In the introduction, I spoke of my friend Stephen Anderson. Anderson was a great storyteller and I had talked him into letting me record some of my favorites. I was especially interested in documenting “Man on the Moon”—a funny little recollection that involved my great grandparents (who I never knew). The day that we had agreed on dawned cold and rainy and I asked for a rain check. I’m not sure that I spoke to him again. This was a hard-learned life lesson and so I began to pursue, in earnest, a project that I had been thinking about for a long time—to record stories from older farmers and ranchers.

An 80 year old who has spent a lifetime in agriculture has witnessed extraordinary change—from rural electrification to gasoline powered 4-wheelers and everything in between. If we want to capture a little taste of a largely bygone era, we need to be doing it right now. But above all else, we record tomorrow’s history in this way because we can. What would you give to be able to listen to one of your great great grandparents telling a good story? We view these stories as treasures.

I’ll be talking more about this project in the weeks and months to come. Until then, please enjoy these samples from a proof-of-concept project that I worked on in partnership with the Wabaunsee County Historical Society. If you know of any older farm or ranch folk, from the Flint Hills or beyond, who can tell a good story, please reach out to us. Thanks!