road trip part 3: the farm

**I wish that I could fully explain what my grandmother and grandfather's home and surrounding land meant to me.  I've tried several times (here, herehere, and herebut I don't think I've ever fully done the nostalgia justice.  It's the same feeling I get when I think of N College Avenue in Frostburg, MD where my mom's parents lived in my early childhood...**

When Grandpa passed away last year, it was so very difficult to leave "the farm" that last day following his life celebration.  The time with ALL of our family was so sweet, but also I knew with dread in my heart that the farm was going to be sold and would no longer remain in the family.  Who would buy this nearly 70 year old farmhouse and hundreds of acres of land in rural, SW Ohio and could they possibly love it as much as our entire family had?

I didn't know it then, but this weekend I found out that I need not have worried.

The acres of farmland were sold separately from the small tract that included the house.  Small, bright green corn and soy bean plants are neatly growing in rows against the rich, dark soil of the area.  Crops are again being grown and harvested by hardworking men in those fields.

The house?  Well, it was bought by a young man who had hunted with my grandfather.  He and his wife decided to do some remodeling inside the house instead of tearing it down to build something new.  His parents bought part of that smaller area of land and are building a modest, but lovely, home back off the road a bit.

And the best part was that they invited us to come walk the land and see progress on both homes, both my grandparents' place and the new home.

I think they are the kind of people Grandpa would have liked to have seen living there.  The home under construction is purposely being built so that the pond will be the view from both the living room and the master bedroom (once the trees have been thinned out a bit more).

I'm pretty sure Grandpa would have approved of their selected view.
The new owner walked with us for a bit and then turned to go back to the farmhouse, glancing over his shoulder to tell us to take our time and enjoy being here.  What a blessing...

My sister, her kids and my mom were with us, so of course we couldn't pass up one more chance to line the kids up on the "bent tree" ~ besides, the last time we took their photo there, wee one wasn't yet home.

We continued our walk back to the log bridge that spans "the crick."  Surreal to see my children walking across on their own.  Oh the memories of time spent in this spot with my sister and my cousin. If only that bridge could talk.

While a lot of brush has grown up, the new owners are keeping the pathways that Grandpa used to mow weekly.  I strained to listen, willing myself to hear his riding lawn mower as we walked.

And the pond.  Hours of my childhood were spent here.  Fishing.  Canoeing.  Tossing mini-boulders out to test the thickness of the ice before we went ice skating.  Just being.  This is one of the few places that it is actually easy to be still and really, really be in the moment.

The new owners have a knack for blending the old with the new, as shown with the set up in the summerhouse.  Once again those old metal chairs will be used by family gathering to eat on warm summer evenings.

The couple themselves?  Well, they've planted a few hundred trees since they've moved in.  Grandpa would certainly approve.  And did I mention that they are in the process of adopting internationally?  Grandpa has seven internationally adopted great-grandchildren from China, Taiwan and Ukraine.

love, love, love this planter's table they built from repurposed wood, window and metal
I was nervous about going back.  Not sure how I'd feel.  Afraid that "the farm" would have lost its feel.  But the visit, both in meeting the new residents and seeing how they are adding their personal touches to their new home yet leaving much the same calmed my unease.  It is clear to see that they love the house and land about as much as we do.

In ways it feels like the farm has stayed in the family...


Gwen said...

I can totally relate to this post- I have very similar feelings when I visit the small town in Wyoming where both sets of my grandparents lived. How nice that you are still able to experience your Grandpa's farm with your family! :)

Traci said...

nicely said. :( :)

Grandma Shultz said...

A lovely few hours of memories. There was a sense of sadness and yet one of joy that the new owners love it and want to embrace what it is - not try to make it something totally different. Thank you God.

Kathy said...

We want so much to share those deepest feelings but words just aren't always adequate. It is wonderful to have memories that mean so much - the kids will remember that too. I'm glad for you that the new owners are honoring the land.
Love, Grandma M

Andrea said...

What a blessing to find new owners honoring the legacy of the land your Grandpa left. I'm so glad you were able to get the tree shot with ALL the cousins too. Sorry I haven't been online as much recently. I'm still reading when I can!

Glenda said...

It looks beautiful. It's so wonderful that your kids got to experience some of the things you did while you were little. It will live on in their and your memories.

Nancy said...

That is so great! I still haven't been back to my grandparents place. Its been over 10 years but I heard the new owners changed it alot.