Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Sunday Salon and All's "Fair" in Love and Summer... or the annual Bridgewater Country Fair

Welcome to The Sunday Salon and The Sunday Post! It's that day of the week bloggers from all over the internet get together virtually in a large gathering place called The Sunday Salon and talk books!  And at The Sunday Post, which is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, in which more bloggers share their bookish news! So, find a comfy chair, grab a cup of joe and relax! Let's talk books... or "End of summer and books..."

August is a special time of year in Connecticut. It's an ending and a beginning. It marks the end of summer here, but also, towards the end of August, it marks the beginning of fall. Just a hint of fall starts to come in the early mornings, when the temperatures start to bring a little chill in the air and we find ourselves turning off the air conditioners and opening the windows at night. I love summer, but really my favorite time of year is fall. When I was young, fall also marked the beginning of school, and I can still feel that anticipation after many years away from a classroom. One of the many traditions around here is the Bridgewater Country Fair. It is an agricultural fair and it's always about 2 weeks before the start of school. And last Sunday, we got in the car and headed towards Bridgewater...

Bridgewater is a beautiful little rural town, well known for a few things... If you are a chocolate lover, it is the home of Bridgwater chocolate (OMG, what great chocolate!). It's also known for some wonderful working farms (where you can buy your meats direct) and it's also known for being the last  "dry town" in Connecticut, which eventually did changed in 2014. And this year, the first year since 1935, you could actually buy beer at The Bridgewater Country Fair. Have you ever been to an agricultural fair? Here's what you'll see...

First thing we had to do was scope out the whole fair, see what vendors were there and see what activities were going on. First thing we watched was the chainsaw sculptor, who made these bears and animals out of huge logs of wood. Next we went to watch the oxen pull. It's amazing what these animals can pull. Two oxen are yoked and brought up to a sled that has been piled with cement squares ranging in weight, beginning at 4500 pounds. The oxen themselves weigh anywhere from 1200 - 3000 pounds themselves and are generally tame. To see the way some of the handlers, some of which are father's and sons, interact with these large beasts is interesting. Ever consider having a 1200 pound pet? Of course there are always some who don't see these animals as pets and I don't like seeing the way they treat them. 

It started to rain during the oxen pull, so we missed part of the competition and raced into the poulty tent. Yup, poultry as in chickens. Do you know how many different species of chicken there are? Plenty! My favorite chickens are the Polish chickens. They have this feathery mop on their head and I think they are adorable. That mop on their head also makes it hard for them to see very well. They are pretty tame too, and make good pets. They do lay eggs, but are more "decorative" then productive. All the chickens in the tent are raised, generally, by the children, and compete for best examples of their "types". Besides the Polish chickens, you'll fnd Silkies, Bantams, Leghorns, Brahmas, Phoenix Bantams and Orpingtons to name just a few. After the rain stopped it was time to move along to see some other "country fair"....

We found some delicious locally made honey from Jim's Honey and Goatboy soap, which is made with all natural ingredients including goat milk and shea butter and is to die for! I have sensitive skin and tried the unscented bar and my skin never felt so soft and actually glowed (not glow in the dark glow, but looks radiant). On to some food, which had to be a roast beef sandwich, a traditional food for the fair, and a birch beer. Then some more wandering, looking at all the blue ribbon cows, eyeing the antique tractor pull and seeing my first Highlander cattle whose origins are from Scotland (also known as the hairy cow), which has this long fringe like coat. I took a photo of Elroy, but this wasn't his best side...

And at the end of one of the tents, lo and behold, something for the book lover in me...Tractor Mac!

Yes, a guy selling his children's books featuring a farm tractor named Mac. And what wonderful books! There are wonderful lessons to be learned living on a working farm, and these can translate beyond the farm too! Maybe it's because my paternal grandparents use to have a farm that there's that love of rural living still in me, but these books are delightful! These books stem from author & illustrator, Billy Steers stories that he told his own children. I bought the first book in the Tractor Mac adventures, Tractor Mac Arrives at the Farm, and simply loved the story of how Mac came to the farm and helped "mechanize" some of the laborous work, and ultimately it's a story of friendship. I'll be reviewing this book later this week, but suffice it to say, I loved it! Beautiful illustrations and a wonderful story.  And there are 12 books in the series so far! And it was nice meeting and talking with author Billy Steers too! He graciously signed my book!

 Enjoy Going to Fairs? Ever been to an Agricultural Fair?

Weekly Wrap-up...

This week was a reading week. I finished quite a few books that I'll be reviewing on Chick with Books in the coming week or two.

  • Tractor Mac Arrives at the Farm by Billy Steers (sheer delight in children's book form!)
  • In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett (memoir of all those great years on TV)
  • Not A Star by Nick Hornsby (tongue in cheek and so funny! in a novelette)
  • Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley (make sure you have a box of tissues for this one!)

That about does it for this week. Hope you enjoyed your visit! Share your fair memories and all those books you read this week!

Happy reading... Suzanne


Molly said...

I love the idea of going to the annual county and state fairs, but I haven't attended in years.

How wonderful that you found the author of the Tractor Mac books.... they sound like a delightful read for any age :)

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Who would have ever thought you'd have run into an author at an agricultural fair?! Lucky you!

Anne@HeadFullofBooks said...

Even though it is still warm here in the Pac NW I have started to notice the promise of Fall in the air, too. I head back to school tomorrow. As a teacher I always have that anticipation/dread at this time of year. Ha!

My Sunday Slon post

Greg said...

We do have a county fair here that is a lot like that actually (and it's this weekend- all week really). They're so nice to wander and see the ag stuff and just enjoy. I love local honey and syrup and all that. And I agree about this time of year- I like the slighly chillier mornings and the nip in the air as fall comes on. Bridgewater chocolate sounds pretty good too!

Greg said...

I think my comment disappeared, so here goes. I like this time of year too, the cooler air and all the fall stuff. And we have a fair like that too, going on this weekend actually. It's nice to wander the grounds and see everything, and i like the local honey and syrups and all that stuff too. Hope you have a great weekend!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Molly and Deb!
Yes, I thought it was quite amazing and fun that I found an author signing his books at the fair! And I don't ever recall that happening before!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Anne!
Enjoy your back to school days this week! I always loved it- the anticipation, the new things to learn. Maybe that's what I need to do when I retire- take some classes!

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