Friday, August 17, 2012

A Week to Remember

Last week was one of those marathon weeks for Nancy and me because the three days of Farmfest at Gilfillan Estates near Redwood Falls coincided with the full week celebration of the Dakota County Fair at Farmington. Since we value being at both events to meet existing customers and to make new ones, Nancy and I had to devise a plan to be at two places at the same time.

Nancy handled our building at Dakota Village in Farmington, pictured above, from about 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM on  Monday through Thursday.

My Nephew Bob Tornio, seated at our Farmfest display above,  and I left each morning at 5:30 AM for a two-hour drive to Farmfest at Gilfillan Estates near Redwood Falls, where we tended our booth from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM and then returned to Farmington each day to help Nancy from about 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM.
On Friday and Saturday, Nancy and I were both at our building at Dakota Village, and this is the way we like it, working together and meeting new and old customers. However, on Sunday, we wanted to attend a Fredrickson Family Reunion at Antler's Park in Lakeville, so we hired my cousin from my Mom's side, Evie Mushitz and her daughter Rena to take over for us.
From left to right are Rena Bjerke, her mother and my cousin Evie Mushitz, Evie's grandson Brad Simon, and Evie's granddaughter Amanda Bjerke, who is Rena's daughter. Brad illustrated my latest book, What I Saw on the Farm.

Since Evie was handling our building at Dakota Village, Nancy and I could spend time at the Fredrickson Family reunion where there were relatives as far as the eye could see
 as you can see in the photo below.
The color of the tee shirts represent the generation of the person wearing it. The oldest generation was royal blue. The next generation was red, then gold, then kiwi, then light blue. I thought the different colors were a great idea because you could easily see where people "fit in."

Here is Nancy and cousin Angie (Fredrickson) Mack posing for a photo.

Just two more shots of the reunion and then I'll take you back to Farmfest and then to Farmington again. The reunion had just too many people to cover, but Nancy got shots of family groups and individuals, way too many to post here, but Nancy posted many of them on Facebook.

However, I do want to post the display that Nancy created about the descendants  of my grandfather William Fredrickson, who was one of the 18 children whose five generations of descendants populated this reunion. 
Nancy created the display and a large photo album that traced 
the lives of William, his children, and their descendants. 
I should have taken a photo with Nancy next to her display, but I neglected to think of it. Ouch!
On the wall of the big tent was posted a chart of all the descendants 
of my great grandparents, Nels and Emelia Fredrickson, who had eighteen children.
Many people enjoyed checking it out. 
Cousin Jessica Haag did a great job of getting the information together and posting it on the wall, and everyone who planned the reunion, set up the tents, got the tee shirts, delivered the tee shirts, made the contacts, arranged the food and photos--all should feel really gratified at the success of the event. 

Now, back to Farmfest. 
Earlier in the week, Bob and I took some time to walk around at Farmfest
 before the gates opened for customers.
Every year I marvel at the size of the machinery 
and nephew Bob was awed as well as he posed for the photo above.

Bob and I had lots of fun meeting new customers and people who had purchased books during the previous two years we were at Farmfest. We really appreciated everyone who stopped by our booth to visit. Some bought copies of my books to complete their collections. Also, we talked to many young farmers, men and women, with dairy herds ranging from 700 cattle in the most modern setup to 60 cattle in tie stalls, and what always impresses me the most is their enthusiasm for farming. Many had college degrees and a variety of areas of expertise, but for them, farming is their American Dream. 

As you may have guessed, since Nancy was not along at Farmfest but busy at Dakota City, I have no photos from Farmfest of children with their new books, and from Monday -Thursday when Nancy was alone at the building at Dakota City, she took very few pictures of children because she was busy.

The two photos below were taken by Cousin Evie on Sunday after customers purchased the book illustrated by Evie's grandson, Brad Simon. Truly, it's the moments like the ones shown in the photos below that made the hectic week worthwhile.

Posted below are a number of photographs Nancy snapped during Friday and Saturday when she and I were both working in the building at Dakota City.

When an adult likes one of my books, I know the child being read to will love it.

Many people of all ages enjoyed Nancy's Farm Heritage display of pictures of farm activities from the last century. Nancy had mounted over 100 pictures on tag board so people could view them at their own pace, but she also created a DVD that displayed pictures on a three-second delay. Viewers could sit down on the chairs and enjoy the free show. Many did so and then visited with us to share their own farm stories.
The photos come from a variety of sources: Museums, historical societies, and individuals have allowed us to display their photos for free as long as we give credit to the owner of the photograph. If we use the photograph in one of our books, the owner will get a free book. If you have photographs of any farm activity and would like to let us display them, give me a call or an email. You will keep the original but we will make a copy to use. Here is your chance to get some great farm photos of your family farm displayed for people to see, and it's also a chance to get the photo in a nationally distributed book.

A child happy with a book. This is not complicated.
Nancy's display of Farm Heritage Photographs--free for all to enjoy.

We will be at the Preuhs Building at Pioneer Power on August 24, 25, and 26th, and Nancy plans to expand the photo display. Stop by to view and to visit.

 I enjoy presenting my stories to small, appreciative audiences.
A couple more great smiles from children.

 There is a lot o see at Dakota Village and the Dakota County Fair so I am especially delighted when adults take time to sit down and enjoy my books.

Nancy took some photos of the threshing demonstration put on by the 2-Cylinder Club, a local club that  preserves farm heritage by restoring and demonstrating tractors and other machines.
Members of the club demonstrated fanning, a process which cleans the grain by shaking it and then blowing off the light seed and the chaff. Audience members are seen feeling the cleaned oats in the photograph above.

 A favorite at Dakota Village is the daily parade of tractors and machinery. Many of them are owned by the 2-Cylinder Club which puts on a fine display of antiques every year. Maynard Ohms, pictured above, announces each entry as it parades by as people of all ages watch and listen.

Unless they are tired from a long day at the fair, children often have far more patience and interest in antiques and stories than many expect. 

If you can, venture down to Pioneer Power on August 24, 25, and 26. Bring the whole family to see lots of threshing and lumber demonstrations, a great parade, and many more exhibits for the family.
Stop by to visit Nancy and m in the Preuhs (pronounced Price) Building to see our free Farm Heritage Photo Exhibit, check out our books, and visit for a spell. Go to for more information.

We thank all the people at Dakota Village, the 2-Cylinder Club, Farmfest, and, of course, my relatives who handled the reunion and my relatives who handled our display on Sunday for working to make each event a success, giving my wife Nancy, my nephew Bob, and me a great week to remember.