Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Toppenish Fair

Well I wouldn't really consider us pro's by any stretch of the imagination yet but this fair stuff is getting to be a little bit easier. At least now we kind of know what to expect. Kind of. What we didn't expect was the health issues we've had with these dumb sheep this time around!! When we went and picked up our sheep for the Toppenish fair we knew they were not going to be the highest caliber sheep. Spring sheep are hard to find around here. But when we got them home we quickly realized that some of them were just way to darn small! We thought they had to be a minimum of 110lbs by fair time and there was just no way a couple of them were going to make that. About three days after we got them one of them was very obviously sick. He was very stiff, couldn't hardly walk and would go down on his knees to eat. Soon several others appeared to be getting sick as well. Apparently they had pneumonia. So a call to the vet, some antibiotics and pain killers and a very educational week as the kids learnt how to take rectal temperatures and give shots. Welcome to the real world of farming I guess. We ended up bringing back two of the really little sheep and trading them in for a couple that were a little bigger. One of the sheep we wanted to bring back was the one that Brandi had picked. We kept telling her how really awful that one was as far as bone structure etc. And that he had a really skinny butt and narrow back, but she didn't care. "He's sweet! I'm keeping him!" ok. Well we warned her.  I've always tried to instill in my kids that what is on the inside is so much more important than what is on the outside. I guess I should be proud of her that she has taken that to heart!!
Then a few weeks later one of the sheep suddenly prolapsed. Badly. Nothing is as quite attractive as a sheep with his inards hanging out his butt. Thankfully Dr.Matt was a family friend by this point! The vet had to come out, give the sheep an epidural and perform minor surgery. Again.... a very educational experience for all of us!  A couple weeks later another one started to prolapse. This one not near as badly and it kind of came and went. By this time we were just praying that the fair would come quickly so we could get these things all there alive! Brandi's sheep continued to just be really ugly....(only on the outside though!) we de-wormed him a few times hoping that would help but really nothing short of a complete body transplant was going to help poor "Corky" at this point. Bob bought his own set of sheers this year so that we wouldn't have to rely on somebody else to come do it. We're very glad he did as its much simpler to be able to sheer on your own time frame than try to rely on somebody else to find the time when you need it. Sheering is a huge job!!
A little bit of team work goes a long ways..

And it was nice for Blake to get in some 'bonding time'

The couple days leading up to fair are always a flurry of panic finishing up all those last minute details that you always swear you're not going to leave until the last minute next time! Completing all the necessary paperwork, packing the tack boxes, printing the record books, polishing every square inch of your animal, including his ears, nose and hooves:)
One more bath before we finish shaving him!

And of course Kendra had to be helping too!

The ones who had completed the spa process got tied up to the trampoline instead of going back in the pen so that they would stay nice and clean!

Once they're completely ready you put their covers on so they stay clean

Finally we were ready to head to Toppenish! It was a great fair. We had some crazy neighbors but we kept them under control. A lot of kids hanging out at the trailer...that's what happens when you feed them. Teenagers are kind of like seagulls. You hold out a scrap of food and they swarm you! We liked having them hang out by us because then at least we knew where our kids were and what they were NOT doing:)

Feeding time at the zoo

Ashley & Jenna

Brandi and Lauryn

Spending way too much bonding time with Corky...

The best part of the fair....or the most entertaining part anyway was when Justin signed Bob up to take part in the adult fitting and showing competition. It took a lot of begging and pleading from the kids to convince Bob that he should just suck it up, go in the ring and make the best of it. I couldn't believe he actually caved in and did it. Neither could the he stated at the end..."kids here you have seen some great examples of the good, the bad and the ugly. And the downright disgusting." Yep the downright disgusting honors went to Bob's showmanship:) Apparently it's a big no-no to step right over top of your sheep. And when the judge wants you to show him how to flip a sheep...there's a certain technique and finesse to it....picking your sheep up and sitting him on his butt is NOT how it is supposed to be done!

And arguing with the judge gets you nowhere!!!  It was a very entertaining event!

The worst part of the fair would have to be sale day. I was a little worried about how that would go. Brandi just views life differently than Ashley does and I was afraid she was getting way too attached to her ugly 'Corky'  yep. Sale time rolled around and as she was waiting in line for her turn she fell apart. The tears started falling. Good thing Justin was there to try and make her feel better.

She managed to hold it together when she was in the sale ring but as she turned to walk out the face crumpled and the sobs started. It was pretty horrible!!

