This past week I loaded up the jeep with provisions, guitar, sketch journal and faithful canine companions and headed off to the farm that’s been in our family for a handful of generations. Although my grandparents are no longer living, the old farm remains a family retreat and important symbol of our heritage. My childhood is filled with memories from there of lush gardens, and rows of vegetables, rolling pastures and crunchy orchards. There were summers of fishing for bass at the pond, hiding away in the corn crib, following the meandering creek through the woods or venturing into the spooky family cemetery within a circle of cedars whose stones commemorate relatives that lived nearly a century or just a few moments.
Recently, I spent my day sketching the remains of the old walnut tree, the dilapidated barns and my grandfather’s old pickup imagining their hay day. In the evening my storytelling uncle would join me by the fire and share his tales of a different time. Plenty were amusing like the only coffin that was used twice, or the only person kicked to death by a dead mule, but the ones that resonated the most were of our neighbors and their relationship with my grandparents. How they looked out for one another and shared their resources. Especially in times of crisis. For example, when our closest neighbor drove his tractor down the road racing a snow storm to supply firewood for my grandmother. He chopped down a locust tree (the only wood that burns green), then sawed, split, and stacked it on the porch to keep the promise he made with my grandfather about keeping an eye on things after he was gone. It made me think of the importance of community and being neighborly. With all our technology and convenience sometimes it can be easy to forget. With that in mind I hope you enjoy this weeks bounty and share it with friends. Have a great week everyone.