Hear That Whistle Blow XIV - Down on the Farm
Katie has made the move from her dirt road Pine Street to a farm in the country. Has any place been more beautiful than this? Come join her adventures.
What joy Katie is feeling living on this farm! All she has done and has yet to do. All she has seen and has yet to see! Her imagination just spins with it all. It is like a dream come true.
She has more responsibility now her mom has a new baby. She must look after the older baby to give her mom more time. Her mom takes care of the new one and all the other things she must do to take care of her family.
Suddenly her older brother is home more than ever. He does not have a friend he spends all his time with here. Possibly he is too far from close neighbors to pick up jobs. He seems to be enjoying it as much as Katie. He does the many things that nether his mom nor Katie can do. Such as cutting grass and chopping wood, most outdoor chores.
The fields have been plowed and he hoes rows to set out plants. In the evening Katie watches the boys in the cool grass while her brother and mom set out plants. Rows and rows, so many kinds. She recognizes most of them by now.
The baby is sleeping in his bed and her dad is at work. Sometimes her mom sits with the boys and lets Katie take a pail to water a row of the plants. This gives her mom a rest. She knows not to step in the plants and loves to have her feet sink down in the deep cool dirt.
She can still go barefoot near the house and in the garden but she must wear shoes everywhere else. The road from the farmhouse is smooth but going into the woods on the sides is not like the pine needles Katie has been used to and her poor feet found that out the hard way. She even has to wear hand me down boys pants into the woods to protect her legs and allow her to climb trees. She doesn't mind this at all. Her world is growing even broader and whatever it took was fine with her.
Living on a Farm
Did you live on a farm or know about it from someone you knew?
If you tickle the earth with a hoe she laughs with a harvest.
~ Douglas Jerrol
The World from Top of a Tree
With rough pants to protect her legs and shoes on her feet Katie could climb almost to the sky! She still would get a few scratches and scrapes on her hands and arms but that was nothing. She felt on top of the world when she was up a tree.
She could see the farmhouse and it looked like a dollhouse. So tiny from way up there. She could look down on trees and fields and deer thinking they were hid. They would jump, run and play and the fawns would nurse. Her brother should climb trees to find them, but she would never tell him that.
The marsh on the backside of the house would glitter sometimes from the sun picking up the water reflections. It was so beautiful Katie would stare until she became sleepy. She would go down only then because such a fall would surely be the death of her.
The trees she climbed were so very tall her body probably would not even make it to the bottom to be found. What would her mother ever do without her? She would not want that, so she was very careful.
“In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen.”
The Hunt is On
Katie's older brother was out in the woods before daylight many times. He could surprise his prey and game unexpectedly. Sometimes he would stay all night in the woods with his dog, Bounce. She didn't give much thought to this, although she did sometimes hear the gunshots. Her mother would sometimes say she hoped that sound meant a great supper.
Still, Katie never thought about these things simply because she chose not to. She didn't feel one bit sorry for fish but she still hated to see them before they were fried. Her mom seemed to respect those feelings, pretty much. Katie had a suspicious feeling she might feel the same way. She never skinned any of the meat that came in but just wash it good and cooked it deliciously. She had never even scaled the fish as Katie had begrudgingly learned to scale from her father.
That was a painful and unpleasant experience that she did not repeat. It was pleasant getting the attention from her dad and seeing him laugh and smile that she could do whatever he showed her. Yes, now she knew in case the need would ever come up in her life. She very much doubted it would, though, if she had anything to do with it.
Katie's mom sent her and her brother, who would be starting school, down the farm road to pick chinquapins. They were allowed to go further to get to know the road they would be walking to school. It took no time to twist around a couple of curves and end up in front of the neighboring farm that could be seen from the mountaintop.
They dared to go beyond there and found blueberries bushes loaded with berries on the roadside. Picking all they could quickly pick they decided to just tell their mom about them. Perhaps their older brother could come back for the many, being sure their mom would want them. They treated themselves to a few on the walk back to the chinquapins.
These were a nut inside a spiky casing and they had to use their shirts to pull then from the bushes. They had never seen anything like them but their mom said they were delicious and so they would gladly try them once they were set free.
This looked like it would be a fun walk to school each morning but their mom said winter might be a different story. Their father must sleep of the morning when he got home so he could not drive them. The older brother did not drive yet. There would be car tracks to walk in for the most part where their dad drove home. Unless of course the snow was still falling. They were excited about it, whatever it would be.
It was summer now and they gave little thought of snow or winter.
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
– Rachel Carson
Sometimes it was hard for Katie to travel away from the top of the mountain. It was so beautiful. She would sit and stare for what she thought was only a few minutes just to hear her mother calling because it had been so long.
If she was very still deer would walk within feet of her never guessing she was there. Sitting or laying at the edge of tall grasses hid her from unsuspecting eyes. Sometimes they must have caught her scent because they would start stomping and acting wild and flee the mountaintop.
She had seen a red fox several times unless it was more than one. The birds were so many and her brother was teaching her to know the wild turkeys. They were very funny looking and easy to recognize now. Her mother turned those into such a buttery juicy meal with stuffing and they would have many well before Thanksgiving.
All the family loved it here so much. The garden was growing and starting to produce and her dad seemed to be happy or smiling every time she saw him. Before he left for work most days he would go out and look over the gardens and sometimes gather something in that was ripe.
Could anything ever be less than perfect here?
© 2017 Jackie Lynnley