All's Fair with animals
I reach out my hand to pet a recently shorn sheep as it glances at me with disinterest and sends an irritated bleat in my direction.
I am in the fiber tent of the 2009 Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Fair, attempting to make friends. However, the animals seem to have their own agenda and are completely snubbing my brother, Rob, and me.
Though there are also rams, Angora goats, and Alpacas enclosed in other pens under the tent, Rob and I continue walking through the tent past freshly cut wool, soft sweaters and knitwear that are on display at vendor tables. We pause to stroke an Alpaca as it snacks on hay, but one loud whine from his mate stops us in our tracks.
As we exit the tent and wander into the livestock hall, the sounds of roosters and clucking hens fill our ears. I can't believe how loud it is. Snaking my way along the narrow corridor, I find several large cows mooing incessantly, and groups of baaing sheep, but still no pigs. Children are extending their fingers into the cages and then quickly retracting them to avoid receiving a territorial nip. Blue, red, green and white ribbons, indicating the award-winning animals, decorate the sides of cages and twirl in the breeze.
Outside, I hear horses neighing and I walk towards the sound. Four gigantic grey steeds stand whinnying and shaking their manes as they wait to be harnessed.
And then - shrieks of laughter coming from just around the corner, and we see four small children and two adults leaning over a pen filled with five playful little pigs - their cameras clicking away.
"Daddy, can I have one?" a little girl pleads to the man with the camera.
"Ask your mother," he responds.
I crouch down next to the little girl, and spot the little piglets playing in their pen. Four are brownish-black, with white skin and black spots that reminds me of a cow.
One little pig with black spots is the most playful of the litter, bounding around the pen and bumping into its mates. "That one's mine," says the little girl matter-of-factly, pointing at the spotted piglet.
As if on command, the little pig comes over and stands in front of the girl, poking its snout into the gate.
"See," she says, "I told you."
Lauren Folino is the news intern at The Times.