Labor Day weekend means fair, fun and photography

I know that the official season of autumn doesn’t begin for another three weeks. However, there is no denying that it is well on its way. The splashes of color are everywhere in the trees, and the goldenrod stands tall with its yellow splendor and, yes, pollen.

Allergy sufferers are experiencing itchy eyes, scratchy throats, stuffy noses and, yes, maybe even a cough. I was tested in past years and was told I wasn’t allergic to the pollen, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother me. Wasn’t sure what that meant, but it seems every spring and fall, I am bothered by mold, pollen or whatever is out there.

This Labor Day weekend means back to school for most kids in our area and, as always, the great Shawano County Fair. I have always loved that fair — from my childhood, through the years I was a general leader of a 4-H Club and even now, as a senior citizen who still enters photography at the fair.

Every year, it is a challenge to be at the right place at the right time, with a camera at ready, for that special shot. I even plant flowers that are to attract things like butterflies. This year, between seeds not growing and deer eating what they wanted, my plans seemed to go awry.

Often I’d see butterflies, but they never seemed to sit on anything, or anything good. “Why are they sitting on dirt or a rock?” I would think. I had that same problem a couple of weeks back, but I stood around with the camera until it finally sat on a flower and actually stayed still for a time.

Taking pictures is something that gets me out and moving, and I enjoy the challenge of working for a pleasing shot. I never dreamed of ever taking deer pictures, yet two fawns stood across the road eating grass one morning, and they didn’t run away when I went outside with the camera. Plus, my elusive buck was back in the backyard, and I got a picture of him, too — through a window, but still. So what if I lost a few flower plants? I’ve enjoyed seeing the deer.

I also saw a lot of birds this year. Some during the blizzard, and I tried to feed them. There were chickens along the roadside and turkeys in the backyard, eating blackberries that grow there. It was fun to watch them reach their beaks up and pull down the berries.

I also saw geese, kind of watched them grow up as I drove past this house with a pond out front. The mamas and their goslings were so cute, but no camera with, so no picture.

This seems to have been a year of extremes in the weather. In April, we got three days of snow in the form of a blizzard. Precipitation has been scarce for most of the growing season and then, late August, three or more days of heavy rain and thunderstorms.

I hope that the showers somehow miss Shawano when the county fair is going on, as I know how much work everyone goes through to put on the fair. My first love is the youth participation, and I try to get through the exhibits to see the latest projects being done. And of course, the barns are full of activity.

In my years as a general leader, I can remember helping some of the youth in the club get their entries to the fair. It was always a worry when the woodworking and the decorated cakes were riding together in the same space. However, we never had a catastrophic event with them.

You can still find me in the Farmer’s Exhibition building, by the youth crops and vegetables at the fair, especially on Monday afternoon and evening. I help out there a bit, now and then.