Happy Mother’s Day!

We had a fantastic mother’s day yesterday! We went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival for the first time in five years (last time we went, LBY was riding in a howdah on my back, like a small cordura-shaded maharini.)

We saw a fantastic sheepdog demo, with border collies using the power of INTENSE STARING to move packs of sheep all over the ring. Here’s a short video I took of Skep moving five sheep to numbered stations around the edge of the ring. Station two, the target, is just to the right of the camera. You can hear the handler’s whistles!

We had our kitchen and outdoor brooms trimmed and re-tied by Bob Haffly, the broom guy who is a giant celebrity at the festival every year. This guy can keep a crowd spellbound to watch him make brooms. He’s a fantastic pitchman, but with the added benefit that he’s not evil! I have a couple of Flickr pictures, but this YouTube video made in 2008 is much more fun to watch:

Bob wouldn’t take any money to rejuvenate his brooms. “See you in another five years!” he said, and then told us a story about how the day before, a lady heard him say that, then looked carefully at him, and said “…I’d better get a few more brooms, in case… something happens to you.” He was terrified, and spent the rest of the day looking in the mirror for signs of impending doom.

Rounding out the trip, Kate covered herself in glory when, we were looking at the sheep-show sheep in their pens, a sheep escaped. “Catch that sheep!” went up the hue and cry. And Kate TOTALLY CAUGHT IT. What a hero! Why, it’s just the kind of thing you imagine happening when you head to the sheep show as a kid.

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We even saw a blade-shearing competition, where a brawny farmer with a banzai headband, a lean, rangy Irishman, and a young, laughing woman with a big braid down the middle of her back all competed to shear five sheep, with points for time, quality of fleece, and avoidance of nicks. The winner would advance to the world championships in New Zealand. It was a close competition, and after the scores were tallied… the young woman won! Her red-headed daughter ran up on the stage laughing, and jumped into her arm (the right arm; the left armpit of blade shearers gets caked with sheep poop from the wrestling holds they put the sheep in!

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What a wonderful mother’s day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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