Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Man with the Most Toys Wins

I grew up on a farm. On the weekends we spent our time doing chores.  My father would say "pick up anything that isn't living."  So we picked up sticks, toys, basically whatever wasn't living.  There was usually a trip to the feed store where we got supplies for the horses and ponies.  My pony's name was Oklahoma.  Rumor had it she was a barrel racer before we owned her. I believed it because she always walked sideways.  She was a beautiful pony.  I rode bare back most of the time and mostly through the woods in my parents back yard. Their farm is about 14 acres and it was big enough for me and Oklahoma to go on many adventures.  My parents had horses and my younger other sister had a pony.  I think my older sister we more interested in books than farm work growing up.  My younger sister may have been too young to have to do all the chores I did growing up, but still I think we all learned our lessons on being good farm girls.

My parents didn't just happen to live on a farm.  I like to think they earned their plot of land.  My mother grew up loving horses.   She loved being on the farm and it just fit her perfectly.  She and my father got themselves some horses and boarded them with my Uncle Ray.  He really wasn't my uncle...but I knew him that way.

Across the street from Ray's farm was Uncle Mayo's farm (again not my real uncle).  Uncle Mayo and Aunt Jeanne had a farm too.  My parents spent lots of time with their horses at Uncle Ray's farm, but they also became very friendly with Uncle Mayo.

As the years went by my parents were ready to start a family.  So they started looking at houses.  Their search went on until Uncle Mayo offered up a little slice of his proud farm to my parents.  It was like offering up a little slice of Heaven.  Some people may see moving onto a farm as a challenge, but my parents saw it as a golden opportunity.

So they built their home on a beautiful plot of land.  My sisters and I grew up knowing how to work hard and still have fun at the beach.  On Saturday mornings we would ride our ponies to Dunkin Donuts, which was next to Foodtown and tie up our ponies and horses to the shopping cart return racks and get our strawberry frosted donuts with sprinkles.  Then ride back home. 

When Uncle Ray passed away he handed his farm down to his family.  They still maintain the farm and it is a pleasure to see the emus, donkeys and goats enjoying the farm.
When Uncle Mayo and Aunt Jeanne passed away my parent inherited their farm.  Mayo and Jeanne never had children and they always treated us as their own grandchildren.  My parents took such good care of them when then got older.  They were from France and I can hear Uncle Mayo's voice singing to me in French.  He was the kindest man I ever knew.  He was the type of person that makes you want to be a great person and carry on his kindness.  I feel it every time I am at the farm.

There is another farm that surrounds my parents farm, John's farm.  Growing up his farm had an apple orchard and lots of wonderful plants.  There were so many wonderful produces from his farm it was a great place to visit. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world when I was in nursery school and we took a field trip to my parents back yard. So maybe it wasn't really my parent's back yard, but it was behind my parents house.  John's farm made fresh apple cider.  We got to pick apples and then bring them into the press and watch them get turned into apple cider. It was just amazing. So that is how I grew up. Horse farm in the front, farmers in the back and then apple orchard and produce farm. Did I say I used to ride my pony up to the produce stand and they would give her fresh apples from the trees?! She loved that.

But sadly John and his wife have passed away and the cider press is so long gone out of operation.  Even sadder is that the farm is for sale. NO I AM NOT advertising it. I want to buy it I just can't figure out how to.  So today they had a big auction and farmers from everywhere came to check out the goods.  I really want this house on this wonderful property.

I grew up here and for so long the only way to get any of this land is to earn it by showing your commitment to the farm.  You have to work hard to get a piece of it.  It hasn't really mattered how much is in your pocket. It is more a matter of are you able to keep up the integrity of the farm?  Oh I know I can. But still unfortunately there is the matter of $$$  It brings tears to my eyes thinking of this land being turned into lots of houses.  I grew up seeing all the hard work that went into maintaining it.  I can't even think about it falling into the wrong hands.
My parents had decided to bring alpacas to the farm after our last pony died of old age.  The farm seemed so empty and we basically didn't know what to do with ourselves without critters to take care of.  They did a lot of research and alpacas just fit the bill.  I can only imagine how happy Uncle Mayo would be to come back to see his farm today.  He would be a very happy man.
But getting back to the farm I want to buy oh so bad. I know we can't buy it and I'll have faith that it will all work out.  And we all have to smile and enjoy the farm life now.

I'll keep knitting and selling my knits to help the farm.

Only I wish I had a few more Spicy's I just love her yarn.

I will enjoy my grandmother who taught me how to knit.

But keeps saying she has no idea how to knit the things I make these days.

I'll enjoy watching my kids play at the farm (even though Tiny looks 5 years older with his new hair cut).

I'll enjoy my grandfather checking out the auction lots at the neighbors farm. I mean the farm that I REALLY want to own. I mean how can you not be happy here?

So today they auctioned off all the farm equipment. Does that mean no more farming??? It can't be.  My father always had a competition with my Uncle Ray. They said "The Man with the Most Toys Wins".  By the looks of it today John won.

G-Pop was keeping his eyes peeled.

I think I need one of these.


Who do you think knows more about the equipment the man with the flannel shirt and hat or the guy with the cell phone?

I missed the bidding on the apple baskets.  How am I going to collect apple on my farm now?

Stop them they are taking everything away!

 So after seeing truck after truck leave pulling way tractor after tractor and sprinkler and basically everything away from my farm... okay not really my farm. But I like to think I kept seeing pieces of my childhood just driving away.... we had dinner at my parents and did a little fishing in the coy pond.

So it was a good day and a sad day. They good part was we really enjoyed the farm today and the alpacas. The bad part was seeing all the farm equipment go away.  I better start selling some scarves if I want to buy myself a farm.  That's a lot of scarves!
July 1991
Okay maybe this isn't the best picture of Oklahoma, but it is a good reflection of my childhood! From Left to Right, Leanne, Mom, Me, Liz.  That's how we rolled back in the day.


Lori ann said...

oh honey, this made me cry. i wish i had the money, i would buy the farm for you.

your shawl is so beautiful, i think one of the most beautiful i've ever seen. and i love the photo of mom, leanne liz and you, what an upbringing you've had, i love this post (except the farm being sold).

Debbie said...

you are soooo lucky andee, to have this story to tell. to have the connection to family that you have. to be raised in this wonderful environment, with the morals and values you have. to be raising your boys the same way. you. are. blessed.

WoW, you, oklahoma, the rest of the family....such a great picture!!

this is a great entry andee, the images are amazing! it was a big auction, lot's of good stuff.

loved this andee!!

TexWisGirl said...

you had the best of childhoods, no doubt. and you have the best of dreams. yes, it would be ideal if you could buy the neighboring farm as it is so much a part of your family's life. your day will come, i hope.