Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fair time again.

Grandview fair was a pretty important part of our summer. Ashley and two of her friends, Jenna & Hayley had all raised sheep here to show & sell at the fair.
It takes a lot of hardwork to get the sheep safely & healthily- is that even a word?- to fair date. We had a couple minor hic-ups with some prolapses and a shearing injury but it all worked out in the end and between the 3 girls we took 5 sheep to the fair. It was the first fair for the Essary family so it's always a very big learning experience:) I think we sold them on it! Poor Jenna's sheep that had the shearing injury managed to rip it open on a piece of wire and made quite an ugly bloody mess! Thankfully there was a vet staying on the fairgrounds so the girls were able to walk the sheep over to her camper where it was promptly cleaned and stitched right up. Another great 'farming' experience for Jen:)
Ashley got 3rd in her class for market and made it to the championship round for showing so she did really well. Also got a great price for both her sheep on sale day thanks to some wonderful supporters!

 Bob had the camper up in Alberta so we didn't stay at the fairgrounds. Ashley and some friends stayed in a tent by Denise's camper and I did a lot of running back and forth with the other kids. Definitely a much funner experience if you have the camper there for a home base but we made it through. And Tyler had no asthma issues, he was even able to hang out at the sale ring for a little while without any ill effects so we were quite excited by that!!

But I have to say the highlight of the Grandview fair was "Dog"  Let me tell you the story about a Dog......... One of the sheep we got from the Maljaars was a bottle baby. His mama didn't want him so they had been bottle feeding him from birth. Typically bottle fed babies do not make good show sheep because they are kind of wimpy and not well developed. Tyler & Kendra loved bottle feeding Dog.

 The Maljaars had him down to one bottle a day when they brought him over to our house but in no time at all we had him back up to 3 or 4 bottles a day just because it was so much fun to feed him and they always fought about who's turn it was so I just let them feed him again! They became very attached to that sheep. He would chase them around the pasture...if Tyler would jump over a rock Dog would jump over the rock...Tyler would run in circles around the fire pit...Dog would run in circles around the fire pit. He was NOT a normal sheep. As time went on Dog actually started to develop quite nicely and get pretty big! Don't get me wrong, he was by no means a champion show sheep but he didn't look too bad. So we started to questions if we should just bring him to the fair and sell him there. The kids do make good money on the sheep they sell at a fair because of all the great supporters. Tyler would get very upset with the idea. We could NOT sell Dog! Then one day as we're driving along in the car I hear Kendra tell Tyler..."you know if they sell Dog at the fair they're going to kill him right?"  "WHAT?" "yep, some people think sheep are yummy yummy so they'll put him on their barbeque!"  I was about to turn and yell at Kendra when I realized Tyler wasn't responding so I kinda hoped he hadn't heard her. I turned the rear view mirror to see what he was doing and he was just sitting there looking out the window with tears rolling down his face! It was horrible!  So we threatened all the girls within an inch of their lives if they ever said anything like that to Tyler again and started telling him this story about how Dog was going to go live on a nice sheep farm. (Sometimes it's ok to lie to your kids right?) We couldn't keep him because once the other sheep left he would get way too lonely and at a sheep farm he would have lots of other nice sheep his age to play with. Eventually Tyler came around to the idea....understanding that even though Dog loved him he would still be really really lonely with no other nice sheep to play with at our house. Then came sale day. I had a hard enough time myself seeing Ashley bring Dog into the ring and was making sure that Tyler was distracted under the bleachers playing the ipod so he wouldn't clue in as to what was going on. When an animal sells at fair the buyer has 3 options. They'll say "turn it" which means take it to the main auction and let safeway or Costco or somebody like that buy it for flat market rate and we'll donate the difference in price to the seller, or they'll say the name of the meat locker they want it to be brought to so that it ends up in their freezer... or they'll say "take home" which generally means its a very high caliber animal and they want it for breeding stock. Well Dog was a castrated male so not exactly good breeding stock which only left two options. You would think. The bidding started and we noticed Jack was bidding on it. Which is not unusual since he has bought all of Ashley's other fair lambs! But the bidding kept climbing and climbing....and he hung on to the end. Then when they asked what he wanted to do with he said "take it home!"   yep....I embarassed myself & shed a couple tears. I was pretty sneaky about it though so I might have pulled it off without damaging too much of my reputation. So now "Dog"  actually is living at a nice sheep farm which happens to be only a couple of miles down the road and Tyler can go visit him whenever he wants:) How's that for a fairy tale ending?

Overall Ashley had a great time at the fairs this year, met a lot of new friends and can't wait to do it again next fair season!