Despite the extremely high humidity and the heat index temperatures well into the 90s, I decided to venture up to the St. Joseph County Fair to visit with various families of 4-Hers and watch round robin competition among the top showmanship participants of each barn on Thursday. It’s hard to believe I’ve been out of 4-H for 24 years.

So many things have changed. I remember when the dairy barn was, for the most part, full of dairy cattle, and each family had at least two or more milk cows along with younger heifers of various breeds. Four claw milkers were used as visitors could watch cows being milked as the milk flowed through a glass pipeline into the milk house and pumped into the refrigerated bulk tank.

When it came to showing swine, everyone had their own preference on what worked best for guiding the pig around the ring. Some used a wood cane, short PVC pipe, or a fiberglass stick with a leather flap.

Fair Board member Zach Triplet is keeping history alive. He said they had 65 antique tractors on display, and most of them participated in the tractor parade each day. I was given the opportunity to join them and drive an International M through the parade of tractors on Thursday evening.

Many areas received 2-plus inches of rain this week, and we only squeezed out three-tenths, but many kept pumping water through irrigation. Friday evening, I cut all of my second cutting since leafhoppers were starting to work on the alfalfa. By Sunday, it smelled like candy. Can’t wait to start baling this in small squares. Looking back, how did we ever make hay without a discbine and a tedder? I remember using an International 1190 haybine and several sickle bar mowers with a hay crusher. Seems like curing hay took forever.

Well, I’ve never seen so many rabbits, but they have discovered the garden along with the raspberries and blueberries.

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