Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Farm Memories

Driving granddaughter, Hope, to school for the next few weeks, I drop her at her friend's farm for the rest of her transport. Sigh, how I LOVE being on the farm! I am seriously missing that farm experience!
Roadside view of sunrise
A bit of history about farms in my life: My great-grandparents were farmers in Charlton MI when they came here from Hungary in the early 1900s. My mom's cousin still lives in the farmhouse with her family and mom. My mind had a memory overload this week when my cousin, Mark, called. He grew up on that farm, the youngest brother of the cousin who now lives there. Mark has his own farm in Texas these days, but we shared some sweet memories of family, events and landmarks on the farm.

Daddy ALWAYS had onions and tomatoes growing in a garden patch. There is NOTHING as good to me as a "fresh off the vine" tomato, especially when served on toast and mayo! Mmmmm....

When I was a teen, mom dated a man who bought a farm intending for us to move there "someday". I used to love going to the farm for our "vacation", even though it meant living in the tenant's cottage, because the big house had regular tenants. We had to spend our weeks bringing in the Timothy hay, and those were memorable years for me. [I drove the tractor because I was only slightly bigger than the bales that had to be thrown into the wagon I pulled in the fields.]

When Al and I moved to the NW in 1974, we tried to garden in our yard, but found the clay soil and damp weather produced more moss and mold than produce. It was a short-lived and not too fun adventure.

Arriving in Vermont in the fall of 1978, we missed the growing season. BUT, in the spring, we got caught up in the spring planting season with all the other residents after a long snowy winter. We plotted out a small area of our small lot and cleared it for the garden.  It felt great to be outside planting, pruning, weeding and best of all, harvesting our own crops. We used the freezer extensively and lived off the proceeds all the next year! Our plot was rich and sandy, and after adding several truckloads of manure, was also fertile and lush. Our tomato plants were big and bushy and full of blossoms... until a farmer instructed us to chop off most of the branches, calling them "suckers". They ate all the nutrients the tomatoes needed to ripen in our short summer season. The corn got so tall and most had two or more ears. We hand fertilized the ears as they matured, so the ears were full and good. We made so many memories in our garden those years. We learned to grow and love spinach crops, sweat peas, and even grew a giant pumpkin one year!

Back in the northwest, we moved to our current house in 1990. After a few years we decided to try our hand at a small garden patch. We harvested some strawberries and a few tomatoes and beans, but not enough to warrant the cost involved for such a small patch. The weather continues to be a factor for success or failure in this yard. THIS YEAR would have been great weather to garden, but we missed the opportunity.

This week, as I visit the farm every morning, I occasionally pull out my phone and snap a few photos. Today I captured their friendly emu, who has been coming out to see me in the mornings.

Yesterday I stopped to photograph their pond next to the house, and caught the sun coming up over the hills. (Adobe kindly removed the utility pole and tractor from the shot.)

I loved the cloud in the valley and both sun and moon in the shot!

After shot, with utility pole and tractor removed.
Maybe we should move to a farm? :) I'd love it, if someone else would do all the work!