Monday, August 11, 2014


My folks were not farmers, which is fine. I grew up surrounded by books and history, and never felt the least bit removed from the wide world, and the events of the near and distant past....from the Revolutionary War to the finding of the first known dinosaur eggs, it was all there in the book shop and the antique shop...

However, I still got to grow up on a farm, as my beloved aunt married a good farmer, and all the cousins and my brothers and I ran tame on their farm.

We all got to visit yesterday for a family reunion, which fostered the reliving of a favorite set of memories....of family and fun...and the making of new ones, with two hay rides, pork barbecue made by my brother and his lovely wife, lots of babies, and cousins and cousins and more cousins...and aunts and uncles and lots of love and fun...

When things got a little quiet for a bit I treated myself to a tour of the barn, which, when I was a kid, seemed like a mysterious paradise dropped down to earth for my personal entertainment.

There were cows back then. Burgess Black, Jessica, and dozens of others whose names I've forgotten.

Baby calves that would suck on your fingers. Barn cats. A series of dogs, the most memorable of whom was Yoki, a sort of collie shepherd cross, who was known, upon occasion, to fetch down the cows, a feat which impressed me no end. 

A childhood visit to the farm was like water on the desert to a city kid born to farm, although I surely didn't know it yet.

And if we ran out of domestic critters to spoil and pester, there were fields full of bunnies, and snakes, and a creek with fish and frogs and tadpoles and dragon flies, and, and, and.

There were whippoorwills to lull us to sleep at night, or keep us wakeful, replaying the wonders of each day in our young minds, as we snuggled under feather beds, in the warm, sweet, country dark.

Yesterday the barn was empty, except for a spooky black cat that ran out as I walked in....and cousins. There were delightful little cousin's kids' kids playing under the haymow where we played when we were little. The hay is put up in bales now, but when we first visited, there was loose hay and we were allowed to hide up there, and hunt down the hidden kittens, and even jump out when the mow floor below was stacked with fluffy stuff. Tarzan had nothing on us.

I was taken back by the barn chart hanging near the door. When I was little I studied the bulls whose photos were there, for planning matings of the Holsteins that lived there. What made this one better than that one, why, why, why? Little did I know I was storing up knowledge for a future of my own. 

(I can remember reading Hoard's Dairyman while sitting in my uncle's chair, in the living room. I always had to be reading something....and if I ran out of books, there it was....who knew that all that gibberish about corn and cattle would mean so much some day.)

The barn was perfectly tidy, and haunted only by happiness. I wandered back to the warmth of the party, heartful  with thanks that I got to grow up in such a wonderful place.

A huge thanks to my aunt and uncle who made it possible and to their kids who shared them and their home with us. And thanks for the party too. That was really something....Good times, good times....


thecrazysheeplady said...

This was a fantastic trip down memory lane, especially the posters of the bulls :-).

joated said...

Nice! I can feel, hear, sense the yearning in the words: "If I had known then what I know now. If only I could go back in time and do it all over again."

Rev. Paul said...

What a wonderful day you had! Reminds me of similar reunions when I was young. Sadly, we're all so scattered now that it'll probably never happen again.

Cathy said...

LIke a beautiful dream.
So many, many blessings.

This, I'm sure, made all your readers smile:
" . . . ran tame on their farm."

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

"Haunted only by happiness. . ." What a wonderful reflection, and it could have been written by me about my summers living with my grandparents on their Michigan lakeside farm. My youngest boy and his family went out there this summer and rode on the same tractor my grandpa drove to spray the orchard, and they swam in the same lake where I learned to swim before I could walk, and the little ones stood in the shallows and giggled as minnows nibbled their toes. Yes, we are among the lucky ones who have childhood memories of the special delights of a farm. Thank you for reminding me of so much joy.

Scott said...

Lovely, Cousin. You should be a writer!

ellie k said...

I have never seen an old barn that was so clean. How long since it housed cows? It brought back memories for me too, many years ago, farming, dairy cows, bills and hay. Thanks

ellie k said...

I mean bulls and hay but I guess bills too. We usually sold a cow when they came due.

Uta said...

How fortunate you are to have those kinds of memories. I can remember escaping from one war zone to another. I wish I where younger so I could live on a farm and make such memories.

threecollie said...

TCSL, thanks! The posters meant so little to me then...but I pondered them.

joated, Y'know, it was fun, but I don't think I would want to go back in time. It's hard being a kid. lol

Rev. Paul, it exceeded every expectation. I enjoy our family so much! Sorry that your family is so dispersed. Makes it hard. We had cousins drive quite some distance, and a few couldn't come and were much missed.

Cathy, we were happy there and had too many adventures to recount

Jacqueline, we are indeed incredibly fortunate to have experienced such joys. It warmed my heart to see all the flocks of little ones having fun in the same places where we did. Another generation making memories.

Thanks, Scott, it was great to see you and the family!

Ellie, my uncle keeps everything looking that way...clean, inviting, pleasant. The whole farm is beautiful. He stopped milking a while back but raised heifers right up until recently.

Uta, I am so sorry to read that. Unimaginable for us who were so fortunate to grow up in a peaceful area. I wish you could go back and do it an easier way.

Terry and Linda said...

I so agree with Joated...I also could hear and feel the yearning in your words. Excellent post!