Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I Will Build Myself a Farm

My mom loved to work on her cross-stitch projects.

She sewed dozens of beautiful pictures, ranging from flowers to scripture.

For one of my brothers, she stitched one that had various farm animals under the words, "I will build myself a farm."

And he did.

He became a dairy farmer, inspired by the countless summer visits to the farm owned by our Great Aunt Mary and Great Uncle Frank in Woodstock, Illinois. I know he would give them credit for igniting the passion he has for the land and the livestock. Although he's not farming any longer, my brother still possesses the traits of a farmer. He's peaceful, patient, reflective, logical, and sentimental.

Green fields of serenity are abundant in Iowa.
I can remember asking him, when I was just about twelve years old, "What's your favorite color?" He answered "green" because "it's the color of the fields." From that time on, my favorite color was green. I always looked up to my brother. Maybe this was because I saw a bit of myself in him.

It's no surprise that my brother was gifted the farm cross-stitch made by my mom. It was perfect for him. Little did she know, it was her daughter who was next in line for building herself a farm. (Can I have the cross-stitched picture now? Kidding. Sort of.)

My memories of Tante' Mary (German for Aunt) and Uncle Frank are mainly with the chickens. Every visit made to her farm led to her asking me to collect the eggs from the hens. I loved it. I remember walking into her large chicken house...the smell...the sounds....the dusty dirty surface under my feet.

Buff Orpington chickens - "orbs of sunshine"
In addition to the egg collecting, I also held the position of "German Potato Salad Taste Tester." Tante' Mary would stir in the vinegar, sugar, endive, salt, and pepper into a large bowl of red potatoes. When she believed it was nearly perfect, she'd hold a spoon out for me to sample. Now, she may have done this because I was a picky eater, and she simply wanted to see me eat something so I didn't waste away. "You eat like a bird," she would say. She might be proud of me now. Although I still haven't acquired the taste for wild duck, I no longer eat like a bird. I now eat more like a rabbit.

I will build myself a farm.
A fresh palette of sunsets never fail to impress.

This  will continue until I run out of ideas, which I hope is never! This is the most fun I've had in my forty-two years of life. Year after year, the scenery around here changes. Each sunset is different. Each crop is unique to the one before it. The animals change. The garden produce rotates, and there's always a new discovery (like the morel mushrooms that grow right in my backyard!)  May the building continue...for all of us.

Who do you credit for your passions in life?

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