Yes, I did make it to Canfield Fair

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Happy Halloween! In case you hadn’t noticed, even before Labor Day Halloween decorations were on shelves in stores and at even some houses.

Maybe we should just say Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year now to save time. As if time didn’t overrun us in its headlong rush — to where? — without these commercial reminders.

Am I getting crankier the older I get — or are there just more things to be crankier about?

The phrase, “…pursuit of happiness” comes to mind, and yet each of us has his or her own definition, so it would seem impossible to agree on either the chase or the goal!

* * *

Yes, Judy and I did go to Canfield Fair and made our usual rounds of furry and feathered entries, ate our usual fare — horribly expensive — and looked for friends along the way.

Unfortunately, the more years you attend, the fewer old friends you see, but happily some of their youngsters are filling in the blank spots.

No Senior Wagon

And no, I did not board the Senior Wagon. Longtime friend Kathy Bennett of the fair board had kindly offered to provide a golf cart, but not until I can no longer ride “shank’s mare,” will I concede!

I must admit I needed a few more breathers than I used to.

I so wished for a camera in the poultry barn: a smallish boy wearing a cowboy hat was sitting in a chair near the door, and was holding in his lap a little rooster which seemed quite content to be there.

The lad was gently stroking his pet and gazing down at it with appreciation.

* * *

Last column I mentioned a conflict with bees and no matter what kind of stinging insect they were they had to go.

Another nest in barn

My neighbor Glenn Anthony arrived to help and I hated to tell him there was another nest to cope with, this one in the barn.

Winnie has always loved to jump up and snap at a bee in that area and after she knocks it down I finish the job.

But there were too many of them going in and out beneath the empty stall door and I put Winnie in the house so I could spray them. I sprayed and one took after me, chased me through the barn — I didn’t know I could still run! — and stung me on the neck.

An ice cube eased the hurt and I thought no more about it. But the next day I was amazed at how well I felt, at how much energy I had, and how rosy the world looked.

Then I remembered that persons with certain illnesses deliberately subjected themselves to bee stings — under medical supervision — and were rejuvenated for the time being. I’ll never do that but I was glad for my brief rejuvenation!

The bees wore out their welcome and are now all gone, at least for the moment.

* * *

Being checked out at the pet store the other day, I was startled to see a lady customer coming in while shouting loudly, “You have to help me! You made a mistake! I heard all this scratching in the back of my car — you were supposed to give me frozen mice but these were not frozen! You have to help me get rid of them!”

I didn’t dare laugh until I got to my car so I don’t know how the mistake was resolved.

* * *

Good books

With a long winter waiting in the wings, you’ll need good books to read. The Horse Boy, by Rupert Isaacson is a true account of a father’s quest to heal his autistic son, going as far as Mongolia for answers. This one is a jaw-dropper guaranteed to keep you awake past midnight at least.

Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City — some 500 pages –is another true story, this one about the World’s Fair in Chicago in the late 19th century, and for animal lovers there is The Wolf, the Woman, the Wilderness, by Teresa tsimmu Martino.

Follow the author as she raises a gray wolf puppy and eventually returns the fill grown Mckenzie to the wilderness.

* * *

Bird feed recipe

Want to feed the birds this winter? Here is a recipe from Bird Watchers Digest: 1 cup cheap peanut butter; 1 cup lard; melt together, remove from heat; stir in 2 cups plain yellow corn meal; 2 cups quick oats; 1 cup flour.

Allow to cool and harden, chop into chunks, store at room temperature in jars. Serve crumbled in a shallow dish.

* * *

Hurrah! Vermonters are now allowed to hang their laundry outdoors to dry, thanks to a new law passed by the Vermont legislature.

An estimated 50 million Americans live in communities that still prohibit clotheslines, and yet not using a dryer is a tremendous saving of energy.

In the village where I grew up, my father always strung the clothesline on Monday morning before going to work. The only problem during the day was a possible rainstorm, and we all had to run to save the laundry from being too well rinsed.

A real disaster was when for some reason the line broke — my mother did not swear out loud but I’ll bet the words were there.

* * *

“The reason there are so few female politicians is that it is too much trouble to put makeup on two faces.” — Maureen Murphy

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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