Skookumchuck Farm has been a massive hub of activity since I last wrote, but that's not why I haven't updated the blog. I realized this morning that perhaps by not putting in writing what is so occupying my every waking thought (and some dreams, too), denial could prevail and maybe I could undo what I've gotten myself into...
I'm taking Annabel and T-Bone to the fair. To show them.
Actually, two fairs: Grays Harbor County Fair (Aug. 5-9, show on the 6th) and the biggie, Puyallup Fair (a.k.a. Western Washington State Fair, Sept. 16-21, show on the 18th). I had no intention whatsoever of showing the calves, and was quite confident I wouldn't have the opportunity anyway since we don't have a trailer to haul them in.
Enter Tom, our Northwest Highland Cattle Association president, who heard through the grapevine that I might someday like to show our animals. Oh, the peer pressure, it was unbearable! Actually, he was very nice and convincing, and even offered to loan Paul and me their small trailer that they won't be using to haul the animals in. And Paul has no problem hauling for me, even though the kiddos have to arrive late and leave late on work nights for Grays Harbor, and even though he'll have to take time off work to haul them to Puyallup for me. Wow.
So, after running around like headless chicken and asking 5 million people 6 billion questions, about everything I have to pull together before August 4th, I have finally kicked it into high gear. The kiddos have their new fancy leather show halters with the chain chin straps, I have a show stick, some instructions to practice bathing the calves before we get there so it's not such a shock to them at the fairgrounds, scrambling to design business cards and a stall display for my area, gathering extra supplies I never knew I'd need, like a show stick for encouraging the calves to set their feet in a nice way, shampoo (in our case I'll do the recommended hint to use dish soap), extra buckets, a small wheelbarrow, a small un-ratty pitchfork and flat shovel (unlike the crappy, well-used ones we have here). I have the calves' registrations pending with our national association, and will be heading out his a.m. with pliers to yank 30-40 hairs out of the base of T-Bone's tail to send in for DNA typing (required for all bulls). Our practice leading/haltering session yesterday was laughable, but I did my best to stay patient, even when Annabel followed right behind T-Bone and me, bumping him in the butt every few steps and being a royal distraction.
Paul pointed out last night the calves are not ready for show (and I agree, _gulp), so I'll be ramping up my practice sessions to twice a day now instead of once, and at his suggestion will pull out the fancy, heavy, clangy black leather halters today so they have more time with them. Meanwhile, I'll be finalizing a logo idea in my head for our business cards, racing to Goodwill to see what manner of decent tablecloths I can find for my stall table, purchasing a locking bin to hold all my supplies at the fairs, etc.
The rewards, though, are many...not only the possibility of winning (and who knows), but ramping up my involvement with Highlands to a brand new, scary level, learning something new (actually, a ton of new things), getting to share my passion for our animals with our association members and the public, being at the fair (I love the livestock exhibits the best anyway, always have), getting our farm's face out there in the world, and maybe, just maybe, finding buyers for Annabel and T-Bone!