Saturday, August 28, 2010

Shifting Landscapes

My mom and uncle lived in an urban environment, and every summer my grandparents would ship her and my uncle off to "the farm" of her uncle and his mother, about an hour away by today's travel times. The farm was sold out of the family in the 70's, but my mom always took me out there every summer when I was growing up, and as an adult too, and drove past it and told me stories about the draft horses, the fruit orchard, the time she was chased by a huge sow (and managed to scramble over the fence just in time), and how hard "Bobcia" (Polish for grandmother) worked on that farm. I guess my uncle stayed sometimes during at least part of the school year too, because he tells me of riding the blind draft horse to the school a couple miles down the road.

My mom and I would go to the surrounding orchards there and either pick or buy fruit like blueberries, peaches, apples, and tomatoes, and bring it home for a long session of canning, freezing, and connecting as mom and daughter. I learned a lot from her, and now that she has passed, summer is never complete without this tradition of visiting the farm and recalling the stories that my mother told, and picking or buying, canning and freezing produce.

The farm's new owner wasted no time in tearing the house down right after she bought the place. She rented out the land to be farmed. She let the other buildings go to pot, and let the vegetation grow around them. Vandals raided the buildings and left beverage cans and graffiti. This year I was elated to see that a path had been plowed so that you could more easily see and go to the buildings, so my fiance and I took advantage of the opportunity. He snapped most of these pics, because the weekend before when we visited, I came home with a little visitor that I did not find until two days later--a nasty tick! He also got himself full of burrs salvaging a few pieces of character-laden weathered wood from the granary (thank you, honey!). I may see if I get in touch with the owner (or her children, as she might be quite elderly by now) and see if they wouldn't mind if we took some more wood from the buildings. I know who she is, as she lives, or lived, on the farm next door.

My mom's brother, my uncle, made me a map of the different outbuildings recently, and for the life of me I cannot find that map right now. I have posted pictures. The large building with the tree that fell on top of it I believe is the granary. I don't know what the building is with the small door near the ground. The building with the overgrown vines growing up I think was the tack shed. It is a bit eerie for me to imagine my mom and uncle running all around this farm. I wish I had more pictures of what it was like back then.

I look forward to making new memories with my fiance on his farm!


  1. Hi Dawn!

    Thought I'd finally comment... your blog is just beautiful! I love your writing style, and it's great to read about my past appearing from time to time in your thoughts. Thanks! jm

  2. Thank you cousin! I'm glad you like my blog. I think it's important to chronicle our can count on Joel being a staunch supporter of family history as well. It is wonderful for me that he takes such an interest in our family and family history.