Sunday, October 30, 2011

FarmAmerica, Minnesota Agricultural Interpretive Center

Located west of Waseca, Minnesota, Farm America offers events that display farm heritage throughout the year, from Springtime On The Farm to Christmas On The Farm. Events take place in the roomy Interpretive Center, pictured below, and volunteers provide rides to other buildings, including a 1850-1930 farm site.

Director Jim Gibson invited us to display our books and do a show at the All Hallows Eve event on October 29, 2011. Other activities included, pumpkin carving, a corn maze, rides to the country church, a haunted feed mill, a 1930s barn, and a blacksmith shop, each of which offered traditional games and treats for the kids. Entertainment included Jolly Jon the Clown, Magic Zach Madel the Magician, and myself.
They scheduled me to perform my farm heritage program, including my story A Farm Country Halloween, at 1:00 PM and at 2:30 PM.
 Audience members listened and watched as I told my story of Halloween, 1950, on the Carlson Farm.
In the background of the photograph, parents and children carve pumpkins.
Children and adults of all ages attended.

And I got to autograph some books.

Thanks to Jim Gibson for inviting us to the event. We also thank Crystal, other staff members, and all the volunteers who helped make the show run smoothly.
Everyone who attended seemed to have fun during the day, and Nancy and I had a fun visiting with people and doing our show.
Because we are scheduled for Dakota Village's "Christmas in the Village" at Farmington, Minnesota, we will not be at FarmAmerica's "Christmas on the Farm" on Sunday, December 4, 2011. We would love to attend both events, but of course, that is not possible.
We hope to be back for other events during 2012.

Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson

Friday, October 28, 2011

St. Bernard Catholic School, Cologne, MN

Sister Jancy invited me to do presentation of farm heritage at St. Bernard's, a preschool-grade six Catholic School at Cologne, Minnesota. Nancy and I enjoyed meeting and talking to the teaching staff and other friendly workers. The kids were fun and asked great questions.
The first group was preschool through grade two, and for them I did a show that included my book 
If I Were A Farmer: Nancy's Adventure. Projection onto the wall gave a really big, bright image.

The group waves to Nancy after I introduce her as the
 little girl in the dedication photo projected on the wall.

The second group was grade three through grade six, and for this group
 I did a show that included my book A Farm Country Halloween.

The introduction included the bit about teaching a newborn calf how to drink out of a pail.
The kids hold up two fingers to begin learning the process.

Students at St. Bernard's were inquisitive, polite, and fun. I like the mix of ages in the groups because it seems to stretch every audience member to accept things aimed at all age levels.
It brings me back to my time at the country school where I could listen to lessons from every grade.

Nancy and I thank Sister Jancy for inviting us to St. Bernard's and the staff members for taking class time to see my show about farm heritage. Thanks to those who stopped to comment on my program and especially those who purchased books.
Nancy and I enjoyed the day and we hope to return soon.

Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Harvest Moon Festival at Dakota City

Throughout the year, Dakota City, located next to the Dakota County Fairgrounds at Farmington, Minnesota, offers a number of fun events that take visitors back to the past.
On Friday and Saturday. October 21-22, from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM volunteers were present at Dakota City demonstrating all sorts of Harvest activities.
Potato stamping-carve a potato, dip it in ink, and you have a stamp.

Making a pin wheel. The kids love to see them turn in the wind.

Shelling and grinding corn.

 Making rope.

 Walking on stilts.
 Pumping water. 

Wheel rolling

 More walking on stilts.

Hanging out laundry

 visiting an old-fashioned candy store.
 Making candles.
 Washing clothes with a ringer washing machine.

After dark the area becomes really fun because the children are taken on rides around the village and through a neighboring field as spooks of all kinds appear from nowhere to scare and delight everyone.

During all this time, Nancy and I were selling our books and sweatshirts in part of the storage building, which is located next to the Blacksmith Shop and across the street from the Print Shop. 
The building is nice and cozy inside. Nancy poses for me as I snap a picture of her by our display.
Outside of the building, we display our signs.
We had fun visiting with all the kids and adults who stopped by to chat.
Sometimes Nancy could break away to snap a photo of me doing what I  most like to do-autograph books for friendly customers.

We gratefully thank the people at Dakota Heritage for allowing us to use the space. Everyone involved with the organization is very kind and works hard to make every show a success. 

