Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Boone County Fair, Thursday

The three 4-Hers, Roger (in his last year), Ali and Skyler, were all showing first thing this morning. It is a pretty big thing...their 4-H Club decks their end of the barn out with all kinds of decorations and the kids each have a "pig" sign on the front of their pens. Skyler, the youngest of Jeff's kids has already named her pigs--William and Wilbur for the Cummings' Twins. The results of the day are not that great, but, we all still had a great time being out their and supporting the kids. I must say this years judge was a welcome change...he was young and cute...and I just wish I could have got the girls to pose with him and their pig. LOL

The big food event of the day is the creamed chicken on biscuits at the Grange Food Tent...Ali wants to split it with me...but somehow the day comes to an end with us missing it. Somehow I think all the Fireman doughnuts, Boy Scout ice cream and other goodies took the place of the chicken dinner ok.

In the afternoon I have to go pick up Bruce and Dominic from somewhere around Bloomington. That's a two hour drive and I have to borrow my parent's vehicle to make the trip. (My work van has the rear passenger seats removed so I can haul more stuff!) Now stick with me here as I describe this...Bruce and Dominic are riding in the new big Suburan (with all the bells and whistles on it) along with cousin Angie and her three other kids (including one infant) and my Aunt Susan. Angie is going to visit one of her old friends at an airforce base near St. Louis and her Mom is going along to help with the kids and the driving.

They have GPS'd a meeting location in Bloomington. But, it turns out I can save some miles and time by intersecting them somewhere between Chicago and Bloomington. I really want to save time, because if we can get back to the Fair in time, we will see the kids auctioning off their pigs at auction. I will also get to see my favorite gentleman auctioneer. Yes, ladies, he ranks right up their with my crush on Edgar from the Deadliest Catch, Brad Pitt and skier Bode Miller!! :)

I had a great time on the trip back to the Fair. Dominic who is eight years old was a chatty little guy. Bruce and I had a couple close shaves with trying to explain how Jodie and Garry who won a pig at last year's auction didn't still have the pig now...I mean how do you explain a slaughterhouse to a kid that old....thank God Bruce was there. The other concept we had to explain was why birds don't get electrocuted sitting on power lines! That kid is a sponge for knowledge.

BUT, it turns out we get to the Fair just as the last pig is coming out of the auction building. Darn it. BUT, good news is that we catch Jeff as he is finishing up with the auction doings and now he can hang out with Bruce and I. As soon as Dominic sees the other cousins, he is scooped up and the kids probably make it to the midway in record time. I am not usually at the Fair this late, and I am surprised that there is such a great turnout. Later I find out that the turnout at this year's Fair surpasses last year's attendance on Saturday.

We end up staying late--it's nearly 11pm by the time we make it home to get Bruce and Dom home to meet Mom and Dad...and to find a bed.

Boone County Fair, Mon.-Wed.

In these parts, the Boone County Fair in Belvidere, Illinois is the BEST! When I was a kid, I didn't participate in Boone County 4-H, we were in Winnebago County. But still, every year for five days, we were out at this Fair. It was the place to see old friends and as a kid, the place to be with lots of kids your age running around the animal barns and of course, riding the carnival rides on the midway!

The first day of the Fair (Monday) for us is to make it out to the Home Economics exhibit hall to drop off our baked goods and other projects before 7pm. This year I did a diabetic cake, four jams and one jam collection. My Mom forgot to enter anything! My sister did a diabetic cookie and her son, Travis, did a gorgeous cutting board made out of three or four different kinds of wood.

The next day of the Fair (Tuesday) there's not too much going on for us. There is some judging in the horse and poultry barns, but nothing much going on for the nieces and nephews. But we are still out there early eating at the Grange Food Building nearly every morning! Today, Ali met us there and invited us back to the "Swine" building for the first batch of doughnuts from the Boone County Firefighters. All profits from the Fair go to buying new equipment. Each day we are supposed to take turns buying a dozen doughnuts --but I don't think it made it much past Ali buying today and me buying on Wednesday! The big thing of the day is the Queen competition at 7pm...but none of our friends kids are in it this year, so we pass on attending.

Finally on Wednesday of the Fair there is some action. First thing (after buying the doughnuts) we head to the Pig Barn to have the kids show in the Carcass show for their 4-H pigs. We don't find out until later that Ali places 9th and Roger about 20th--which is fantastic for however many hundreds of pigs are at the show. Some of the other kids in the Boone Farms 4-H club show their hogs in the show today, but, the classes our kids are in start Thursday morning.

So, the next thing we do is wander over to the Home Economics building and find our hoped for prizes. Jodie has won second place with her cookies, I have a third (out of three!!! LOL) in peach jam and a second with my cake. Nothing else has placed, even Trav's beautiful cutting board. It was up against a really intricate tractor made all out of wood. Wish he had been going up against kids his own age, but, it certainly gives him something to work for next time!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Road Trip to Illinois, August 2-3, 2008

Bonnie Dog and I left out of Orlando very early Saturday morning and as we took our first potty break, this was the sunrise we saw on the Turnpike. This is the first of some really spectacular sunrises and sunsets I have seen since leaving.

Most of the drive actually centers around keeping Bonnie "watered" at the various rest stops we stop at as we travel through Georgia and Tennessee the first day. She LOVES seeing other dogs, but, she gets a little too psycho to handle at some of these stops, so, we tend to stop at the far end of the rest stop and walk a LONG way away from other dogs.

There are parts of the drive that I just love--one of them being the railroad trestle bridge above. One of the many trips Rod and I have made through here, we saw a long train passing above us. Then there is this part of Lake Barkley in Kentucky, where we always see the fog rising from the many waterways and lakes that lie in the region.

This was the sunrise somewhere north of Nashville--maybe about Clarksville-- after we stopped for gas ($3.55 a gallon) and watering. The night at the hotel was alright inspite of being in the flight path of Atlanta International. I don't remember hearing much after 10pm.

Most of the trip the second day is through Illinois with its farms and fields. It is beautiful, but, by the time you get to is getting a little old. We made it to Rockford ahead of schedule and actually unloaded the soap stuff into the warehouse by 3pm. Whew...thankfully I won't have to drive for a while now...I hope!