beef on potatoes with gravy and cheese), and the boy other gastric oddities like a “Monkey Tail” or frozen banana dipped in chocolate.

We could see downtown Des Moines and the State Capitol from the skyway ride. The rain kept things cool… A nice day with a lesser crowd. Tomorrow we’ll have another go before heading home. Need to find that Dr. Suess butter exhibit!

I miss the north country already… But I’ll show better pictures later. That washing machine was all I figured out from my phone for the first time! Maybe we’ll find that Mexican restaurant too…

It’s classic summer fun… We had hoped but won’t see the poultry exhibits at the fair…they don’t start until after we leave. Maybe the goats tomorrow which I think are cool. But I hear our own little chicks are going on two dozen eggs!

Three States and Into the Farm Belt

August 17th, 2010

We left Michigan yesterday… The UP is a land of fudge and pasties! I took a photo of the Garmin GPS as we rounded the north end od Lake Michigan… Wisconsin was beautiful but we didn’t stay…We have many pictures on another camera to share another day. These are taken with my phone so I’m not sure how well they turn out. Yesterday was a long but nice drive down through Wisconsin… This morning we’re in Iowa at an amazing rest stop. They even have murals and wireless internet! We may be heading to the world famous Iowa State Fair, but home (and school!) beckons as our summer fun winds down. This has been a nice trip… We’d like to keep going :)

Driving On

August 16th, 2010

Awoke this morning on the shores of Lake Huron, the sound of the waves peaceful through the night. The water calls to me somehow… Yesterday was fun.. Enjoyed the charm of Mackinac Island, if a bit too commercial. The homes were beautiful however. The yellow lab got all the attention, and he loved it! Today we are heading across the upper peninsula in Michigan. The wind along the northern reaches of Lake Michigan is amazing, and the air has that feel of Autumn not too far off… I looked for meteor showers the last few nights but didn’t see any… We have wishes in reserve… Onward!

All Washed Up

August 15th, 2010

Well it seems after a week I figured out how to post something from my phone… Silly I know but kind of neat when I’m sitting at a campsite. More importantly however… We’re enjoying the sights and even have clean clothes again! :-)


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