Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Farm and the Fair

Thursday, August 09 & Friday, August 10- For a couple of days, I just lay around the house, chilling out. Well, I was also searching for a fourth roomie (one backed out), and doing paperwork, for Old Dominion. I also read and played with the pets, petting the cat, Hooligan, and the mini-poodle, Scooter, and playing endless games of fetch with Mack (Mac?) the Border Colley. Once in a while, I helped dad feed the sheep at Unkie and Helen's house. I also got to chat with Grandpa Staker while he helped fix up the farm, sharpening knives, making nightlights and straightening up Dad’s workshop.

Saturday, August 11 was the shower for my cousin Jenny and her baby, Jack. He is too adorable. She really seemed to like the little booties I got him (one tiny pair of cowboy booties and one tiny pair of galoshes). It was good to see so many family members, although I was kind of in charge of the children in attendance, so I missed some of the shower games. Darn my competitive nature! No, I’m just kidding. Hanging with the kids was fun.

Sunday, August 12 I went to the Iowa State Fair with Jenny and Jessy Bishop, friends of mine who happen to be twins. Oh, how I’d been looking forward to the Iowa State Fair. I love it, LOVE! I extol its virtues to anyone who will listen: the food, the art, the music, the rides, the animals, ALL OF IT! It was Wells Fargo day, which means free tickets, a free concert complete with bottled water and ice cream, and a few bucks of free food tickets.

We started the day by meeting up at the apartment Jenny and I used to share. The courtyard remains so beautiful. I love that apartment like no other. Maybe I love it because I really chose it…or maybe it’s because it’s the most perfect apartment ever. Far enough from downtown to have plenty of grass and trees, close enough to walk downtown (if motivated). And it has big windows and hardwood floors, high ceilings, lots of storage, and kitchen cabinets with pretty red buttons. The thought of how low the rent is almost makes me weep. Sigh.

Then Jenny drove us to the Capitol Building where we caught the shuttle. Next up was breakfast. I snagged a gooey, nutty cinnamon role at the stand behind the horse barn with a lemonade shake-up from Marv and Ginny's stand in front of the pig barn. YUM! The lady at the cinnamon roll stand gave me extra goo! MMMmmm…gooey.

After breakfast, we toured the Avenue of Breeds and admired many animals. Jenny continued her love of llamas. I admired the incredibly adorable bunnies and more unusual birds. Jessy is a knitter, so I think she was fantasizing about the yarn that could come from the various animals.

We then saw all the biggest animals…and they were big. Seriously big. Heavier than a Prius big. I mean, if someone asked you, “What’s heavier? A car or a cow?” Well, that shouldn’t be a trick question!
The boar weighed 1203 and the bull weighed 3322. A Prius weighs 2890 pounds, for the record. That statistic is both disturbing and impressive, really.

Next up, we went to the agriculture building (formerly known as the Horticulture building). It is surrounded by gorgeous gardens, including this amazing flower a snapped a shot of. Inside are displays of fruits, vegetables, flowers, bonsai and overgrown gourds. It's also home of honey lemonade, emu eggs, and the butter sculpture display: the traditional cow and…HARRY POTTER (as well as Hedwig, his trunk and the painting that guarded the door to Gryffindor house. Seriously.

I think next up was looking at the textile displays. The knitting, crocheting and tatting were so beautiful. The quilting made me jealous. 1- I wanted to own the quilts. 2- I wanted to make my own quilts. The thing is, I have a rule: No new hobbies until I finish my degree. And especially no expensive hobbies. I’m thinking buying lots of fabric and batting and sharps, etc. would get pricy. That’s also why I don’t knit. Well, knitting is probably cheaper and less space-consuming, but it seems more addictive.

Everyone I know who knits is instantly consumed with it. What should I knit next? When can I knit next? Where is the nearest yarn shop? Don’t you knit? Why not? Want me to teach you? Yes! I mean, no. I procrastinate too much as it is. The last thing I need is a new hobby…especially one with a price tag. That’s why I love digital photography. It’s free until you decide you need a print.

After the textiles, we moseyed over to the Grandstand where Lone Star was preparing for their concert. We grabbed our water and ice cream sandwiches and took off. I probably would have liked the concert, but the girls (particularly Jessica) aren’t into country. Besides, it was SO HOT. We would have been roasting in that sun.

Instead we trekked up to the Arts and Culture Building where, HOORAY!, the sand sculptors returned. They were just starting their newest work. The dollhouses were cute and intricate, as usual, and the photography display was impressive. As digital photography is more common, I think it’s easier to get a great shot, so the competition gets stiffer every year. A friend, Lauren Hughes, won second place in the division for color photographs of people. Yay! I wish I had submitted something. Maybe next year. There was a cool addition this year. They sold a magazine with all the first, second and third place photographs in it. It was only three dollars, and had so many gorgeous photos in it that I snapped it up.

We trudged through the Varied Industries building. The flow of people was like molasses. We fought our way back out, then got some lunch. I had a corn dog and some root beer, which always seems fresher at the fair. By 3 p.m., I had a headache, and we were all tired, hot and sweaty. We decided to go home. All in all, it was a nice start to the fair.

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