I’m not an ‘animals are so amazing’, mushy, gushy animal lover. I have a dog and a cat and if you’ve read my blog before, you know how I feel about them. I never got into the horse or kitty or puppy phase all that much as a kid. Horses are big and smelly; kittens make me sneeze; but puppies are all fine and good. That is, until your mom thinks that just because your dog dragged your little brother around the yard by his sweatshirt that she should give him away. (Unfortunately, she chose to give away the dog, and not the brother. What? I already had four other brothers, this was my only dog!)
So, yeah. Even though animals aren’t really my thing, you can’t go to the Iowa State Fair without checking out the livestock. And I always enjoy myself, once I learn to watch where I walk and get acclimated to stench of manure.
Our first stop was the sheep barn and my kids wanted to pet every single sheep we passed. The sheep are usually trying to get away from people touching them. They must have personal space issues like I do. The owners of one sheep had it tied up outside of the pen, right there in the aisle. My kids ran over there and started smothering the sheep with loving caresses. I was a bit embarrassed, because the sheep’s owner and his son were sitting right there watching us pet their sheep. It was uncomfortable, and I felt like we were doing something we shouldn’t, but…hello? It’s the fair. People who don’t know a thing about livestock like to come look at the pretty animals and touch them and stuff... It’s our own little version of E-I-E-I-O.
*photo of the kids petting the sheep with the owners in the background:
So I smiled at him and said something completely stupid like, “She’s so pretty. Thanks for letting us pet her.”
And, instead of being a nice farmer guy like farmers are supposed to be, he gave me a look that basically told me I was a dumbass. Huh, maybe I screwed up and made some kind of sheep farming faux pas. He was still giving me that ‘you’re an idiot’ look, so I panicked and blurted out: ‘Is it a She or a He?’ thinking maybe I called Fluffy by the wrong gender and that’s why he thought I was batshit crazy.
“It’s a she.” He said, but he might as well have said, “you ignorant city girl, go find some pigs to look at.” Which is what I decided to do. But seriously, how should I know what gender a sheep is? Sheep are short – it’s not like I was going to look under its legs for a dangly bit. Unless… do boy sheep have horns on their heads? If so, that would explain his incredulity at my stupidity.
Did I mention that I’m not really an animal person?
We pretty much hightailed it on out of the sheep barn and went so look at the horses. I have to say that the folks at the horse barn are So. Much. Nicer! They smiled at us, encouraged us to pet their horses, said “thank you” when I told them their animals were pretty. It’s true that I was less ignorant in the horse barn - I got their genders right, because, well, it’s very clear whether you’re looking at a boy or a girl horse, especially when you’re short like me and their gender indicators are almost at eye level.
*photo of a closeup of a black and white horse:
*photo of the kids petting a horse:
*photo of Bumblebee petting a horse:
There’s also a livestock barn that has just about every animal you can think of. There are roosters, geese, ostriches, emus, llamas, and so forth. We enjoyed looking at them, but the signs all said, ‘unless you want to lose a finger, keep your hands out of the cages’. So, petting them was out of the question. I got some great photos of them, though.
Look at these donkeys snuggling with each other. If that won't warm your heart, then I don't know what will:
*photo of an adult and baby donkey nuzzling:
Don't llamas look weird laying down? It looks like this guy's legs were cut off:
*photo of a seated llama:
We saw this sign:
*sign that says 'world's smallest cow':
I was excited, thinking we'd see tiny little cows the size of those dogs that rich people carry around in their purses. I was disappointed when I actually saw them:
*photo of some not very small cows:
See? They're not really very small at all. False Advertisement! I'm positive there are smaller cows somewhere in this world.
I love the name of this next animal. It's called the Miniature Silky Fainting Goat. This sign doesn't appear to be false advertising at all. This goat had a beautiful silky coat. I never did see it faint, but it was laying down being lazy the whole time.
*photo of a miniature silky fainting goat.
This ostrich was cool - though I have to admit, I have an irrational fear of birds and ones that are two feet taller than me are very creepy.
*photo of an ostrich:
Check out this rooster. The kids were looking at it and The Boy said 'cock a doodle doo!' and immediately afterward, the rooster did the same thing. It was so cool!
*photo of a rooster:
And finally, check out these alpacas. They are the most adorable giant, smelly animals in the world, aren't they?
*photo of a mom and baby alpaca:
We didn’t make it to the pig barn. I’m not sure why – I think I got distracted by the vegetable building and wanted to check out the eggplant. But that’s probably ok, because if I’m ignorant about sheep, I completely clueless about pigs.
Perhaps I should read up on farm animals before next year’s state fair.