Life on a family farm
in the wilds of
Upstate New York
Friday, April 14, 2017
You Can't go Home
Or so it's been said. However, yesterday, Beck, the boss, and I visited the old farmstead where his mother grew up. Her father farmed right on top of Fiery Hill in the town of Danube on a place that is mostly grown up to trees these days, although it appears to have been sold to someone who is building.....something.
We go most every year or two, to stop in that quiet place on that high hill and think about all the stories his mother told...of his grandfather's teams that could haul loads that no one else's could....of her being just a little girl, walking carefully barefoot down the corn rows leading the big, gentle buckskin horse on the cultivator. He never, ever stepped on her, and she remembered him so fondly. There are many more wonderful stories of her childhood. I wish I could remember them all. She adored her father but he died far too young and left her with a hard row to hoe. This time we killed two birds with one stone. The boss loves to visit. I don't exactly hate it either, and I wanted to do a bird list there as a sort of a connection down the years.
At first there wasn't a whistle or a twitter to be heard. I caught the calls of a quartet of distant crows, but not one single other bird made so much as a peep. We walked down the rutted road along the front of the land, wondering what became of the fine stone steps that led from the road up to where the house used to stand. Somewhere I have pictures of them, but darned if I remember where.
Just as I utterly despaired of hearing or seeing even a single interesting bird, a tiny singer fluttered right to us. It was so quick-moving that I couldn't get a photo even though it was less than four feet from us. A Ruby-crowned Kinglet had come to visit and followed us right up the road. Soon Chickadees, Gold Finches, and even a gobbling turkey joined him on the list.....Sure wish he had paused his flittering for a photo op but it was not to be. A special bird, although not rare, one I have been seeking, although it surely would have been nice to find one in Montgomery County. I thought of my late mother-in-law, who was somebody very, very special, all the way home. And thought as well that it is no wonder she loved this hillside farm having grown up perched so high above a different but wonderful valley.