Life at the Fair: Stevens family wouldn't have it any other way
The Stevens family has spent a lot of time at the Putnam County fairgrounds this July. Nick, Ryan and Kristen along with their cousins Elijah and Kaitlyn Boller are all 4-H members.
The family was showing five Guernseys and three Holsteins. They also show pigs.
The dairy cows give eight gallons of milk a day per cow. Bottle-feeding the newborn calves is one of the Stevens kids' favorite activities.
"They either get the cow's milk or a special formula and the kids feed them with baby bottles. The calves will bump and pull on the bottles to get more milk, just like they do to their mothers," said mom Julie Stevens.
In order to take care of all the animals, the men in the family stay at the fairgrounds in a camper. Julie travels back and forth, making home-cooked meals for the family and keeping up on the laundry.
"We make sure our animals are getting healthy food and I want the same for my family. Fair food isn't the healthiest so I go home and bring meals back here," said Julie.
On the day of the Dairy show, she was at the fairgrounds at 5 a.m.
In addition to their cows, each of the Stevens children have a hog, which they show. They take care of their own animals ever day.
"Our kids think sleeping until 8 a.m. is sleeping in. They take care of the animals themselves every day. It's really taught them to be responsible," said Julie.
Ryan and Kristen also each have a horse, which they keep on the family's 13 acres just west of Greencastle.
Nick is a nine-year 4-H'er while Ryan has been in 4-H for seven years and Kristen, three. Their cousin Kaitlyn has been involved in 4-H for three years and this is Elijah's first year.
And, if they don't have enough to do, dad Gary is the Dairy Barn Superintendent.
"We really enjoy the fair," said Julie. "The kids have a good time and are really involved. It keeps us busy all summer."