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Set in stone

Published on 31 March 2020

Imprinted on the concrete entryway to my parents’ dairy parlor are my older brother Austin’s toddler handprints and his name. I remember as a child placing my fingers in the tiny prints and imagining the day they were made.

That I know of, these are the earliest handprints of my siblings and I that sprinkle the concrete foundations on our family farm. On nearly every cement feedbunk, our handprints along with our name and/or date can be found. We did this to record when the concrete was poured and who was there to help and witness the event.

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It always fascinated me as time went by to place my hand in my younger-version handprint and see how much I had grown. Either my palm still fit, and my fingers poked up past the print, or my fingers would fit but my palm would extend inches past the bottom.

This past fall, Casey was pouring concrete on his dad’s farm. That particular day, I was in the office working; however, I asked him to please – pretty please – take our daughter Stella to the site and mark her handprints into the concrete after they were finished. He did like I asked, and now the first of her delicate little prints are set in stone just like all the ones I had done as a child. I look forward to seeing more projects in the future and the opportunity to have our daughter leave her mark elsewhere. I hope one day she too looks upon her handprints with the same awe and wonder I did.

To leave your mark means to have left a lasting effect on someone or something. You don’t need to be famous to leave your mark on this world. The mark doesn’t need to be big or great or widely recognized by people. It can be as simple as adding a personal touch to pouring a cement bunk, parlor, freestall shed, concrete pad, shop or sidewalk. Putting a lasting mark on a cement project can make it feel special, give it sentimental value and take you back in time. The memories are as immovable as the concrete you poured.

I encourage you to take the opportunity to leave handprints, names and dates for future generations in your concrete projects. Mark your surroundings and leave those traces behind for others to discover. They make for a great bit of family history.

My advice for making cement imprints is to not make the stamp immediately after the pour; the surface is too wet to stamp. Wait approximately two hours later, and the concrete should have cured and stiffened enough to hold an impression. The time varies according to the outside temperature – you’ll have to wait longer on colder days. Test for readiness by laying a trowel on the concrete, pressing lightly and lifting it. If no concrete moves under the trowel or sticks to it, your window of opportunity has opened.

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Position each hand just above the concrete and push down with moderate pressure, and then lift your hands straight off. If you are unhappy with the print, erase it with a trowel and try again. In addition to your print, you can also add your name or date to tell whose prints they are and the year the cement was poured using a stick, piece of wire or ball-point pen.

What unique ways do you leave your mark on your family farm?  end mark

Audrey Schmitz
  • Audrey Schmitz

  • Editor
  • Progressive Dairy
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