County fair time comes calling
Krystal Bateson leads the one of her Suffolk lambs from the trailer to the backyard. A Dorsett lamb stands on the grooming stand with a pile of wool surrounding it on the ground.
The sheep switch places and the Suffolk begins to go through the shearing process.
The sheep, which were washed the day before, were sheared Sunday morning in preparation for a trip to the Douglas County Fairgrounds this week.
Krystal, along with her brother, David, got some outside help with shearing because it's the first year they've had sheep.
Krystal, 11, was the one who wanted to get the sheep.
"They're cute," she said.
But after feeding, grooming and working with them for a few months, both Krystal and David don't think they are as cute as they once were.
"I still like them," Krystal said. "I just don't like the way they smell."
David, 12, said he prefers working with pigs.
"They're better than sheep," he said. "Sheep can be stubborn. I'd rather take my chances on pigs."
Sheep is just one project the brother and sister are taking to the Douglas County 4-H and FFA 2001 Free Fair this year. They are both exhibiting in the cooking, horticulture and rabbit categories as well.
Both David and Krystal, who are members of the Vinland Valley 4-H Club, said their favorite project is rabbits.
"I like to show them," David said. "It's one of my favorite parts."
David is showing 15 rabbits this year and Krystal is showing 13. Both of them show Standard Rex rabbits.
David and Krystal's mother, Theresa, who is a co-community leader for the Vinland Valley club, said their family got their first rabbit four years ago.
"When Krystal joined 4-H, for some reason she wanted a rabbit," Theresa said. "At that time, we knew nothing about it."
Four years later, the Batesons have more than 100 rabbits, often receive purple ribbons at the fair and compete in other shows throughout the year.
Theresa is also the fair rabbit superintendant for the second year.
"That adds a little pressure to us," she said. "We have to be there early in the morning to open the barn and be there late to close it back up. We feel we have a responsibility to be there."
Even though the family stays busy during fair week, Krystal said a lot of the work comes before the fair.
"We have to cook all of our things, get all of the ingredients we don't have," she said. "We have to shear and wash the sheep and pick the vegetables and figure out which ones go together."
But Theresa said despite the hard work, the fair is a fun time.
"We work for this," she said. "It's my favorite time of year.
"It's kind of like the community coming together, like a big family," she said. "We really do enjoy it even though it's a lot of work."