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Sights and sounds from 25th annual Ag Expo

July 29, 2005|by TONY BUDNY

Jeff Hinish, 43, and his wife, Lou Ann, 40, sat in the bleachers inside the main show tent at the Washington County Ag Expo Thursday. They watched the morning's competition, the open class dairy cattle show.

"It's hard to judge heifers," Hinish said. "You don't see as much with them, not like the udders on other adult cows."

Hinish said depth of rib and good legs are important for the dairy cows to give milk on a regular basis. He would know- Hinish participated in 4-H when he was 10 years old.

"I showed Holsteins when I lived in Bedford (County, Pa.). We just moved here last year after I got a job on a farm around here. My son is showing a Jersey today," he said.


His son, Chris Hinish, 13, showed for Shenandoah-Jersey farm in Boonsboro. His show animal belonged to the Shenandoah-Jersey farm owner's daughter, Jessica.

"This is a good experience for youths. This way, they can learn more about farming," he said.

"Maybe we can talk daddy into getting one," Monica Neff of Fairplay said as her daughter, Taylor, 5, looked wide eyed at the rows of rabbits at Ag Expo.

"I want a hamster and a rabbit. I like them because they're fluffy," Taylor said.

Monica's son, Brady, 1, looked at the rabbits and smiled, proudly showing off his two front teeth. He excitedly moved his arms about as he walked up and down the bottom row of cages, stopping to try and pet one of the rabbits along the way.

While none of these rabbits were for sale, that didn't stop Taylor from wanting to take a brown rabbit home with her.

"This one's soft," she said, as she stroked the rabbit's head. The rabbit calmly accepted the pats.

"Can I get one?" Taylor said.

"Will you take care of it and clean its cages?" her mother asked.

Taylor looked at her mother sternly, then looked at her sister, Summer, 10.

"Yea, and my sister will help me," she said.

With a chuckle, Monica Neff took the kids onto a different area.

Jeff Simmers, 51, of Waynesboro, Pa., chatted with his daughter Rebekah, 15, in front of their poultry cages. They awaited the judging later in the afternoon.

"These birds are held to what they call a standard of perfection, published by either the American Poultry Association or the American Bantam Association. We raise our birds just for competition," he said.

Rebekah walked over to a cage to clean off one of her silkies, a type of small chicken with very soft, hair-like feathers, with a distinctive pillow of feathers on its head, covering its eyes. Rebekah sat her black silky, named Black Cherry, on the ground. The bird stood without moving, accepting a moist wipe to its head and body.

"It's one of the few birds you'll find that'll stay still like that. That's how we try to get them, like a pet," he said.

Simmers said two Capons, chickens raised for their meat, died Wednesday because of the heat.

"They get so big, they just can't handle the heat, no matter what you do to help them," he said.

Robin Darly, 52, of Gerrardstown, W.Va., began making final preparations for business around lunch time Thursday at the Washington County Ag Expo. She owns and operates the Hawaiian Shaved Ice stand, a staple of the Ag Expo for 18 years.

Thursday, though, was not like any other day. She was about to hand over the reigns to her business to Cody Jones, 16, who is buying the business from her. "Cody came here when he was 8 and asked if he could help. I said 'what can you do?' He said 'I can help set up the flavors. I can read.' So, he came on board and has been here ever since," she said.

Darly appreciates the help she gets. She has a connective tissue disease, similar to Multiple Sclerosis or Lupus, she said.

Darly said the news of the change in ownership prompted many to give congratulations to Cody.

"He got a lot of hugs yesterday," she said Thursday.

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