three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy
A Day at the Fair
Recently a group of us from Franke Tobey Jones spent the day at the Washington State Fair. There’s so much to see there that it’s hard to decide what to feature, but here are three things that amused me (click on any photo to see a larger version):
Another miscellaneous list for Three Things Thursday, the purpose of which is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”
1. Potty Parity?
I had never seen a pink PortaPotty. As you’d expect, this one is labeled Women.
Photographed in the parking lot at the Washington State Fair.
2. Water Conservation
This sign happens to be on our front lawn, but we’ve been seeing them all over town since Tacoma joined the cities of Everett and Seattle in a voluntary water conservation effort.
According to Tacoma Public Utilities, “Over the last six weeks, the region has collectively cut back water use by 14 percent.” This conservation effort has been especially important now because salmon are swimming up river to spawn. Both lowered levels of streams and warmer-than-usual water temperatures can adversely affect the salmon run. The Green River, Tacoma’s primary water source, is home to chinook salmon, a threatened species.
Because we’ve had a bit of rain recently, our lawns don’t look as bad as they might have otherwise.
3. Profound Philosophical Pondering
It’s so hard to find a really good T-shirt nowadays. Many of them are just plain raunchy. I was delighted to find this one on our recent trip to Leavenworth, WA.
Here’s the latest installment of Three Things Thursday, the purpose of which is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”
Nuggets of Knowledge from the Washington State Fair
In the post about our recent trip to the Washington State Fair, I wrote about our visit to the animal barns. One of the things that makes this visit so much fun is seeing how the kids from FFA (Future Farmers of America) and the various 4-H Clubs invest in their animals. Looking at the displays that accompany the animals, it’s evident that these are not just fair projects; these animals are pets that the kids genuinely love.
On our first visit to the fair many years ago, we were especially enthralled by a poster put up by a child, age 10, about how to be a good shepherd. The poster listed all the steps that a good shepherd does to care for his sheep properly. The final item was “Docks the tails.”
This brought tears to my eyes. Can’t you just imagine a child being absolutely horrified when told he has to clip his lambs’ tails—until he learns the reason why (to prevent the tails from becoming encrusted with fecal matter)? And I can imagine him still having trouble actually doing the docking, even though he knows he has to, for the sheep’s sake.
This year we saw a young girl stretched out on the hay in a pen next to her reclining llama. (The llama was longer than she was.) One adolescent girl, while fondling her goat’s head, told us that this goat is “super sweet.” Everywhere we saw kids petting, nuzzling, grooming, and talking to their animals.
The signs and posters that the kids make to accompany their animals show how much they’ve learned from raising them. Here are three nuggets of knowledge I learned in the animal barns this year.
For more than 100 years the fair held annually in Puyallup (pew-Al-up), Washington, was known as the Puyallup Fair. I know this because I used to have a pencil (unfortunately lost in our recent move) emblazoned with “Puyallup Fair 100 Years” that my daughter sent me in 2000. The fair’s tagline was “Do the Puyallup!” But in 2013 somebody (I’d keep my name out of it, too, if I had been responsible) came up with the brilliant idea to rename the fair the Washington State Fair. Whoever did this agreed to retain the “Do the Puyallup!” tagline, but it’s just not the same. According to the Washington State Fair Facebook page:
It’s a fact that since our beginning in 1900, our name has changed four times; the Valley Fair, to the Western Washington Fair, to the Puyallup Fair and most recently to the Washington State Fair. For over 60 years the fair was known as the Western Washington Fair. Our previous name, The Puyallup Fair, is a name that will always mean a lot to us, as well as the people that helped make this the great Fair it is today. We still love to hear the old “Do the Puyallup” jingle and we are proud to host the Fair in Puyallup every year. Puyallup will always be an important aspect of our identity, but the name change allows the rest of Washington to feel connected to the Fair as well.
But I digress. Today our activities director drove about 10 of us down for a visit to the Washington State Fair. On a weekday after the start of school, the grounds were not at all crowded, and we had gorgeous weather.
The fall fair began in 1900 as a way to showcase the crops that flourished in the rich soil of the Puyallup River valley. (See related post for more background.) Since then it has grown to include farm animals and produce from all over the state, as well as carnival games, rides, vendor booths, and LOTS of food.
But my husband F. and I headed straight for this year’s featured exhibit, Star Trek: The Exhibition, which traces the history of the Star Trek franchise from the original 1960s television series up through the latest motion picture. We got to see lots of photos, costumes, and props from the various television shows, as well as a 7/8 scale mock-up of the bridge from the original series. (It had to be downsized a bit so that it could be moved.)
(Click on any photo to see a larger version.)
We were not allowed to take photos inside the exhibit, but the link above will take you to the exhibit’s official web site featuring lots of photos and video clips.
After that we headed for the animal barns. There were lots of traditional farm animals on display. My grandfather was a dairy farmer, and I have a soft spot in my heart for cows. But I’ll restrict myself to just one photo:
Most of the sheep had been shorn within a few days of the fair:
I was expecting them all to look like this:
But one of the youngsters displaying sheep explained that they have to be shorn for competition because the judges want to be able to see their bodies, not just their wool.
There were also lots of goats, pigs, and rabbits. Another animal that I did not realize is so popular with 4-H kids is the llama:
Next we took a look at the fruits, vegetables, and flowers. A lot of people won ribbons for their flowers:
I am always fascinated by the artworks created by Grange chapters across the state out of their local products. One that particularly caught my eye was this one featuring a replica of the Washington State flag:
And of course there were awards for the state’s largest pumpkins and squashes:
For lunch we chose The Mad Greek because I arrived at the fair hoping I could find a gyro. I was so busy eating that I forgot to take a photo. But these are a few of the MANY other eateries available:
I’ll end with a photo of an iconic fair ride that also shows what a beautiful day it was.