As the farmer who won the lottery said when asked what he was going to do with his winnings,
"Keep farming until it's all gone."
Yesterday I went for a drive from Cheyenne down to Greeley, CO. I always take Hwy 85 because I enjoy passing through the little towns and small farms along the way. As I passed one particularly cute farm I started thinking, "why do I love these places so much?" I didn't have to ponder the question very long.........
The photo above is an artists rendering of my grandparents farm in Shawnee, KS. I believe it was here that my love of the farm began. As a child we would spend Sundays there having barbecues, playing horse shoes, and spending time with my LARGE extended family. The chicken house (middle) was the hub of the activity. It no longer housed chickens and was converted into the central gathering place. There was a patio out back where Grandpa manned the grill, the kids could be watched playing, and the adults could gather, seated in heavy, iron, tractor seat chairs. I wasn't into playing games with the other kids...I was the oldest (a very mature 5 year old) and preferred being with the adults.
I remember, one Sunday, walking the farm with my Great Grandmother. I have no idea what we talked except that she was passing some sort of knowledge on to me. I do remember though, very well, walking through the grape vines that were growing there and eating some of the dark purple grapes. To this day when I see Concord grapes at the grocery store I have to buy them. They are like tiny purple farm flashbacks.
My mother grew up on this farm and I loved hearing stories of all the animals that were once there. The hogs my uncles' raised, the horses they boarded, the rooster that attacked my aunt...I loved going into the empty barn and imagining what it was like when it was filled with animals. Since there were none left, I would climb up instead on a sawhorse and pretend it was a real horse! I dreamed of owning a horse before I ever saw a real one.
The farmhouse was big (it had to be to house my grandparents and nine kids) and was reserved for the fancier winter gatherings, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Holidays there were amazing! I had never seen so much food...the buffet was full, the table was full, there were "nibblies" spread throughout the whole house. There was also family everywhere! Every once in a while I'd have to sneak out to the front porch, for a little bit, to hide from a younger cousin that thought I was so mature and cool :)
Another farm that I visited as a child brings me fond memories as well. My great aunt had a farm in Nebraska. It was so peaceful there. I remember going out to visit and being fascinated by following the chickens around and tossing them grain. We gathered fresh strawberries growing in the garden and sat on the sun porch eating them with cream poured over the top, while drinking tea with mint leaves we'd picked, and watching a fox run across the backyard. What's funny about that whole scene is I don't remember anyone else being there. My parents? Brother? Sisters? I'm sure they were there, I don't think they drove to Nebraska and dropped me off but all I remember is the farm and how it made me feel. It was the same feeling I had passing those farms on the way to Greeley.
I want to have that feeling all the time.