Celebrating Family

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


| May/June 2018


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.





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