Archive for April 13th, 2008

Twombly Family Farmhouse

We made the trek up to my grandparents farm yesterday.  Our goal was to recover some of the barn boards to use to cover the beam in our existing house.  Over the past 6 years I have romanticized the idea of having some of the family history from a 275 year old barn brought into my house.  Those hopes and dreams came crashing down yesterday when I discovered that many of the planks in the barn that could have been used would only work if the beam in my house was as twisted as the old barn that the boards would be coming from.  The years have not been good to the family farm.  My grandfather passed away a few years ago and in his absence the farmhouse and barn have seen much better days.

It was a bit of a rude awakening for me to see the farm in the condition that it is in.  This is the place that I spent many summers as I was growing up.  The tractor that I learned how to drive on is still in the barn – while very much more rust exists on it than did when I used to drive it through the hay fields it still holds the happy memories of the freedom of a 12 year old driving.  I was saddened to see the status of the barn.  Back when the barn was built there was no thought of a foundation and so over the past 275 years the ground below the barn has given way to the elements and the back corner of the barn is actually sagging quite a bit.  I am quite concerned that if nothing is done in the next couple of years the old barn will give way to the heavy winter snow loads and the barn will be no more.

Kim and the girls had fun exploring the contents of the old barn and looking at where the cattle and hens used to be kept.  It was very reminiscent for me to walk through the fields and be in the farmhouse.  While it appears to be much smaller of a place than it did in my younger years it is still full of warm memories of family and fun and the togetherness that we all experienced during the harvest and hay seasons.  There was always work to be done at the farmhouse and I cherish the times that I had at the farm.  I attribute much of the work ethic that I have now to the hard work that I learned to do under the guidance of my grandparents.

While we can’t hold onto the past the way I wish I could – I would love to have the means to refinish the old place and get it all back in working order – I can hold onto the memories and look at all that I learned through my time there.  There is a real simplicity of life that comes from working the land.  While it’s not easy, it is very rewarding and refreshing.  On days when I feel overwhelmed by the pace of life and the stress of the office I think back and sometimes long for a hard days work on the farm.

One thing that I got a kick out of.  Change doesn’t come to the farm all that quickly.  When I was about 16 I stuck a sticker from my skateboarding phase onto a window of the garage door.  It’s still there, just a little faded from about 20 years of weathering…

Overall the trip was great.  Kim found a few small treasures around the barn that she is able to use to make our home look more “old” and the girls got to see where their daddy enjoyed his summers.  We didn’t get any wood for our beam but we did have a great time together.  I think that is what I always enjoyed about the farm anyway – togetherness.

May you all find the time to be with your families.  May you be refreshed by togetherness and may you do this as often as you can!