Autumn Days Out, Part 1 by Heather Bowles

Last weekend, I had hoped to write about all the fun we had Saturday afternoon at the Tulsa State Fair, review my new woven wrap from and tell you all that Tabitha went gaga for all the cute, fuzzy farm animals, but alas, it was not to be. The new wrap proved difficult to master, and seemed lopsided when I tried to put it on that morning, so I opted to use my old Moby wrap instead, even though it probably should have been retired a month ago due to weight restrictions. Once we got there, it took nearly an hour to find a parking space, and the baby was irritated by all the stop and go traffic. (I suspect she may suffer some of her mommy’s inclinations toward motion sickness, but we’ll save that for another post.)

We headed straight for the petting zoo. My thought was that she would like the new smells, sights, and feeling the animals’ fur, but I couldn’t coax her to touch any of the lambs, piglets, goats, or even the llama or baby kangaroos. There were simply too many strangers about, so she hid her face in my chest as we strolled through the petting area. Thankfully, there was an assistant in the bunny cage area who took a particular interest in my daughter, and held her hand and showed her how to pet the bunnies gently. To say that Tabitha came alive at that moment would be no exaggeration. The building the rabbits were housed in was large enough to accommodate easily 300 animals and most of the cages were full. Each cage held a new fascination for her, and she attempted to reach out to each bunny that we stopped by for longer than even a moment. It was easily her happiest time at the fair.

After watching 20 minutes of a show where rescued shelter dogs did various tricks such as running races and standing on the trainer’s outstretched palm on only their front paws, we made our way toward the cow barn. Sadly, what I remember from the cow barns in my own youthful excursions to various fairs did not prepare me for this. The floor of the barn was littered with soggy, urine soaked hay and more than a few cow patties (for you city folk, that’s animal poop). Even as cold and overcast as the day had become, they had oversized electric fans blowing air over the cows, and I suspect it may have been an attempt to blow the methane smell from the barn more than any attempt to keep the animals cool. One particular cow was foaming at the mouth and mooing at the top of her lungs continuously. Naturally, this sight frightened my daughter, and with her tears hastening us on, we beat a hasty retreat from the barns.

By this time, it had turned cold and a bit more windy than we would have liked. Waiting for the next animal show, which included various shark species would taken another 45 minutes on stainless steel bleachers and with only our fall weather jackets to keep us warm, it just wasn’t happening. As a result, we took off for the car. Now that I’ve recovered from the resulting head cold, we’re headed to a local pumpkin patch next week.  Preferably on a sunny day!

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