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Mornin’ stalkers! {Let the pictures load. It will only take a second!}

Hope you all are well this Tuesday morning. Today we’ll be packing up and tomorrow we’ll be heading back home. Justin’s been bachin’ it since the 4th of July weekend, maybe you’ve noticed he’s not been around? Anyway, I’m not quite brave enough to spend 12 hours in the car with 3 kids by myself so my very gracious mother is driving us home. Bless her dear soul and Lord help us.
Yesterday was the most fantastic of all our days here {in my opinion}. As I mentioned before we took the kids to the zoo a couple weeks ago. I haven’t blogged about it because, quite frankly, it was hot and hilly the animals were rather lethargic. If it weren’t for a couple giraffes to make us laugh we might never darken the door of another zoo and we still may not.
Let me suggest a FREE alternative to a zoo…


Free. The best things in life are free. This little county 4H fair put the big zoo to shame. I’m even thinking of going back today by myself.

Mimi was the one who suggested we go. She must know her grandaughter.


I honestly don’t know who had more fun me or the kids. There were chickens, rabbits, and pigs, Oh My!


They were all in cages. Can you imagine if they weren’t? It’s hard to shoot animals in cages. Sometimes you can’t see the cages, sometimes you can.


Do you all have any idea how dangerous it is to take me to a 4H fair?


This was the only creature that I didn’t really want. A fancy pigeon with her collar up.

Oh, and I didn’t want the guineas either.


Have you ever heard a guinea?


They’re like roosters on crack. I had to find someone who looked like they knew what they were doing and ask, “Are those guineas always that obnoxious?” He said, “No. Usually they’re worse. They’re the best watch dog you could ever have.” So, friends, if you want to drive you neighbors crazy and keep the robbers at bay go get a flock of guineas.

The kids loved it.


This girl dominated the rabbit exhibit and told us which rabbits would bite. But my kids put their fingers in all cages regardless of whether they bit or not. Thankfully we made it home with all our digits.


Some looked more like guinea pigs.


And some were tattooed.


There were pigs too.


They were so thirsty.


And stinky.


The boys who own the hogs were so proud and I was so proud of these boys. Aren’t they cute? I could hardly keep up. They were pointing and telling me who’s hog was who’s.


The one in the white nearly killed himself to get his hog to turn around so I could feed it a marshmallow. He finally got it turned around and then I accidently dropped the marshmallow and getting down in front of a 400 pound hog to retrieve a marshmallow was out of the question, for me at least.

Second to the guineas, this little sheep got the “loudest participant” award.


I’m not sure what it wanted but it sure was “baaaaaaaaaa baaaaaaaaaa baaaaaaaaaaaa’ing” for something.


And I don’t think it was to have it’s picture made.

I caught up with the rest of them at the goat exhibit. By the way, the crowds were so slim. If you see anyone else in our pictures, they were likely participating in the fair. Most of the kids thought I was with the newspaper. I can’t imagine what would give them that impression!


The goats were my favorite. Mom couldn’t resist either. Those furry little lips were so soft!


This one wanted to escape. Must be why Billy had a collar on.


This girl made me mourn being a city slicker. 4H was never an option at any of the schools I ever attended.



She was so sweet and totally dominated the goat exhibit.

Mr. Mouse even got in on the goat action.


And I did too.

I spotted this very full {or so I thought} dairy goat.


I asked the girl if she was really full or if that was normal… “normal,” she said. Then she said, “Do you want to milk her?”

I mean, seriously, when will I have another opportunity to milk a goat.


As I placed my hand on the goat’s boney back, she explained that the milk takes the fat from the goat. I wanted to tell her that lactating had a similar effect on me. But she was in high school and I didn’t want to totally wig her out nor did I want to compare myself to a dairy goat.

Have you ever milked a goat? It is extremely difficult. Thankfully they only have 2 teats. This young lady milks 3 goats twice a day. She also has hands and forearms of steel. I tried and a little stream would trickle out and then she’d show me and milk would squirt out hard and fast and then I’d try and a little trickle would come out. She definitely needs to be the 4H queen. They pasteurize all the milk and drink it. She explained how good fresh goat milk is and how good it is for you. I wanted to try it. So I put my head up under her teat…. no just kidding.

Next up… cows.


This one was a beautiful champagne color. The owners explained her mother was a Charolais and her father was an Angus. I thought she was beautiful. Her owner did too. These kids are so proud of their animals and all wanted their pictures made with them.


