Farm Memories – Part One

I was looking for a battery when I came upon a bag of memory cards. 13 of them to be exact. Thousands of pictures from years gone by just waiting to be remembered.

I spent a majority of my day cruising the streets of Memory Lane, marveling at all the places we have been and all the things we have done, how much the kids have grown and just how fast time flies, but the pictures that really tugged at my heart were the ones taken on our farm. The farm that played such an important role in our lives. The farm that came along a little too soon. We were restless, our desire to wander free was stronger than our desire to plant roots, and so we decided to let it go.

I know without a doubt that everything happens for a reason. There is a reason we left the farm to go back to Montana. And there is a reason we left Montana for the open road. I have no doubts that we will end up on a farm again someday, we all agree on that. It’s the when and where that remain a mystery.

I looked through our farm pictures with loving fondness, knowing that I wanted to share with you what was so precious to us. As I viewed picture after picture, however, I realized that there was way too much to put into a single post, so you will have to endure several days of my reminiscing.

To start your journey through Harper’s Farm, I would like to introduce Big Red, a beautiful horse with a spirit as wild as the wind itself…

…I heard a neigh.  Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was!  My very heart leaped with delight at the sound.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Chimæra,”A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys, 1852

Sisters, Sickness and Signs of Summer

When my sister and I were younger, we went to an amusement park down in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We were friends with a pair of sisters, and, if I recall correctly, their mom took us all there for a day. I wish I could remember the name of the park, but I cannot seem to bring it to memory. Uncle Cliff’s perhaps? That sounds familiar, but who knows from what part of my brain I pulled the name.

My sister, being brave in her youth, decided to go on a very scary looking ride called the Zipper. Me, being somewhat less brave, decided to leave my feet planted safely on the ground.

So there I was, standing beside our friends’ mom, Jackie, when it began to… rain. Rain in the dead of summer in Albuquerque wasn’t exactly expected, especially on a bright sunny day. None-the-less, Jackie felt drips on her shoulder, and we both found ourselves staring at the sky. Only above us wasn’t exactly sky, but the cages of the terror ride. And, in the cage directly over our heads, was my sister in all her motion-sick glory, vomiting through the cage.

For those of you who know me, I have very few memories from my childhood, but I remember this. And so now, every time I see the Zipper,  I think of my sister. And summer. And vomit.

While we were at the fair today, we came upon just such a ride, and my children, being the brave souls that they are, well, two out of three anyway, decided they wanted to go on it. I am just happy they are tall enough to ride these unaccompanied, because you could not pay me enough to get on that ride. I got dizzy just watching the cages go round and round.

Regardless, those of us on the ground stayed dry, thank goodness. Nobody felt the need to vomit during the ride, though I am sure at least one or two would have once it was over. According to William, the worse thing that happened was his little sister screaming, “I WANT MY MOM!!”  This I can handle, because it means that even though my baby girl is now big enough to go on this crazy-scary ride all by herself, she still wants here mama when it scares the tar out of her.

It was a great day, though. I am glad the fair only happens once a year because it costs a not-so-small fortune to take the family. The kids all felt pretty cool being able to ride the big rides by themselves, and Rob and I had many good laughs over the looks on their faces. We are now exhausted, crispy, and ready for a good night’s sleep.

Farewell

Things rarely turn out the way we plan. Sometimes they turn out better, sometimes worse, but almost always different.

After months of stress, frustration and heartache, the time has come to let you go. I know your new family will love you as much as we did because this has been a long process for everyone involved, and yet they never walked away, never gave up, never backed out. They, too, must see your potential, as we did five short years ago.

But life happens, and we made a decision that took us away from you, away from our budding farm, and we had no choice but to sell you. In today’s market, that is easier said than done.

We didn’t intend for things to turn out this way, but I think you know that. I think you know how much we loved and appreciated you. But as much as we enjoyed you, we were still restless. There was still a piece of our puzzle missing, and it is hard to settle down completely when you are seeking… something.

Now we find ourselves each going a new direction. You have a new family to take care of. New kids to protect, new memories to make. We have a new path to follow as well. And while things didn’t exactly turn out the way we had planned, they did, in fact, turn out. Thank you for showing us how just how precious a lifestyle hobby farming is. We will return to it, just not quite yet. We have a few things to do first. But someday…

In a few short hours, we will sign the papers to sell you, and in a few days you will officially belong to someone else. This will be good for both of us. You don’t deserve to be vacant, abandoned. You are meant to be filled with love and laughter, and soon you will have that again. And for us, we will be able to exhale, knowing that you are in good hands, knowing that the process has come to an end, knowing that life will once again return to your walls.

We will look back on you with great fondness in the years to come, but for now, Thank you. For all the memories. For everything. For always.

Can't help but look back...

 

Heartache

“She clawed her way into my heart and wouldn’t let go.”  ~Missy Altijd

Sweet Goobers August 1995 - November 2010

While we were at school today, our sweet 15-year-old kitty curled up on Catheryn’s bed to take a nap, and he never woke up.  I couldn’t have asked for a more peaceful way for Goobers to go, but still the voice inside my head is crying, “Why didn’t you wait for me?  I didn’t even get to say good-bye.” 

I hope you had a good life, Goobers.  I hope you know how much I loved you.  I hope you are young again, sleeping on a big fluffy pillow, feasting on tuna and chocolate milk.  I hope you know that I will never forget you, I will never be able to replace you and I will always be grateful for the time we had.     

No matter how many years we shared, it wasn’t enough.  No matter how close I knew the end was, I wasn’t prepared.  No matter the reason, I wasn’t ready to let you go.

But it wasn’t up to me.  Your time had come.  So, with puffy eyes and an aching heart, I am saying good-bye.  Thank you for the great memories.  You truly were one of a kind.

A Loyal Companion