Remembering the Family Farm

| 5/29/2012 4:25:00 PM

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A photo of the author, Caleb ReganWhen I think back to summers as a boy, I remember a farm pond with a legendary stock of crappie, working a roughly one-acre garden, campfires out by the tractor barn, riding horses through the “motherland” to watch the sun set with my dad, and waking up of a morning to roam the family acres in whatever way my brothers and I could imagine. Horizon to horizon, shared with my best friends and thousands of head of cattle.

We’d get chewed on good – and rightfully so – for running cattle or messing around in crop fields. And our parents warned us of numerous dangers. But generally, we were left to our own devices and could venture as far as you could see in any direction, our canvas for testing the laws of nature.

I learned what a rope burn was descending the hayloft when my brother Andy jumped on top and came along for the ride. I also learned to respect just how tough and strong Andy was watching him ride a rank horse, Bucky (appropriately named), through a thicket – and ride him to a standstill.

From my brother Josh, I learned patience. Not many youngsters could sit for hours at a pond waiting for fish to start biting. Not many youngsters can walk for days with a shotgun without seeing much. Watching my older brother, I had no choice. He taught me to appreciate hunting and fishing, hobbies I still love to this day.

And when our older half brother, Danny, came out to the farm, it was full-blown go-time. Mom and Dad let us off the hook for the most part, and we could let loose, chore responsibilities and work largely ignored.

However, most days did involve work, although we didn’t have to milk cows or do many of the other traditional farm tasks. Our chores consisted of cleaning cockleburs out of the horses’ manes (dreaded, tedious work), dealing with firewood, mowing the huge yard, harvesting fruit in the orchard, and helping work that large garden.

5/31/2012 2:53:55 PM

Caleb, it's amazing to me how the most dreaded chores required of us as kids become the most cherished as adults. Great times were had in the barn loft filled with hay for me. Roaming the woods and the best was my grandpa's old car grave yard. He had an old neglected orchard that was home for all the cars that he had owned over the years of his life. Little did I know in my youth that many of those cars were destined to be super classic cars. It sure was special being able to play in those cars and remember the good times I'd had with my grandpa. Oh, yeah, my grandpa was the one that taught me how to fish. Thanks for jogging my memories about growing up. Have a great GRIT managing editor day.

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