July 17, 2014

Fair time {Part Two}.

After the dog show, we all went home and collapsed.  One might think we had a nice relaxing weekend before more fair exhibitions on Monday.  Oh, not so.  Definately not so.

Large parts of Saturday and Sunday involved the dreaded CHICKEN WASHING.  Let me tell ya, if you've never washed a chicken, you simply must try it.  The term "madder than a wet hen" comes to mind.  I can't say our hens seem particularly mad, but they certainly don't enjoy the process.

My joke was, "How many Schusters does it take to wash a chicken?"  All of us, apparently.  The hens aren't as bad to wash as the meat birds.  They just aren't that dirty and a little more serene.

From washing chickens, it was showers and straight to cooking hamburgers.  They had a fundraiser for their dog club where they sold food during some quad races at the fairgrounds.  Ken has lots of pictures of quads racing.... Do you want to see those?  Nah.

The crew at work.  It isn't foggy, the camera isn't badly focused.  That is just dust.  Yes, dust.
The mobile food-selling crew.  Ready with their ketchup and mustard.  Watch out!

After the quad races were over, my husband instigated a race of the big vans.  Ford vs. Chevy.  Old vs. New(er).  We lost.  As a bystander said, "It is a disgrace to the Schuster name!!"  In Ken's defense, our grill was up front so when he took off, it tipped and started to fall onto Jacob, so he had to slow down.  You know, children first and all!

Next up, Poultry Show.  Our meat birds had a dismal showing.  Note to self: do not go on vacation if you are trying to raise meat birds for show.  Sigh.  Anyhow, in Poultry there is judging in all sorts of categories, all of our birds were either Broilers (Meat birds 5.5lbs and under, two birds per pen) or Exhibition (Judged according to Category--whether the breed is English, Asiatic, etc. and one bird per pen).  We ended up with two first place birds, two third place, two fourth, two fifth, split between Nathan and Patrick.

Family photo in a chicken barn.  With ring pops.

There is also Showmanship, to show which kids know the most about their birds.  Showmanship is really a great thing--it is all about knowledge, how you present yourself, how you manage your animals properly, and being able to demonstrate all of this to a Judge!

 Once again, Patrick had to compete up since he won his division last year.  So once again, he was competing against Nathan.  It was a nail-biter.  The last three standing were Nathan, Patrick and another young lady.  Then Nathan missed a question (he mis-identified the type of comb his bird had, uh-oh).

 Finally, Patrick nailed it.  He correctly identified which feathers were the primary feathers and his competitor didn't.

Patrick and his Intermediate Showmanship plaque.  He went on to compete for Premiere Showman but he was up against a tough crowd.  Essentially, all the winners of all the classes.  Next year, he will compete in the Senior division--against high schoolers!

All the Showmanship winners (Patrick borrowed a bantam from another competitor for the sake of the picture).

Jacob and his meat birds and his First Year trophy.  There is a family that donates these First Year trophies in Rabbits and Poultry every year and I think it is so nice.  Such a boost to a 4-H'er still learning the ropes.  Jacob also competed in Showmanship in his level (Junior) and came in second place.  Not bad considering I don't think he had ever taken a chicken in and out of a cage before!  And, his bird got away from him twice and he calmly caught it and handled it again just like a pro.
 After the Poultry Show, they all had the pleasure of Building Patrol.  Dunh-dunh-dunnn.  Don't they look thrilled?

Next day... Rabbit Show.  Only Nathan has a rabbit and he only has one rabbit.  He did compete in Showmanship and Rabbit Ambassador (including another written test).  He didn't win either of those but I was told that he performed very well on the written test.  This kid can cram for a test like nobody's business.  Impressive since, well, we don't really do a whole lot of "tests" around here.  Under pressure and all.

 I forgot that last year we waited and waited for the Rabbit Show to start because the Cattle Show was still going.  Same this year but worse.  The Rabbit Show was slated to start at 4pm but didn't actually start until 7pm.  These three enjoyed watching the cows anyway.  Peter really really like that "they pooped!"  Cow poop is always a source of great excitement....
Nathan and Onyx.
Back to the Rabbit Show... Nathan had to essentially go through this process twice of identifying parts of his rabbit.  There is a pre-defined order he is supposed to follow.  He did it once for Showmanship and once for Rabbit Ambassador. 
 This is the actual Rabbit Show.  The judge has all the rabbits in their class lined up in these boxes.  So these 8 rabbits are all Mini Rex Senior Bucks.  (decoded: Mini Rex is the breed, Senior is the age--over one year, Buck is male).  Nathan got 2nd place for Onyx!  Which was really a boost since he didn't win either of the other competitions!
Caroline cheering on her big brother.  She looks like she belongs in the country.  A cute mess.  But, who wouldn't be after a whole day of playing in gravel and living off Cheetos and Capri Suns.
 Grandma and Grandpa watching from the stands.  Lovely face Jacob, thanks for that.
Sure, sure, smile all nice and stuff for Grandpa.
The cousins finally made it!  Such a treat!  Again, Jacob.........^^^why are you hiding now!?
 Nathan giving the news to his fans (Godparents, Grandparents, cousins, siblings, and me) on his rabbit placement.  :)
 Nathan also was able to show his Godparents his other projects--Electric and Aerospace.

Elizabeth was very, very proud of her first 4H poster ever.  She was thrilled that she got a ribbon and that they marked it "Excellent."  All about her pet Fluffy.

Check back for Part Three!

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