My Blue Ribbon Garden

Bidding at the Taos County Fair’s annual junior livestock auction is part of the job description as the managing editor of our newspaper, strange but true. This was my sixth year, so I am getting used to sitting in the stands and waving a paddle when I want to up the bid by twenty-five bucks. We always let the 4-H kid keep the animal, by the way.

Before the auction, I wander the small fairgrounds to check out the entries in the exhibit hall: baked goods, crafts, quilts, canned stuff, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Each year I think the stuff I grow is pretty good, too. I should try entering enter my vegetables.
That’s what I did this year.
Early Saturday morning I was in my garden collecting vegetables: onions, potatoes, winter and summer squash, green beans, carrots, kale, and cherry tomatoes. I washed each carefully and arranged them on a shallow basket. (The rule is it couldn’t be bigger than two-foot-by-two-foot and two inches deep. Also, there are required amounts for each vegetable.) I plunked in garlic I harvested last month. Then I drove them over to the fairgrounds.
It appears the judges agreed the stuff I grow is pretty good. My collection of vegetables earned a blue ribbon and congratulations from people I knew at the fair. It didn’t get best in show. A plate of chile peppers got that ribbon.
So what did I buy at the junior livestock auction? During the past five years, I’ve bought four goats and one duck. Except for one boy, the 4-H kids were happy when I said they could keep the animals. 
This year I bought the Grand Champion Poultry — a goose raised by a shy girl who was thrilled to keep her. She hadn’t even named her. Then, for good measure, I bought a little meat goat, just because I am partial to the animals.

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