Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Poultry Shows

It's been an interesting summer. After returning from the beach life went full-tilt boogie and I've been running to keep up. This time of year is County Fair time all across the country, and here in KY is no exception. My children are 4-H members (of course!) and DH and I are both certified leaders, have been for 7 or 8 years now. Since we have horses, goats, and poultry, we've participated in all of those projects, off and on as the years have passed.

At this point the girls only do the poultry project in 4-H, which is run by the very competent Cathy Sams. She's been in 4-H for many, many years (her eldest is 21 I think, so at least 13 years.) She's a woman of strong convictions, firm loyalties, and dedication. She always goes above and beyond for her kids, and I am proud to call her my friend. Over the past couple of years we've worked together to make the poultry project a better one, and I like to think we've succeeded. The show is far and away better than it was when we came to this county, and the kids have increased their knowledge and skills ten-fold, due to no small part to her efforts.

This past Saturday I was asked to judge a show in a county about an hour away from my home. It was my first time as a judge (although I have clerked for years) and I thoroughly enjoyed it (although four hours on my feet was a bit more than I'd have liked.) The hardest part for me to judge was the Costume Class. Four young people, several of whom were very young indeed, had dressed their chickens, and in some cases themselves, in costumes. My job was to pick the "best" one. A terrible choice to have to make, as they were all good.

The standout choice was the little girl who was wearing a skirt and kerchief in a red fabric with small white stars on it. Her chicken had around its neck a small quilted collar in the same fabric in the shape of a large star. When I asked her about her costume, she said "It's a Red Star!" The bird she was holding is a commercial cross commonly called a Golden Comet, but they are also known as Red Stars, and I didn't make the connection until she reminded me. I thought the costume quite clever, and she won the prize. But I told the 4-H agent that next year, should they ask me to judge again, they would need some sort of celebrity judge to do the Costume Class, as I found it just too hard to pick one from all the cute costumes the kids had devised.