I am a farmer’s daughter. As a child in rural upstate New York, the outdoors was my delight and sometimes my refuge. Watching the weather, paying attention to the lay of the land, delighting in well-tended fields and orchards, all of these are in my blood and are likely some of the reasons I feel more at home in an agricultural area than I do in desert or mountains.
Yet, there’s always this pull towards the sea. And I blame that on my childhood also. You see, if my dad had had a successful year of farming, we spent two weeks in Florida at some point during the winter, usually in January or February. And that time was spent mostly on the beach – day after lazy day of walking the beaches, digging sand castles, playing in the surf of the Gulf, and collecting shells. My step-mother, Norma, became an avid collector and we all learned to identify many different kinds of shells. Decades later, I still cannot walk a beach without looking down and trying to spot a sand dollar or a fan or a cowrie or a cat’s paw. And to find a whole nutmeg? What a coup!
After a few trips to Florida, Norma began to make shell jewelry with all the shells we had collected. I still have this fan pendant that she made sometime during the 1970s, along with several other shell pendants.
I wore these shell pendants all the time as a teen, but over the years they got pushed to the back of my jewelry boxes and at this point, this fan is the only one not in storage. I think it is time to find a chain for it and begin wearing it again!
Last week I mentioned our farm when I wrote about the Southwood Walking Trails. I have been sorting through some pictures recently and ran across these two from those farm days in upstate New York.
This was taken in September 1984. You can see our mobile home. To the left of that is the airplane hangar (with the green strip behind it being the runway) and the main house is sort of between those two, in amongst the trees. Way to the left you can see the back half of Bill’s brother’s mobile home. Most of the barns are on the other side of the road; only half of the shop is visible on the extreme right, then there is the old horse barn, the milking area, and the big barns and silo.
Charles had asked about the farm picture the weekend of his wedding. It has always been a favorite of his, so I am getting a copy made for him.
And then I found this little gem, which I am sure Charles has forgotten about. I will be sending him a copy of this one, also!
This is Charles, posing by the milk bulk tank the day before we moved to Alabama in 1995. He was quite the little farmer back then, doing his best to keep up with his Uncle Dana and big cousin Bryce. He was just a bit over five when this was taken. He truly did miss the farm when we moved, I think more than anyone else in the family.
As for Southwood and their walking trails, we have been going almost every night for the past couple of weeks. Last night we measured the distance around the lake (by car) and it was just a tad bit over two miles. The trails do not run quite the same path as the road, but they do twist and wind back and forth more, so I am sure we are getting a good two mile work out when we walk the whole distance. More than that, though, it is just a very pleasant walk and usually about ten degrees cooler than walking around outside here at our apartments.