We own and operate a centennial farm. In an earlier post, I wrote about growing cherries, so I won't rehash that. A centennial farm, as the name implies, has been in one family for a hundred years or more. My husband's great grandparents bought the property in 1907. Their granddaughter, Alberta and her husband, Glenn, moved to the farm in 1947. My husband was six months old, there was no running water, and the only toilet facility was an outhouse in the woods. At least they had electricity.
Alberta, a remarkable woman who died in 2014, recalled those early days as being extremely trying. Her grandparents were still living in the house and they had two sets of furniture to weave around. I cannot imagine having a baby in those circumstances, but they somehow made it work. Indoor plumbing soon came, along with a proper bathroom.
The challenges didn't end with the availability of running water. There were cows to milk, chickens to tend, crops to grow. They struggled during those early years, poor as church mice as Glenn liked to say. It wasn't many years later that Glenn first planted cherry trees. When my husband entered the service in 1966, Glenn sold the dairy herd. What had once been a farm devoted to raising animals and crops evolved into one focused strictly on growing fruit.
Fast forward seventy years. We have expanded the orchards and turned the farm into a profitable venture. We are at the ages where we look to another generation to take this beautiful land and use it as good stewards. This will fall to our daughter and son-in-law who live across the road from us in Glenn and Alberta's former home. They are gradually transitioning into ownership, taking the plunge into the demands of fruit farming. They are already extremely busy people, operating a dental practice and raising two little girls, both under three years of age. I have every confidence they will make things work just as Glenn and Alberta did, just as we did.
My husband and I are delighted the farm will continue and hope our grandchildren will carry on the family legacy. Few people can say they live where their great grandparents lived. Our granddaughters can, and so can my husband.
The day is wearing toward supper, when the April
sun calls to me, an afternoon walk with the little dog.
The orchard road newly bare of snow takes us
above a rise to the other side where new trees grow,
planted last year. There, two men move one way
and back, one tree to the next, two large figures and a little one
who runs to me, a joyous child, bursting with wonder,
growing fast. She fills my arms, full of talk, at barely two
she says a lot, tells of a fall the day before,
it made her cry—she fakes it now—and pets the dog.
We three set across the uneven trail, her hand lost in mine,
looking for stones that rose in winter, each one a jewel
in her eyes even dull ones I’d pass by.
Her daddy and grandpa work across the rows,
pruning the baby trees, shaping them, years ahead,
future harvests, the fruit red and sweet, ripened
from sun and rain and leaf. Little one holds
a pretty stone, shows it to grandpa, he pauses to look,
admires the prize, pride in his eyes and love for her
who turns us grands to puddles, mindful we are shaping
her for the years ahead.