The picture I use for the title of my blog was taken early in the morning look out over the meadow of my parent’s backyard. It’s my favorite picture. Backyard, for some people, means a little patch of grass. For my parents, for the last 14 years, it has meant acres.

We moved to the farm when I was fourteen, but it’s always been a part of my life. It’s where my Dad grew up, and until we moved out there, was my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I was not at all happy to be moving out there. I was just about to enter my freshman year of high school in Archbold, Ohio and had been moving up the social ladder very nicely. It was not the time to start over, in my mind. But, being fourteen, I had very little say in the matter.

I’ve talked a lot about how I’m glad we moved out there, and how I benefitted in myriad ways. That’s not what I want to blog about.

This weekend I’m heading home to help my parent’s move out. It was a perfect storm of circumstances. It takes a lot to keep up a farm, emotionally, financially, and physically. We were due for a new chapter. But I’d regret not taking some time to honor this very special place and bless the young couple that have decided to take it on for themselves.

I can only assume my Grandma and Grandpa are looking down and feel the same way.

I’m too disorganized and impatient to immediately recall the location of a particular photograph of me and my Dad walking through the barnyard. I can’t be older than two. I might not even be one. Dad is holding my hand and keeping me steady and we traipse through some newly fallen leaves. When we eventually took up residence at The Farm, I took over the room that was my Dad’s when he was growing up. He sorta held my hand all through my childhood.

Knowing what it’s like to live a truly rural lifestyle is something that is becoming increasingly rare and every day I become more grateful I experienced it. The couple buying the farm from us are acquantances and it’s comforting to think they’ll be walking through the barnyard hand in hand with their children.

My parents aren’t moving far. Actually, they are moving much closer to two of my aunts and my Mom’s Dad, so it really is a good thing. My Dad will finally have time to actually read a book. My parents will have more time to come visit me. They won’t be so tired all the time.

But this is where my Dad grew up, where I celebrated my rehearsal dinner, where my sisters grew up, where we’ve raised really special animals, where I learned about my family history, where my Grandma and Grandpa made their life, where my Mom found artistic inspiration. It smells good (usually…get an East wind in there and the drainage ditch is beyond…uh…fragrant…and the turkey barns…and the manure spreading…) I’ve been to Montana, reknowned as “Big sky country” but I have to tell you, it never looked as big as a starry night full of lightning bugs at our little Ohio farm.

It’s been an uncertain market for home sellers as everyone knows. I’ve spent the last year not knowing if any time I was visiting was the last time, and that has been hard. I know that the house is full of boxes. I haven’t seen them yet. My parents and sisters are very excited about the new house, and so am I. I’m completely jealous that Eve and my Mom are gabbing and painting tonight and sleeping over at the new place. Ellen is meanwhile busting about moving into her new apartment.

I love new beginnings. I love learning new things and experience new stuff. But I can only do those things with a strong anchor and that anchor has been built via this special special place. I was the one that least wanted to move there. Am I the one that least wants to leave? I don’t know. It’s easy to make it seem like farm life is this ideal pastoral thing when you’re in a third floor apartment listening to traffic and kids lighting off fireworks outside peppered with loud bass and other city sounds. In reality it’s hard hard work, and the kind of work I was never cut out for.

It’s time to move on, but I will be forever grateful that I experienced it.


2 thoughts on “Homestead

  1. I grew up in a now small town in Ohio, as well. But, it couldn’t have been more different than Betsy’s childhood experience. Eastern Ohio, along the river, is industrial country. The smell of steel mills and industry is a common scent. Going to a farm was a school field trip and animals were smelly dangerous creatures, even chickens gave me the creeps.

    Then, eight years ago, I fell in love with Betsy. After a while, I fell in love with her family and with her family came the farm. It’s a wonderful, beautiful place. In the summers when we would visit, I could knock around golf balls and work on my short game, not having to worrying about hitting neighborhood houses. I could swim in the swimming pool and lay out in the hammock. I touched a horse for the first time at the Kohart farm. I met Lacy the goat who stood a foot off the ground. She was a great goat. Chickens and ducks would run around my feet. Killer the Rabbit, a friend from college, moved from Miami to live there.

    My only regret from my eight years on the farm was that I didn’t have more time there. I would have never had guessed that I would have opinions on goats and rabbits. I wish that I would have made a couple more trips out there, just to get away from the city and smell the sweet air. Their new home is lovely, and once they are all moved in and unpacked it will feel like home. It’s already begun, only after a few days in the new house. I look forward to seeing it once Georgia has her way with it. As Betsy said, it is time to move on, but the farm has forever changed my life’s course and I’m a better person for it.

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