This is for my friend, Everlie. She used to show dairy cows and was the 4H state champ back in her day. This 4H fair had one dairy cow. And it didn’t even have any milk yet. But her owner was as proud as he could be of her.


And for my sister, there were inside exhibits too. And one lonely participant in the Interior Design category.

interior design

Ok, time to start scouring the house for all our belongings that are scattered from one room to another.

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  • angi
    July 21, 2009 at 5:59 am

    Thanks for this post! As a 4-H alumni (11 years) I miss these days. As a farm kid, I lived for the county fair and hanging out in the animal barns with friends and our 4-H animals. Such great memories! Now I live in an urban area, but I hope that someday my future kids will get to experience 4-H as well.

  • Ivy
    July 21, 2009 at 6:06 am

    That looked like so much fun! I can't believe you milked a goat…ha! Glad everyone still has all of their fingers. I hope ya'll have a safe trip home tomorrow.

  • Love Being a Nonny
    July 21, 2009 at 6:07 am

    WOW! The pictures are amazing! I am always amazed at what these young 4H kids know about raising animals!

    Funny…they thought you were with the newspaper!!:) Your camera is going to get you in trouble one of these days!

  • Sarah's Fab Day
    July 21, 2009 at 6:08 am

    What a fun way to spend an afternoon with the kids. How proud were those sweet kids of their animals? And probably so tickled that you took such an interest in them and their hard work.

  • Amanda
    July 21, 2009 at 6:14 am

    Those goats are so cute I can hardly stand it! I just had a conversation with my husband last night about how we need some goats and chickens and cows. He's still not convinced, but I won't give up! Those are some great pics.

  • Caroline
    July 21, 2009 at 6:32 am

    Great pics. I love looking at tall of the animals, Julianna does too. Girl, if you had had a taste of mill from that goat I would have died! haha My favorite pic is the pig drinking the water. Too funny! I am so glad you guys had such a great visit!

  • Caroline
    July 21, 2009 at 6:33 am

    and obviously my fingers and my brain are not yet connecting this morning. Sorry for all of the spelling errors. Hope you can actually read my comment! just change the "tall" to "all" and "mill" to "Milk" and I think we've got it.

  • erika
    July 21, 2009 at 6:50 am

    i'm dying laughing… and i kinda want to cry because i am missing out on so much. 🙁 i want to be THERE!!!!!!!!
    love all those animals, especially the goat, did you touch those velvet ears- they looked so soft.
    you crack me up. can't wait to see you this weekend… Friday?

  • julie
    July 21, 2009 at 6:52 am

    oh what fun! sad you all have to leave, but you have an exciting party to look forward to this weekend 🙂 Safe travels!!

  • Jamie
    July 21, 2009 at 6:55 am

    What a great way to see so many great animals! I'm with you on going to the zoo. Blech.
    I've loved reading about your trip. Best wishes for that long ride home!

  • Miranda
    July 21, 2009 at 6:57 am

    I had surgery last week, and not felt up to reading all the blogs I follow. Yours is always worth reading and I've looked forward to each of you post, as always. Hope you have a safe, PEACEFUL trip back home.

  • Kristen
    July 21, 2009 at 7:07 am

    Fun stuff!!! Our local young farmers committee (which my husband and I are on) puts on a "petting zoo" very similar to that each spring. All of the kindergarteners in the county are invited to attend with their classes. It is the most fun I have all year. We have baby chicks for the kids to hold and pet too and they LOVE that. We also bring the big tractors, hay equipment, high boys and combine for them to see up close and sit in. I LOVE getting to share that with these kids that will probably never see or get that close to any of those things otherwise. Y'all have a safe and sane trip home! Good Luck and may the force be with you!!! I'll be praying for you guys.

  • Abby Maddox
    July 21, 2009 at 7:10 am

    Looks like so much fun! Are you sure you, your mom, and all three widgets don't want to make a quick detour over to yall's mountain house to meet the maddox family???? I remember there was some good reason you couldn't…oh well. I am just ready to hang out in real life 🙂

  • Kara
    July 21, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Funniest post yet. No tears for me this time, only laughs. The highlights: the sheep's little itty bitty toofers, which your camera shot very well; the marshmellow story; and milking the teat.
    I'll pray for your drive tomorrow. I promise!

  • The Harris Family
    July 21, 2009 at 7:21 am

    This cracks me up! I'm lovin it! I love the pig nose the best. When we took AG to the zoo I too had a similar reaction, no more zoo, it's too depressing!

