Monday, August 31, 2015

Our State Fair is a Great State Fair!


I just spent three straight days at the Iowa State Fair with my wife and my three youngest kids. The kids were showing their Boer goats in the 4-H show. We’d never shown any livestock at the State Fair before and I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive about the whole deal. How would our stock compare to the competition? How would we ever get everything unloaded and loaded back up again with all the traffic and the people? Well, as with most things I worry about, I shouldn’t have wasted my time worrying at all!

The Fair organizers are great. After all, this is not their first rodeo so any problems we might have encountered had already been ironed out years earlier. We had a packet of instructions two weeks in advance. It included all of the check in dates and times along with the appropriate gate assignments and parking stickers. We had everything unloaded and penned up within an hour of our arrival! There was plenty of helpful staff on horseback who kept the traffic moving and the congestion at a minimum. I didn’t see one problem or hear one horn honked in frustration. I wouldn’t call the process relaxing but it was far from the stressful event I’d anticipated.

Once we were settled in, I had a chance to observe some of the staff in action. I’d never been on the fairgrounds at 5:30 a.m. before. It’s a beehive of activity! Garbage trucks cleaning up after 100,000 people, skid loaders hauling off manure from hundreds of head of livestock and vendors dropping off food and beverages for the day. Everyone has their time slot to do their thing and they follow it to the letter.

The livestock show went smoothly too. When they say first show at 8:00 a.m., they mean it! All the judges and support staff were in place well in advance and the shows went off without a hitch. The livestock judges are some of the best in the nation and the 4-H staff is second to none when it comes to running a show. It’s always a pleasure to see professionals and volunteers come together like a well oiled machine.

When we were all done, loaded up and headed home, the conversation turned to next year. What animals would we bring? When should we breed our animals to maximize the number of animals we could show? Should we make some changes to our program based on the judge’s comments on our animals? There were lots of ideas and food for thought. At any rate, it’s a sure thing we’ll be back again next year with a new group of animals. One thing is for certain, we’ll be able to count on the capable State Fair staff for another well run Fair!
Blain Smith
VP Ag Lending

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

LSB Pistol Packing Professionals

A couple of years ago my husband, Randy, thought I should take the class to get my Permit to Carry. Working at the bank, he thought it would be good information even if I never carry. The kids and I went to the class one evening. It was very informative.  I learned a lot and enjoyed it. He was right. Don’t ever tell him that I admitted that.

Between us gals at work, Sarah and I have had our permits for a while. Dena recently went and got hers.  Dena decided she needed to take a shooting class. So she came over to borrow a pistol from me. She picked the revolver. It was the second pistol Randy had purchased for me. The first one that Randy got me I didn’t have enough strength to use. Now that one is his. Hmmm, may have been the plan. The second one was a revolver and was much easier to use.

Dena got to her class and got to the target shooting session. She gets ready to shoot and she doesn’t have enough strength to pull the trigger, so she uses one of the trainer’s guns instead. She had trouble hitting the target. She blamed it on her contacts. She has decided maybe she could just beat the bad guys with the gun instead of shooting at them.  I really can’t say much. I have trouble hitting the pop can but I can hit the five gallon bucket. I guess my bad guy better be an extra large one.  Sarah has a lot more practice.  She has shot her gun many times.  If you know Sarah, she’s going to shoot first and ask questions later. And then there is Toni.  She doesn’t have her permit or a gun. She can take on anything. She has raised twin sons.
Yesterday we were discussing our shooting talents when the local undertaker came in at the bank. He was concerned that maybe The Eldon LSB Pistol Packing Professionals may be sending business his way. He wondered if he needed to leave his phone number.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Poor Linus

Due to a fight with a raccoon, a scratch on Linus’ face quickly turned into an infected mess.   After 2 trips to the vet, with the 2nd trip requiring an over night stay, Linus came home wearing a cone.  We have owned dogs for years and I am grateful that this was our first cone experience, and hopefully our last.  When my husband said Linus had to wear the cone for 3 weeks, I thought...impossible.  There is no arguing the simplicity and effectiveness of the cone; it keeps animals from reaching parts of their body they are to leave alone.  That is easily said if you are not the one wearing it.  Linus is a 3 year old, very energetic 100 pound golden retriever.  Linus’ peripheral vision was affected, as was his hearing.  Heat built inside cone. During an adventure to the cattle lot on a rainy day, water built up inside the cone then ran slowly down his neck.  It took days for his neck to dry out since there was limited air hitting his neck.  He had to learn to eat and drink differently.  He loves to play ball and chew on his deer antler, which was very challenging while wearing the cone.  Wow...what a difference a piece of plastic can make. 

We sprung him out of his cone 1 week early; without a set back in the healing process...success!  I don’t know who was happier...Linus or I?