We were returning from a grandchild’s spring band event, when I (who seems to “need” to be in control when driving) chose an entirely different route home. Interestingly my wife doesn’t exhibit her father’s tendency to control through co-piloting (any more). She just quietly sits, while I veer onto different roads. The route I chose took us into parts of two counties (which I reminded her), that her early ancestors had settled in, in the 1850’s. As we turned west, she began to be more alert. We were passing through Geetingsville, the home area of her maternal grandfather. She began pointing out houses that former relatives had lived in, most now vacant and run down.
As we drove, she mused how long it had been since she had been on this road, and all the changes. The most prominent change was the lack of field fences. Farming has been modernized. Gone is the day of self-sufficiency. Farmers used to grow crops for sale AND use, cows for milk and meat, pigs for meat, chickens for eggs and meat, gardens and orchards for canned vegetables and fruit. Modern cultivation ‘gleans’ the fields clean compared to older methods that left some product in the field for the herds to feast upon during winter. It was a year round, 7 day a week, 24 hour a day job to be a farmer and be self sufficient.
I was eating at a small town restaurant recently, and they had paper place-mats with pictures of different styles of barns. Barns, it turns out was an American Invention. Barns were needed to store hay and protect live stock from the weather etc.
As we drove through Geetingsville, I noticed here, like everywhere else in this country, barns are falling down in disrepair, unneeded, unwanted.
Yes, things have changed. Farmers self-sufficiency is gone, like the chickens, hogs, cows and fences. Farmers are specialized. Farm-fresh eggs, freshly butcher hogs, and plucked chicken for supper….
I wish the fences were back, maybe I’ll return my thoughts to Turnipseeds.