Walking, resting and visiting at the Canfield Fair

With the scary hurricanes and scary tornadoes and scary severe thunderstorms swirling all around us, we keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak, and hopefully by the time you read this, we’ll still be waiting.

Amidst all of this, I found a lovely quotation that should give us pause, and to realize it is indeed true, if not at the moment, at least in the long run.

“The harp at Nature’s advent strung has never ceased to play. The song the stars of morning sang has never died away.”

* * *

Canfield Fair has come and gone, and yes, I did go, with Judy and our dear friend, Dee Cabler of Pittsburgh. And, yes, we did walk — and walk and walk until I had to cry uncle. Fortunately there were enough handy benches in the shade so we could take a break from the heat and give our feet a rest.

We always hit the Cow Coliseum first to check in with Bev and Gordie Withers of Honey Creek Farm at Petersburg, and again we missed them. But Tricia, Howie Withers’ pretty wife, and their little girls were there so they could pass our greetings along. Years ago, I always got my hay from Honey Creek, first from Beanie and then Gordie.

Certainly the fair has grown — and grown and grown — and it is commendable that emphasis is still mainly on agriculture and related activities. I regret I didn’t get to the 4-H buildings, or the floral and arts and domestic arts buildings, but I ran out of steam! There was much more I would have liked to see, but when I observed so many senior citizens (dreadful designation!) either in wheelchairs or on motorized scooters, I counted my blessings that I could still navigate on my own two feet.

* * *

Remember the new Jack Russell puppy John and Marcia Koren got after their beloved Winston fell prey to a coyote? Well, Alfie came to call and my Winnie remembered the puppies she had once raised, and she was in her glory! Alfie barked and Alfie growled and Alfie chewed on her favorite squeaky rabbit toy, and Winnie basked. If he got a little too foolish, she’d growl a warning and he’d back off, if just for a second.

Winnie weighs 40 pounds and Alfie is maybe 3 pounds and it had to have seemed like a relentless mosquito buzzing around her. We all sat and watched for 45 minutes, unable to carry on a conversation for laughing.

* * *

The last four baby swallows have finally left the nest, and it was fun watching them negotiate the few feet between “home” and the top of the gate. At first they huddled together, and then one would gather courage to fly to the small dead tree I’ve left in place just for their safety. Soon, a parent would come whizzing in with a tidbit, and then the others would get brave, too.

Because I thought they were gone for good, I thoroughly scrubbed the plastic floor coverings and put them away. I was wrong. They still come in for the night, and perch on the wire on which the nest was built. The barn seems so quiet without them during the day, but they do twitter as they settle for sleep. The plastic is back down.

* * *

On a recent evening, Winnie and I walked to the back of the barn just to enjoy the scenery, when all of a sudden five — yes, five — deer came around the corner of the barn and hurtled through the pasture, leaping and jumping. Such a beautiful sight! The twins I had seen before were among them, bigger now, and I was glad they were safe.

But just this morning, there was a dead deer on Market Street not far from me, and I am afraid it had to have been one of “mine.”

* * *

There is a raft of “mystery ducks” on the pond, maybe 10 or 12. Even with binoculars I can’t identify them and they come out of the willows only in the morning and at dusk. Most of their time is spent upside-down, so all I see is their tails and orange legs! They are probably mallards that were hatched here but are still too young to fly and too young for the drakes to have their iridescent green heads. Usually mallards are noisy ducks but this group is singularly quiet. I’ve only heard one quack!

* * *

So many thoughtful sayings are available these days to anyone who has a computer, but since my antique one does nothing but this column, the quotations come to me from friends. I like this one:

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

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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