Well, this weekend I got to do the best thing ever. Nope, not bikes, jet boating, baby seals, or saving lives. I got to go to the local A&P show. That stands for Agriculture and Pastoral. Like as in sheep. And goats. And tractors. It was awesoooooome.
When we attended Cup Day last spring, that was the kick off to A&P week here in Christchurch. But that was all fancy and had a feeling of old money and young drunks. The Oxford A&P show is so much more my speed. Farm animals, farm equipment, food, beer, and so much more New Zealand “country” than I knew existed.
Upon driving in, we had to bounce my very yuppy feeling VW Golf through 3 pastures before finding a place to park. This was the place to be this Saturday. Just while parking we passed a sheep herding competition and lots of show ponies. Scott shuddered in fear for his next several hours while I plastered my face to the window like a little kid trapped in line at Disneyland waiting to get on Mr Toads Wild (Country) Ride.
Nearly the first exhibit we stumbled upon were the angora goats. They are, quite possibly, the best thing ever.
There is no way Im not getting some of these in the future. How can you not love that face???
Or this one:
Don’t worry. I got the pamphlet on how to raise angora goats. Im sure everything I need to know is in there.
After Scott tore me away we finished with the goats we watched a few cows and alpacas being judged. From what I can tell, anyone can enter their animal, and it is based purely on looks. A bovine popularity contest, if you will. I didn’t snap any photos of the winners, but I did take some time to check out the alpaca competition…
I kind of feel like alpacas might be the nerds of the farm world. Like, they’re adolescents now but mom still cuts their hair. They seem pretty curious, but not particularly friendly. Apparently they spit when they get irritated.
Look! Baby alpacas!
Besides farm animals, there were tons of booths with people selling crafts and food. We stopped and did some wine tasting (of course) and contemplated purchasing alpaca sweaters. There was also a tent with demonstrations, so we caught one on cooking meat (lamb, chicken, and steak) and another one on bee keeping.
But wait, there’s more! A whole indoor exhibit was dedicated to what seemed to be the judging of everything. There was homemade wine, there was a 112kg pumpkin, there were multiple bread and cake categories, and the best single cut dahlia. Like, who grew the best flower. You can get judged for anything, it seems.
|Who grew the best chard? And in the background, lots of dahlias.|
|Who grew the best potato? And the best black potato?|
|The best squash, corn, bean, lettuce? The options are endless, people.|
There was a whole cookie section, which I may take on as my main goal for the coming year.
Before wandering over to see the sheep (!!!) we stopped and watched some really old guys split logs. In the 5 or so hours we were at the show, there was always a group of really old guys splitting really big logs.
|The ambulance never came, so I’d say it was a success.|
There was also a “fair” like section for the kids. A few games and circus like rides, and one giant inflatable boat, which appeared to be sinking into the ground and said TITANIC on it. Is it just me, or is having your child slide down the sinking ship that killed all those people just a little bit not PC? (Not that I care in the slightest, but I thought to myself, only in New Zealand.)
We got Scott a coffee so he could regain his will to live, and go look at all the sheep. Man, there are a lot of different kinds of sheep. We meandered over there just in time to catch the end of the sheep shearing competition. These were the best of the best. One guy sheared 6 sheep in just over 10 minutes. It was really quite impressive. Albeit, not the most dignified thing to ever happen to the sheep.
Each new sheep got lifted by the front legs and slid out on her back like an upside-down turtle. The shearer kept her head and a limb or two between his legs at all times to keep her supine and just kind of spun the sheep around (the floor was slick). Like I said, impressive and undignified.
At the end of the day as we wandered through the last of the sheep exhibition, we came across pet sheep.
Like, the other best thing ever. Of course I pet every single one, and found my favorite. A young, mangy little girl with part of her ear missing and lots of dirt in her wool. I don’t think she won any awards.
Things I didn’t manage to take pictures of include: dirt bike jumping, horse racing (because, who cares?), the chicken and rooster judging- also 2 ducks!, sheep herding, greyhound racing, and the bagpipers – random, I know. I was in hog heaven- no puns there because there were no pigs. Where were the pigs???
Anyways, I pretty much can’t wait to drag Scott to this next year. Here he is, resigned to his fate with a beautiful old tractor: