Monday, June 27, 2011

Back Home Again - on the Farm

Last week I had the pleasure of a Farm Tour - of the farms where I grew up, or my ancestors did their homesteading, along a seven-mile stretch of the State Line. My dad, now 93, enjoyed getting out, and still has a million stories to tell, and perhaps I am finally getting old enough to ask them.

Our last stop was the farm a couple miles north of Northwood where I grew up. And when I saw this open barn door I couldn't resist taking a picture. The door is no longer a half-door and it seems about a mile wide when I consider how many times I got my knees slammed against the jamb by the horse heading to her stall. I checked - there is no flesh stuck on the door jamb. And then I double-checked the door itself and realized the opening has been widened and the door widened to match, then the half-doors were joined together, and suddenly in my mind this door was only two feet wide again and my legs indeed "felt the pain."

Perhaps your family would have similar stories to share with you like those I have gotten from Dad, and I encourage you to ask about them if you haven't already done so. On that seven-mile stretch of road that we toured there are eight locations that were "in the family" at one time or another plus a church, a creamery, and a neighborhood "convenience store" known then as a general store, the latter two razed at some point in the last 20 or 30 years. And the first two houses that I lived in? They were both razed in the last 2 years as well.

I should circle back to that general store - it was the Deer Creek Store, the source of anything and everything you could not raise on your farm, the meeting point for farmers to share some stories, and the oasis in the desert after delivering milk to the creamery across the street. Candy. Lots of it. And I had my share.

Since we took that trip I have used Google Satellite Maps to locate all the properties on the tour, and can quite easily identify each one of them. Then Lonna and I looked for her home in Lake Mills on South Winnebago; it was not as easily found, but it is there. I encourage you to find your "home" by that method as well. If it's a farm and the barn door is still open, bear in mind the consequences of riding horses while visiting.

1 comment:

  1. Deciding there may be old pictures available of the Deer Creek Valley General Store and Creamery, I Googled to find it, to no avail. But I did find this posting from a blog titled "Mark My Words", about a trip the author undertook at age 13 in 1990:
    My dad was gonna take me home on a back road but missed his turn and we ended up deciding to visit more territory in southeastern Freeborn County, picking up several more little towns like Myrtle, London, and the memorable Deer Creek on the state line, which featured two houses, an abandoned creamery, and an abandoned general store complete with swinging door. Twenty years later, there is no evidence remaining that a town ever existed where Deer Creek once sat as it's all been plowed over.


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