Remembering The Farm

I remember the first time we drove down the long gravel road and into the driveway of my Aunt Shirley's farm. It was night then, so I barely caught a glimpse of the brick red barn and the matching colored house. I was just a little girl then, maybe 4 or 5, but I remember it all as if it were yesterday. The crickets chirped long and loud and the frog’s croak could be heard for miles, it seemed.

I woke the next morning ready to wander about. The house was amazing and I could smell blueberry pancakes, bacon, and coffee. I said my hellos, but I was ready to see the farm! I ran out the door in my pj's with feet bare. It was summer time and the bright sunshine and warm air let me know it. The cool, soft grass was damp with the morning dew and felt great on my bare feet. I admired the house and wandered the yard, and when I got to the back of the house I immediately fell in love. You see, this was my first time at the farm and it was to be our new home. One big farmhouse made into two so we could all live together.  Two families combined.

I was born on Long Island in New York. I had lived in the city my entire little life. I had always wanted animals but we couldn't have them in the apartment in the city. Once I was at the farm, I didn't know where to go or what to do first, but I was in awe and I wanted to see it all. I wanted to meet all of the animals: horses, geese, cows, sheep, chickens, and ducks. I also saw a massive garden.

Life as I knew it was about to change forever. From that day on, every morning I would hear the roosters crow and the geese would chat merrily while taking a walk (it seemed they sure had a lot to gossip about!). I was very interested in learning everything I could on the farm so my aunt took me out daily and taught me about the animals and how to care for them. She showed me how to pick the perfect blueberries for pancakes and preserves, how to avoid the thorns on the blackberry bushes, and how to tap a watermelon to determine if it is ripe. I fell in love with all of the knowledge and the experiences.

My cousin Nelson would bring me out every morning when he tended the animals. He taught me how to saddle a horse and mount it. He also taught me how to ride bareback, which made me feel like I was sitting on top of the world. He also taught me that ducks have little tiny teeth; he convinced me to let one bite me so I could find out. There was a huge boar in the barn that I was terrified of, and Nelson brought me in and showed me the big pig and taught me how strong he was but also how he could be gentle like a dog.

I spent hot summer days playing in the creek behind the house and learned the song of the babbling brook. As summer turned to autumn, the leaves turned to many shades of green, red and yellow. Some of the trees in the distance looked like fire as the sun set. There was a lot of work to be done before winter set in but there was also plenty of time for fun. We would all go out and rake the leaves (all together there were 8 of us -- 3 adults and 5 children) and have small fires. I remember some of the leaves smelled so sweet and they would crackle as they burned, sending fairy sparks into the air.

Living on the farm taught me a lot. We always went to the grocery store for food when we were in New York, and I knew a little about tomato, pepper, and eggplants because my grandmother grew a few. While I was on the farm I learned that autumn is the time to harvest and can. We went out and harvested all we could, made an offering to the wild animals, and shared with the few neighbors down the road. There was so much food -- I was amazed that my Aunt and her family made all of that happen.  There was cooking going on for days. Although I didn't understand the canning process at the time, I thought it was awesome when I realized that the fruits and vegetables would be able to last a long time.

Eventually my mother and we little ones made our way back to the bustling city of New York. The two years in Pennsylvania were incredible. I didn't want to leave, so my mother and Aunt worked it out so that I could come up for every summer vacation. At the time, waiting that long felt like forever. I spent many summers after that at my Aunt Shirley's farm, learning what I could, every chance I got -- enjoying the time with the animals and the land. As time went on her kids grew up and moved on, creating families of their own and little by little the farm grew smaller.

I remember so many things about the farm, and they are some of my clearest childhood memories. I realize now how truly important those experiences and lessons are. My aunt has passed away, and the farm is long gone, but the memories remain and the knowledge and skills will always provide for me and my family. I can feel my aunt in the wind and smell her sweet perfume when I go and tend my own gardens, a reminder that she is always with me. The farm as I remember it will forever be embedded in my heart, carried in my soul, and taught to many children before I grow too old.

Articles published by are no substitute for medical advice. Please consult your health care provider before beginning any new regimen. For more information, please visit our disclaimer page here.

Back to main site

Write a comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.