On Saturday, we zipped to the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe, which is about 20 miles from Kirkland. I thought the "State" in the title signified it was the State of Washington fair; however, upon arriving it was obviously a county (Snohomish) fair. Nevertheless, they had a nice assortment of livestock, handicrafts, point-of-interest, events (i.e. rodeo, monster truck races, and singers), and ghastly food.

One of our first stops was a heritage museum, which had a nice  display of vintage farm equipment. I’m intrigued by such equipment because much of mankind has depended on its ability to plant, grow, harvest, and preserve crops. Even ranchers depend on farmers to produce hay, corn, and grains to feed and fatten their steer, swine, and poultry.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of the tractors. Tractor.blue Tractor.red Tractor.brownTractor.beigeTractor.green 

Next, we tottered to the diary, goat, and sheep barns. We learned that diary cattle are feed a small, but powerful magnet that stays in one of its four stomachs where it attracts bits of metal that could be mixed in with feed or in a pasture. A diary woman explained that they recently slaughtered one of her cows. They found the magnet in the entrails; it was covered with pieces of metal, including a small piece from a barbwire fence.

Understandably, if a piece of metal were to travel through a cows digestive system, it could puncture the cow’s intestine, resulting in an infection, or death. Goat for mohair

Diary cows are very skinny with large, protruding hip bones because most of their energy is used to produce milk and calving. Most of these calves end up as veal, separated from their mothers within a day of birth.

Yes, the diary industry isn’t much better than that for beef cattle.

Goats. like cattle, are also raised for meat and milk. Although, I think most goats are allowed to run free rather than be cooped up in feed lots or barns. And some lucky goats, like the Angora goat above are raised for their fur (mohair).

Sow with babiesDon’t get me started on pigs. Here’s a picture of a mother pig with her babies. Notice the owner holding a bucket under her butt to catch her poop!

Even though I don’t eat beef, I’m starting to think about phasing other meats out of my diet! 

It was a welcome relief, therefore, to visit the buildings where the only thing slaughtered were fruits, vegetables, flowers, nuts, and grains. I always enjoy seeing the displays by the local granges. The wealth and breadth of food grown in Washington is astonishing when you look at what’s produced in Grange.first placeby this grange, which won first place. Along with fruits and vegetables, they displayed dairy products, grains, nuts, seeds, wines, and flower bulbs.

I also liked the display for the third-place grange (below). The produce is displayed in a tree-like shape in the center with jars of grass seeds at the bottom and baskets of eggs, flower bulbs, peppers, and nuts at the top. I can discern some of the labels on the large mason jars: Spinach, secret pizza sauce, dell pickle relish, Hollywood plums, sauerkraut, mince meat, barbeque pork, pears, grape juice, potatoes, dill pickles, corn, spicy dill pickles, tomato beef sauce, spiced tea, peaches, and apricots. 

The amount of work that goes into these displays from canning the goods (time consuming) to finding the perfect produce is mind-boggling It take an entire grange (community) to create a winning display! Grange.third place

Other displays at the fair included textiles (quilts, clothing), baked and canned goods, decorated cakes, cut flowers, flower arrangements, bonsai, photography, crafts (needlepoint, dolls, woodworking, collections, scrap booking, etc.), and place-settings (usually a part of 4H).

There was also a large area where handmade yarns were displayed along with hand-knit sweaters, hats, and other clothing. Quite a few women were sitting in this area, displaying weaving, spinning, knitting, felting, and croqueting. I was intrigued by the variety of yards and the ribbons awarded to them (below). Yarn.ribbons

Our next stop was the industry building, which features booths of hawkers of every ilk from Mary Kay cosmetics to rubber roof shingles, replacement windows, cleaning products, pots and pans (that clean up in the blink of an eye), saunas, hot tubs, chiropractors and massage equipment, car wax, truck bed liners, and this year’s elixir… tubs of ghastly concoctions that remove impurities from your body just by soaking your feet for an hour or so.

Hello? Hello! Soaking your feet in goo can’t cure cancer let alone relief your achy back!

As I write this entry, I’ve been listening to the rain (finally) and realize that not only is the fair season drawing to a close, but so is the warmth and colors of summer. Brrr… I think I’ll grab a sweater!