Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I unintentionally omitted one giant detail in my county fair post.

I took second place in the women's straw bale toss! It's probably my proudest achievement at the fair this year. Especially considering last year I am pretty sure I placed last.

We just happened to be up at the show barn on the evening of the competition and I jumped in line to try my hand at it. I was expecting a repeat of last year's embarrassment but I ended up throwing the bale 26 feet.

That's right, girlfriend got strong.

A Hidden Little Gem

Remember the day I put my husband up for sale? I was so furious that he raided my sewing room for items he considered "farm supplies." I was right in the middle of a project and he had stolen what I needed. It would have taken me at least an hour and a half to drive to the nearest fabric store and back to buy the  replacements. Or so I thought.

That's until I discovered this little treasure near the farm. It's a fabric store that has been in business since 1972. I had driven by the place several times in the past, but completely forgot about it until the other day.

It only takes 5 minutes to get there from the farm. I didn't think there was anything within five minutes of the farm, except other farms. How mistaken I was. I have a new little mecca in the middle of nowhere.

Now when I said this place has been open since the 70's, I also quickly found out that meant a lot of the inventory was from the 70's. But among the bold 80's prints...

and Navajo iron-ons for your jean jackets...

they've got all of the basics that I need.

From fabrics and threads,

to buttons and a lifetime supply of animal prints... I shall never go without.

And for some reason, I find myself having to practice great restraint around the cheetah, zebra, leopard and cow prints. (I definitely have a hidden trashy side that loves furs and animal prints. Pair it with some gawdy jewelry and I am hot to trot.)

My favorite has to be the pattern catalogs. Judging by the pictures, I am going to guess they haven't been updated since the early 80's.

The owner is this hilarious older man. He only has the store open for six months in the spring and summer each year. Come the end of September, he (smartly) runs off to his other home in Florida for six months. That's gotta be the life, huh?

He doesn't know it yet, but he's going to be my new best friend.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The County Fair

I love county fairs. Between the fried food, people watching and cowboys ... I am pretty sure it's as close to heaven as you can get. And I have been in heaven all week long.

It's also the farm wife version of the Olympics. It's farm wives' chance to show that they ain't messing around when it comes to their quilts and canned preserves. And I can proudly say I placed in all of my sports (if you consider that one pesky honorable mention).

I decided to enter a couple of aprons this year to see if I really had what it takes to create my apron empire (you know, the one that is going to make me rich).

That blob of fabric is my entry for the "fancy apron" category. They smoosh them all together under a clear plastic tablecloth to "display" them for everyone to see. This apron got first place in its category. And my other one took second in the kitchen apron category. So I now have the validation I need to continue on with my apron empire. I will call my banker tomorrow morning and warn him that the millions are going to start rolling in shortly.

I entered strawberry jam and plum jelly like I do every year. I got third place and an honorable mention ribbon. Blah. I guess I should be happy given all of the competition.

We briefly walked through the midway last night but didn't ride any rides. My husband is convinced that the second he gets on the ferris wheel, that will be the time it tips over and collapses. But you better believe that I will go back tonight and at least partake in some funnel cake and fried oreos.

The beef barns are my favorite. And of course I have a soft spot in my heart for the Herefords.

But it was the baby goats that really stole my heart this year. If they would just stay that size, I would probably have a house full of them.

We end each fair night at the main event, which varies from truck and tractor pulls, to demolition derbies and tough truck competitions. Not exactly my cup of tea. I'm just there for the people watching. And last night's demolition derby was a gold mine. I have no idea where these people come from.

My favorites are the people who wear fake spurs, pleather boots with shiny metal decorative tips and shirts with lightening bolts, wolverines and/or running horses -- thinking their wardrobe trickery will fool us into thinking they are real cowboys. And then there is the new trend around here of chicks who tuck their skinny jeans into their lace-up work boots. Huh? Really? I'm no fashionista, but even I know that outfits like that will eventually lead to a life of wearing muumuus and house shoes around town.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Wild Wild West

No, I didn't die. Or disappear. I just escaped to Colorado for a week and a half.
I am thinking about getting a second throw pillow made that says "You never know how much your children are willing to mooch off of you until you own a cabin." My parents built a vacation home in the Rockies a few years back.

Believe it or not, I'm not the biggest offender for once. I visit the cabin about once every year and a half. My brother seems to be there just about every other month.

It was the perfect backdrop for an escape from the summer heat. And for getting spoiled by my doting parents.

I brought my little dog Banjo with me, too. The "granddog" got far more attention that I could ever hope for though.

Here is a montage of what his lazy butt did for 10 days...
Somewhere towards day 8 he realized there was a nice view outside.
That's when he decided to spend the duration of his stay on top of the couch so he could see the scenery a little better.
He's no dummy. He's got the best seat in the house.
He did get a little bent out of shape when I would leave him to go on my daily excursions.
So I took him for a couple of 4-wheeler rides to satisfy his curiosity. Chihuahuas aren't really made for the rugged outdoors.

I am sure it is probably highly illegal, but I picked a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers. But by time I got down the mountain to give them to my mother, they had been jostled into nasty juicy shreds.

This is my rear-end... bringing back the early 90's, one fanny pack at a time.

My dad seems to think that since his camera came with a fanny-pack case, that's the best and only way to transport it. I had the pleasure of doing so on our hikes. At least it was black pleather. That's way better than that neon crap. Or maybe not.

He also thinks aqua socks are cool and couldn't understand my fit of laughter when I saw him wearing them. I hadn't seen those things since our family vacation to Virginia Beach when I was 10.

But let's be honest, if you saw what was going on under those water shoes you'd be happy he wore them. He's not exactly up for any foot model of the year awards.

One of my new favorite spots is the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort. It was so relaxing after a day of 4-wheeling and hiking.

I promised my mother no bathing suit shots. Sorry to those of you who are disappointed. I am sure you were waiting with bated breath to see what we look like in our tankinis... except those of you who are smart and want to keep your lunch down.

And you know it wouldn't be a true farm wife retreat without some sewing. I recruited my mom for a 10-day unpaid apprenticeship to make aprons. She gladly accepted. (Not that she had much of a choice)

The highlight was when I got to attend her "Stitch'n'Bitch" luncheon. Once a year she gets together with the other ladies on the mountain to show off their projects, talk about their husbands and gossip about the neighbors. I was about 40-50 years younger than most of them, but was highly impressed with their spunk and sassiness. These were my kind of ladies.
All in all, it was a fantastic trip. And where better to take a family portrait to commemorate it all than on the back deck next to the garden hose? Sweet. We are too casual of a family to realize that there are million dollar views in the front of the house. Nope, I think we'll just stand right here.