Wednesday, August 13, 2008

On cotton candy and animal husbandry

Sorry for the lack of pictures this week. The Big Kids are gone, and I haven't seen them either.

But I have talked to them on the phone, which is always entertaining. Yesterday we talked all about the Iowa State Fair, where they went on Monday.

I love the Iowa State Fair. It is, in my opinion, the only state fair worth attending in the entire nation. In recent years it's become something of a national media phenomenon. I'm not sure why, because it's exactly the same now as when I was a kid. Lots of animals, lots of cowpies to step around, hot as all get-out, fried anything (macaroni and cheese, twinkies, snickers, cheese curds, anything), a highly questionable Midway, monster trucks, concerts, the Bill Riley Talent Show (where my dear sister performed as a child).... It's all still there, same as I remember in 1976.

Jensen was most excited about the cotton candy he got. Evidently Grandpa was a little unhappy about this choice, since it results in head-to-toe stickiness. But Jensen was thrilled. (I would have gone for the funnel cake myself, but it's his life.) He also really liked the sky ride thing, where you sit (unrestrained!) in a ski lift apparatus and ride above the entire fair. (This scares me. And if you look down from the ride, you can see the occasional flip-flop that has fallen to its untimely demise....)

Evan. That kid is a sucker for any kind of animal, so he was in (cheap joke) hog heaven. I heard about the farm animals in quite a bit of detail. There's a hog farrowing display where they have a bunch of terminally-pregnant momma piggies who actually give birth at the fair in front of everyone, and then you get to ogle the cute new pink babies. (At that point in my pregnancies, I probably would have let anyone watch who wanted to, too... porcine or human, we're all beyond caring by then.) They also had a display where lots of different poultry-type animals were hatching out of their eggs. Very exciting for little Evan. Evidently at this same display they showed a video of a calf being born with the assistance of chains (being "pulled" is the technical name for it, I believe), but I don't think he caught that. Very informative, the State Fair.

I don't know whether they saw the Big Pig. This is the highlight of my fair visits. For you city folk, every year they select the biggest boar and put him on display. These boars are taller than I am, when they actually stand up. Which they don't do very often, because they're too damn big to bear their own weight. And here's the thing about the Big Boars (this gets a little indelicate, so skip the next sentence or two if you're easily-offended): they have testicles the size of basketballs. (Or, as Jensen refers to them, "nachos." Remember, I'm the only girl in a house of four boys, so "nachos" are discussed with some regularity around here.) That's what everyone is secretly looking at, even if they're pretending not to. Every once in a while you'll actually hear a gasp of amazement....

Anyway, they went to the Fair and had an awesome time and Evan fell asleep on the way back to the car and has animal stories galore now and they ate cotton candy and didn't get stuck to each other. I kinda wish I'd been there....

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