Farm Raised in America
Recently I took a ride with my daughter to the farm I grew up on. Not the big 250 acre farm in Missouri, but the 40 acre one in Michigan. None of my children existed, the last time I drove by this old homestead. All that remained the same were a few out buildings, the property tree line and the big red barn.
We parked in the state game area just down the road, where herds of 70+ deer used to graze. I told her this pond was where I would call my goose, Sam, home. Sam followed me down the road with six ducks in line behind her. I was the goose girl of Gibbons Road.
I showed her the split hung door that I tried to close in effort to keep the horse from running me back to the stall. I wanted to learn to ride. The horse didn’t. Only the top half of the barn door could close, so the old nag had gone underneath dropping me to the ground.
I showed her the two big sliding doors. Behind them were places I would wait for the newest batch of kittens to peak out. Hours spent taming them, hours well spent for a child.
In this barn, I shoveled too much manure, swung from a rope swing into a huge pile of hay, played hide and seek, and climbed the forbidden silo looking far to the edge of the horizon. This barn was a great place to be a kid.
We drove by the property one last time. I noticed the orchard was overgrown the fields of hay were wildflowers. The land seemed quiet. My father had never escaped his farming instinct. He had planted ten acres with corn, beans, peas, and potatoes. He had worked the land keeping it clean. Not spotless clean because he didn’t have time, but usable and strong.
It occurred to me that farmers have an important role in our world, beyond growing the food we eat. They groom the land letting us see the strength of the soil. They will the seeds they sow to grow against the odds of no rain, too much sun, or too much cold.
A farmer’s life is never easy, the work is never done. A farmer’s understanding of life, however, is very different based in the observations of toil. A farmer keeps things simple in a life that’s often hard. A farmer represents the best in us, the sheer determination to stand up another day when life feels hard. A farmer is the quiet voice that is often missed and not heard. A farmer represents the strength of people to make something special of this great land once again.