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Friday, September 23, 2011

The Tale of Two Fairs

WARNING!!!  Not for the faint of heart!  Crazy woman alert!!!! that I have warned you, let me tell you what we did today.

I woke up at 4am and got breakfast ready for the kiddos and then woke the boys up in time to leave the house by 6:30am!  However, we were not alone in this endeavor...we met with four other families to head to the East Texas State Fair!  We found out about a plant identification contest and thought we could use the practice before our big contest in a couple of weeks. 

We arrived just in time to register and find out that the participants would need to know the names of the plants and write them on the answer sheet.  There are 50 plants to learn and half are chosen for the contest.  This is not a lot of names but normally we are given the list and asked to only write the number assigned the plant name.  I think it was a good lesson for us because, honestly, I think our kids should know the plants they are learning without a list.  So, a lesson learned, and we will be ready for next year. 

The best lesson of the day was the grasses that we were finally able to see without looking at a book.  Most of our books have black and white drawings so we have never been able to identify specimens we find.  This contest gave us an opportunity to see specimens and know the name.  Very helpful!!!

We also had time to tour the fair a little as we waited to hear our results.  The boys even found a 4H display, entomology maze with a "Wizard of Oz' theme, wildlife track hands-on activity, and a East Texas Beekeepers booth.  We also found our way to the petting zoo.  Then we watched a man carve an eagle into a log of wood with a chainsaw!!!! 

We later found out our results and were pleased with our scores, even though they were lower than most,  because we knew we had done our best.  I also spoke to one of the judges about obtaining specimens and he directed me in the right direction.  So, all in all it was a good opportunity.

But our day did not end with this contest...

We rushed back home to pick up our basket for our 4H booth and headed back to the Forest Festival.  We continued our promotion of 4H well into the night.  I really enjoyed showing our hive to the passers-by.  It helped me learn more myself.  I was often asked question that I was not sure about the answer.  I don't like it when that happens, so I will have some learning to fill in the gaps of my knowledge.  The boys learned that it is OK to not know the answer and be willing to tell your 'audience' that you don't know.

We stayed at the festival long into the night....not arriving home until almost midnight. 

Oh...and did I mention that I brought along three snakes for the night!  A baby corn snake and two Colombian boas.  Thank goodness they don't need a lot of attention and I can take them back to the fair tomorrow!
We will get up again early tomorrow to head back to the festival and I will wait to tell you how this crazy woman turns into the little old lady that lived in a shoe!

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