Floppy Tails

Image of Clay's sneakersThe last few weeks of camp Clay often came home with thoroughly soaked sneakers and socks. We’re talking socks so wet that you could twist them and squeeze out a cup or two of water. Niagara Falls socks. We kept wondering what was going on. Was he wearing them in the pool? Were there big puddles in the playground? Was he pouring juice in his shoes in case he got thirsty during the heat of the afternoon? After it happened three days in a row, we sent in a note asking his aide.

Turns out one of his favorite activities near the end of each day was feeding the goats and sheep, and filling their water buckets. You have to wonder how much water they actually got.

Knowing how much he took to the animals at camp, we figured he might enjoy a trip to the annual Grange fair near us this past weekend. When my wife asked if he wanted to go, she got a one word response on the keyboard, “Excited.”

So, Saturday morning, we packed up the camera and the keyboard he uses to communicate with and headed to the fair. (As experienced parents of a child with autism, we know to stay away from high traffic times like Friday and Saturday night or Sunday afternoon.)

First stop was the bunny rabbits. This one was clearly thrilled to see Clay.

Image of bunny in cage

Next up. a pair of oxen.

Two oxens in yokes

“Slow animals,” Clay typed. I don’t think their trainer is running any four-minute miles, either. Clay agreed.

Clay sitting on tractor

We wandered through a barn filled with horses, and Clay reached out to touch some.

Clay and horse

Then he spotted a John Deere bulldozer, one of his favorite items in the world. An elderly woman came over to see what we he was doing. She was driving a John Deere golf cart. Clay is not the only one with a love of the green and yellow.

Clay on tractor

Clay sitting on tractor

We wandered from there to a barn filled with goats, sheep and pigs. After checking it out for awhile, Clay typed, “so alive.”

Cows in barn

Goat sniffing Clay's leg

Clay petting sheep


Then we saw a sheep being sheared. Reminded me a little of giving Clay a haircut. The sheep had the same expression Clay gets. But it was staying a lot more still.

Sheep being sheared

What was Clay’s favorite animal so far?

Clay typed Oxen are huge

Next stop was the arena where 4-H kids were showing off their prize cows. Clay found this amusing.

“They are funny,” he typed.


“Because they flogh.” We didn’t understand. My wife cleared it, and asked him to try again.

“Flop,” he typed.

“Their tails?”

“Yes,” he typed, laughing away.

“Ah, they flap their tails. You like the swishing.”

image of Clay typing

cows in show

Clay laughing

On the way to lunch, Clay spotted a huge Belgian horse.

Image of Belgian horse

Then we saw a t-shirt from the fair with a John Deere tractor on the front. Clay’s reaction when we bought it?

“Cool deal.”

Clay typed Cool Deal

Clay holding t shirt

Finally, time to eat and do a little more typing.

Clay typing while eating

This guy was pretty tall. Not sure where you buy jeans like that.

Man on stilts

One more John Deere vehicle

Clay in buggy

On the way out, we spotted men setting up a massive chicken barbecue.

What did Clay think of all this?

“Fun day,” he typed.


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  1. #1 by Char Brandl on August 26, 2010 - 1:40 pm

    Love it that you include Clay’s commentary. Any chance you will be at the Autcom conference in October? Sure would be fun to meet all of you in person! http://www.autcom.org

  2. #2 by Larry Blumenthal on August 27, 2010 - 12:55 am

    Thanks for the comment, Char. It is not likely we’ll be at that conference. We hope that our paths will cross at some other point, though.

  3. #3 by Coleen on August 27, 2010 - 11:31 pm

    Looks like fun was had by all. I missed the fair this year.

  1. Yo, Adrian « Life With Clay

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