Sometimes This Old Farm Feels Like A Long Lost Friend….
It’s always good to be back home again.
Married four years in 1959,
living on the lakeshore with a toddler of three and an infant of six months,
we began to look for another, safer, and perhaps more friendly place to live.
Safer was my thinking.
I’ve never learned to swim and our lakefront home was surrounded on three sides by water. In addition to the lake at the front, there were deep canals to the north and west. The safety of my young children was foremost on my mind.
We had no preconceived idea about the style of home we wanted to find. We looked at several places and none of them seemed to be just right.
Someone told us there was an old farm for sale nearby. Maybe we should check into that possibility. Neither of us had been raised on a farm.
This was a bit of a stretch.
We approached the owners and learned the farm included twenty acres. a cobblestone house and an old barn. A local business had planted pine trees to later harvest for Christmas trees at both ends of the long and narrow property. When we checked it out, we found there was also an old garage, a chicken coop, a root cellar and a corn crib.
We decided to take a look around.
We found the old farmhouse had been built by the sons of the original owners in 1936. We’ve always assumed that’s when it was constructed since the date is embedded in the 13 cement steps leading to the basement.
Eventually we learned the barn had been built in 1917. It was in need of painting along with other repairs about which we hadn’t yet learned.
After our visit with the owners, we talked on our way home. “Well, what do you think?” my husband asked. “I liked it”, I said. “And you know what, I felt like I’d been there before”. He responded, “So did I”.
It seemed this was where we were meant to be.
This is our 62nd year of enjoying life at Hidden Meadows Farm.
My husband and I were in retail businesses. He owned and operated an Ace Hardware and Sporting Goods for 25 years, while I owned and operated a Hallmark Shop for 14 years.
During those years of involvement in retail business, we also found time to raise sheep, for ten years.
Starting with two orphan lambs, a flock of 100 was ours when we sold them in 1998. Needless to say, we purchased several more, over time, and experimented with cross breeding which enabled us to increase lamb and wool production.
Over the years, we’ve had goats and pigs and chickens. Since we had fenced pasture it seemed appropriate to board horses, which we did, for over twenty-five years.
The pasture also afforded us the opportunity to have horses for our sons and grandchildren. We’ve also entertained ducks and geese and peacocks.
(Or did they entertain us?)
Many wonderful dogs have graced our acreage, including a St. Bernard , German Shepherd, and a Collie
Several hunting dogs added greatly to the enjoyment of our sons..
Last but not least, we enjoy the one we have now, a Toy Poodle. Yes, there were a few cats too. I seem to remember a rabbit living in the house for a time. But, that’s another story.
When we first arrived, there was an apple orchard which has now been reduced to four trees. (They have grown old even though we did not.) Two pear trees still produce very, very small fruit. This year, one tree produced two pears. (It may be time to plant new trees.)
In the beginning of life on Hidden Meadows Farm, we had a small orchard of cherry trees. Eventually the orchard area became our vegetable garden. Beyond the vegetable endeavor, we had a fantastic, huge wildflower garden. You just can’t get better than that.
There are enough maple trees surrounding the house and barn to hang ten or twelve sap buckets in early spring. Many labor intensive hours were given to the family by my husband. We always had an abundance of tasty maple syrup.
The years of “Living The Life” which have been given to our family on this wonderful homestead are indeed a treasure for us.
In 1998, since we both had retired from retail, we purchased a fifth-wheel and made plans to look around this great country in which we live.
When we were considering the original purchase many years ago, we asked my Dad, who was a carpenter by trade in his early years, what he thought about the place. He said, “There’s probably nothing that’s level or even. It seems solid enough, though. If I were you I wouldn’t put much money in it, because you don’t know how long you’ll be living here.”
I wouldn’t even be telling you this
if it wasn’t that I had recently seen posts on Facebook
who had observed the same event
that I experienced…….
“You need to change your ways!”
I’ve heard that statement many times. Like the words to an old song, they keep going ’round in my mind. Perhaps I should call these memorable incidents, “Nylons Security”.
One of my life changing events was in early spring, as I recall.
A few years before, my husband and I had decided to raise sheep…it happened like this…sort of..
One day, I suggested we should get a lamb.. After all, we have this little farm. Our grandkids lived next door, it would be fun.
It wasn’t long before my husband came home announcing he’d found a lamb. In fact, he’d found two, a male and a female. They were orphans. They needed people to love and care for them.
That would be us.
I don’t remember the exact time frame as events began to unfold, but
it wasn’t long after their arrival,
I casually suggested we should start a flock,
“we already have “Bo” and “Betsy” and the grandkids love them.”
We also had this big old barn with nothing in it but nothing. It was then we began our search for mature ewes. We would use them to build our flock. We had “Bo”, but he wasn’t what you’d call a breeder yet,
He would be, though, in a year or so when he was no longer “a lamb.” (You get the idea.)
The plan to become shepherds was quickly put into action.
We were proud and excited about our new endeavor. My husband had been in the retail hardware business for several years. I owned and operated a Hallmark shop. This would be fun. A little something extra to give us a new hobby.
One day a gentleman came to call who was interested in our lambing operation. Of course, I was more than happy to show him our nearly 100 year old barn, where our new flock of sheep resided.
Now, this is the point where I veer away from the sheep situation and explain some of my personal habits to you.
