Thursday, February 14, 2008

Inspiration for my homestead

I thought I'd share just a thought or two about
some of the things that have inspired me to work toward becoming a homesteader...
When I was a kid, my dad was a pastor. In our church were some wonderful people that had a dairy farm and milked somewhere between 60 and 80 Holstien's. These people were good friends with my parents (and family) and when we left that town, it sort of happened that I would go and spend a week or so with these friends on their farm during the summer.
More often than not, I'd be so excited on that first morning, that I'd wake up before anyone else in the house. I'd lay there forever waiting for someone to get up. Finally, I'd get tired of waiting and just get up on my own, sneak out of the house and walk out to the barn. I'd go to the grain room and grab a shovel and begin filling the trough with grain for the cows in preparation for the morning milking. I was a kid, remember. My friends were always surprised by this.
Now, Holstien's are rather largish cows, and for a kid like me, not accustomed to being around them, I was a little afraid of them. But I always loved being in the barn. I'd help feed the calves, and watch as my farmer friend went through the routine of milking. I even got to know some of the cows by name. Popcorn and Pearl were two that I remember especially for being so gentle. Other cows had no names, and therefore didn't get much attention, at least not from me.
I recall how, on more than one ocassion, I witnessed the process of artificial insimination and was adequately grossed out by the whole process.
During the day, if there wasn't a tractor to ride as it worked a field, or a trip to town to be made, I'd spend my time playing in the hayloft, or tromping through the pasture (not caring whether or not I stepped in a fresh pattie because I wore my Wellies), or wandering to one of two culvert creeks on the property to try to catch minnows (though I never suceeded). My friends also had a three wheeler, the predecessor to the four wheeled ATV. Three wheelers are now outlawed as dangerous (as if four wheelers aren't). I'd get on the three-wheeler and putz around the place, through a pasture, down a lane... but I was a big chicken so I never took it out of first gear.
I remeber that my friends had well water. Something about that water made their iced tea taste soooo good. It was made in no different a way than my mother made it, but the water made the difference. I recall telling my friend that she needed to give my mom the recipe, then she explained that it was just the water.
I remember the evenings there in the summer as the sun set. It would cool off, the bugs would do their thing, the dusk-to-dawn light would hum. It was peaceful. I could look forward to tomorrow's visit by the milk man as he collecte a couple of day's worth of white gold. The Schwann man would drop in periodically, my friends' daughter or son would make a call now and then. Otherwise, the place was quiet and undisturbed. I'd play with Pepper and Snoopy, the Australian Shepherd's that ran the place.
I know I'll never be able to recreate those memories. But with any luck and some help from God, I hope to create some special ones of my own some day, so that my kids can look back and think about what it was like to live on a farm.

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