Friday, September 2, 2011

poultry barn or pottery barn...

we started our homeschool year monday with a field trip to the colorado state fair.  in the three and a half years we've lived here, this was our maiden voyage to steamy pueblo.  i can say, without a doubt or the least bit of hesitation, that we will make it a yearly event.

the car ride there consisted of a lesson on how and when state fairs originated (detroit, 1849) and why they were held.  it was certainly not to employee seemingly countless "carn-ees", much to the dismay of the children.  nor was it to consume mass quantities of sugary dough fried in fat or glorified lemonade that costs several dollars an ounce.

so, with our focus on experiencing a "real" state fair, we jumped off the shuttle, entered the gates and headed straight for the 4h building.  it was inspiring to see all the fiber art, fine art, baked goods, canned goods, apparel, leather goods and more made by young 4h'ers from all over the state.  it certainly whet olivia's appetite for her first 4h meeting next friday and even wrangled in ethan to participate.  he only had to see the gun stands and displays of bow and arrows to sign on the dotted line.

next, we made our way to the animal buildings.  the kids and i fell in love with several hundred rabbits, chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigeons and a sweet pig named teacup.  we hit it at just the right time to catch the "sheep show".  the kids watched other kids show their prize sheep and learned what makes a winning specimen.

the next building housed the dairy cows and bulls.  marcus managed to irritate a bull enough that he snorted on olivia and i was convinced was going to take the massive steel gate down.  we backed away from there and found good ole' bessie.  she was a dairy cow that the kids and i had the opportunity to milk.  as the warm milk dribbled down audrey's hand she said, "it's warm milk, mom!"  yep.  it doesn't just come from inside the fridge, audge.  bessie was incredibly sweet, so even evelyn felt confident enough to crawl right up under that huge animal and give it a try.

several hours had passed and we were all getting hungry.  so, we let the kids have one ride each at the amusement park.  olivia passed on the rides saying, "the animals were enough for her".  audge rode her first mini roller coaster, hands up the whole time.  ev was just happy we got to take the shuttle bus back to the parking garage and the boys went on some spinning vortex thing i couldn't even look at.  then we were off in search of a renowned pizza joint in pueblo, angelo's.  we had our sights set on a 26" monster pizza and darn near finished it.  needless to say, it was a quiet ride home and an early night for all.

to be totally honest, i would love to farm.  marcus and i actually picked up paperwork on it.  we have long wanted to own some land and goats.  i'd rather be in a poultry barn than pottery barn anyday.  i'm not even sure how i know that, as i don't frequent many poultry barns.  but even just a taste of that life with a visit to the state fair, well, i found my happy place.  it's definitely not the beach.  or even the lake, although that's a close second.  wide open spaces, animals, elbow grease balanced by sweet simplicity and a strong sense of purpose.  i'll sign on that dotted line.