I was raised on a small farm in Northern Kansas and came from a large family. I was the first of five children, and we were raised on a 260-acre farm that my grandfather purchased from his dad and mother in Allen County, Kansas. About 20 of those acres consisted of woods, ditches, and gulleys ... we used 160 acres as pastureland for 50 milk cows, young stock, and eight working horses ... and that left 80 acres for grain, hay, corn, and other crops. I grew up understanding what hard work was and the understanding of what a working farm consists of.
When grandpa bought our farm in 1950, the place was a complete disaster. Gradually, my grandpa began to patch up a building here, nail a board there, tear down whatever was beyond repair, and mend all the fences. Redoing the place was hard work, but grandpa enjoyed it, and it sure provided him and us with lots of fresh air and land to run free.
In 1950, my grandpa, his neighbor, built a new chicken coop and duck shelter, and paved a path that ran from the house to the coop.
Our farmhouse—which we figured was built in the 1850's—was a huge red brick home, complete with woodshed and two woodstoves, six bedrooms, an old-fashioned pantry with a cistern pump, and a parlor.
We had our own supply of butternuts and hickory nuts, plus beef, pork, ducks, chickens, vegetables, and fruit ... from apples to rhubarb to grapes. We had three gardens, and grandma canned about 300 quarts of food a year (including the meats she put up), so we had lots of good eating. We could go down to the cellar and bring up a complete meal: canned beef, horseradish, potatoes, carrots and cherries for dessert. We also had our own eggs, milk, homemade butter, popcorn, and honey from four or five beehives. During the evenings we ate apples and popped corn while listening to the radio, it was a far cry from today's leisure hours, when folks spend their time eating junk food and watching the TV. Grandpa had a farm to run and we always had plenty to eat. He taught me how to work the farm.
Foolishly, I left the farm in 1983 and began working in the city, but I still long for those days on the farm. So now I've been on the farm, in the city, and now have went back to raise cattle and be a part of the land. How lucky can I be? I've really had the best of both worlds!