Our grandparent’s farm just sold to a newly married couple and we are so happy to see the property in the hands of young people full of hope and dreams for their future. It’s got me remembering all the wonderful times we had as kids at Grandma and Grandpa’s.
I barely remember them having pigs, but they did. As a city kid, I found those fat, pink creatures fascinating. Grandma would throw out the slop and they’d grunt and gobble it down to their hearts content. If there were chickens, I don’t remember them.
The big, white barn was this hulking place of great mystery and fun. Entering through the grainery, the mice would scatter at our noisy interruption and disappear through the cracks in the corners. Then we’d pass into the sanctuary of the cows, to the clank and bang of the stanchions as they chewed their dinner. We’d work our way down to visit with the horses in the stalls, gingerly reaching our young fingers in to stroke their velvety noses, or the wet ones of the cattle. I never minded the smell of manure. Call me weird, but I didn’t. Now, a good whiff of it brings me right back to those adventures in the barn and warm fuzzies of Grandma and Grandpa.
Climbing up into the hay mow was nearly a celestial experience with the majestic vault of the ceiling and sunlight sifting through the cracks between the boards, dust motes dancing in the light, and the mountainous stacks of golden hay bales. Barn cats slunk between the bales and peered out at us from the dark places between. I always thought these lucky cats had a magical place to call home. We’d scale up to the top and it seemed the whole world was ours with a plethora of hiding places and forts to be built. And the smell of the newly baled hay, sweet and earthy.
To the north of the barnyard was a pond where we could skate upon glassy ice in the winter on wobbly ankles, arms out to the sides for balance. Our faces were pinched with the cold and the bulk of our coats and snow pants making us move like puffy penguins. Soon, we’d be called in for one of Grandma’s wonderful meals. Oh, to go back again.
Grandma and Grandpa’s front yard had three Russian Olive trees, with silvery leaves and branches winding and twisting upward. We would pull ourselves up, climb as high as we could and balance on the branches, our imaginations running wild.
Grandpa raised Belgian horses for working in the woods. Grandma was kicked by one once and I had to run for help. I was only about five years old at the time but will never forget the terror I felt at seeing her on the ground in pain. She went to the hospital but was fine in the end.
A few years later, I was crossing the field on foot and the horses came running. I suppose they thought I was there to feed them as they gathered around me, pushing in closer and closer. I thought I was a goner until Grandma came bouncing across the field in their big boat of a car to save me. I guess she paid me back.
As we grew older, we helped with the haying and learned to drive in the field. The animals were sold off and the grainery emptied. The pond dried up for a while, but every once in a while, it fills again, but never to where it was when we were young.
Anyway, our time at the farm left us with many memories and I know the new owners will begin to create their story of life at the farm. It warms our hearts to think of all the new memories waiting to be made. Grandma and Grandpa are smiling down for sure.