It’s July in Nebraska. That means sweet corn, hot summer days and a trip to the county fair.
And, if you are a 4-H member (or a 4-H parent), you might be …
Waking up with the sunrise to feed hungry cows, pigs or sheep.
Sewing the final seam in a pair of boxer shorts or driving to towns near and far seeking that perfect fabric to begin sewing a pair of boxer shorts.
Wrangling goats to strap them with halters and walk them down a gravel road and laughing as they bellow and throw themselves to the ground.
Standing in wide open fields test launching a rocket that’s been strewn across a card table that was part of your living room décor for half the summer. Or, planning another trip to Hobby Lobby to buy glue or spray paint or bigger engine.
Standing in the backyard for hours on end trying to make the family dog sit or stay when all he wants to do is sleep or play.
Buying more flour and sugar to bake those oatmeal cookies for the thirteenth time to create that perfect round treat that will awe the judges.
Figuring out where to develop photos of barns, landscapes and animals and how to arrange the photos on a poster board to best showcase photography skills.
Spending your evenings trying to get a stinky pig to turn right and left while you guide him with a stick.
Watching from a close distance as your 70-pound child leads a 1,000-pound heifer around the farm while praying that animal doesn’t “freak out!”
Oiling your horse saddles and cleaning the contents of your entire tack room.
Listening to or practicing a speech about “How to Make a Beaded Bracelet” for the 20th time.
Sweeping up mountains of white puffy wool that you just spent six hours shearing off of six naked-looking lambs.
Shopping for big shiny belts with rhinestones and jewels and new boots to fit those ever-growing feet. Or, scrambling to find the appropriate 4-H show clothing that is clean and fits each child when you realize two days before fair that they’ve outgrown last year’s clothing.
Making yet another trip to your local farm supply store to buy more feed, brooms, scoops and fans to keep everyone cool.
Making multiple trips to the fairgrounds, first with trailers full of animals and feed followed by a camper full of food for the family.
Stopping to watch a sunset over the fields of corn and beans while you tuck the animals back safely into their pens for another night.
Sitting in the back of the truck enjoying popsicles or ice cream as a family after a long night of fair preparation.
Praying for rain and cooler weather during the week of the fair so you can turn off the pivots or shut the pipe gates and enjoy this time with family and friends.
Smiling to yourself when it’s all said and done, while you reminisce about the memories and friendships you’ve made after a long, eventful week at fair.