Week 37: On The Farm

My first thought of being on the farm is about the summers I spent with my Grandma and Grandpa Quist on their farm in White Lake, Wisconsin. I was 12-14 years old and spent a couple of weeks there each year helping in the garden, baling hay, feeding the chickens and working in the garden with Grandma. Her parents, Elmer and Myrtle Lane, were farmers in Iowa. I believe that the major “farm” influence in my life came from my Lane heritage.

I grew up on our “farmette” in Northern Illinois, prime dairy country. My parents 5 acre farm had a creek running through the middle of it that flooded in the spring so in reality, it was not very good farm land. We never had a tractor to plow the fields. About an acre of the land was devoted to a huge garden, a small barn, animal pens and the house.

My parents married in 1938 and were heavily influenced in what they did by WWII. They were devotees of Five Acres and Independence, a book outlining how to be self sufficient…and that is what they tried to do and were pretty successful for many years.

Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin were mostly farm land in the 40s and 50s. On Sunday drives we would meander along the country roads going from one lovely farm to the next…huge silos, red barns, black and white cows and a house surrounded by a windbreak of old trees. The serenity of that environment is imbedded in my being. There is a solidness in farmland, a security. I know that I love farmland way more that cities!

Our “backyard” in LIndenhurst

When Jim and I bought our first house we chose a growing village being built on old farm land. The lot we chose backed up to the pasture/ cornfield of a large farm. Only a barbed wire fence separated us from the cows and corn. We spent many lazy, peaceful summer hours lounging in our backyard, gazing at the open fields and blue sky.

When we moved to California in 1977 we lost the farm feel. Our neighbors were 6 feet away. No silos or barns in sight. But I know that growing up in farm country instilled in me some basic values and a connection to the land that makes me a country girl.

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