Grandpa’s barn


Rich’s Dad was almost killed in a farming accident involving a PTO shaft just before Thanksgiving.  On Saturday I got to see him for the first time after the accident.

His personality is a little different now, in a good way.  He’s more gentle and patient.  He’s had a lot of tough times previously in his life which added a touch of sarcasm and bitterness to his personality, not a lot, just a touch.  But, it’s gone now.  He’s so thankful for his life and has seen the work of God (there are no doubts that it was God that saved him and healed him of his injuries).  How can you feel anything but gratitude when you’ve seen God’s care so clearly? 

Rich’s step-mom was away while we were there.  I missed visiting with her, but if she had been there I would have stayed in the kitchen to talk to her and missed the barn.

Did you see the pig?  We’re going to eat him.  I had a fascinating talk with Dad about . . .well, pork.  I was almost convinced that Rich and I would start raising a pig for family consumption until Dad said it would be too expensive for us, because we would have to buy the feed.   Would we like half a pig when he has it butchered?  After tasting Leslie’s leftover pork roast there was no doubt in my mind.  Yes, we would!




I really love this picture of Caleb with his Grandpa.  It’s going to be framed.



If Rich ever went into farming, I know who would be the most excited.  Our daughter.

She was all over the place like she owned it.  She is SO interesting to me, quite my opposite in many ways.

I wouldn’t mind having a small farm now, but I would not have been so excited about it at her age.

You know what she asked her Grandpa? 

“Grandpa, can I ride a cow?”

“No, sweetie, we don’t have any tame enough for that.”

My reaction to the whole idea: 

What a girl.

Here she is, longing to ride a cow.  Grandpa doesn’t own a horse.


He has a whole little building for boiling sap.  He’s got quite the small, “for family and friends only” little operation going.  I walked into the sap house and it was warm and sweet. . .hmmm. . .smelled of wood and boiling sap.

He sent us home with 6 jugs of it.  Apparently Rich and I have to share our jug?

Back in the house, and Grace begging to go back to the barn.

Look at her face, she’s so funny!

She got sent off by herself this time, with one main rule– stay out of the animal pens!



We’re having french toast this morning.  With Grandpa’s maple syrup on top.

I really don’t mind the smell of a cow barn, I like it.  For some reason I have an interest, a longing, for farming.  I know it’s in my heritage. . .my grandpa on my mom’s side was a farmer. . .Rich has it in his blood, too.  In any given time, I know God could push us in that direction.  It’s interesting to me that my heart loves the idea of working so close to the earth. . . . . .and, after all, I have 4 boys.  And a totally capable girl.

Even if we stayed here, I know we could handle a flock of chickens at least.  I don’t know what else.  We only have about 4 acres of land and no barn.

Did you ever live on a farm?  Do you live one one now?  Please leave me comment and tell me all about it.  What do you love about farming?  Do you have a small farm or a big one?  What sort of animals did you keep?  Does your husband have an outside job?  Is there anything you don’t like?  Imagine that I have an interest in having a small family farm.  Would you try to talk me into it or out of it?  Convince me!

I’m ordering a subscription to “Farm and Ranch” magazine today!


0 thoughts on “Grandpa’s barn

  1. Oh… sweet boiling maple sap… there isn’t a more comforting smell and sound to me! I LOVE it. We lived in Canada for six months while my dad did research, and we tapped our own trees and boiled down some sap. Several years ago Dad found some sugar maple trees and in the woods across from us, and for tapped them for two years. The third year the man who owned the land came and built som townhouses, so, no more home made maple syrup for us. I love the smell… the woody, crisp, clear smell that gradually turnes sweet and warm as it happily bubbles away

  2. I was raised on a cattle farm, but we didn’t own it.  We also didn’t work it; there was a farmer who did that.  We just rented the farmhouse and “kept an eye on things”.  I loved it.  I loved the land, the ponds, the cows mooing, the scary bulls.  But, I did HATE it when they would fertilize the fields with either chicken litter or pig litter….that was stinky.  I don’t mind cow or horse poo, but the others made me nauseous.  When we moved from the farm to a cookie-cutter neighborhood, I cried.  And now, the place where I grew up has been turned into a subdivision.  It’s depressing.   I miss those days.

