Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The farm

I live in the house that I grew up in,I am sure that some would say I still need to grow up,anyway near the house is a farm.
When I was a young child the farmer had black Angus beef cows that would wander from the farm to our little sub-division, imagine a child that is 4 or5 suddenly finding these huge jet black steers in his front yard and walking up the street.
The farm had always been a fascinating place to me.After a few years it was no longer a working farm. ,and it was a time when ,you could wander ,and your Mom wouldn't worry about you until it got dark.
My friends and I would play army in the now over grown fields at the farm, we would walk along rock walls that were made when the fields were first cleared. I wondered how long ago those rock walls were made. There was one large lonely tree left in the middle of the field, I wondered why, that tree that is still there today , often was a place of contemplation . I would sit on the rock wall and just stare at that tree and think.
The older kids in the neighborhood always tried to scare us and tell us that the farmer would pepper us with rock-salt from his shotgun if he found us there,but we were never once chased away.
In the woods on the south side of the field was an old saw mill that had probably not been used in 50 or 60 years there was a tractor to power the mill with steel wheels, the kind that used no tires ,the whole tractor was rust brown. I sat on that tractor seat and imagined running that mill ,shifting the shifter turning the wheel but all was rusted frozen.
The heavy canvas belt that ran from the pulley on the tractor to the mills 3 foot saw blade was still there,although it had been chewed on in many paces as little animals used the chewed canvas as nesting material. The roof had fallen flat down on the mill years before. There was a pile of cut lumber near the mill that had turned that grey old-wood color over time.
I imagine the farm house and barn and other buildings were built with lumber cut at the mill,from trees that were where in the fields .
Yet there was that one tree, left in the middle of the field.
There were also the woods to the west of the fields that felt like the wilds of Alaska to a young boy and his friends.
We would explore the wood finding all sorts of "artifacts" like waxed paper shotgun shells that was used to take a rabbit for some long forgotten dinner or a real rusted tin soda or beer can from sometime.
we would walk through those woods and to the creek that the farmer had put a "bridge" across, it was a very long 12in. square barn beam that took all of my courage to cross. Note I did not say walk across, although I did several times , but also crawled across when I left my courage at home that day.
Across that creek was a foundation from a house or cabin that has long been gone . The foundation was filled in by many Falls worth of leaves, in fact if you didn't trip over it you would not know it was there.
I wanted to know who had lived there. Was it an early settler to the area or a hunting cabin or some little stop along a forgotten trail.
I still wonder about who may have lived there.
As I grew older I spent less time at the farm, all those that I grew up with have moved onto college and careers and in fact it has been many years since I have talked to any of them.
I left "home" and had a family but circumstances required I move back to the house I grew up in.
And the farm is still there,although 2 houses have been built there and it is also now "posted" so my childhood wanderings can only be stories to my kids.
I miss it.
The farm had been my Disney Land and I am grateful for the time I was allowed to be there.
Wondrous places are getting hard to find.
From my front porch, I can watch the sun set over the farm, that is one thing that can not change and I think deep down inside I can hear the kids I grew up with saying see ya tomorrow I have to go home now and can almost see those black Angus cows walking in the street in front of my house with the Farmer chasing them in his old rusty Ford pick up sending them home to the farm. I can still see that old sawmill and remember how it felt to walk on that 12 in. bridge and how I felt so very far away when I crossed that creek.
Yet I am still right here at home.
I will always cherish the many memories we made at the farm.


  1. It's funny how as we get older, the memories of our youth matter so much. I imagine those images coming back to us very similar to the effects of a black and white flashback you seen in today's movies, projected in our minds. . .like an 8mm movie camera projects on an old spotted screen.
    Our memories get us through this life, whether they're good or bad. I savor them with you.

  2. Jay, we really are a lot alike. Up to the moving back home part, I would have argued that those thoughts came from my own mind, my own childhood...

    Someone cue the Twilight Zone music-


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