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Every Life is a Story
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Life on a Farm

My parents grew up on farms. They lived in a small rural town in Oregon, and lived the farm life. When they grew up, they became a banker and a teacher, and settled in the suburbs, but they never forgot their farming backgrounds.

When I was in grade school, the lure of the land was just too much for them. They decided that they wanted to get back to their farming roots, and raise us girls the way they had been raised. They purchased a 37 acre farm, and decided to build a house there.

The housing market was really bad then, and everyone told them that it would take forever for our home to sell, so we put it on the market right away. We were stunned when a week later, we had sold the house. We had a month to move, and we hadn't even dug the foundation on our new farmhouse yet. We purchased a very small trailer home and put it on our farm property, and moved in.

The farm didn't actually have a well for us to have running water when we moved in. So for a week, we went and showered at other people's houses. We had no room in the trailer, so my mother made us pick just one toy and one book each to keep. Everything else went into storage. We had bunk beds, and shared a room for the first and only time in our lives. The bunkbeds could only fit in the tiny alcove that was our bedroom if we put them in front of the closets. We had to climb onto the top bunk to open the closet doors and get to the clothing inside.

We had other farmers use our property to grow alfalfa. They planted and harvested, and we had to help them with water. So every morning and evening, we had to move the pipes to the sprinkler lines so that all of the alfalfa would get water. The pipes were very long and heavy. My mother would take one end of the pipe, and my sister and I would take the other end. My mother tried hard to carry the pipe close to the middle so that she carried most of the weight, but what she didn't realize was that her height made all the water in the pipes run down to OUR end. We got drenched. Every time.

As construction began on our home, we got used to construction vehicles coming up and down the quarter mile dirt road to where the house would be built. It was Oregon, so of course it rained a lot. After awhile, the dirt road turned into a mess of mud, and horrible ruts. It got so bad, we found we couldn't drive on the dirt road at all. We would have to park at the end of the road and walk in to our trailer- usually lugging the laundry we had to do at the laundromat, or the groceries we purchased. It was another expense and long wait while we redid the road to be more solid and driveable.

Part of our plans with the farm was of course to have farm animals. This really was fun. We had chickens, several that laid brown eggs, and one special breed that laid green eggs. It was like Easter every morning. We had rabbits- although we only had them because my mother had purchased them for her kindergarten class, and we had to keep them over the summer. We had cows, which were sometimes fun, except for the one cow that kept getting out of the fence and running around the fields so we would have to chase her down. She was one of the first we ate. We also had beehives at the far end of the field. We didn't go visit them, but we liked the idea of having them.

When Christmas came, we went to my grandmother's house and had an amazing, and huge Christmas with tons of presents. We played with them for the few days that we were at my grandparents' house, but when we returned home there wasn't room for them. They got put into storage. Until we moved into our new house, we didn't see them again.

The house was finally completed. It was beautiful, and big, and amazing. My room had its own built in desk, and was my favorite color of green. We absolutely loved our new house, and were so grateful to leave that tiny trailer behind.

Six months later, my father's position at the bank was eliminated, and he was transferred to another city in another part of the state entirely. We hadn't owned our farm and home for even a year before we had to put it up for sale and move.

After all the work, and trouble, and stress, my parents decided that maybe they were done with farm life. We found a home in town, with farmland close by, so we could drive by and look at the fields whenever we wanted to.

They were really nice to visit. But we didn't want to stay there.

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