This is what the end of the day looked like.
Dirty, sweaty children snacking on multi-grain goldfish crackers and emptying water bottles in the blink of an eye. It’s hot. Not devastatingly hot like out West, but hot enough. Temperatures are to hit 95 by mid-week — warm for Ohio and terribly hot for fair animals and their people.
The girls spritz the pigs with cool water at least once an hour and they’re laying in front of fans. The heifers are relaxing in front of their own wind machines. They, too, seem content. Cross your fingers everyone stays that way — not just us and ours, but everyone else and theirs, too.
The day began with a bath.
Kids, cows and pigs were scrubbed and brushed and beautified. Show boxes, coolers, pitch forks, straw, shavings and hay, water buckets and halters were loaded onto the trailer.
Then we hit the trail. Yes, I realize he’s driving in the middle of the road. Around here you only drive on your side if there’s an oncoming car. It’s how we avoid the pot holes on our crumbling county road. But that’s another story for another time.
Pigs were settled in their pens and cows bedded in the open class dairy barn. Show boxes unloaded, waterers filled, hay distributed and kids reconnecting with friends.
Whew! Time for a breather.
Thing is, we’re lucky. The girls are in their second and first year of 4-H, respectively. They show only two species. There are a good number of kids who show a little bit of everything.
My oldest — the one in the middle, above, is consulting with her friend about poultry. I know absolutely nothing about showing a chicken. Having them in a coop and enjoying their eggs is one thing. Showing them in front of a judge is another matter entirely.
Card games ensued right away. There was also an incident involving a squirt gun and my face, but there’s really no need to discuss it.
But we can discuss this.
They played here for hours … in the dirt and hundred-year-old … um, dirt. They were covered from head to toe. Absolutely filthy. And we let them because they were good and quiet and didn’t run off or beg for corn dogs every five minutes. They built hills of dirt. Fought over piles of dirt. Plowed and planted and harvested dirt. My, it’s good to be 5, 5 and 3.
My boy — there in the middle, is a cousin to the one on the left and the one on the right, but the one on the left and the one on the right are not themselves cousins. Make sense?
The kids played until they were cranky and hungry. Animals were fed, watered again and tucked comfortably into bed for the evening.
It was so stinkin’ hot.
And then a miraculous thing happened.
It began to sprinkle. The boys did a rain dance. We were leaving the fairgrounds as lightning flashed across the sky and thunder rolled. It rained and it poured and it saturated the ground and it ran across the roads and washed through the gullies and soaked into earth that has been very dry for weeks. And the temperature plummeted to 75 degrees.
We’re home now.
The kids have been soaked and scrubbed and washed free from dirt and dust and anything else that happened to squish between their bare toes because none of mine feel the need to wear shoes. We ate supper at home — including fresh green beans sauteed in garlic and olive oil. We’ll save the fair food for tomorrow night.
It’s 9:02 p.m. and everyone is fast asleep. Farmguy drove back over to the fairgrounds to clip some cattle and make sure the piggies are sleeping peacefully.
Tomorrow: open class dairy show at 9 a.m. and 4-H market hog show at 5 p.m.