  3. I forgot to answer your questions.  I grew up on a dairy farm, and live next to it still.  My dad always had about fifty cows.  Today my three brothers have 300+. 

  4. I love the farm pictures. My husband was raised on a farm and was driving tractor by age 10. My Grandpa on my Dad’s side was raised on a farm. My Grandpa on my moms side is a farmer and used to have dairy cows when I was growing up. Now he just has “cash crops”. My father in law still farms too although he does not raise beef any more. My hubby would like to buy the “family” farm now that my Father in law is getting older. We will see where God leads us. I would LOVE to live there and get a Jersey cow for milk, a couple of goats for milk, chickens and a dog. That is how we will start out. Of course we would like beef cattle too. Hubby does not eat pork so no pigs for us. 🙂 We have a garden over at the farm which is just down the road a couple of miles. We would have a bigger one once we live there. We will plant corn, tomatoes, potatoes, green peppers, green beans, herbs, melons, pumpkins etc this year…I know I am forgetting something. If we live there I want o plant some grape vines too. I LOVE farms although I grew up in the inner city and would have to make regular trips to the city. I like the peace and quiet of the farm but LOVE the noise of the animals and birds…I love the smell of straw and fresh cut hay and I LOVE taking walks over the fields….

  5. I never lived on a farm, but it’s in the blood here too.  My mom has a picture of me sitting on a cow when I was about 2 (I think).  We were visiting family in Vermont. 
    Fresh pork…Oh my…super de duper YUM! 
    Interesting tidbit…before swinging over here this morning, I was cleaning out my message box and came across your prayer request’s for Rich’s dad at that time. 

  6. Just make sure you don’t read Charlotte’s Web any time too close to pig eating time! LOL! Homegrown pork is so good! A couple times here in Denmark we have been blessed with a pig, and the farmer who raises them is totally organic. Growing up, we always had animals around– chickens, rabbits, horses. My Dad would buy a calf every Spring and tell us not to love it and name it, because it was going in the freezer come Fall. But we always did fall in love with those liquid brown eyes, and we were always sad for a few days after our pet…. um…. well, you know! Having had horses, I know that they are a lot of work! They eat and eat and then, well, you have the delightful job of shoveling manure! We always had a lot of fun with the horses, but with vet bills and feed, etc. they are expensive. Usually we kept a few for other people to make some money to keep our own!

  7. Every year I love going to the fair, simply for the sheer experience of being up-close with the animals. I would love to live on a farm! So far no luck with having our own, but maybe someday. I can dream! 😉 If you get a farm, that’s it: I’m coming! Have the teakettle ready for me! I’ll bring boots for the barn. lol
    Have you researched homesteading? The whole idea is similar to farming in that you try to live off the land and be self-sustaining as far as food and such goes, but the beauty of it is that it’s various facets can be applied to where ever you live; such as people in New York City having vegetable container gardens etc. Simplify! 🙂

  8. I wasn’t raised on a farm, I love the taste of fresh meat, but I have to say I don’t like the smell at all:)   My grandfather and great grandfather was farmers, I couldn’t stand the smell of the farm.   When I stayed with them I kept my nose covered the whole time:)   Your pictures are very good.   I’m glad you had a great visit with Rich’s Dad and that he is recovering so well from his accident. 
    The homemade syrup sounds so good!!