I wouldn’t even be telling you this if it wasn’t that I had recently seen posts on Facebook from women who had found themselves involved in the same situation I experienced on my journey to the barn one day.
Without getting too personal, I’m going to reveal my lifetime habit of getting ready for bed at night. Included in my habit, would be the removing of my jeans and underwear in one swift motion. Unfortunately this has, on occasion, caused a slight “public” embarrassment. (How could that be? I should explain.. since I would be getting ready for bed “at night, at home.”)
How could that possibly affect my actions in the daytime? Hmm…
Back to the fine gentleman who had come to look at our flock.
We were walking toward the barn when he turned around, looked quickly back in the direction of the driveway, and said… “Oh! You’ve dropped your hanky.”
Intuitively, as I turned, I knew what I was about to see. The clump of white lying in the driveway was instantly recognizable to me. It was definitely not my hanky. It was my underwear, which had been clinging, (with the help of static electricity from the dryer, ) to the inside of my jeans. The undergarment had chosen that moment to release itself from the fabric of my jeans, and to embrace the ground in the driveway.
“I’ll get it”, he said, turning around and taking a step toward the object. “No”, I said, “I’ll get it”. We were immediately in competition to find out who would get to “the hanky“… first . I outran him by seconds, scooped up ‘the hanky’ and shoved ‘it’ into my jacket pocket. Bless his heart.
He seemed totally unaware , of the rapid beating of my heart,
which was not caused from the exertion of running to the area of the driveway in question.
You might think the experience would have been a lesson forever etched in my mind. It was definitely time to review and perhaps renew, my habits.
However, that was not to be.
One quiet morning in summer I had personally opened my Hallmark Shop at nine a.m. so my employees wouldn’t have to come in until later. A pleasant fellow was the first to stop by. He stood just inside the front door, where we visited for twenty minutes or so. As he turned to leave, he said, “You may want to check the leg of your slacks near your shoe”.
With that, he went upon his way.
Looking down at my shoe, in full view, was a visible display of one of my nylons, which was making its way past the static electricity in my slacks
to heaven knows where.
Can you imagine what the nice fellow must have been thinking as we stood there and talked? He apparently had decided he would tell me just as he went out the door, without looking back. He must have suspected the expression he would surely see on my face.
I don’t know if men are prone to giggling. But I’ll bet this fellow was giggling as he made his way to the car.
At this moment, it’s important for me to tell you I’ve never had either of these experiences again.
I really have changed my habits; about certain things. My friends and family would tell you that it is rare for me to change my mind, I still have some habit changing to do.
For Christmas that year, my family gave me a bottle of fabric softener and a pair of nylons with lace edged suspenders sewn on them.
One of the changes I have yet to make is not to share with anyone the embarrassing things that happen to me.
When lilac bushes appear in a vacant field,
we know an old Michigan farm
once stood nearby.
Musings of a Homemaker – Houghton Lake Resorter Newspaper
Strolling down our lane one may be overwhelmed by the aroma of lilacs and apple blossoms. Tiny pink flowers nod gently in the spring breeze.
When lilac bushes appear in a vacant field, we know an old Michigan farm once stood nearby.
We are careless with adjectives;
lovely, cute and sweet.
When something is found worthy of a special description,
words are used
in a careless fashion.
They are overdone and unimpressive.
Have we become a nation of adjective droppers?
Little girls are sweet and cars are sweet. Dresses are sweet. Fishing rods are sweet. Sugar is sweet
The weather is lovely. Your wife is lovely. Children are lovely. Dinner is lovely.
Freckles are cute.
Your husband is cute. Puppies are cute. Babies are cute.
Everything is sweet, cute and lovely. WHERE’S THE BEEF?
Teen-agers are sometimes juvenile delinquents. We may have delinquent taxes.
Senior citizens may have gray hair. Gray haired people may be senior citizens.
Phrases overused are lost.
Adjectives can become bruised, broken and meaningless.
Let’s save them for another day.
(This all seemed like a good idea in 1964)
Where are we now?
What happened to the adjectives? They were sweet, cute and lovely.
Now it’s PC…G….and LOL.
It may be ESP and APP. We are politically correct.
Or are we?
Oh, and by the way, we type “PC” for “politically correct” now.
Those in the know understand
what we mean.
We type G for “grin.” LOL means “laugh out loud.”
ESP Stands for
COOL for “good, wonderful, smart and up to date”.
A perfectly wonderful language has been simplified to nothing.
Children in elementary school are not being taught cursive writing. Much of their writing is unreadable.
Making matters worse, many young people cannot “read” cursive writing. Think about it! The United States Constitution was produced in cursive writing.
President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was written by him, as the story goes, in cursive writing, as he was seated on a train on his way to Gettysburg.
Why have we decided to avoid teaching cursive writing to generations of young Americans who will never be able to read those original, historical papers?
In response to questioning, a teacher informed me,
“Within ten years no one will be using handwriting.
Everyone will be using computers.”
Think of the handwriting experts who will be unemployed. (That’s a joke.)
With this information in mind, the overuse of “adjectives ” becomes cute and darling.
You can now describe almost anything at all with the terms, “sweet and lovely,”. Over-used adjectives of the past, may have become the only remaining, desirable speech.
Our English language is bruised and broken. It has been transformed into disconnected letters.
Bring back the adjectives. Bring the verbs and the adverbs.