I think I have been in love with farms ever since I was a little girl and our family would visit my uncle’s place in southwestern Minnesota. I remember cows and how my boy cousins squirted me while milking them before going off to school. In the barn I remember the big sows nursing a dozen piglets, the sweet smells of corn-fed cows and silage, and the rope swing in the hayloft. In the barn yard were horses and goats, and chickens in the hen house. It was a lot of fun for a little girl. In hindsight, I realize that it was a lot of work for every member of the family. My cousins had chores when they were not in school and my aunt had a garden, sold eggs, made bread every day, and prepared huge meals to feed the men, hungry from physical labor. When my cousins grew up, they left for Viet Nam and never came back to the farm to stay. My aunt and uncle are gone now, too, gone with so many of the family farms.
There are still plenty of working farms around here and remnants of the old family farms, many of which have been abandoned or fallen into disrepair. The sight of them brings on many feelings of nostalgia.