Expert Advice

At the Minnesota State Fair
At the Minnesota State Fair Dairy Barn

This summer my writing detoured in the direction of teen boys as my grandson grows ever nearer to the double-digits (age 10). The series of short stories I began in June seems to be blossoming into a novel about two teenage cousins. It’s been a fun journey so far with generally positive responses to initial readings.

One of my characters’ exploits involves calf roping on a dairy farm. All of my relevant past experiences were quickly tapped for this one before I launched into research. When my available resources were tapped, including conversations with my sister who once owned a non-dairy farm, I still had a few doubts about my story’s accuracy. I needed to know how the calf in my story would be likely to respond to the situation presented.

Question: where does a city girl find someone with expertise about Jersey calves?

Answer: the Minnesota State Fair Dairy Barn.

It didn’t take long to find a young lady who was managing her family’s livestock at the Fair. I introduced myself, explained what I was writing ,and asked if she would answer a few questions. My subject matter expert graciously confirmed all of my assumptions about the personality quirks of a Jersey calf, and she appeared to enjoy being consulted on the topic.

This encounter reinforced some valuable lessons for me and other grandparents:

  • We are never too old to learn something new.
  • Give credit to younger generations for the things they know.
  • A friendly inquiry is a handy tool for conducting essential research.

Many thanks to the young lady who shared her expertise about dairy farming, especially Jersey cow behavior.

Visit my website at: www.spirituallegacymemoir.com.

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