Happy Sweet Sixteen to my baby! And how did we celebrate? Cake, candles, go dig some holes!
Two big, strong teenage boys + one load of posts + two posthole diggers = fence!
Don’t worry, boys, it’s only 40 acres…..and 1,379,215 holes….
But hey, there’s always the unexpected silver lining……..
Seriously, who would believe it, I’m out there in the boonies on a country road with two teenage boys digging postholes and what wanders by but two teenage girls wearing next-to-nothing swimsuits.
One of them was carrying a parasol. I thought that was a nice touch. I felt like I’d dropped into an Impressionist painting.
They were on their way to the river. So they strolled nearly-nakedly on their way there, then back, giggling and all nearly-naked.
I’m sure the boys would have been more distracted except I am paying by the posthole and they wanted to beat each other to the money.
Me, I was chilling in a chair with a cold drink, enjoying the meadow and the spring wildflowers and the oh-so-sweet scent of new land ownership.
And not just any old land, either……
This farm, only a couple miles away from the old farmhouse we live in now, is right across the river from what was my great-grandfather’s farm. My family goes back 200 years in this area, and my father grew up just down the road.
My grandmother once lived in a house on this farm when she was a girl and her father worked at what was once a gasoline plant when “Stringtown” was a real town with a church, a school, a post office, a hotel, and even a brothel.
(Hey, you gotta keep those gasoline plant workers happy….)
Now, hardly anyone lives in what was once “Stringtown” and it’s no longer a postal address by that name since the post office is gone. It’s real boonies territory, rock/dirt roads and a few scattered farmhouses. This 40-acre farm of meadows and hills and memories needs a new farmhouse, don’t you think? The hills come complete with old logging trails to make a perfect driveway….
…..to a secluded homesite in the woods.
It’s neat to think of living here, in the land of my forefathers. I feel fortunate to have been able to take back a piece of my family’s history. I hope it will mean something to my children someday.
I know my 486 cats will like it!
There’s an old oil derrick on the hill, a reminder of the time when “Stringtown” was an oil and gas boom town.
My great-grandfather owned hundreds of acres out here and had so many wells, he didn’t have to dig any postholes, that’s for sure. He had hired hands to work his farm, and there was always a “hired girl” for the house to cook and clean for my great-grandmother.
Where is MY hired girl, hmmm??? Okay, so my great-grandmother had nine children, but still! I bet they did work! And I bet they didn’t have to pay them five dollars a post hole….
Stone steps lead to what was once a church that doubled as a one-room schoolhouse.
My father went to church there throughout his childhood, and went to school there up to first grade when a new one-room schoolhouse was built across the river where my grandmother taught.
The church burned down years ago, and only the steps remain.
A pretty creek with wildflower-dotted banks winds through the property down to the river.
These are the creeks and woods my father played in as a child, hunting squirrels and playing cowboys and Indians with his brothers. Now, my children can play there.
This is the road my father trod (uphill both ways–and that isn’t a figure of speech!) every day. The one-room schoolhouse went to 8th grade. They went to high school in town. When it snowed, my father stayed at Great-Aunt Ruby’s, closer to town–in the old farmhouse where we live now, waiting until we build our “new” farmhouse.
I see chickens in the road……. Mine!
Across the country road is a hilltop family cemetery where my grandfather and great-grandparents are buried. My great-grandfather, John Morgan Dye, was the subject of the geneology project my daughter did that made honorable mention a few weeks ago at the state social studies fair.
My dad was four years old in 1929 when his father died. He’s buried in the cemetery across the road. My father wore a blue serge suit with a crisp white shirt and short pants to the funeral. He had to be held up to see into the casket. When it was done, his grandfather got down on one knee to look him in the eye and told him, “I’ll be your daddy now.”
And so we are back where we began.
It doesn’t look like digging post holes has gotten any easier since my great-grandfather’s time. Whew, I’ll just sit back here in the shade…….imagining where I’ll put my garden and the barn for the horse and that house that needs to go up there on the hill. What kind of fruit trees, and how many chickens. Don’t you think I need some sheep?