The Family Farm…

my father-in-law's old truck and water trailer, parked in front of the empty field

My husband and I live on his parents’ family farm.  We moved here thirty-four years ago next month–on St. Patrick’s Day!  What a relief it was to move back home after five years of living in the big city!  We raised our family right here on this farm. 

We currently share the 30 acre farm with my husband’s brother and his wife, as well as our three grown children.  Three families live on the back of the property, while two others live on the front.  We are blessed to have our family surrounding us!  However, I don’t know how much longer this will be the case.  Our son, Brad, will be marrying soon, and there is a strong possibility that he will be moving away…

Over the years, the farm has been planted in tobacco, corn, soybeans, and cotton.  In the early years of their marriage, my father-in-law farmed for a living.  Eventually, opportunity knocked, and  he got a job working as a carpenter at our nearby military base.  He continued to farm as well, with the help of his family, for many years.  Eventually, my father-in-law decided to lease his farmland out to a neighbor, and from that point on he stuck with growing vegetables in his garden.

I didn’t know my husband when his parents grew cotton or tobacco, and their tobacco barn had burned down by the time I met the family.  Some of the rubble of the old tobacco barn was still on site when I met them, so I know where it used to be.  Our oldest son now lives on the site where that old tobacco barn used to stand. 

When my husband and I first moved on the farm, corn was the crop of choice.  We spent many hot, Georgia summers hidden behind those large fields of corn!  Oh, how I hated that corn!  We are surrounded by woods on three sides, and in the summer our fourth side, to the east, was blocked by the corn.  It kept us from getting any cool breeze at all.  Once the corn matured, it was allowed to dry before it was harvested.  This meant looking at dead corn for several weeks, and I hated that, too.  It was always a day of celebration when I saw the corn picker in the field!

Eventually, corn made way for soybeans, and I liked those much better.  For one thing, they weren’t tall enough to block the breeze!  Then, for a few years, our neighbor even planted winter rye in our field for his cows.  I loved having a field of green “grass” in the winter, when everything else was brown.  The neighbor’s cows were allowed to come over and graze in our field during the day, but went back home at night.  I love watching a field of grazing cattle! 

Two years ago, our neighbor’s health failed, and he decided to sub-let our farm to a larger farming operation.  That year a field of peanuts was planted in front of us, then last year cotton was planted.  Of all of the previous crops, the cotton was my favorite!  I enjoyed every minute that it grew in our field–except for the days when they sprayed it!  I don’t know what was in that spray, but each time it was applied,  it sent every insect from that field scurrying quickly to its death–which ultimately led us to our decision not to lease out the land anymore.

Those of us who live at the back of the farm discussed it, and decided that we no longer feel safe being exposed to so many farm chemicals.  The spray always blew straight toward our homes, and of course it soaked into our ground water supply every time it rained.  We figured any spray that kills insects that quickly and thoroughly, probably can’t be good for humans either!  For the first time in well over fifty years, farm crops will no longer fill our fields.  It’s the end of an era for our family.

Many years ago, we asked my father-in-law to stop leasing out the field in front of us, and to plant pecan trees instead.  He didn’t go for that idea, but he did plant several pecan trees down the little dirt lane that leads to our house.  He had a water trailer that he used to water those trees until their root systems became established.  My father-in-law died before those trees ever got big enough to bear many nuts.  These days, the money we make from selling pecans from those trees helps pay the land taxes on the farm each year.

This weekend my husband bought and planted ten pecan trees on our little section of the farm, just across from the trees that his daddy planted so many years ago.  It’s not an orchard, but it’s a start.  At twenty-eight dollars per tree(including cost of having holes dug), we couldn’t afford to plant an orchard all at once!  

Following the tree planting, my husband went to the woods and dug his daddy’s water trailer out from under twelve years-worth of vines and bushes.  It’s not in great shape, but it still works!  Then I watched him haul water to his pecan trees–just like his daddy used to do.  

My husband and I most likely won’t be alive to see those trees bear very many nuts, but our children will!  I like to think of it as “paying it forward”.  One of these days, when we are no longer here, perhaps our children will remember my husband out in that field planting and watering those trees on the family farm– just like his daddy did before him…and maybe if they are lucky, those trees will make enough money to pay the land taxes!

