Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Insanity on a Stick

The State Fair was pure insanity. I don’t do well in crowds and the crowd on Saturday was cheek to jowl. It reminded me, with all the agricultural surroundings, of animals being led up the chute for slaughter.

Thankfully, we weren’t planning on spending the day there or else I might have been forced to have a very public mental breakdown. The kids went to the midway and rode a couple rides and I visited the fine arts building, the creative arts building, and the agriculture building (to visit the bee display). After that, I was done. When walking through the crowds, there were moments when the road crested a slight hill and you could look over everyone’s head and it was indeed a sea of humanity. A sea of greasy-food-on-a-stick eating humanity.

Now, I am by no means opposed to greasy food. Why the pizza I ate last night is, at this very moment, coating my inferior vena cava in greasy goodness. I think it was just the amount of greasy food that kind of put a pall over the entire fairgrounds. One trailer that is making funnel cake is heaven, twenty is overkill.

So, I’ve been to the state fair. Now I can go on with my life. I am actually interested in trying to enter a knitting project in the fair next year after seeing some of the things that people have entered in the creative arts category. Now, I have heard that the judges for the knitting can be really picky and I know that the MN Knitters Guild actually has a post-State Fair decompression session where entrants discuss why they won or lost and I want to state here for the record that I saw some beautiful things, but I also think some people might have lost because THEY MADE UGLY THINGS!

Perhaps I am being hard on people, perhaps I am taking the hickory stick to the backs of many a charming grandmother, perhaps people enter the State Fair just to enter and don’t really care if they win or not. Frankly, I think if you enter a contest, you should at least have something that is above the bar, something that people would look at and say things like “Wow, aren’t those colors beautiful!” or “I wonder how she/he thought of that!” or “That must have taken an amazing time to create!” and “How did she/he construct that?” What you probably don’t want someone to say is “Hey, that’s the pattern for the afghan on the ball band of that really dreadful yarn that I hate so much! Wow! It’s as ugly in person as it is in the photo on the ball band!”

Yes, I will burn in hell but it will be for so much more than just that comment…

Anyway, I then went on to the bee display. Now, I want to learn to be a bee keeper. I have this weird obsession with being a circa 1810 farm wife and I want to be able to make things from scratch. Sometimes the learnin’ sticks as when I learned to spin my own yarn. Sometimes it becomes an occasional thing as when I learned to make my own soap. When we moved into our house in lakeside in Duluth back in 1997, I put in a vegetable garden in the back. A couple years later I took over one side of our front lawn for a flower garden. Two interests have come out of my gardening, one being dyeing fiber from plants in my garden and the other being my interest in the bees in my garden. I could literally sit for hours and watch the bees on the flowers in my garden. I will sit on the front steps near the sidewalk as the bees buzz a few inches away from my head and they will just go about their business as I gawk. When I planted pumpkins in the vegetable garden, the bees would disappear into the flower and reappear totally covered with bright yellow pollen. I found it charming and hey, it beats taking drugs to get happy.

So I learned about bees at the fair and I learned that I could take a three day course next March down at the University of MN in the cities. I think I will try to do that. Why? Do I plan on becoming a real bee keeper with hives and honey and beeswax? Well, perhaps. I don’t know if I would have a big enough hive to actually make purchasing the honey extracting equipment practical but we’ll see.

I suppose this all goes back to the fact that my husband and I wanted to homestead in Alaska when we first met and then we had kids. I really couldn’t raise kids so far away from civilization. I couldn’t take the idea that they might get sick or hurt or I would be a horrible homeschool teacher and they would be warped and anti social (although genetics may have condemned them to this fate anyway.) When I mention the fate that they have dodged by our decision not to homestead, they seem visibly relieved.

And then they give me a hard time for my bee watching…

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