Labor Day at the Goshen Fair in Connecticut. Perfection. Contests all around — the lawn tractor pull, the ox pull (hauling tons of concrete blocks), wood cutting (in which the judge cut down the only girl participating) where people employ special axes costing 500 dollars to dismantle 12 by 12 spruce timbers. The Percheron grand champion gelding, its face looming way over our heads. Contests in canning, with winners like this beautiful corn relish:
and this Jersey cow:
In the Jersey competition, the judge uses “dairy” as an adjective, as in, “I wish she’d be a little more dairy.” The usual 4H contests for goat, sheep and rabbit (this year’s best in show one of those mocha colored ones with the glistening eyes and lap ears). And the adult spelling bee, which we arrived too late to enter, but which challenged participants with words like “nemesis,” “analysis,” and mediocre.”
But the most amazing feats were achieved by those who had nothing to prove, like the stoic sow nursing over a dozen piglets:
or the heifer who managed to look like an art object just by standing there:
Fried belly clams, barbecue, a root beer float (Gil) and a bottomless milk shake (me) under the-end-of-summer sun, with no pressure to go up on the ferris wheel — now that’s a fair. And I came home with 288 yards of wool from a Jacob sheep, just spun that morning, from Snook Farm in Stormville, NY. As ancient as any agricultural fair, The Odyssey, which we listened to in the car, read with imposing dignity by Ian McKellan. They probably had Jacob sheep on Ithaca.