Tractor Envy at the Fair

For many years growing up, my year was driven by the 4H Fair. I didn’t have any cool animals like horses or cows. My area was sewing. I have been this tall almost since birth so making my own clothes was necessary, and I enjoyed it (both being tall and sewing). In fall I would get to pick out a pattern and the fabric for the outfit I would work on all winter. My mother insisted on plaids as she said they were harder to work with and would impress the judges more.

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Getting together with the other girls in my 4H group every week, the goal was to work on our project and help each other. More talking than work was done – and we were giving up watching The Monkees on TV that night. So as spring arrived, we had a fashion show to prepare for. It was the week before that all the work got done. There were tears and ripping out of seams and redoing to make the stitches neater. But, then the Saturday would come when all the 4H groups from the county would get together and we would model our fashion projects.

I could make a mean plaid outfit!

I could make a mean plaid outfit!

We would be judged and blue (1st place), red (2nd), and white (3rd) ribbons would be awarded. Then couldn’t wear our clothing until the summer 4H fair judging and display. I can still describe all of my projects.

I was curious how the Hudsonville Fair, which included 4H exhibits, would compare. I did not go until the last day of it. The animals and the care needed for them was the same. Camping out at the Fair and sleeping on straw with the animals still goes on.

 Prize Beet

Prize Beet

The sewing projects were all very simple (no plaids) and were either in glass cases or out of reach. The food items had been on display all week under plastic in open-air buildings and most had developed coverings of mold. The vegetables and flowers were droopy and withered. There was a whole building for businesses to have booths – like a local convention area.

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There were the usual Fair Treats – various items involving frying and sugar – the stuff that will not only kill you but make you suffer as soon as you eat it. Several churches had areas where they served food and had tables to eat at. I went up to one order area that listed pie. I asked if it was homemade as kinda the whole point of this fair was to highlight local and homemade. “No, we used to have homemade, but we can’t anymore because of government rules,” the woman at the order window informed me. Sigh.

I did enjoy the heavy equipment display.

This I could use for clearing snow off the driveway.

This I could use for clearing snow off the driveway.

There were no window stickers like on cars, so can’t even imagine how much they cost.

Could use this in pothole season.

Could use this in pothole season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way out, stopped by the rabbit barn. I had rabbits growing up, just as pets, not as fair exhibits. I had a white rabbit, Petunia, as a pet and we “loaned” it to Mary Post so “it would have babies”. Mary brought me a baby rabbit, it was so cute. I asked her when Petunia was coming back.

Not Petunia

Not Petunia

She looked a little puzzled, “We ate it.”

 

Blueberries and Book Booths

Yes, again, it was all about the blueberries – The Blueberry Festival in South Haven, MI. We drove 45 minutes to get the South Haven, spent another 45 minutes finding parking and walking from parking. Really crowded – just wanted blueberries and a pie. There was a sea of all things crafty – jewelry, baked goods, doll clothes, things that you didn’t even know could be made out of other things.

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I was overwhelmed by the masses of people, so I didn’t get too close to the vendors.┬áBut, I noticed something I had not ever seen before – authors with their own booths.

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Two authors had written books set in Michigan and were there to sell books and greet their fans. So, for any of you looking for a good novel and want to support a Michigan author, here are the links to their websites: David B. Burch and Chris Zimmerman.
I am currently reading a book set in Michigan recommended by one of my high school classmates that I recently interviewed, Starvation Lake, by Bryan Gruley. It’s a mystery set in Northern Michigan and I’m learning about hockey and small town newspapers as I get pulled into the story.

Hey – it’s August – go sit outside with some Michigan wine and a blueberry scone and read a book.

I’m just here for the blueberries

 

Michigan is the #1 state for blueberry production with over 110 million pounds produced every year. Thirty-two percent of the blueberries grown in the U.S. are grown in Michigan.

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Most of the blueberry bushes are within 30 miles of my house (that works out nice). For my part – I promise to eat blueberries several times a day and make blueberry muffins until the season ends, or my friends beg me to stop.

While I was on the Michigan State Blueberry website, I learned, among other things, that there is a job title of “Small Fruit Pathologist” at MSU. My guidance counselor never mentioned this to me as a career option. Although I probably would have had to take a math class.

Is Chicago style with mustard?

I have been invited to a gathering involving grilled animal flesh and adult beverages tomorrow night. I have been asked to bring potato salad. I’d offered a couple other suggestions – but, was asked to bring potato salad.
Simple basic potato salad. For a summer gathering this is like being assigned the sweet potato dish at Thanksgiving. The potato dish is mandatory and everyone has a very set rule about what they like or is traditional. So, really, a minefield.
I don’t make potato salad – I don’t have a recipe. Jewel and Meijer have my recipe. There is no sense making a two person batch. Potato salad is for multitudes. I have counted on the culinary kindness of family and friends to make the vat that is needed for these events. I remember for a time in my 20s,(and still my comfort food now) any gathering menu consisted of ham buns (with butter), potato salad, baked beans, and fruit salad. Just making that list brought me back to summers at Sheldon Dunes with my Dad, Ginny, and Diane. There was much laughing and chocolate chip cookies.
I went to epicurious.com and found a couple candidates for my recipe. Like the Thanksgiving sweet potatoes ( marshmallows or not), so my potato salad (mustard or not). I will have to peel potatoes and hope that I can do some good hardboiled eggs – both things I never do.
If all turns out well, I may post a picture on my Facebook page. If not, this will never be spoken of again.