Wednesday, June 17, 2020

State Fair 2021!

As most of you probably know the beloved great Iowa State Fair is cancelled this year. The state fair is one of my favorite things to look forward to all summer. I love exhibiting 4-H projects, watching shows, competing in fun fair contests, and of course eating tons of delicious fair food especially if it is on a stick. Without a fair this year, it means that my to do list for next year's fair will be twice as big as I will have to make up for all the stuff I will miss out on this year.

First thing on the list is getting a bucket of cookies. These fresh, still hot and melting in your mouth delicious chocolate chip cookies are the best thing to eat while walking around the fair looking at everything it has to offer. I’m sure by next year there will be tons of new foods to try since every vendor has a whole nother year to think of new ideas to freeze or fry to put on a stick for easy walking, gawking, talking, and of course eating while participating in the people watching pro-sport which the state fair is famous for. I could watch all the funny people at the fair for days but then I realize they are probably watching and laughing at me also as I just felt a big chocolate chip chunk still stuck to my lip from my snack a few hours ago.

Another one of my favorite things to do while at the fair is compete in the fun fair contests. Whether it’s egg rolling, cow pie throwing, or even a yummy pie eating contest it is so much fun to enter, compete and of course EAT! (However, do NOT eat the cow pie). Last year I was at the fair for twelve of the best days of my summer. I was a grandstand usher and my friends and I tried to enter and do as much as we could each day. I think it came from all the years my parents drove my brothers and I to the Iowa State Fair to enter the pedal pull contest. We have lots of hardware and fun trophies from the sweat, determination, and teeth clenching competition from our pedal power. I am very sad to hear the 2020 fair is cancelled but I do look forward to next year with even bigger and better expectations. The Iowa State Fair has been around for 165 years and only includes 5 cancellations of the event. The last time the Iowa State Fair was cancelled was during World War 2. I realize this was not an easy decision to make. I plan to take this year to practice my egg rolling, cow pie throwing, people watching skills and make 2021 the best fair yet!

 ~ Kesley Holdgrafer

Summer Heat

As we reach the middle of June, we are officially in the heart of summer. Long, hot, and humid days are here and nothing beats coming inside to the cold air conditioned house after being outside working on the farm. The big question though is how do farmers do it? How do they continue to work out in the heat? Farmers love what they do. It can either be negative temperatures with below zero windchill or boiling hot temperatures and they would still choose to be outside on the farm then anywhere else.

Everybody knows that on a hot day you must continue to drink lots of water in order to keep from getting dehydrated. For a long day in a baler or anything else, farmers are sure to bring several full, plastic water bottles or even a big jug of water, pop, or Gatorade. Sometimes though, farmers are in a huge hurry and they rush out of the lane so fast they forget their water or they only grab one, which will definitely not last them a full day. As soon as the farmer realizes they forgot something to drink, they usually become super thirsty and begin to search the whole cab for a hidden bottle. Truck and tractor cabs can fill up with many empty water or pop bottles if not cleaned out regularly. If they are lucky enough, they might find one with some old water still in it. The problem is that water is always warm and you have no idea who drank from that bottle before you. If you are extremely lucky, there just might be an old can of pop that has rolled around so long it has no label left and the aluminum is covered in dirt. Without a label you can not tell if it is a diet or regular Pepsi, or even what year it expired. At that point though, it doesn’t really matter because you are super thirsty and it is better than the alternative of not drinking anything at all.

I hope everyone has a safe and amazing summer, and farmers, do not forget to bring plenty of fresh cold water and pop for a long summer day in the field. 

~ Kesley Holdgrafer

The Art of Saying Goodbye

The art of saying goodbye. When you think of saying goodbye you probably imagine a quick hand wave, a hug, or a few words and out the door you go. There’s tons of different ways you can say goodbye to someone after a visit, however when visiting with a farmer, saying goodbye is really a fascinating journey.

If they are visiting inside the house they will probably sit at the table for a long time talking about stories and this year's crop. Then when they eventually feel it’s time to leave, they will start heading to the door and saying goodbye. Once at the door they will again begin to share another story that leads to another and starts a whole new conversation. If they bring up the weather then you're really going to be there a long time because farmers can talk about the weather forever. Talking about this spring's weather, upcoming weather, remember the weather that year, imagine if the weather was like this instead. They can go on and on. Once you finally say goodbye again and reach the fresh air outside it might actually be goodbye unless it’s nice out and they follow you. Then you might end up telling more stories leaning against your truck until you officially say a final goodbye, start your vehicle and actually leave. Saying goodbye in the Midwest truly is an art. You can actually say the words many times, but until you are officially in your vehicle heading down the lane and onto the road, this process can take hours to accomplish.

Farmers are cooped up in the tractor all spring planting and doing tons of other things alone. They have been pretty busy and haven’t done a lot of chit chatting with neighbors. When the time does come when they meet up again, a lot of stories can be shared. It can take awhile for the final goodbye to be said. With that being said I am super excited to say goodbye to spring and hello to summer. Bring on the hay equipment, balers, tedders, and rakes. It’s going to be a great summer!

~ Kesley Holdgrafer