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Stories need to be told.  You heard me say a few days ago in this post.  I truly believe it, our stories need to be told.  When I speak to large groups part of my message is encouraging people to share their stories because if they don’t someday those stories will be gone. Well after many conversations (some with others and some in my own head) I have decided that I am going to take the opportunity to share stories for people that may not have the means or platform to do it.  I want to tell of their successes, tragedies, funny stories and how they truly lived farm, ranch, rural, and ag life. I want to tell the stories that I wish I had written down about my grandparents and their parents. 

Do you know a farmer, rancher, or person involved in agriculture that you think would love to give a gift of their story for all of us to enjoy?  I say gift because it truly is a gift to those that will be reading the stories. It will be a gift to the next generation and will be a gift to the people that lived the story. It will be a way for them to know their legacy to continue to live on. I want to talk to people of all ages, genders, and states!  I want to tell your story.

Will you allow me the pleasure of telling your story through pictures and words? It would be my pleasure.

Complete this form to recommend yourself or another farmer, rancher, or person in agriculture.

From the Gravel Road-

Jen

Please direct any questions you may have to Jen at jenniferkschmitt@gmail.com

They watch everything we do…

Our children watch everything we do, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I know this, we all know this, but as we are in the thick of county fair season I have been reminded of it once again.

Red Ribbons

I am not proud of the next few sentences I am going to type, but I am an open book and always share because I know my storms and trials may help others.  Our family started off last week with static judging at the county fair.  Both girls had projects, Ellie for Clover Kids, and Grace for 4-H.  They had both worked really hard, just like all of the kids do to prepare for the county fair.  Grace confidently marched to get in line to get judged on her quilt that she had made. As she walked away from me I couldn’t help but think about the pep she had in her step as she walked away.  I watched as she talked with the judge, shared about her project, and pointed to her goal page and pictures that she had compiled. 

I must have been looking away as it ended because when I looked up Grace was walking towards me WITHOUT that pep in her step.  As any mom would do I said, “What’s the matter?”  Her response, “I got red and she said I could have done better.”  My horrible response that I wish I could take back (imagine my tone), “You, got a red?!?!” Then when I saw the tears welling up in her eyes I just threw her next project at her and told her to get in line with her scotcheroos and cookies.

Being the worrywart that I am I have replayed my reaction a million times in my head.  Do I wish I would have responded differently? Absolutely!  Did she/I learn something from it? Absolutely! I was truly just shocked, not mad.  I knew how hard she had worked on that quilt, but in the end, how hard a parent thinks their child worked on a project doesn’t impact the color of ribbon that is given by the JUDGE.  They are the judge for a reason.  Once I was able to gather my thoughts I was able to respond totally different when she walked back towards me with 2 blues and consideration to the state fair and we talked about what she might have done to improve her quilt to make it a blue ribbon quilt. Had I not done that and took a different approach to the red ribbon the entire day could have gone a different direction.  When we laid our heads down that night I told her to never let the red ribbon take away from the 4 blue ribbons and consideration for the state fair that she had received, but use it to encourage her to try again next year.

So why am I telling all of you this story?  Over the next few weeks of county fair season your children, grandchildren, neighbor children, or club members are going to be watching YOU.  They are watching how you react, interact with others, volunteer, and how you handle THEIR wins and losses. 

These children are the future volunteers at our county fairs and in our communities and they are making memories that will last a lifetime.  They will follow in our footsteps and lead another generation of 4-H and FFA members.  I encourage all of us to truly think about the comments that we make about that hog that wins that we think was too fat, that red ribbon that we think should have been a purple, or giving of your time to clean a neighbors pen or sweep all of the aisles (just because) even if it isn’t your kids' aisle.

Remember they watch everything we do…

What are some of your favorite county fair memories or experiences?

From the gravel road,

Jen

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