Find comfort in Farm and Dairy

Isn’t it reassuring, in this scary world, to open the pages of Farm and Dairy especially in fair time and to see pictures of the young people with their 4-H animals or their prize winning vegetables or blue-ribbon school projects and to know that one day, if they live up to their potential, the world will not be quite as scary?

As is always the case, the bad apples in the basket get all the attention while the ripe and succulent good ones are overlooked. This isn’t a new trend.

Encouraging good apples

And that is why we hesitate to open the daily newspaper because there is primarily bad apple news, and while Farm and Dairy can’t change the world, encouraging the good apples is imperative and that is what Farm and Dairy does!

(No, I wasn’t paid extra to write this! It just needs to be said often, as are the words “I am so proud of you!”)

With Canfield Fair almost upon us as you read, I’m turning the pages of the 1977 premium list (I may have an older one somewhere) and I am saddened to notice that the majority of directors who were so hospitable to me when I was covering the fair for 17 years are no longer with us. Nor is Johnny Cash, the featured celebrity of the 131st fair.

According to figures I had written on the back of the program, the total attendance for the five days was 500,963. I don’t believe that figure has been recorded since then. If I’m wrong, I stand corrected!

I was “there”

I was “there” with my crested white Pekin ducks when I was maybe 10. I was “there” on High Noon as the outrider for the harness races in my early 20s (a thousand years ago!).

I was “there” showing my Shetland pony, Bo-Peep, when I was in my 30s and I gave an exhibition ride on my wonderful dressage horse, Noon Tide (Twitter), in my 40s.

And I will be “there” this year, still determined not to ride the “senior citizens” wagon!

* * *

Just outside the back barn door is a smallish ugly snag of a dead tree. Friends ask why I don’t have it cut down. The reason? It is the “goal” of the baby barn swallows trying their wings from the indoor light cord to which they return and perch and catch their breath!

This very morning I counted 10, and they were all chatting and were very excited. I found a thumbnail-sized naked little body of one which must have tumbled from its nest in the rafters.

No insects

They do indeed make a mess but I have no insects, not even stable flies, in the barn. I’d rather clean up the mess.

* * *

“Peggy,” the one-legged chickadee who comes to the window feeder, turns out to be not one-legged at all! But her tiny left foot is deformed and sometimes she tucks it under her breast.

She does use it, though, and I marvel that despite her handicap she has made it through this wet, windy and psychopathic so-called summer.

With all the warnings about swine flu (or whatever it is supposed to be called), I am reminded of the 1976 interview I did of a Struthers lady who had obediently taken her compulsory shot and became almost totally paralyzed.

There were so many dreadful side effects of that vaccine the shots were discontinued. I well remember her name and every Christmas I think of her when I hang on my tree the “sputnik” ornament she laboriously made for me with her crippled hands.

Birch tree

Speaking of trees, there is unhappy news about my magnificent 50-year-old birch tree which even now is flaring golden leaves. Two of its huge branches were determined to be dead, even though it is fed twice a year and twice a year is sprayed for borers, and Davey Tree recommended they be removed. I tell it every time I am near not to go before I do!

Also speaking of trees: there well may be no Christmas tree here this year! Why? Because of dear silly Bingo who is compelled to jump up upon or to climb everything in sight. And can you imagine what she could do to the Christmas barn and house and scores of little animals?

* * *

National Coast Guard Day

Did you know that Aug. 4 was National Coast Guard Day? No one ever touts it, and yet this is such an important branch of our armed services.

They have performed so many rescues it seems in this past season alone.

* * *

Coffee ice cream

If you don’t always finish that last cup of coffee in the morning, save it and mix it with your Dairy Queen or ice cream and you’ll have delicious and refreshing coffee ice cream!

* * *

“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”

— Ernestine Ulmer

And, “Life begins when a person first realizes how soon it will end.”

– Marcelene Cox

About the Author

A lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley, Janie Jenkins retired in 1987 as a feature writer and columnist at the Youngstown Vindicator. In June of that same year, she started writing her column, "On My Mind" for Farm and Dairy. She loves all animals and is an accomplished equestrienne. Local history is also one of her loves, and her home, the former Southern Park Stables, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. More Stories by Janie Jenkins

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