Monday, August 8, 2011

And the Winner is. . .

I moved to Ault ( population 1500 or so)  in the fall of 1970 to begin my first teaching job. Fresh out of college, I was eager to meet my first students. I was very young, looking back--23 years old. I has hired to teach English and speech and I coached the speech team, directed the school plays, loving every moment, but it all ended in three years. I did meet my husband, a local farm kid and the rest is history. We raised our family here. Our children are the 4th generation to go through Highland school system, The Ault Fall Festival has been a tradition for decades. When Jen was in 4-H, too help raise money for their Washington Focus trip, we sold hundreds of burritos at the Fall Festival for several years, so I got a little burned out and when she was done with 4-H, I quite avoided the Fall Festival. But now that the girls have their families and have moved away, they like to come home to the small town celebration. When they were little, the girls would take flowers from the garden to enter in the flower show, so last year I decided to take a few things over to be judged. Just for the heck of it. The egg plant won grand champion in the Senior division.
The Parade: Ault: Weld County's Oasis

I took dozens of photos, so I thought a collage would tell the story of day: The VFW always opens the parade with our veterans; there are always a lot of horses, cheerleaders, old cars, tractors, floats with kids throwing candy, old machinery, oh and my family on the other side of the street. In the center is the old school house where I began my teaching career--my classroom was in the basement, lower left. One school superintendent wanted to raze the building, but the community fought fought back, saving the building. It has been declared an historical building and with the help of grants it was restored to its original glory and today houses the middle-schoolers. After the parade, everyone heads to the old gym--where dad and his daughters played basketball, volley ball, and had gym classes. This year the entries were slim. Some years are like that. There is always a spectacular quilt display; these quits are not entered in the competition. If they were, Lady Bug wouldn't stand a chance.

And the Results are:

My entries: The Cosmos: one blue, one red. The sun flowers: one blue one, one red. Stargazer Lily: blue. The egg plant, grand champion. Cucumbers, red. Green pepper,  blue. My beautiful stargazer was bedazzled by a beautiful hibiscus. There were only two quilts entered in competition. The lady bug came in second. The brown quilt won grand champion and rightfully so. It's corners met perfectly.

For each first place ribbon, the winners were awarded a bag of sugar. Ault is a farming community and for generations sugar beets were the cash crop that keep farms alive. Today while sugar beets are still grown here, corn seems to be the main crop. For decades my in laws raised sugar beets for Great Western Sugar, so sugar is an appropriate award generously donated by Great Western Sugar.

We had egg plant for supper. The head gardener didn't care for it.

Sunday, the Ault fire department, an all volunteer fire and rescue unit, serves pancakes for breakfast and gives kids a ride on the big fire truck:

Jacob loves the adventure; little brother Nathan is not so sure. When I asked his mom if he liked his ride (he is a child of few words--well, he is only 2 only has a few words), she said he was more excited to get to feed the chickens.


But the real winner of this story is Shorty. After all the excitement of the Fall Festival, we went to our other daughter's house to celebrate little Lucy's 3rd birthday. When we got home at dusk, we were milling around the front of the house. We noticed a man walking down the road calling "Shorty." My husband went out to the road to talk to him. He had one of his antique machines on display; he no doubt was from out of town too. Fireworks wore exploded to announce the beginning of the dance in the park. His little shelty Shorty got so scared that he wiggled out of his harness and ran away. My heart ached for the guy. He had lost his dog. Scared dogs run and run and sometimes are never found.

Sunday morning we headed for breakfast and as we drove past the school just down the street from our drive way, I saw a little shelty pacing the school yard fence. The little guy was in the school yard; he had probably spent the night there in the safety of chain link fence. We immediately drove over to the the old machinery display. Participants were packing up. Was Shorty's "dad" still there? I asked a man if he knew who had lost his dog and told we had seen the dog.

Short and his owner were reunited. We stuck around just long enough to make sure that the reunion was a happy one, and indeed it was.  I just could not imagine having to leave town leaving my little dog behind.

My grandmother was a nationally accredited flower show judge. She used to help me create little flower arrangements to enter in the Lakewood (Colorado)  Garden Club flower show. I wish I knew more, grew more, did more with flowers. It's just fun. I think, however,  I would drive myself crazy if I nurtured, pampered, and fused over trying to grow the prefect flower to win a silly old ribbon. Knowing my luck it would get hailed on and ruined. It's just fun to put yourself out there, to participate, to have fun. Next year you should pick your very best bloom and enter it  in your local fair--just for the heck of it.

I think I will plant my gladiolas earlier next year. There weren't any glads on display.


  1. Well done on the winning ribbons and sugar. How kind to reunite the dog and owner!! Sounds like a great country weekend and the weather was good!! Have a great week, Jackie in Surrey, UK.x

  2. How nice that the owner was reunited with his little dog. They often get frightened by fireworks.

  3. Oh that is such a good story about Shorty! And we all need good stories right now. Congrats on the win as well!

  4. I love small towns and the festivals and fairs that go with them. Ault sounds like a nice town. Rural and friendly.
    I love that they give sugar out if you win.
    Great post, Ann!

  5. Ann! Hooray for you and your entries! Ladybug is a prizewinner. I would give your cozy quilt many ribbons! I loved reading about Ault. How homey and community-ish! Warms my heart!
    I'm so glad you found Shorty and reunited him with his best friend. What a good idea to enter flowers and other things in our fair. I'll think about that!

  6. Nice haul and REALLY awesome that you were able to help Shorty and his dad!

  7. Ann, congratulations on your wins--I just knew you had a grand champion! And your quilt was so special in design, forget the corners. I would give it FIRST!
    So glad Shorty was reunited with his worried master. Thanks for sharing your lovely weekend with us. Egretta

  8. Mom-great post today. I love reading the stories you weave. I truly takes me back to a time when I go the fall festival. We had fun. I am going to look into becoming a flower judge. I have wanted to for a while, just lost site of that goal for a bit and now it is back. I hope that my boys will grow up appreciating where i grew up, esp. since they are not growing up there.

  9. OH, BTW, you could james and my head's off in the photo:)

  10. Congratulations! Looks like you must have won in 5 different categories!!! There must be a lot we can learn from you.

    Glad Shorty got reunited with the owner. I lost a dog a few years ago and the experience was a very painful one.

  11. Congrats to you for winning all those ribbons plus the Grand Prize for the aubergine, and commiserations on coming second with your quilt.
    You had me worried about Shorty the Sheltie but thankfully there was a happy ending to the tale.
    Great mosaics of the days events, btw, what a lot went on!

  12. Congrats on your wins, I like the idea of the sugar, it's a nod to the past. And well done for reuniting the doggie and it's owner and I love the quilt!
    Thanks for leaving a lovely comment on my blog too!

  13. Congrats how fun! I,m glad you had a wonderful fun filled day, won some sugar, and helped-out a little doggie. I bet you would win with the glads go for it.

  14. Mom-before you order from white flower farm-hydrangeas at least-let me email you a list of the ones I can get at the wholesale nursery and see if you like any of those. I can get larger sizes for better value.