Home and Back
Saturday, November 19, 2011
No matter where I live, 'home' is always the family farm in Illinois.
As an aside - I got to thinking about it, and since I left college, I've lived in 16 different places, ranging from summer camps to tiny apartments to our current house. That's not a record, but for my family, it might be! Two of my brothers were in the military for a bit, so they went where they were told; once they got out, they stayed put!
This year's visit to the farm was nice - weather was wonderful most of the time. Temp was in the 70s one day, mid 60s most of the rest of the time, but it was turning cold when I left. Not much rain to speak of. Had one blustery fall day, with winds up to 45 mph! What leaves were still on the trees when I arrived on 11/9 were gone after those winds went through.
It's a Christmas Tree Farm, so the seasonal workers were busy, trying to keep up with the orders for wreaths, pillows, etc. In that region folks like grave blankets and/or pillows - made out of greens in much the way wreaths are made. I've never cared for the grave blankets, but the pillows are really pretty - a big pouf of greens, with bows and pine cones as decoration. Other folks buy wreaths on easels for the graves - the snowy cemeteries look lovely with all the greens and bright bows.
I didn't know it when I made my reservations, but this year the gift shop's Open House was on 11/11 & 12. Usually, it's in October, but with the holiday, they decided to go for a Friday/Saturday date, and it was the right decision. They had customers in the shop all day long, both days. Sunday was slow, with about 1/10th the business of the previous days.
I didn't get much exercise, but I did go for a couple of long walks (inspecting my property, I guess). After my father's death in 4/10, one of my brothers inherited the rest of the family farm (80 acres; he already owned 60 acres of the farm). He decided to keep the 60 acres, and combine the 80 he had inherited with a couple of neighboring parcels he had purchased over the years to make three 80-acre parcels and to deed them to his siblings so that the parcels are each co-owned by two of us. Now, I co-own an 80-acre portion of the original farm with him, including the house and all the farm buildings.
The house needs a lot of work, beginning with a new roof and rewiring. My brother has avoided having it done because 'it's expensive.' I told him to get the roof fixed and send me half the bill. The house is 130 -140 years old (I don't know exactly when it was built), but it's structurally sound and could last another 140 years if we make the effort now. In the 1950s my father built a large flat-roofed addition, which looked nice, but always leaked. Later, he added a sloped roof on top, but now it leaks as well. For now, we'll repair it, but come summer, we'll have to rip it all off and have it redone, and it WILL be expensive.
Anyway, as nice as it was to go home for a while, it's nice to be back in my own home. DH and the cats missed me. Sometimes, the cats are a bit stand-offish when I come back, but this year they all came running for their 'welcome home' petting. Now, I have to get back to Sparking!