  9. Ah, this post made me homesick. My immediate family never farmed, but both of my parents came from farming forebears and I grew up in a farming community. I don’t know that I could ever be a farmer myself, but I do love going out to farms … there’s something so comforting and REAL about them. My husband and I have realized in reading the Scriptures (and looking at history) that the pattern tends to be that wickedness develops sooner in cities, while those who live and work the land remain closer to God. I think God created us to labor with our hands, and part of the curse is that we try to avoid it and just live comfortably. Says the girl whose husband works in an office! It’s a theory, anyway. 🙂

  10. I lived on a small “hobby farm” with my parents and siblings and loved it. We had horses, a cow and many pets. I learnt how to milk a cow, chop wood and we had fruit trees and a large vegetable patch. It really is a healthy way to live. My husband grew up on a larger productive farm (wheat and sheep) and helped his father from a young age, harvesting and helping out at shearing time. My grandparents were farmers also and I have many wonderful memories of spending time with them. Helping my grandmother and taking morning tea out to my grandfather who was working in the paddock.My husband and I and our three children who are homeschooled, live in a small country town in rural New South Wales, Australia and desire to buy our own piece of land and build a home on it. We are praying about it and trusting God in this. I would love to have chickens,milking goats, a vegie patch, fruit trees, maybe a few cows. It is not an easy lifestyle but I believe a wonderful way to bring up children, to work and play together as a family and can be a very rewarding way to live. 

  11. Ummm… I’m a city girl… and confess I have no desire to live on a farm. However, I have great respect for those who do, how else would we live so comfortably if others did not labor in the fields?Anyway, I loved seeing and hearing about Grace on the farm. I can see her being the perfect farm-wife and mother, wearing an apron and collecting fresh eggs… And I am so happy to see your father-in-law doing so well. God spared him and I know your family is very thankful.

  12. I wanted to live on a farm when I was Grace’s age (it was all that Laura Ingalls influence I believe), and even now there is still something quite appealing about such a life to me. . .the seeming simplicity of it all. We only have an acre, but we back up to woods and it’s in a rural part of the county, so we are considering chickens. . .I love fresh eggs. But my husband says no for now because we just got Zeke this winter and he’s a handful of a dog. . .I’m wondering why I wanted a dog?? Anyway, I enjoyed reading your post and want to write one about our Easter and wanted to write one last week about going to a Revolutionary War Reinactment, plus I have one I’m thinking of tomorrow when our third son turns five years old, BUT I can’t seem to find the time? How do you manage to write all these great posts with pictures while homeschooling 5 kids?? It’s nothing short of miraculous to me!

  13. I am sure you know my background!  I love gardening – but I don’t think that I would like to farm anymore… But I am hoping to be able to get a small tractor to use around our land for gardens and such.
    But I do remember trying to “ride” the young heifers in the calf barn behind the house a time or two.  And remember when you were Grace’s age – we were traipsing all around the family farm…and climbing all the haystacks to find kittens.  Plus I’m sure you can amaze your daughter with stories of milking cows…just don’t make it too romantic – remember scraping out the poo at the end of the day as well.

  14. You have such a way of capturing each person ‘in their element’ in your life.  I feel like I know you and your family in a real way although we have never met- computers are so cool aren’t they?! lol.  I just love love love looking at pictures of your life and family.  Your blog has blessed me so much, you just could never even know.

  15. Well, I never personally lived on a farm, but both of my grandfathers lived on farms, and my mother’s father owned a farm stand.  As a child, I loved visiting him, and having him come to our house.  We would tend to our garden when he came over, and he’d tell me how the animals were doing.  He had chickens and cows, and I still remember the smells from that farm.  My grandmother grew up on a farm in Maine, too.  I know what you mean about loving farming, it’s such a simple, uncomplicated life.  I used to love jumping into the haybales, too.  I love the pictures, it’s nice to put a face to Rich’s dad, too…I can see the big time resemblance. 🙂  I hope you have a great Tuesday.

  16. What a delightful post. My husband was born and raised on a dairy farm and it was a good life. Hard work but a good life. We lived on a farm for the first 13 years of our married life and when the children were small. I’m so grateful for that experience but one thing does stand out…..My husband was ALWAYS tired and it wasn’t till we were off the farm that I realized how energized he was by people instead of cows. We all have a different calling and I know you will be your happiest if you are right where God wants you…..and that just might be on a farm! Thanks for sharing and God bless.

