Saturday, January 21, 2023

A Change and a Parting

The title of this Blog Post comes from a book with that title that my mother bought while on a bus trip to the Amana Colonies in the early 70's or 80's. I didn't read it, but she thought it was beautiful and sad...  And that is what this blog is about...  things that are both beautiful, but a little sad. First...  I just have to show you the improvements/resorations we've had done to our farm. It really is improving the land, as far as value, utility, and aesthetics. But there the denotation meets the connotation, and the reality meets the memories. I have a wonderful renter who approached me about the conditions of the waterways/ditches/gulleys, etc on my land. This young farmer is really kind, and both my mother and I have sold him some acreage from this farm in the past. What for years was a 240-Acre farm is now a little over a 100-acre woods...  but we really needed to do that, and my mother was harder like nails in respect to keeping the land up or letting it go.

So he talked to me about an idea to have some dozing done to improve the erosion and fix some of the passes between the fields over some of the creeks. I agreed, wondering how much that was going to cost me, but realizing it was all a part of the word, restore. I say a person needs to be careful of that Word of the Year. It can manifest quickly! 

Next I got a happy phonecall that he had sold some of the timber among the brush he had to bulldoze anyway. He wanted to know if I wanted to do the same on my land. The logs might just pay for the bulldozing, and that sounded "better than good," as my Dad used to say. 

Having a local sawmill made this easy work. The man in charge hires two Amish gentlemen to cut the trees. He told my renter that he could spend several grand on one of those fancy tree-cutting pieces of equipment like the Power Company uses...  or he could buy the best chain saws he could find and hire these Amish men for several hundred dollars...  The Amish woodcutters can fell 200 trees a day, although most times, such as this one...  they only needed to cut about 18 or so. My payment was only about $100 to $150 dollars per tree because they were not really the kind of wood for furniture or houses..  more the kind they use to make pallets...  I wouldn't sell more for that because the druids and fairies are still pretty made about it anyway... I don't want to press my luck or anything. However, I was thrilled not to have that big bulldozing debt!

Here are my old friends, those beautiful trees that I always have protected with my fiercest being.  It makes me sad, but the land produces more trees if the environment is cleared responsibly. Plenty remain to take their place, whether in my lifetime or the next. I think I will use anything extra  for a whole house humidifier for our new furnace. 

And then... the real sadness...  But oh, it had to be done. My grandfather's barn is being excavated. A few years ago I stopped on the way to school (making myself late, but worth any gruff I got) and snapped this picture of the barn as it was becoming a ruin. In its day, this was a showpiece. I spent the happiest afternoons with Pawpaw in here...  We told stories, played in the oat bin, used an old rotary corn sheller for grain to feed the chicken...  I carefully chose 13 straight ears of corn each for his old sows in a muddy pen behind the barn. I was allowed into the holy ground of newborn calves, of hand feeding those babies whose mothers had not survived the birth...  It was just a magical place that always bore the aroma of his Beechnut tobacco. Pawpaw taught me to spit really far, and I can remember the day he let me in on his secret of why he could spit even farther. He reminded me that he had a big wad of chewin' tobacco while I only had saved up saliva...  Of course, I clamored for some chaw...  but he never gave me more than a baby pinch... just a smidge of a taste. I guess he knew that my grandmother would kill him dead if she caught on to ANY of our shenanigans. We could take his German Shepherd dog there, unleash her in the corn crib portion, and say, "Rrrrrrrrrrrrats!" Pat would tear into those rats in there, and in less than two minutes she would have tossed out eight or ten at our feet. Paw-paw took the "stunned-but-not-dead-enough" rats and put them in a bucket tied with a rope. He drowned them in the pond for a few days and then threw them out into a big pile of wood he planned to burn...  I won't tell you that one time I threw a rat that had been in the water too long, and its tail came off in my hand...   I won't say it because I haven't stopped screaming to this day! I don't make any noise any more, but I still scream! lol

Time was not good to this old barn, and through the past few years it has grown more and more sad. In fact, one of my friends recently shared that she and her kids always called it "the sad old barn" as they watched for it along their way home from a trip to Moberly, a town to the south of here. She said they always knew they were over half way home when they saw it. I can say I always knew where I was when I saw it, too...  and that was ALL the way home. However, I have come to terms that it had to be torn down. It was no longer beautiful, even to someone like me who LOVES old barns and ruins...  there is a moment when it becomes pitiful...  and my barn was past that point. My lawn mower is wonderful! He texted me with the idea that he would take it as a Winter's project if he could have the materials..  There would have been the corrugated metal siding and then the pretty barn wood ( if you like that look, and I'm one who does). That's all he wanted...  the materials he could salvage.  I said, "Yes!" of course.

For most of my adult life I always knew my first money spent if I ever won the lottery (Unlikely since I didn't buy lottery tickets) would be to salvage this old barn. Now I will need another dream because honeys, it's gone.  Or nearly so. My renter sent me these pictures the other day. Time, you ticking villain...  

I won't see this probably until February 10th, when I have to go back to see the doc... So the shock of not seeing my trees or the barn is kind of on hold... I know these are improvements.  It's a good thing, as Martha says...  It's a very good thing.

And I will say that in that big box? Well, half of it was broken! 

Unfortunately I thought only one-fourth was broken, so that's what I got refunded from the Ebay seller...  This is what it was supposed to be...  Folk Art Pfaltzgraff canisters. I had always loved this pattern, and I bought the whole set in the 80's. Mine got away from me, so I repurchased some more there...


Packaging can be very difficult...

However, I really do love the ones who survived...  They look quite at home, little familiars on my cabinet shelf. 

I have decanted a lot of my groceries, and I really enjoy the ability to look at what is left. I always repurchase brown sugar, so I really need to either make a ton of stuff or...  stand down on that. 

Have a fun weekend...  My next post will have Cookies in it...  How's that for a teaser? I wish I could bake them up all warm and delicious for you and sit here at my table with a hot cup of coffee and you...  You could tell me about your "barn" stories or something dear to your own memory palace...  I can dream...

Whimsy and Hugs!