Poor Lauryn didn't quite make it out of the sale ring. Good thing Blake and Papa Dick were wearing those dark sunglasses!

After all that drama on the last day I wasn't sure if this was something that Brandi and Lauryn are cut out for but they have both said they want to do it again! Just hoping they toughen up before next fair. Not too sure how much more of the tears I can handle:)

State champions!!

Once again Ashley is very involved in FFA this year. She is on a sales team with Cody Maddox, Jaden Gorden, and Justin Munn. They are given a product and some hypothetical situation and have to do the research on their product and convince the 'buyers' of why they need what they are selling. They went through the regular season and district meets and qualified to go to the state convention! They did pretty good at State but did not make the top 8 teams in sales. A couple of weeks before the state convention Ashley's Ag adviser told her that she was also going to enter Ashley and her friend Bobby in the F.A.R.M for kids category. I'm embarrassed to admit I still can't figure out what that stands for. But anyway, they had to put together a presentation and speech to present to a panel of judges regarding a great way to introduce the agriculture life to kids. Every year for the past several year the Ag class at PHS puts on what is called Griz's Farm which is basically a big petting zoo with all sorts of different stations the kids can go to to see hands on experiments...things like egg candling etc. Then all the local preschools and elementary schools come through on a field trip. Since her and Bobby Warwick have been very involved in that the last couple of years they used that as their project. And headed off to state convention. Shortly before their turn to go before the judges they realized their presentation which they had 'saved' on a thumb drive had vanished. So they had to quickly round up some more pictures and make a new powerpoint. Their adviser was becoming increasingly frustrated with them as they wouldn't do an official run through of their speech. They just kept saying, "we're going to wing it" Because of some other scheduling conflicts their adviser managed to get them bumped down on the schedule and buy them a couple of hours. She was soooo relieved to have been able to get them this extra time to practice and perfect their presentation. And apparently they used it very very wisely. When she (their adviser) called me that evening she informed me that Ashley & Bobby had used that extra time she got them to take a nap!! Good thing Ashley has an abundance of confidence and the gift of gab because somehow they pulled it out. I got a text later that day telling me they had made it to the top 8!!
The way it works at state convention is for each category, the top 8 teams get called up to the stage that night at the nightly session in the main stadium and winners are announced. We had just figured out that afternoon that we were able to watch these nightly sessions via webcam. Bob had pulled up the website on his computer that night and suddenly yelled at me to come see! He had easily picked out Ashley's partner Bobby on stage because he's a head taller than most and from there we could find Ashley right in front of him. With all those kids dressed in their official dress and the foggy imaging of a webcast it's kind of hard to pick out faces. So we tuned in just in time to see them start by calling out 8th place....7th place....6th place...we kept saying to each other "oh wow...they're going to make 5th!!...they're going to make 4th!!!!.....until suddenly, they were the only team left standing on stage!! The announcer said..."and representing Washington State at the National convention in Kentucky this fall...PROSSER!!" So of course we went crazy and the kids there went crazy and our phones started beeping as text messages started coming in from people who were at the convention. Unfortunately we found out later that the F.A.R.M for kids category is not one that they have at the National convention yet so they do not actually get to compete at the national level. While she was a little disappointed about that, she was still downright giddy about taking first place at a State competition. It was a very very crazy night....:)

Very proud of these two!!

No animals were harmed in the making of this entry.....

Kendra loves the sheep. Kendra loves anything outdoors to be honest. The days are getting longer and it's getting harder and harder to get her into bed on time. From the minute she gets home from school she seems to find something to do outside until waaaayyy past her bedtime. About a week ago we got two new sheep for the Grandview fair. They are pretty wild yet and will need some time spent with them before they calm down enough to actually work with. Even though Kendra is not old enough to show yet she takes it upon herself to be the one to 'tame the sheep' So last night long after she should have been in bed we were outside just standing there watching the sheep and Jenna stopped by. Kendra went into the pen to 'catch' them so that Jenna could really see what they looked like. It was about that time of night when sheep do not want to be caught. They want to run and jump and play and generally do anything but stand still. They put up quite a fight and we kept telling her to just leave them alone but she was not giving up without putting up a fight herself. Her persistence paid off!

She managed to snag not one......

But both of them at the same time!!

They put up quite a fight and were dragging her around in circles

But she hung on for dear life

And she won!

Even though she did have to go inside and take another shower and put some clean pj's on!