In a risky attempt to avoid summer heat, we decided to stay in Northern Indiana for the remainder of June. We have had a few hot days, but most have been in the 80's (nice!) and the storms that have passed our way haven't been too severe. It has been a good time to catch up on work and life in the fairgrounds has something of interest each week.
As always, you can find familiar sights here. Most days buggy horses are practicing on the track. They are captivating to watch as they rhythmically move along the track.
The County Fair is next month and we have seen much pre-fair activity around the grounds. Groups of 4H kids have been spiffing up their various barns. On this day, the rabbit barn gets a good cleaning, a coat of paint, and some pretty landscaping.
Tents went up last week all over the grounds. There must be close to two dozen striped structures scattered throughout the park.
About twenty girls on horseback practiced for a performance at the fair. We called this group "Dances With Horses" as we watched them practice their routine that looked like part ballet, part parade, part marching band, and part demolition derby. There are still two more practices before the big day and we think they will do fine!
Speaking of horses, there was a week-long horse camp at the fairgrounds too. We walked down to the arenas a few times and saw some of the skills they were learning. They were in various stages of barrel and pole racing practice. Some kids were quite good, others were just trying to walk the course and get their horses to turn at the correct times.
In another arena, we saw some "life-skills" practice. The instructors set up a mail box, a gate, a tall pole, and several obstacles to cross. The kids rotated through these stations mastering various skills. We saw kids on horseback trying to get mail out of a mailbox; opening, passing through, then shutting a gate; grabbing a raincoat off a pole, placing it over the horses head (covering its eyes) then guiding the horse to a specified point, and various other tasks they might have to complete on a ranch or farm while riding a horse. It was quite interesting.
On another day (a day without a camera), we saw kids walking, trotting, then galloping on horseback carrying an egg on a spoon. They lost a few eggs on that one! We also saw some roping practice. I think they were supposed to aim at a dummy in the arena, but we say a few lasso their fellow students. They had other activities off horseback too. It looked like everyone enjoyed themselves and developed some great skills at the same time.
There was a multi-day Holstein show in one of the barns while we were here. We sat and watched as multiple groups had their cows judged, but had no idea what the criteria might be. It was pretty fascinating watching these kids (some elementary, blind and college aged) guide these stubborn animals around the arena.
We also saw a few cows getting milked. It was interesting to watch these kids clean the udders, hook them up to a machine and wait for it to finish while drinking a bottle of chocolate milk.
There was a pig show the following week, but we weren't able to make it. That would have been cool!
The Pumpkinvine Bike trail is just outside the fairgrounds and one day they had a bike day that began and ended here. Hundreds of people showed up! Here is a picture of the start line. Folks left the fairgrounds in small groups most of the morning. and returned later that day. There were many families riding together.
One of the highlights of our stay this trip was getting to see a soap box derby. Neither of us had actually been to one, so we headed out early to get good seats. That wasn't really necessary as there was plenty of seating and the derby got started 45 minutes late. That gave us plenty of time to walk back to the rig and get a few things we forgot - like sunscreen!
Here are the cars all lined up before the races.
Here is a short movie (15 sec) showing the race and course.
The looked quite determined as they sped down the hill. Just look at that form!
As with any car race, you can always count on a good crash! There were no tears, injuries (other than the wheel), or ambulances, but we did hear a little bragging about "the best wreck of the derby!"
The derby organization had two trailers to give the cars a "lift" back up the hill. The drivers had to walk.
During our three weeks here in Goshen, we have not done any sight-seeing outside of the park other than short runs to the grocery store and a couple of trips to church or Dairy Queen. Most of our time was spent walking the fairgrounds once or twice a day to see what was going on and working at our desks. It has been a very productive few weeks for us - sorry no pictures of work!
We did have a couple of hiccups during our stay. Susan chipped a molar (on a Friday afternoon, of course!). We went to a local dentist here in Goshen and were able to sneak in on a cancelled appointment Monday morning. There is a dentist here, Dr Chad, who had all kinds of newfangled technology and after a quick examination and x-ray, we set an appointment on Wednesday (filling in another cancellation) for a crown. Without going into all the details of the process (the dental assistant gave Susan a tour of the lab), in less than two hours, they prepared her tooth (basically chiseled the enamel off), scanned her upper and lower teeth (no awkward molds or gross gels), created a new tooth based on the 3-D scans (seriously cool process) and fitted it to her mouth perfectly.
If either of us ever chips a tooth again, we would willingly travel here to get it fixed.
Our other hiccup was an unexpected leak. We have patched our bathroom Fantastic Fan with self-leveling caulk twice in recent times, but still haven't been able to chase down a leak during heavy thunderstorms. We had two such storms in as many days and realized it was time to put some Eternabond on the problem. Trey went up on the roof while Susan worked on the ceiling stains below. We still aren't sure where the vent was leaking, but after removing the caulk, you can see one possible location. All that is covered with Eternabond tape and the ceiling stains are almost imperceptible. All we need is a good gully washer to test our fix. It has held well through a couple of showers, but nothing like the earlier storms that revealed the leak. We will have to wait a bit for a real test.
Maybe we are just boring old folks, but the ordinary things in life bring us great pleasure. A good day's work, a job well done, a subject well explored, an opportunity to watch kids learn and practice excellence; all these things bring a certain satisfaction to our life.
Life is a great gift from God - even the hiccups!