Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September Means The County Fair!

I know a lot of people are celebrating the end of Summer and delighting in the cooler temperatures that September brings. There is a charm in the change of seasons and a calm associated with the slower pace of Autumn and especially Winter. I will eventually join you, but for us the pace has yet to slacken. The cooler temperatures are a starting gun in the race between a killing frost and us. Many, many things are still in the garden and are yet to be harvested. On the farmwive's porches are makeshift tables sagging under the weight of bumper tomato crops. They will finish ripening and then be put to rest in the larder dressed as spaghetti sauce or salsa, barbecue sauce or perhaps plain tomato juice. My own porch has the requisite tomatoes as well as white peaches and pears. Most of the dry beans are out of the garden and strung upside down from the barn rafters awaiting shelling. The men shell about a bushel a day and have many more days work ahead of them.



Amidst the press of work comes the quintessential rural experience of the County Fair. Our county has held a fair every year since 1849, a chance to showcase the hard work that is a farmer's lot, a change to renew acquaintances and perhaps sell some breeding stock.



I was especially interested in the displays of canned goods, I'd like to enter next year and it was instructive to see which jars the judges favored. There are categories for cookies and decorated cakes, knitting and sewing, quilts and wood working, all signalling the effort to be the best in their class.
There were tables and tables of produce, giant pumpkins, wafers of hay, ear corn, dry soybeans and wheat.

We toured the dairy barns (mostly Holsteins with a few Jerseys and a very few Ayrshires), the pig barns (all of the same boring variety that can survive the stress of a confinement hog facility) and the poultry barn where there were some interesting varieties in addition to the far over represented Cornish Rock Cross (these are the brainless white chickens that you eat and spent their pathetic lives in chicken concentration camps). The only turkeys were Broad Breasted Whites. :-(


The fair used to be the place to witness innovation and see new breeds, but it has unfortunately become a showcase of what works in confinement. Still, I am glad to be a part of the rural heritage that is part and parcel with living here. It was nice to take a day off in the middle of the week and enjoy being with other farm folks. We came home, ate lunch and tried to fit some work in this afternoon. Most of the children want to enter produce in next year's fair, I want to enter some canned goods and perhaps some sewing. It refreshes and revitalizes us to remember some of the entries and think "I could beat that!"








Supper is waiting and there are tomatoes to can yet tonight. Thanks for stopping by!

2 comments:

  1. How we wish our garden was in full bloom. Well, it is in a sort of way. Weeds! Tomatos gave out a long time ago. Very, very hot here in the South and the land is scorched. Ready for some Fall and Winter rains.

    Love the pictures of the County Fair. We love attending them here in the South, too.

    Blessings~

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  2. I used to go to the Croswell Fair in Sanilac County here in Michigan - probably the most rural fair I've attended. My memories of it are of pure enjoyment - - I loved walking through the barns to see the animals.
    Anyhow, thanks for bringing some of these long forgotten memories (almost 40 years!) back.

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