Words of Mine

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Memories of the Farm - Part 1

Thursday
Waxing moon in Scorpio
8th day of lunar cycle

"Every time we say Let there be! in any form, something happens."
-- Stella Terrill Mann

Memories of the Farm - Part 1

Today on my way into work via the bus, I saw the following:

2 fields with baled hay
3 egrets
2 hawks - on the ground
3 trees with purple flowers
2 white cats at the edge of a parking lot acting as though they had found something to eat
5 Campus patrol cars

What really caught my eye were the two fields of baled hay.

Immediately, I heard my Aunt Edith laugh and memories of riding in the truck during haying time. Aunt Edith and Uncle Walter lived on a farm outside of Tonganoxie, Kansas. Aunt Edith wasnít a large woman but she was solid. I guess this came from living on a farm. She had finger-waved hair held in place by a hairnet, always wore dresses and always had a chuckle.

She even tried to get me to drink warm milk fresh from the cow. Yuck. I like my milk cold.

Uncle Walter was of the earth. He wore faded work clothes of overalls, a shirt, a cap with a visor and over the ankle boots. One had to be careful of snakes when going out in the fields. Uncle Walter was almost as dark as the dirt he ploughed, the back of his neck lined by creases as deep as his furrows and full of dirt by dayís end. When he took his hat off, the top portion of his forehead would be so white compared to the rest of his face.

Uncle Walter and the rest of the hands were out to the fields before sun up. Aunt Edith would have been up before them and had a light breakfast prepared for everyone to eat. The boys wouldnít be back until lunchtime when a full course meal would be ready. Dinner would be light, usually leftovers from lunch and a salad. An hour or so of talk about the dayís work or what was going on in the world and then head off to bed only to begin again the next day.

Being a little girl visiting a farm was fun. Aunt Edith would take me with her to collect henís eggs. I loved to get the eggs until she told me snakes would get into the nests because of the warmth. One day she even showed me how she could rock a chicken to sleep. I was very impressed.

There were cows to be brought in and milked. I didnít help with this because I was just small enough. And, did you know cowís tongues are very rough when they lick you?

But back to the baled hay, cutting the hay and baling it is a very important time for the farm. This hay will feed animals during the winter months. The hay has been cut and Iím riding in the truck with Aunt Edith. The baler is in front of us gathering the hay and compacting it into nice neat bales. We drive beside the bales and the young men, hired to do this job, are lifting the bales onto the back of the truck and the guys in the truck are stacking them neatly for the next bale. The dried hay smelled so good in the warm summer air but donít get me wrong, itís hot and dusty work. Iím sure all the guys had sore muscles when they first began doing this. The other fun thing I remembered about the farm was when they cut and gathered the wheat.

My only memory of this was being in the back of the truck. Itís late afternoon and the back is three-quarters full of wheat. I canít believe we are in it and moving it around. Wonít it get dirty? Aunt Edith assures me itís all right, as it still has to be threshed.

Only memories now, the farm, Aunt Edith and Uncle Walter but a delightful return to a time when things seemed simple.

8 p.m. - 2002-07-18
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