A Speech and Some Sheep: Sharing Joy from the Indiana State Fair

A Speech and Some Sheep: Sharing Joy from the Indiana State Fair

“State officers!”

Our heels spin in the dust of the infield. The grounded hot-air balloons to the right form dark silhouettes against the silver sky. I squint in their direction, looking for the source of the voice.

A 4-H member in a red t-shirt emerges from the early morning haze, a wide blue lanyard swinging around her neck. Her short brown hair frames an excited grin.

“Meg!” I exclaim. “Hi!”

“Hi! I saw the jacket and knew it had to be you, so hi!”

“I’m giving a speech at the Opening Ceremony. It’s starting soon, we need to go.”

“I’ll be there, too!”

I wave, she gives me her usual salute, and my teammates and I spin again and rush to the FFA Pavilion to meet our supervisors.

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More than Just a Budweiser Horse: A View from the National Clydesdale Sale

More than Just a Budweiser Horse: A View from the National Clydesdale Sale

In a way, people who work with Clydesdale horses tend to be old souls, at least in part — people who appreciate and embrace history and the past. They recognize the value of a horse-drawn wagon, horse work in the fields and forests, horseback riding, and the beauty and majesty of a Clydesdale in a world of electric cars, tractors, four-wheelers, and computer screens.

Every April, Clydesdale breeders from across the United States and Canada (and more — this year, I heard a couple of Kiwis) celebrate the beloved bays and roans at the National Clydesdale Sale.

This year, the sale was held at the Michiana Event Center in Shipshewana, Indiana, not far from the Michigan border. There’s something about this area of the state that draws me in and invites me to explore the landscape and get to know the people. During the sale, I did both, exploring the landscape of these horses I had grown up around and known forever, and yet was just starting to understand, and meeting people whose names I had heard all my life.

Dad and I made the five-hour trip north on a Wednesday night in the last week of April, arriving at the hotel after midnight. It was worth it the next day. We began by walking through the barn, discovering a tea and coffee station that one of the exhibitors had set up. So we fueled up before a 10 a.m. workshop on preparing for exhibition.

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An Unexpected Snowy Adventure

An Unexpected Snowy Adventure

On Saturday, March 24, more than half a foot of snow fell on our little corner of Indiana. The roads were slick. Every time I looked out the window, the density of the snowfall changed. But it remained steady.

It was beautiful.

I spent most of the day inside, but ventured outside to feed the livestock in the evening.

Snowy Adventure Farm

The snow was piled high on the truck, even after brushing most of it off.

Snowy Adventure Truck

The older heifers were huddled together in the woods. Dad shoveled snow out of their cattle trough.  Continue reading “An Unexpected Snowy Adventure”