  17. my hubby sure is getting it in his blood…he was wanting to get some chicks the other day when he saw them tried to tell him I think we need to get settled first.  But he would like to have some cattle (he talked to a farmer who buys mother/calf pairs in the spring and then sells them in the fall, and he’s interested in doing that), and maybe a pig, and a few chickens…it wouldn’t be anything major, though.  I like the idea of fresh eggs…and meat in the freezer…

  18. I lived on a mini-farm when I was a pre-teen and until I was married ~ loved it.  Farming is really expensive and risky these days, but I would highly recommend having a barn and a few animals around ~ it’s great for kids to have outside chores and they learn so much about responsibility and caring for God’s creation.  I always just adored going to my grandpa’s farm ~ the memories from their place are some of my most cherished.

  19. I lived on a farm growing up and married a hog farmer (he is now an electrical engineer- always his passion). Yes, farming provides opportunities that other jobs don’t, but I refuse to romanticize it…it is extremely HARD work and in today’s world very hard to make a living at unless you inherit the family farm.

  20. I think farms are fantastic places to visit, but then going home to the CLEAN comforts of home. I have a friend who owns free-range chickens, goats, pigs, etc. It’s so much fun to visit, but she makes fun of me for trying to dodge walking through poop and she couldn’t care less if the stuff were all over her shoes.  The smell makes me cringe, and well.. there is really no way from keeping that stuff from coming in your house. I’m more of a “get your hands in the garden” kinda gal, then a “what poop?” kinda gal. That’s just me anyway! Looks like such a fabulous trip!

  21. I just had to read the comments! What a wonderful time your Resurrection day was! You have a lovely family and your mother loks like a sister:)We lived in a rural town on an 6 acre, old apple orchard right at the edge of town. I was in charge of making apple pies. People ask me for recipes and after making thousand and being “shown” how by grandma. I have no recipe:) We had houses in front of our property with cows and creeks in the back. Our neighbors, who had a small farm, had a pond with ducks. Most of my friends farmed so my parents did not want the “trouble” of maintaining any livestock. We enjoyed the benefit of helping them when we had time. Our chicken coop was turned into a dog house for my two dogs. We always had fresh meat and eggs and horses to feed on the way to school and horse rides. Of course we had cow visits and bull chasing (because they were in our “back yard”). … Yes, I loved the life but….. as the above comment states….. because I did not have to work it. My father….he was the Banks President:) It easily romanticized. When live in the city now and have friends from church who are “starting” with small animals. With the birthing and feedings and milkings we rarely see them at our fellowships( We meet once a week) since these endvours have started. They just are not able to leave the “farm”.

  22. Pretty pig – cute cows. So. . . Yes! (obviously) I love farms (the smell and all the work) and it’s definitely in my blood. HOWEVER, I think I might be too old now to start one. Property with a horse and some chickens is probably all this old girl could handle!!!

  23. We definitely lived “in town” when I was growing up, but my dad managed to raise pigs anyway.  He had them penned on my uncle’s property. 
    Now, feeding them WOULD have been too expensive, except that my dad is very resourceful.  He worked at a nursing home/assisted living facility.  He made friends with the kitchen staff!   He bought big plastic garbage cans and they kept them just off the kitchen and filled them with all the scraps from all the meals there at the home. 
    My dad removed them every day, put them in the trunk of our car, drove about 30 minutes to my uncle’s place and feed the pigs, then headed home.  (Of course, gas was not so expensive then.)  We had fresh pork for many, many years while he worked at the home.  Eventually, the Lord led him to another job and the time for our raising pigs was finished.  But God definitely used that time to meet our needs with those piggies and the nursing home’s slop buckets!!!
    For what it’s worth, I believe that you, Shanda, can do whatever you put your mind to.    It’ll be fun to see what the Lord has is mind for your family!

