Friday, September 19, 2008

Common Ground Fair

Each year the Common Ground Fair is held in Unity, Maine. This is over an hour away from where we live. It's a unique fair. From it's website: Downeast Magazine calls Common Ground "Maine's most authentic country fair, uniting, as it does, old-time folkways with progressive ideas about living the good life on a fragile planet."

There are absolutely no midway at this fair (which I LOVE) - no rides unless they are animal powered. They also have an "educational day" on opening day. All educators, including homeschoolers, get in absolutely FREE! I really love that!

The highlight - at least I think so - is the sheep dog demo. They hold it twice during the day & we had a prime watching spot. However, the kids were getting bored after about 20 minutes, so we did wander off to check out the other animals and the kid area. Here are some photos I snapped before that though.
N trying to wait patiently for it to start.

Miss H waiting patiently as well. We all had snacks while we waited.

If you ever wondered what a "shepherd's hook" was for the shepherd above showed us.

These sheep were considered "teenagers" & the owner called them all "crazy." In fact, he normally has about 4-5 kids come in to the pen & try to herd the sheep while he times them. Then he has the dogs do it. He wouldn't let the kids do it in the morning as he was afraid the sheep would jump the pen. He did allow it at 12:30 but they were more used to the crowd & dogs at that point. We're also not allowed to applaud for the dogs. As he said, they do this all the time in the field for no applause, let's not start now. ;-)

Can you see the dog? It's just laying there staring at the sheep. Can you see them crowded together. They do NOT want to get near the dogs. Have you seen the movie "Babe" with the talking pig? Remember how the sheep call the dogs "wolves?" Well, that is what we are told they really think. They think the dogs ARE going to eat them so they want to stay as far from them as they can.

This man has been coming to the fair for 20 years to show how his sheep dogs work. I love watching how he & his son can command the dogs & make it look so easy.

Right next to the sheep dogs was the "wool" area. There were a bunch of spinning wheels set up & these ladies were all making yarn. The one working with blue tried to convince my boys that her blue wool came from blue sheep. ;-) They didn't buy it though.

I kept trying to connect with folks from my homeschool group & my sister - we all came in separate vehicles. There was one glaring issue I forgot - there is no cell phone coverage here so we had no way to find each other. Did I mention there are a few thousand folks here & at least a thousand of them are public school kids? I did manage to bump in to (almost literally once) three people I knew. I thought that pretty amazing.

We spent quite a bit of time at the children's area. The boys loved it. J found this statue & spent quite a bit of time playing on it.

However, THIS was the big hit...a big old pile of hay. The kids had a hay fight. They buried each other in it. They laid in it. They had a grand time.

There were a number of animal barns. There was a poultry barn, a rabbit barn, and then the sheds with cows, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, and more. I managed to go through this one while carrying Miss H but after that I let the boys go through on their own - holding hands - with strict instructions to stay together. Did I mention there were a few thousand folks here?

Miss H stayed awake for the whole fair. I carried her for some of it, but she did spend quite a bit of time in the stroller. I'm very happy I brought it. I had our lunch cooler in the seat beside her & this worked our really well.

Each of the little boys were able to pick out a "plain toy" at one booth. They were solid built wooden toys. N picked out a helicopter & J picked out a space shuttle. I bought myself some laundry soap from O-Nature-l. Remember the art class I mentioned back in the preschool post about J's paint palette? The woman who runs this business is the one who organized that. At the end of the class she gave all the families samples of her laundry soap. It's really good. I bought a small bag. And to continue my "small world" theme here, she is also coming to my MOPS group next month to talk & no, I didn't book it. ;-) B ended up buying a walking stick from the Youth Enterprise Zone which is all products made my other children.

All in all we had a good time at the fair. I'll leave you with some photos of what the backseat of my truck looked like on the ride home.

1 comment:

  1. Fairs are such fun. I love the photo of your tuckered out children on the way home! LOL


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