We hope to see you all at "Christmas In The Village" on December 3-4 and 10-11. The lights will be on and the village will be filled with an atmosphere of an old-fashioned Christmas. See you then.

Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ecumen Pathstone Living

On Wednesday Nancy and I enjoyed the scenic drive down Highway 169 to Pathstone Living in Mankato.
Recreation Director Linda McDonald had invited me to do a program for the Kiwanis Club meeting, and although Linda was not present, many kind people welcomed us and helped us get settled, including Miranda, Megan, Diana, and Leah, who introduced me to the group before I spoke.
Ecumen Pathstone Living is a really fine facility, and the residents I talked to praised the care and the care givers.
Rex told me stories of farm life.

Ken and LaVerne came early and chatted with us.

Bernie, who farmed near Henska, MN,  told me that when she heard the program was about farming, she had to come to see if I told the truth. After the show, she told me with a smile, "You got it right."
Many in the group stayed after the show to tell Nancy and me their farm stories, including Donald and Myrtle Frederickson (not a relative) and Rachel Wellmann. 

Most of the stories told by residents revealed a childhood on the farm that was filled with hard work and some difficult times mixed with some positive experiences. They all could easily relate to the hard work of the family in my story A Farm Country Picnic and to the cows getting out when the family was about to take few hours off to go fishing after a rainstorm.

Nancy and I thank Linda McDonald for inviting us to visit Pathstone and all the care-givers who helped us set up. We especially thank the residents who so kindly took time to chat with us and share their stories. We enjoyed listening to them so very much.
We wish you all the best.

Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chatfield Elementary at Belle Plaine, Mn

My nephew's son Jake, or Mr. Malz as he is called at Chatfield Elementary where he is student-teaching, arranged for me to visit the school and perform three shows for first-grade students and three shows for second-grade students on Tuesday, October 18, 2011.

I did my story If I Were a Farmer: Nancy's Adventure for all six groups of children. Students in the first group (shown above) are in the first grade and they followed every detail in the the introduction and the story.

They held up two fingers when I showed them how to use them to teach a newborn calf how to drink out of a pail.
They turned to wave to say "Hello" to my wife Nancy as she snapped a photo of them.
And (below) they lined up to feel the oats in the coffee can.

The second group of first grade students was my grand nephew's class, who is seating on the chair to the right on the left side of the picture above. Sitting to his his right is Mr. Carlson, his supervising teacher.

The students eagerly hold up two fingers to learn how to teach a calf to drink.

And then (below) await to see the outcome of Nancy's adventure.

The third group of first grade students listen as I explain a few details about the farm on which I grew up.

Above they greet Nancy as I project a picture of her in the dedication of the book,
and below they courteously line up to feel the oats in the coffee can.

Programs for groups 4, 5, and 6 were in the afternoon and children in these groups were in the second grade.
Group 4 listened intently through the show, but they were especially focused when I explained how Santa delivers gifts to farm kids in my book A Farm Country Christmas Eve, below.

Children wait their turns to feel the oats.

Group 5 listens to me explain some details of the farm on which I was raised.
And they laugh at the picture of my dad using the cow's tail for a mustache.
They wave to say "Hi" to my wife Nancy.

And after the program, they raise their hands to ask questions.

Students in the last group of the day (above) were ready for the show.

They held up two fingers for teaching the calf to drink.

They paid close attention.
They said "Hi" to Nancy.

And then they lined up to feel the oats.

I need to thank Mrs. Merenes (pictured below) for graciously allowing us to use the media center all day.

I also thank my grand nephew Jake for his effort. I'm sure he learned that it is no small task to introduce something into the hectic schedule of teachers and students in a public school.

And I also thank the staff for being open-minded and listening to a student-teacher who suggested bringing in a relative to perform a "free" show for the kids.
I can only imagine that there may have been a bit of skepticism, just as there should be whenever we allow someone from outside into classrooms, decreasing the time allotted for planned curriculum.

Class time needs to be guarded carefully. Programs that take time away from regular lessons need to have value. I hope the staff and students found value in my program.

I believe that Farm Heritage also needs to be guarded carefully and passed on accurately with fun stories. I hope my books serve to do just that because a story not told is lost forever.

Nancy and I had fun and we hope the students and staff did too.

Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson