CA State Fair – 2017

Someone commented on a social media post something to the effect “It takes a village–no, it takes a Farm Club.” That’s so true. Farm Club came through again with helping me at the State Fair. Some other of our fiber friends were there as well.

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This is what the main part of the display looked like. When you set up a display at a fair, the first thing you have to figure out is how to make walls. There are no walls, just sheep pens. A few years ago I came up with the idea of using corrugated tin. Do you ever see those DIY or garden makeover shows? They buy tin and then spray it with acid to make it look old. We don’t need to do that. We just go out back and find plenty of beat up, rusty tin.

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The signs are mostly about Farm Club and include plenty of pretty pictures of sheep. I also had continuously running videos of the farm and sheep. That’s Jackie, Mary, Dona, and Doris spinning and making themselves available to talk to the hundreds of people who came by. DSC_2628

People admired Alison’s vest. The yarn is some that I spun during Tour de Fleece but plied at the fair.

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This year I added a Touching Table.

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Greenery is part of the scoring–or at least plant material is mentioned in some of the criteria. (20% Effective use of display materials. Paper, wood, metal, plastic, plants, etc.) I am always irritated that I have to go out and buy plants that I don’t need. It’s not that easy to find ones that look good for a display like this and then I can plant and keep alive here later. So this year I dug up shovel-fulls of the pasture and labeled them as such. Even though they weren’t “pretty” it made much more sense to me.

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Deborah, Alison, and Kathleen were there on Friday.

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This year signs in English and Spanish and having the plants and white chain (see upper photo) in front of the ram pen helped keep people away. Does it seem like overkill? The white chain was the last thing to take away when we packed up. When we went back in the barn to halter the sheep there was someone in the alleyway yanking on Buster’s horns. What can I say?

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I don’t mind the ewes having any attention they can handle. This is Vixen who learned that chin scratches are nice.

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Jude and Dona spinning on Saturday.

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Saturday was show day. I had cleaned the sheep up the day before, including scrubbing Buster’s horns.

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Here are the sheep at the ring ready to go.

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Yearling rams showed first. Buster was the easiest ram that I’ve shown in the last few years. I don’t see a blog post with a photo of him after I got him, but there is a photo here of him last October. He won his class and then was awarded Reserve Champion Ram of the Primitive Breeds Division.

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Doris was a huge help. She had her sheep showing debut at Black Sheep Gathering and she looked like a pro here. These sheep are the ewe lambs, Jolene and Jennie.DSC_8771

The next to last class is “Flock”. That’s one ram and four ewes. Not the best pose by Vixen, crossing her legs.

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The last class is “Best Pair”. I pay attention to what the judge says and use the two that he likes best. That’s the lamb, Jolene, and Buster.

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Most of my ribbons were red or white because there were some top notch Karakuls also entered in the show. They swept most of the awards. I’m happy with this award though and am satisfied with the others. The big competition was still to be determined.

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I reward myself each day with cold chocolate milk. Fair time and road trips are the only time I allow myself the luxury.

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Speaking of showing sheep, aren’t you glad you aren’t showing Suffolk sheep? Not only do you have to do all the work of fitting, they are the size of ponies.

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Back at the sheep pens, more spinning going on. This is Pat, Dona, and Susan’s husband (and Susan) who learned to spin just before I took this photo.

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And speaking of learning to spin, we added a couple of other new spinners to the ranks. I met Louis across the aisle from us. He is with Eureka Mohair and asked if he could try a wheel because he had started spinning on a spindle. I brought an extra wheel the next day and there was no looking back. He did well on the Ashford Traditional but decided that his favorite was the Ashford Joy.

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And this is my view of helping an 8-year old to spin. I treadled while he drafted.

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Eventually he was able to spin mostly by himself. (That full bobbin is mine however–I just let him add to it.) His family was showing sheep and he was glad to hang out with the rest of us who were spinning.

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The first day I plied his yarn and he wore it as a bracelet. The next day’s spinning made enough to be worn as a necklace. (He was also very excited about his henna tattoo.)

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On Sunday afternoon the Supreme Champion Ram and Ewe are selected from the Champions of each breed. This is the ram class. Southdown, Montedale, Dorper, White Dorper, Wether Sire, Dorset, Suffolk, Karakul (Primitive Breeds), Merino (Wool & Fiber Heritage Breed)  , Hampshire, Shropshire, Columbia, Natural Colored (can’t see that one), and All Other Breeds. In between the ram and the ewe class the other awards are announced.

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We did OK. This is 1st in Herdsman, Best Educational Presentation (sheep), Best Educational Presentation (all the livestock), Most Creative (Marketing), 2nd in Marketing Program. Thanks Farm Club and friends!!!

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5 thoughts on “CA State Fair – 2017

  1. Well done, you! It’s obvious that you’d done so very much hard prep. I’m glad the judges acknowledged it.

    Now go reward yourself with another chocolate milk. And give the sheep some of their favorite crunchies.

  2. OMG! You guys ROCK! I came by on the last day but unfortunately everyone was packing up … sorry I missed you!

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