Last Sunday we went to the state fair, which is conveniently within shouting distance of our house (like, if it weren't for the highway traffic, given the right breeze, I'm sure we could hear the shouting during the louder concerts.). We have an established rule that we ride absolutely no rides at the fair. Don't even consider it. Nope. It never even comes up and we never go near them. We're far too busy with the seeing and doing to bother with the sitting. We started in the horse barns and watched a few horse competitions. The kids have had a horse competition bug ever since we picked up a card came about horses (Horse Show) at a garage sale this summer. Suddenly they're experts on everything from equitation to equipage. From there we toured the horse barns where the boys got to pet a passing competitor; then to the cow barns where we watched some more competitions and cooed over the calves. Over the day we went to the majority of the other larger animal barns (sheep, llamas, pigs, goats) but skipped the poultry and rabbits. We spent over an hour in the 4H buildings admiring kids' projects. Most of the booths have 4H-er's working at the tables and have a craft the kids can do. They made rope, planted a bunch of seeds, tinkered with robots, etc. Someone was there demonstrating service dogs (seeing eye and other services) and there were baby chicks and ducklings and more.
From there we saw a calf being born. They'd arranged to have several heavily pregnant cows there in hopes that a few would deliver during the days. There was! We didn't stay to see the whole thing, but did get to see some front legs and a nose come out.
Oh, and Katie and I geeked out in the wool tent and even sat in the demonstrating area doing some drop spindle spinning for an hour or so. All the other spinners had fancy spinning wheels, but we're happy doing the drop spindle for now (though I wouldn't turn away a nice ball-bearing foot-pedal spindle; no sirree.)
What else? We toured a little museum of old carriages and found there was a real blacksmith in the back who did demonstrations, so we watched one.
We toured the agricultural history museum where Jorge got to help weave a chair seat.
We watched this artist (his etsy shop) making Turkish Marbled Papers under an outdoor tent. Katie chatted with him for 30 minutes, asked about certain techniques and watched as he demonstrated them. If he were not a 20 hour drive away, she would have signed on for an apprenticeship there and then.
We ate burgers and hot dogs and I had a huge Greek salad with grilled chicken. Several sno cones/slushies were destroyed in the process.
We toured the on-site Onondaga Reservation area, including a long house. Jorge and August both got beaded leather bracelets.
We watched a parade.
We toured the arts-and-homes building, including a huge room of toy trains, and admired the artwork of highschoolers and crafts of adults.
And on. and on. and on.
We ended, as always, with treats by the lighted reflecting pond/fountains. Sno-cones, candy apples, and dippin' dots as desired. And then a lot of over-tired boys crying and screaming, because--as it turns out--we live a life with three human children.
We also got each kid an unlimited ride bracelet early in the afternoon and let them go nuts. They more than made up for the price compared to individual tickets. There are almost never lines for anything, meaning you never wait more than the 1-2 minutes it takes for the current ride to end, so they were on and off and back on to another. By late afternoon we were exhausted and headed to grandma's to have dinner and some quiet time. We stopped again on our way home to ride each ride a few more times now that their lights were all on. The kids lasted well past 9PM and then slept like bricks all night.
Today we had our last day of summer vacation. Jorge has a half-day orientation tomorrow (he starts a new classroom with new teachers. I'm nervous for him. How can I tell? I ironed kid clothing today. Like, tshirts and shorts. I have never done that. Clearly a nervous energy on my part. But, better spent steaming and pressuring some totally un-necessary tshirts and shorts than the actual kid (for whom it would be equally unnecessary but much more frustrating)). Katie spent most of the day at a friend's house, the boys bounced around the house, and we admired a rainbow in the late afternoon rainstorm, Jorge made an apple dumpling dessert (I forgot to add that mid-week we went to a local apple-picking place and got 100+ apples which we have been processing into applesauce and apple butter and other apple treats), and everyone is now in bed.