Rules For The Fair
(These rules are for humans AND critters alike. These rules are to be taken literally AND figuratively.)
- NO COMPLAINING
- Do Your Best
- Try not to poop on your neighbor
Once moved into the fair, the long days of caring begins for the critters that are on display. This is a large County Fair, and big crowds meander through the barns to come see the animals. Some of these people had never seen a farm animal before. This year, several of the cattle exhibitors had stated that their cows had been mistaken for horses by visitors.
As one couple was walking past our heifers, I heard a loud exclamation, “I didn’t know bulls peed out their butt!” The other person quietly filled her in that it wasn’t a bull, it was a heifer and that it wasn’t the poop hole that the pee was coming from. I’m glad that the second half of the couple was able to take care of the situation because I was so busy biting my tongue and holding my breath from fear of busting out laughing, I would not have been able to hold a reasonable conversation with anyone for several minutes after that exchange.
Throughout the week, shenanigans and horseplay in the barns is not only allowed but expected as the owners of one set of animals pays visits to other owners. Farmers and ranchers are a sneaky bunch and try to get a good laugh in during their work once in a while.
One farmer was sitting on a straw bale visiting with the owners on the other side of the barn from his own animals. H weas telling a story about his bull calf and was leaning forward on the bale to get his point across. One of the guys listening to the story, saw the ‘plumber crack’ of the leaning storyteller. He had a perfect shot and couldn’t help but pour a cup of water in to fill the crack. The story ended abruptly, but all in a good-natured way after a lot of hopping around from the storyteller.
Another funny happened when one rancher (male) walked by another rancher (female) and he gave her a ‘wet willy’ as he walked by. The female startled and as she jumped, bumped the male ranchers education table and sent pamphlets, pictures, weed identification samples and various papers flying across the tack area. It took the male quite a while to get everything back into order from his little spoof. He said it was worth every minute of work to clean his area back up to standards.
In one seating area, a farmer was tuckered out from caring for his show cattle and fell asleep in his chair. A sign was attached over his head that read ‘DON”T POKE THE BEAR!” He didn’t find the sign until he woke from hearing giggles as the fair visitors passed his sleeping bulk.
All these antics were from the adults in the barn! The kids had their own fun going on but it was hard to keep track of all adventures along with caring for the critters.
The animals got into the act of having a good time also. Unexpected leaps or jumps as the critter was walked for exercise was to be expected from animals that are used to being free in the pasture. Each critter found their own way of surviving the fair.
When Topper was tired, he would use the front boards to prop his head almost like a pillow.
He looked very uncomfortable and got lots of stares. But he would do this a lot of the time and would snore when he fell asleep adding to the unusual posture.
The bull #71, kept sticking his tail far out into the walking lane. We tied his ropes shorter, but he would spend hours working the ties so that he had more room just so he could re-stick that tail out as far into traffic as he could.
We ended up just keeping the sawdust sprinkled out farther into the alleyway so that his tail was more visible and was never stepped on or run over by stroller.
Stormy, the heifer calf watched as we moved around the animals. She observed us as we got the animals to stand by pushing a knuckle on the critters backbone. It is not painful, just annoying, and it causes the animals stand up.
Stormy would spend her afternoons, forcing her neighbors to stand up by pushing her nose on their backbone. She did this little trick over and over, she was very determined. By the end of the fair she had perfected the annoying little habit and was able to wake up and make stand critters next to her easily.
And then there was Tank. He had the unusual habit of sitting like a dog.
Most cows, especially the larger ones, tend to rock back in order to get their front legs under them to stabilize the front end before pushing with their back legs to stand.
Tank would pause after getting his front legs out and just sit there like a puppy dog for several minutes. His posture brought comments from fair visitors and other exhibitors alike.
I swear if he had a TV remote he would spend the afternoon just sitting and watching his favorite shows.