Here it is: it’s fair week, which to me, as a youth, signaled the beginning of the end of summer. It seems that once the fair had finished for another year the beginning of school loomed on the horizon, which for all practical purposes signaled the end of summer. I guess as a kid this was the downside to the event other than Christmas that I looked forward to the most.
Once the novelty of having all that free time to roam the great outdoors doing kid things wore off, the much anticipated fair was close at hand. The week or so leading up to the fair brought about great anticipation and curiosity as to what new and exciting things awaited us.
Usually bout the week before the big event my good friend Pat Smith and I would ride bike to the fairgrounds to scout things out. Now that brings me to another part of the story. My friend Pat had a Welsh pony that was a paint-colored horse. A paint is usually brown and white, which if you ever followed the Lone Ranger, you’d know that his faithful Indian friend Tonto rode a paint horse. Pat’s horse looked just like Tonto’s so it stood to reason that he would also name him Scout. One day Pat rode Scout over to the house and told me to hop on the back and we would ride to the fairgrounds and check things out. Although I had been around horses all my life, I’d had too many bad experiences to ever trust or really enjoy riding double on a horse. Now I have to say that Scout wasn’t too receptive of the whole idea either. We made it to the fairgrounds alright, but not without him letting me know that he didn’t particularly like me.
After spending an hour or so checking to see that all was ready for the big event, we gave it our unofficial stamp of approval and headed back to my house. After we had ventured a little ways down the hill on Bridge by Ridgeway Drive, I must have slid just a little too far back, at which time Scout decided it was time to dump the passenger. He took off running through the ditch bucking and jumping like a rodeo horse. I’m pretty sure I didn’t last the eight seconds required for a rodeo ride and I eventually flew off and came to rest on my back and neck. This is when I knew that being a cowboy was never going to be for me; I felt more like a rodeo clown than a cowboy or bronc rider.
I still rode horse from time to time after that, but whenever I’d happen to see old Scout he’d look at me with what seemed to be a mischevious twinkle in his eye. I suppose it was better than getting a horse laugh.
Pat and I would be at the fair bright and early on opening day to check out the midway and also to check the livestock. We always enjoyed walking through the cattle and swine barns, but the midway was where it was really at. One year there was a new ride called “the Mad Mouse” and as we watched intently as it was being set up the guy working on it asked if we would go find some cold water and fill his water jug for him. For that little chore he gave us an extra long free ride once it was set up and ready to go. Another time a guy running a game stand asked us to help and offered us free chances at earning a prize. As one thing led to another I ended up walking away without any of my hard earned lawn mowing and paper route money, but I did have a life lesson to show for it. Growing up in the country and going to country school I had learned to trust people, but after that experience I realized that not all folks were honest and that the challenge in life would be to recognize the good from the bad. That might sound a little deep and I know that I’ve written about this before, but I can still remember lying in bed with the window open listening to other folks having fun. It was a great leaning experience, although I didn’t actually think it was so great at the time.
I hadn’t attended the fair for quite a few years until my grandsons started to show their 4-H projects. Trevor showed chickens until he graduated and then his younger brother Grant stepped in. Both boys have done well with their poultry and the ribbons that they earned showed that their hard work paid off and made Grandma and Grandpa very proud.
It doesn’t seem possible, but the archery deer hunting season is about a month and a half away. The archery season actually begins on September 19 and runs through December 31. Hard winters really take a toll on the deer population, but the deer numbers statewide are expected to be up from last year because of the mild winter we had. I know I personally have spotted quite a few more deer in the general vicinity of our cabin this year compared to last year.
Another conservative deer season set to rebuild population
Hunters can expect another conservative deer season in 2015 as management continues to rebuild deer numbers across much of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.
“The 2015 deer hunting regulations will be quite similar to last year, with one-deer limits in most of the state,” said Leslie McInenly, big game program leader for the DNR. “Hunters should check the 2015 regulations early, because in the majority of areas, hunters will need to apply for a permit to shoot an antlerless deer.”
Until next time, enjoy the fair and embrace the rest of summer, there is still plenty left.
Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.