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Countdown to County Fair:

If you have been a fly on the wall in our house (and Lord knows you could be by the number of flies around our place) you know that the countdown to the county fair is on!

If you were that fly here are some things you might have heard:

Goal Cards

“You are not waiting until the last minute this year to write your 4-H goal cards!”

“Let’s get the goal card finished for the projects that you have finished so there will be less to do as you are wrapping up the projects.”

“Grace, did you get that goal card finished?”

Wash your calf

“Girls, time to go rinse your calves.” Insert pause and no children moving. Now with a little louder tone, “GIRLS, time to go rinse your calves.”  Again, no movement.  Now with a little more gusto and a possible threat, “GIRLS, GO GET STARTED ON YOUR CALVES OR…” think scattering mice.

Sewing

Kid-Mom, I am going to my room to sew.”

Me-”Oh, good, you know there are only 17 days until judging, so you will want to get your quilt finished up.”

Kid- “I know, but I want to make some Barbie clothes, I will finish the quilt later.”

The “ List”

“Mom, add rubber cement for my photographs to the list.”

“Jen, make sure the show box has enough fly spray in it. If not add it to the list”

“Mom, can you add a pink bucket to the list? I really want a pink one because it will look good with my heifer’s hair.”

Obviously, that was meant to be a humorous look into the countdown to the county fair through my eyes and other parents, but in reality, I want everyone reading this to know just how much time and work EVERYONE, especially THE KIDS involved in the county fair are putting in to help make it an amazing, fun event for everyone in attendance.

We, all four of us, love the fair, FFA and 4-H.  Rob and I showed at the fair and our kids love showing just as much as we did.  It takes hours of practice, elbow grease, a few wheelbarrows full of patience, and lots of laughs to prep for the fair.  I would be lying if I said it didn’t take some prodding to get the girls moving in the morning to get their calves rinsed, but seeing their smiles and listening to their conversations as they work together is worth every ounce of it. The countdown is on and I will continue to add things to the list so nothing gets forgotten, lessons can be learned, and memories can be made.  

We’ll see you at the fair!

What do you do at your house for a smooth county fair prep? Did you enjoy taking projects to the fair? What is your favorite fair memory?

From the gravel road-

Jen

17

An open letter to my husband, my family and farming friends:

I see you.

I see you checking your phone to see what the weather is going to do, what the markets did, and what the latest news story is on your profession. I see you praying silently at church and wonder if you are asking for a rebound in the markets or are just thanking our Lord for a healthy family and a roof over their heads.  I see you teaching the next generation how to conserve and care for the land because it is the only one we will ever get. I see the worry in your eyes when more severe weather is on its way. I see you looking up to those that have gone before you seeking or at least wondering what their advice would be.


I hear you.

I hear you cussing and becoming short-tempered as Flood Creek is once again teasing the edges of her banks and threatening to rip out the fence that your family spent hours putting back up after her last rage.  I hear you (under your breath) asking, “Why do we do this?” But then I see the grin on your face when a healthy calf hits the ground. I hear your frustration when parts break and machines quit working. 

I smell you.

I smell the sweat from a hard day's work that often starts before the sun comes up and ends when the stars are out. I smell the manure that you are hauling to fertilize our fields and to create a comfortable, clean space for our animals.  I smell the fresh cut hay as it lay waiting to be baled to feed our cattle and provide income for our family.

I feel you.

I feel the pain that you’re feeling when you turn the other cheek to a critic about your profession or those people blasting comments about taking the insurance check.  I feel your frustration when that heifer we set up the perfect artificial insemination protocol for came back into heat or when the rain came right before our intended hay baling date. I feel you tossing and turning at night, unable to sleep because you are thinking about what to plant and how much grain to sell and thinking about how you will get it all done while farming and raising kids and doing all of the things for all of the people.

I taste you. 

I taste your hard work in the meat that you raised and the crops that you produced when we sit down at our table to enjoy a meal with our family and friends. I taste the blood, sweat, and tears that went into creating every ounce.

To all farmers, ranchers, and farming families. I see you. We see you. I see you because I am standing behind you every step of the way.  I keep it my goal to stay positive for our community, share what life on our farm is like, to provide a strong arm to hold you up when you want to fall and to encourage you to keep going when you feel like stopping.

Do you see us? Do you see what the farmers and ranchers are trying to do? I challenge you to make sure you are truly seeing what is going on around you.

I see you, from the gravel road-

Jen

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