I went with a friend to the Royal Agricultural Fair in Toronto today. It's my favourite autumn activity -- rows and rows of interesting vendors, Superdogs, a petting farm (where I always marvel at the soft, dainty muzzles of the alpaca, goats, and sheep), the thrill of Percherons and Clydesdales, the perky little Hackney ponies, sharp-hipped cows, and a million other things to see. I ate a potato pancake with lox and sour cream for lunch, managed to resist the maple cotton candy, and debated for a while before giving in to my first taste of poutine. (After almost 30 years in Canada, I figured it was time to try it.)
At one booth, which was selling sprouting supplies, the saleswoman put down her sprouts, picked up her Celtic harp, and sang for us, which was magical. I loved wandering along touching alpaca sweaters (made from, not made for) and admiring carved wooden bowls and beautiful oil paintings. Talked myself out of buying fuzzy slippers and darling knitted hats for the grandkids (a bit pricey). Enjoyed the Frisbee stunts of the Superdogs. The furry Angora rabbits. The soft-as-marshmallow stuffed animals. The colourful John Deere-themed quilts. Too much to mention!
I go every year, but it's as if it's all new and fresh to me every time I go. That smell of hay and manure makes me nostalgic, and that velvety touch of the cow's nose as it eats from my hand so gently still melts my heart every time.