Note: The photo was taken from our yard.  The field in the background is a portion of the family farm.

The Things We Find Inside>

I’m linking to a new bloghop today.  I’m always looking to meet new blog friends, and blog hops are a great way to do this.  It’s how I met most all of my blog friends.  It’s hosted by The Things We Find Inside and two guest hosts.  If you are interested in joining, just click on her button for complete rules and information.

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As many of you know, our friend, Java, has taken some time off from blogging.  As a result, there was no “Meet Me On Monday bloghop today.  In making my rounds to visit my blogfriends, I discovered that Mama Bear had put up a “Monday, Monday” post of her own, consisting of 5 questions–after I’d written and posted my “Family Farm” story.  I’ve decided to answer Mama Bear’s questions at the end of this post! 

Here are her 5 questions:

Did you marry your first love?  I fell in love with every boy I dated, however, I married my first TRUE love!

What was your favorite childhood game or activity?  Just like Mama Bear, I loved playing house.  I didn’t have a kitchen, or a playhouse, but I had a great imagination!  Grandma’s snuff cans and old coffee can lids were my dishes, while leaves and sticks were my food!

Did you grow up in the city or country?  I lived in both places as a child, but spent the majority of my childhood living in town.  Our town is so tiny, it’s difficult to think of it as an actual city!

How many siblings do you have?  I only have one brother, who is nine years older than I am.  He lives in our neighboring state–Florida.

How many pairs of shoes do you own?  Oh my goodess!  Too many!  I am like Mama Bear, when I find a style of shoe that works for me, I buy multiples of it!  I probably have a dozen pairs of Crocs, and about a dozen, or more, pairs of other shoes–which I rarely wear anymore!  I LOVE MY CROCS…

Published in: on February 21, 2011 at 11:06 am  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What an interesting history of your family farm. I enjoyed reading about it … and learning a little more about you. 😉

    Have a marvelous Monday!

  2. Kathy, that is such a beautiful story, I am always thrilled to hear about farms that have stayed in families, there arent many anymore with the economy the way it is. As for the chemicals, I think you all made a great decision on making it a pecan orchard! Have you considered leasing a smaller portion to an organic farm operation that wouldn’t use chemicals until you get the rest of the trees in? Have a fantastic week! 🙂

  3. This was a great story to read. My dad grew up on a farm in Colorado and we loved visiting in the summertime. It’s all sold off and no doubt is developed but I like to remember all the childhood adventures we had there.

  4. What a beautiful story and memory to hand down to your children. It is interesting to me to hear how you pay those taxes and how hard work has paid off for all of you. thank you so much for tell us all the story.

  5. What a lovely story, I bet those nuts taste good too and it must be great having your family all around. I am sure even if your son goes off for a while he will be back as he is bound to miss the farm and family life.
    I found you via the blog hop. If you have a few spare minutes please pop by and say Hi.
    Helen x
    http://acraftykindoftruffle.blogspot.com

  6. Thank you for sharing about the evolution of the family farm. Small farms are becoming extinct. I know you are proud of Ed for taking looking into the future and taking steps to preserve elements of “abundant living” that have affected you, your children and now your grandchildren.

  7. Thank you for sharing your family farm history. The family owned farms were once the backbone of this country. It’s so sad that most of them are now gone. I just heard on the news that here in North Carolina, cotton production is up 20% due to problems, like draught, around the world. Not being a farmer I didn’t think of the pesticides used. That is scarey stuff.

    The pecan orchard sounds like the perfect answer for the new generations. I hope your son doesn’t have to move. I hate being 1000 miles from all chicks.

  8. I wish we lived somewhere where I could plant trees this time of year!!

    Following you back, thanks for swinging by my blog.
    The Survival Mama

  9. I loved reading about the farm…and thank you for playing along with my Monday post…I hope it will become something we do on a regular basis. If you have any thoughts on questions, let me know…I enjoyed reading your answers…the only crocs I own are fake ones that I wear outdoors. I keep them by the door into the garage to slip on..they are red.
    Mama Bear


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