Celebrating Family

For Caleb, farm ponds have remained a focal point of childhood memories, family outings, and first-time writing assignments.

  • Celebrating family
    Ponds have remained a focal point of sibling camaraderie, family outings, and first-time writing assignments.
    Photo by Getty Images/Konstanttin

  • Celebrating family

I remember the ­first article I ever wrote for GRIT. It took me a while to work up the nerve, but eventually I pitched the article idea to then Editor-in-Chief Hank Will, now Editorial Director of all of our magazines, and he liked the idea; he seemed excited.

The basic idea was farm-pond management.

You could write a book on the topic, but in order to keep the article to a manageable focus, I zeroed in on a few tips that rural property owners can implement to optimize their resource. A main piece of the puzzle is not letting cattle and other livestock have open access. I still remember on our farm growing up, during the heat of summer, there were a few pasture ponds where cattle would always be waded out into the water, and occasionally you'd see evidence of critters perishing.

The idea of restricting access involves piping water through a bank to a stock tank or secondary reservoir so that the livestock can use the pond as a water source but not have full access to do damage to the banks and to the pond in general.

Anyways, it was a fun article to research, report on, and write. I remember calling Herschel George, a watershed specialist for Kansas State University, and gaining his insights.

But my favorite part about writing the article was the intro, a simple "anecdotal lead" we call them, in which I simply told the brief story about our family farm pond. It stirred memories of summertime days with my brothers, wrestling on the banks, ­ fishing, shooting snapping turtles even, and catching our share of crappie and largemouth bass. But even more than the ­ fish we caught, I remember those times with my brothers, and it makes me grateful for having siblings.

6/18/2018 9:40:32 AM

I came across this article and by golly! I remember that pond article you wrote! We worked together to create some dynamic illustrations to help explain the concept of creating a watering system for livestock. It seems so long ago, doesn't it? I had a hard time understanding what you meant about a stock tank on the other side of the pond, because in my area of WI, it's so flat! Then, we moved to the western part of the state, where farm ponds and livestock tanks were really common in that hilly area. Suddenly, I remembered your article and it all made perfect sense. Thanks for including me in that experience. I could tell even then that it meant a lot to you to share that article with the Grit community. Becky

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