{ County Fair }

   So we're supposed to be home by now - in the Winnie, warming up our little copper tea kettle for a hot, spring-water shower, baking a butternut squash with the oven door open as an excuse to create a little heat pocket near the ceiling and our hanging bed, but we're waiting for wax to melt .. kind of like waiting for paint to dry .. or is the expression 'watching paint dry', but anyway, here we are at the Roost waiting a couple hours for the big wax melter to melt, so we can transfer it, bucket by bucket-load into the smaller melter. 

You can write a blog !! Juwels said. 

   Yes, she pushes me past yawns and props me up in the chair and whispers things in my ear like a little birdie, so here I am ; ) 

   This blog has lingered, as a draft, with pictures uploaded but with no words .. for quite a while. And I've been kind of intimidated to write about the County Fair because it's such a sensory overload. I heard people saying so many things in the crowd - squabbling sibblings, cud chewing cowboys, and  and hot pink gum bubbles popping against cell phone speakers, and kept thinking .. ah ! I nEEd my voice recorder right now !! Juwels and I would share a look, and I'd say, 'don't let me forget that.' An hour later, there were 500 more things not to forget, and the odd show which the lady at the ticket box put on: coughing into a handful of tattered bills before handing our change over .. well .. that looked fuzzy in my mind's eye, like my 9th birthday party at Peter Piper Pizza. 

   The place is overwhelming - too much to point a camera at - too much to remember. I had the smell of fried food and grilled chicken in my hair. And even though I didn't eat anything (per juwels ((and my digestion's)) request) later that night I burped and tasted funnel cake. The flash of the lights and sound of popping balloons, pellet guns, and screaming are still with me in some way. It's an odd mix of anticipation and nostalgia through the filter of advancing age. Exciting and depressing all at the same time. 

   So here you have it - the County Fair !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  !! 

   This is the lama costume contest - the one juwels read about the day before - on our first trip to the fair. "Oh .. what ?? There's a lama COSTUME SHOW! We HAVE to come back tomorrow!!" We'd missed it last year because we wouldn't let ourselves leave the studio with dozens of orders backed up, so I figured, what the hell .. we'd catch up for last year and see the lamas for round two.

   (btw, the announcer was amazing .. he knew just how to use that awkward element of miscommunication and long uncomfortable silences. I was dying - and I think I was the only one who got him .. or at least I thought so as the whole, silent, front row turned around to see me hanging on juwels' shoulder with laughter.)  

   Juwels was so worried that we hadn't got there early enough, running ahead of me through the massive parking lot and holding a hand back towards me like she was passing a baton, and when we finally got to the tent, there were like 25 people.

Announcer: "So, what are you?"

Girl: "I'm a fire woman!"

A: "And the lama?"

G: "Well, he's a Dalmatian lama, so he doesn't need a costume ; )"

Pause ..




LAMAS ; ) 

and bunnies ... 

juwels: "Look at his little -neck- pillow !!!!!!" 

   This is by far my favorite photo of the night. All the animals had been judged by this point - and maybe her bunny had been sold off (most the pigs, cows, chickens, etc had) and as all the other 4H kids were probably running around haunted houses or whirling in chain swings, this one girl remained in the room, petting the silken black fur of her bunny and quietly talking to it. After seeing the photo, I wanted to travel of every kind of small town event there was and shoot a photo book together. I think that was idea-not-to-forget number 376!

The goats climbed the fences when they heard the hay buckets rattling at the far end of the room. 

There was a different little house for each kind of show animal, and by the second night, juwels could have blindfolded me and I could have guessed the room based on the scent - they were all unique.  

   The girl in the Micky Mouse shirt was this sheep's owner. She was a good sport, and even though we walked in 5 minutes to closing time, she walked over and asked us if we had any questions .. I think we asked how old her sheep was or something like that, and then she offered to let us play with the sheep out of the pen. Juwels' eyes lit up ! I flared my nostrils, and before I could protest, the sheep was amongst us.

   Turns out there's a specific headlock the owner uses on the animal .. one that she didn't tell us about ; ) And within ten seconds of this photograph, the sheep yanked away from juwels and bolted through the narrow isle crowed with people. Juwels followed close behind, almost seeming to have a hold on its hind end, and I heard a young kid yelp, "it stepped on my toes!" an iphone fell to the ground, and luckily, the wild animal, now peeing and dropping pellets, veered into an empty pen. "I got her!!" juwels called out. Ha! You got her alright ; )

   This is one of three pictures in the blog that I took - getting the camera from juwels can be about as hard as getting a runaway sheep in a crow of high schoolers. A lot of times I play with the smaller camera though - much less button pushing and mode setting.

It rained off and on. 

   This reminded me of something we'd see in Asia .. although, on that side of the world it would be going 50 miles an hour down a dirt road with a family of six hanging off all sides ; )

   We took a lot of pictures on this food stretch which capped one full end of the gala. The grease smoke and chicken smoke and fired-smores-on-a-stick smoke seeped into our cells. Juwels, purest that she is, actually tried holding her breath at first .. ha ha ha. But it was no use. 

   Remember when I said, at the beginning of this blog, that I burped and tasted fried food? I lied a little, sugar coated you might say, but I feel like we're all friends at this point .. So in that powdered sugar statement about the burping, well, trade "burped" for "farted" and "tasted" for "smelled". Yes - true story - even late the next day. My body was expelling this Fair Food which I never even ate. It actually worked its way through my core and organs. .. There must be a calorie count to just breathing on this strip ..  

do I look green ??? 

The smoke and the heat and the sound of chicken drips hitting the hot coals and sizzling made me feel like I was hiding out in the King's forest and carving arrows for the overthrow, very barbaric and raw. About a mile away from this spot, while we were waiting in a long line of cars to get into the parking lot, juwels noticed a huge plume of smoke and asked what it was. ..  

Vegas, baby .. Vegas ! 

Now let's just sit quietly and look at some pictures ; ) 


I could watch this guy shred potatoes all night - they cut and fired them all in one tangled piece. 

This was placed, tauntingly, on the outskirts of a booth. I saw a few people contemplating it ; ) 

These guys were actually very good. It was raining, and I was holding the umbrella over myself and juwels as she clicked away. I danced, or kind of just hopped up and down, occasionally spinning the umbrella .. and then I stepped on her bare toes. She yelped and hissed, and I stopped dancing ; ( 

Juwles said the lights looked like those giant candy diamond rings .. for two extra tickets, I think they let you lick a few, we didn't try though ; )  

(above) impossible. (below) the same ; ) 

   While juwels was shooting these pics, I was casually engaging the attendant about running away and joining one of these shows. He said this show was pretty safe, lot's of families, but that some of them could be pretty rough. I kind of liked the sound of that .. 

Plink - I won a little helicopter, ring, flying thingy. Juwels got another .. still need to send them to my nieces. 

   Love the silhouetted cowboy hat and spectacles - I shot this one while juwels was fiddling with a thermos of tea she'd smuggled in.

   This lady moved like she was on roller skates .. on ice .. and she trash talked the hulking tough guys every time they missed a bottle. "Why don't you let your girlfriend throw the next two - she's gotta have a better arm than you!" 

floating ; ) 

favorite ride!

   And we ended the night - a la Mr. Rodgers .. nighty night ; ) Time to schlepp 500 pounds of hot liquid wax from one end of the studio to another. At 11pm, it must be melted by now ; )

  *** it's now the next day, proofreading, and it's getting late at night again, and I'm melting more wax. At about 1am last night, when we got back to the Winnie - too tired for baked swash or showers, but managing to brush and floss, juwels forget something out in the truck. A minute after leaving, she ran back inside, all wide eyed and jittery, "There's a scary man out there."


"There's a man out there, in the forest, and he's screaming bloody murder." (this has never happened before by the way, it's actually quite peaceful and quiet where we live.)

I opened the window and leaned an ear outside. He was far away, I could hear that, and at first his voice, not pausing for English words but more of a long, rolling roar, sounded like a pack of dogs, fighting. There was terrible energy in it - like he was possessed.

I looked up the phone number for the local police department, called the cops, and then crawled into bed to do the traditional kicking, flailing, running-man, water-tread dance we do to warm the covers .. and no, this isn't a euphemism for our husband and wifery, it's what we do when the sheets are so cold they feel icy wet ; ) Works like a charm !

nighty night ; )


   ps. ..  the Winter is officially blowing in - one - our tempurpedic pillows are frozen in our bed when we get home, and -two- I can see my breath in the air each morning when I say, "Good morning, Miss Muffet, time to get up ; )" Gotta find a safe heater for this season - last Winter was a killer for these beach bums. ..