Barnyard bonding

between a trio of 4-H siblings and their animals has yielded a wealth of life lessons

Caring for and showing animals has become a way of life for (from left) Daniel, Zaara and Sumrah Rehman of Saukville, who make daily trips to two family farms in the Town of Belgium. They will show several animals at the Ozaukee County Fair next week. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

The Rehman family of Saukville will be easy to see at the Ozaukee County Fair this year, but glimpses may be blurry.

Jay Road 4-H members Zaara, Daniel and Sumrah will be rushing in and out of three different barns to show goats, chickens, cows, ducks, rabbits and a pigeon.

While the fair showcases the finished products for a few days, it’s the rigorous work the 360 days before that makes it all possible.

Courtesy of their parents, the Rehman children make daily trips to their grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ farms in the Town of Belgium to tend to their collection of creatures.

Two hours on school nights and as many as four on other days are spent feeding, watering, cleaning, training and grooming.

For Zaara Rehman, 15, that means sacrifices have to be made.

“I have to minimize time with my other friends,” she said.

Just completing her first-shift role as a Port High student and what turns out to be a part-time job is a challenge.

“It’s a task to find a balance between schoolwork and farm work,” she said.

Her 11-year-old brother acknowledged, “We usually don’t have much time at home.”

Their mother Diana is OK with that. She and her brothers grew up showing cows and pigs in 4-H.

“It taught us respect, to work together, to work toward a goal,” she said. “I want to provide the same things for my kids growing up.”

Education goes beyond time management and cooperation.

“I’ve learned to have a lot of respect for all of the animals,” Zaara said.

She has been showing animals for seven years. Rabbits are a favorite because they are “super friendly.”

The angora rabbits get brushed every week, and before the fair get their wool blown out to get them fluffed up.

“I love doing the care. It’s a really big hobby of mine,” Zaara said.

The time she has missed with some of her friends has been replaced by meeting new ones at the fair.

“It’s so fun. I get to hang out with people,” she said.

Daniel manages his time with schoolwork at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. This is his third year showing animals. He likes goats the best.

“They’re cute and fun to play with,” he said.

They’re also unique.

“They have a mind of their own,” Diana said.

Goats, she said, are more like dogs, especially Daniel’s Jimmy, who will be pulling Sumrah in a cart at the fair.

Training goats to walk is the most difficult task, Daniel said. Just controlling the 150 to 200-pound animal is hard enough.

Jimmy is an alpine goat, a breed that is known to be mischievous, Daniel’s grandmother Carolyn Strauss said. He has proven that to be true while living at her and her husband’s farm.

“We can’t have flowers,” she said. “We’re lucky if we can have laundry on the line.”

Jimmy, a free-range goat who acts more like a dog, gets into cabinets in the barn and once followed a neighbor family walking dogs to the lake. He is well known at Harrington Beach State Park, which is just down the street.

“People know Jimmy. He’s famous,” Strauss said.

He even has his own Instagram page called The Official Jimmy The Goat.

For Sumrah, who is showing animals in her first year with 4-H after competing in open class last year, winning is her favorite part.

“You get trophies,” she said.

That’s if she can get her animals to the fair. Her pigeon and chickens live in a barn on her great-grandparents’ farm, and catching them has proven to be a challenge.

Sumrah said she is learning how to get the animals ready for the fair and what diseases they may get.

Cleaning and preparing the animals for showing is almost down to a science, but Diana said “It never feels organized enough.”

But it has become the family’s lifestyle.

“It’s what we do,” she said.

For Strauss, who has been involved with the fair with her children and grandchildren for nearly 30 years, the effort is worth it.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun work,” she said.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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