Friday, August 17, 2007

Where the Wild Things Are

I guess this is the season for state fairs, county fairs, and on the island of Martha's Vineyard, the annual Ag(ricultural) Fair. Every year the farmers on our road pack up their animals for a 4 day stay at the Fair. One of their pigs, Hilda (which was my mother-in-law's name so I'm very fond of her) gets trucked up to the Fair in her own pickup. That's how big she is! She is one impressive pig. One year the pigs got loose and came to our place for a visit. Have you ever seen pigs root? Have you ever seen the damage they can do to a lawn in a couple of minutes? Sometimes the cows get loose and come to visit, too. And this year 5 horses dropped by. They all leave something behind. (Though when you have 20 wild turkeys hanging out morning and evening, you get used to piles of poop.)

But George's favorite year was the year of the duck. Don't know why these two white ducks (with fancy names) decided to cross the road and summer at our place, but they did. George found an egg one of them had laid (no nest, just dropped in the grass). As it turned out that wasn't the only egg -- but it's the only one George decided to eat. I tried to dissuade him but he cooked it anyway. He described it as very rich but delicious. These are the perks of living across a narrow dirt road from a farm. But, don't get me wrong -- we love it!

So when my daughter, Randy, came up for the weekend I convinced her to go to the Ag Fair with me. I used to take my grandson every year but he's not here this weekend and anyway, at 16, he's not going to hang with me or his mom -- how embarrassing would that be!

Since I'm writing a story about Jake and Abigail (the Pain and the Great One) at the Fair, I needed a couple of details -- how much were they charging per ride this year (an unbelievable $5 worth of tickets!) Was the Gravitron still there (No). Were they using Porta-Potties (Yes, but there was also a rest room inside the Ag Hall.) At the "water gun" game -- you know the one -- where you compete with others, shooting a stream of water at a target and whoever's marker makes it to the top first, wins a prize -- I convinced Randy to play (that game may be in my story). And much to her surprise and embarrassment, Randy won! (Randy is a grown-up.) She got a blue and white stuffed pony as her prize.

"What am I going to do with this?" she kept asking. "I have to find a little girl who'd like it." So she waited until the next game, and when a little girl, maybe 6 or 7 didn't win, Randy offered her the pony. The little girl couldn't believe it. You should have seen her face as she looked to her mom, then her dad, then back to her mom -- and when they said, Yes, she could have the pony, she was thrilled! We had a camera along for just such a moment but neither of us remembered to use it. Oh well. So now I have all the answers to my questions about the Fair and can finish my story (except, of course, I'm writing in my blog instead! I suppose I'll get the hang of this and only blog after my work day).

This morning, right outside my writing cabin was this yellow bird. I'm going right up to my bird book to find out what he is.

Hope you're having a wild August, too.

PS The little yellow bird is an American Goldfinch. And the funny thing is, when I found his entry in the birdbook, there was a handwritten note --summer of 2002. So I'd looked him up five years ago! So much for my bird memory.