  • Mrs. Davis
    July 21, 2009 at 7:28 am

    I live in the suburbs of Houston now, but I grew up on a cotton farm in Louisiana and can totally appreciate the country living! That is great that your kids got to experience that way of life! Cool mom you are!

  • Ashley
    July 21, 2009 at 7:28 am

    What a great post! I love (shamelessly) stalking your blog and was so excited to read about your 4-H adventure. Kudos to you for not only exposing your children to 4-H events, but showing enthusiasm for it as well. What a blessed day for a sweet family! 🙂 Safe travels home!!!

  • sashyjane
    July 21, 2009 at 7:44 am

    I loved my years as a 4-H'er!! This brings back fond memories. These pictures are beautiful too! The cows, pigs and goats are adorable, especially that little dairy cow and the piggie drinking water. Too much!

  • Natalie
    July 21, 2009 at 7:54 am

    makes me smile – my dad grew up on a farm in jackson, ms and had many 4-h cows. my only experience with 4-h is looking at his extensive pictures from back in the day…i would love to visit one in real life!

    have a safe trip back

  • Erin
    July 21, 2009 at 8:04 am

    ohhh..wish I was there! I grew up in Mt. C and I think I only went to the 4-H fair once! Sad. I hope the trip home is better than the trip up!! I love you:)

  • Dianne
    July 21, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Darby Darling, have a safe trip home tomorrow. I have certainly enjoyed your farm vacation. Praying JM sleeps in the car for a long time. LOL

  • Yevette
    July 21, 2009 at 9:17 am

    What a beautiful post! I so enjoy your blog and my kids do too : )

  • Amanda @ Serenity Now
    July 21, 2009 at 9:26 am

    I'm going to miss your farm posts! The animal pictures were great. 🙂 My girls would love to visit something like that. 🙂

  • pam@pixelimpress
    July 21, 2009 at 9:41 am

    this line had me concerned for a split second… "it's hard to shoot animals in cages". until i realized you meant with a camera! great post, great pics. thanks for the chuckles. safe trip home. pam

  • Katie
    July 21, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Stlker at large! I've enjoyed your trip back "home." My kids loved the pictures today. Safe and happy travels for you all tomorrow. With a four year old, two year, and nine month old myself, traveling for any length of time doesn't exactly give me warm fuzzy feelings about motherhood…more like a twitch, a rash, and a strong urge to pull all of my hair out. Best of luck. I'll say a prayer for every hour of that trip!
    Mothers are saints huh?

    Katie Snow
    Millbrook, AL

  • Shireen
    July 21, 2009 at 9:59 am

    I'll be praying for your roadtrip, friend. I really pray that it's not only safe but also enJOYable. Please, Lord. 🙂
    Wave at me when you pass thru B'ham.
    Love you all.

  • Anonymous
    July 21, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Ah, the 4-H days. I have two crazy guineas that I would love to mail to you. Sometimes when they're especially annoying I wonder if they'd make good dumplings. Then they sense that somehow and fly up to the hay loft.

  • Mandy
    July 21, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Have you ever seen cleaner animals? We go to the State Fair in Perry, GA every fall where all the 4H kids have their animals. I love to see them bathing them (especially the pigs!) and getting them ready to show. My kids love it as much as yours!

  • JMW
    July 21, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Great images! I haven't taken my little ones to the state fair yet – that's something I should try to do this year.

  • MyLittleHappyPlace
    July 21, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Toss up for me between the dairy cow and billy goat – I'd want both.

    Lookin' at more of the inherent species down here, but Ben doesn't think a Toucan would make a good pet?!

    Safe Travels back home!!

  • Tori
    July 21, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Hey! Stalker here LOL!! I have been reading your blog for about a month and Love it! I have a two year old and a soon to be four year old. You keep it real which I love. It makes me feel better knowing there are other moms out there who struggle at times. Not that you struggle, but well you know, not everything is always picture perfect! Your pictures are the best! How do you get such vivid and bright shots? Do you edit your photos? I just got a canon rebel xt and am looking for any pointers.


  • livingtotellaboutit
    July 21, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Love this! I, too, am a former 4-Her. I still look at my official 4H record book from fourth grade where I meticulously recorded the care of my calf. I wormed her, fed her, gave her vaccinations. These are little-known facts about Dana in her Dothan life…And to top it all off, my Daddy was the agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, and now both of my brothers have the same job…no doubt, city kids miss out.

  • Amber
    July 21, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Your pictures are the best! Have a safe trip home!

  • Amber
    July 21, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Your pictures are the best! Have a safe trip home!

  • Allison
    July 21, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    My sweet friend Shelli Allen introduced me recently to your blog. WOW! 99.9% of my blogs are design related except for yours which is just, it seems, life. I have to tell you it's my favorite! First thing I do when I get my blog updates is scroll all the way down to yours and check out what's happening. It's such great fun…thanks for all the laughs and the opportunity to take a peak inside.

    Alli from Marietta

  • Yolande
    July 21, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Hi Darby,

    Your Kilim-obsessed friend here. What is 4-H? Is it a class topic in school? I scanned through the comments and realize I am the only person asking this question…

  • CC
    July 21, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    You just can't beat good, country fun, can you!?!?! I love that!!!

    Thanks for bringing us along on your trip! Did you get cotton candy or a candy apple before calling it a day? I hope so!!! 🙂

    Have a safe trip home. I'll say a little prayer for y'alls safety in travels!

  • Melissa
    July 21, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    This just might be your best post ever! Love it, except for those guineas! When I was little, my grandparents' neighbor had a whole flock of them…they never stayed at home, always at Granny & Granddaddy's house. They would drive you nuts! Tracy was in 4-H & FFA and showed calves as he was growing up and loved it, so I imagine Matthew and Luke will be doing that as soon as they're old enough. Have a safe and PEACEFUL trip home!

  • Jacci
    July 21, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Have a safe trip home, Darby! 🙂 I've loved reading your farm posts. And what fun that you don't have to say "goodbye" to your mom, yet!!! Maybe you all could bust out some little house project before she heads back home??? Isn't there a bathroom off the family room or something 🙂

    Take care,

  • Anna
    July 21, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Do you have little cards with your blog address to hand out to the folks you meet? I bet they would all be thrilled to see themselves captured so beautifully.

  • paula
    July 21, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    how fun! I so want a couple of chickens and a goat. My husband thinks I nuts, I think I am just practical.

  • Willow Chic Boutique
    July 21, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Hey Darby, We are friends of Erika's down at the beach. I was just telling her the other day, you two need to create a coffee table book with your photos. They are fabulous!!! Beautiful children too! -Celia

  • ml
    July 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Darby I think this was my favorite post that you have done in a long time. So precious! Now I have to go look for a 4H fair… or maybe a trade day!

  • Ashley
    July 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    okay, the lactating comment got me. i often feel like a goat being milked myself! LOVE the stories and pics. this trip north has been so fun for us to "live" with you! will email later…have some q's about your photography!

  • Mandi
    July 21, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Could you just stay in Mount Carmel for another couple of weeks. Your posts are always good, but these remind me so much of the town I grew up in. About the guineas, my grandma has some and they are very loud and obnoxious, but they eat fleas and ticks, so it is a bit of a trade off. Good luck on the trip home!

  • Cstargel
    July 21, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Praying for your trip home tomorrow (and your eardrums!) LOVED the post and laughed out loud about milking the cow and the whole lactating comment – Being that I'm lactating right now, I'm definitely wishing it was taking more fat from me!!!! Also, being from Atlanta – I've never heard of a 4H! So I learned something new! Please post upon your safe return!

  • The Pavliches
    July 21, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Girl, you were in AV F-stop heaven! Great job on the caged-animal pics, that is hard to do.

  • Holly
    July 21, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    My grandparents had a bunch of guineas when I was growing up. They are definitely annoying!
    Looks like your kiddos (and you too!) had such a good time.

  • ellen
    July 22, 2009 at 8:42 am

    No! I love guinea fowl! I've been launching a serious campaign to convince my parents (who have six acres) to acquire a flock. I love their crazy squawking. My mom's aunt and uncle had some at their farm in England. Best security system you could ask for ;o)

    And so handy, too! They eat fleas and ticks.

  • Philigry
    July 23, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    you have such a beautiful blog, and I love reading your post and seeign all the animals. it sounds like you guys are having so much fun with your parents.
    A friend told me about your blog, and I love it. I also love what you said in your side bar, about how the blog is not your whole life, just a small part.
    I will be back to visit soon.

  • 3girlsmom
    July 27, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Wait. Everlie Cook (maiden name)? From Montgomery, AL? Because I had a friend in high school named Everlie who showed cows (and taught me a lot about them) and the coincidence would be way too freaky if we aren't talking about the same person.
    Do we know each other?
    This is weird….

  • jill
    August 3, 2009 at 10:17 am

    D-that was one of my favorite blogs of yours. I didn't know you liked animals that much. I LOVE the goat-milking bit. Way to go. I wish I could milk a goat.