  24. Nope, I am a suburban girl with a country heart. My dad had a dear friend he met in the Army (they were WWII generation) that we would go visit quite frequently. They had sheep, about 6 cows, and chickens. Plus we went fishing in their stocked pond. I loved to bottle feed the lambs. “Uncle” Warren always invited us down when he had lambs. “Aunt” Mickey always had such good food. She also made the best cookies. They had coffee time at 3pm or so every day and always had delicious cookies- her peanut butter ones (with the the lines from the tines of a fork of course!) were my favorite. I also loved their dog, Skippy (or Skip) for short. He helped with the sheep and annoyed the cows. lol. “Aunt” Mickey would always let me go look for eggs (even though she had already gathered) but I had to watch the geese. They will “getcha” if you aren’t watching! ;)Thanks for taking me down memory lane today and letting me share that. Thanks also for sharing your visit to Rich’s Dad’s house with us.

  25. I didn’t grow up on a farm but I remember visiting farms and playing in the hay.  I have fond memories of walking with my grandfather to get milk at the local farm.  We had chickens when I was growing up and my sister and I had to feed them before school — can’t remember that I liked it!!  Bob worked summers on a big farm and really loved it — he went to college to learn farming but when they told him what the overhead would be if he wasn’t inheriting a farm, he changed his course of study to agronomy!  He went from there to forestry school and Bible school and ended working in a service department at IBM/Lockheed-Martin — a long way from farming!!!    He used to walk on top of the silos and make his mother very nervous!!!  I like to ride around and look (and take pictures) at farm animals, cows, horses, sheep, pigs, chickens, etc. but that’s as close to farming as I’ll ever get!  A farmer in our area also raises llamas (alpacas). (Did you ask for a “short story” or a “novel”?

  26. My friend lived on a dairy farm when I was in Jr. High.  I loved going to her house and helping with the chores and the milking!  My mom could never understand why I had so much fun on a farm, and she made me have seperate clothes to wear when I went there.  Your pictures are so nice!  I miss being on the farm.

  27. I learn so much from your posts — I visited some friends in Vermont who had about 10 chickens (oh, maybe 12 because I think they bought a dozen to begin with)  — and another friend in Iowa who lived in the farmhouse of a college demonstration farm — where they had only a few animals in the barn.  Otherwise my experience has been visits to large cattle ranches, where you don’t have much exposure to what’s going on!  When I was about 12, my parents realized I’d never seen a pig except in the circus, and we went several places trying to find a pig!  I’d love to see a maple tree being tapped for syrup, and experience the syrup being collected and boiled.  No — I’m a city girl all the way!  Love the picture of the pig — and of Rich’s dad (I’m so glad he seems to be doing so well after his accident!) — and of your family!  It looks like a wonderful visit!

  28. Jeremy and I were driving down the road the other day and I had that longing feeling to be a farmer and a farmers wife.  Its odd that you would do this post but very cool!  I think the best thing would be to start small and gradually go big if that is where the Lord leads.  Small private farms are easy to manage and you don’t get a lot of polotics and code enforcers nocking at your door but as soon as you go big you have rules and regulations you need to follow.  I would love to have a small farm someday and feed things all not hormone filled feeds and live off of the animals meet and the gardens!  That would be a dream come true but who know if it will ever happen to me! 

  29. Your daughter wanting to ride a cow brought back two memories. One is my husband’s. He always wanted a horse to ride and since he didn’t have any, he used a tame ole family cow for his horse. I have a picture him riding her when he was about 11. I grew up on a dairy farm until I was 9 and after that we always had one cow that we milked by hand for our own milk. When I was probably 6, my next older sister and I decided to ride a cow. We climbed on her back while she was waiting in line to be milked. When our father opened the door to let her in the parlor, she took off. I don’t know who was the most surprised, father, us or the cow! It’s a wonder we weren’t hurt because we fell off on her way through!

  30. I was a CA suburbs girl with an Idaho farmer uncle and aunt. We seldom visited them, but the beauty and wonder of the place thrilled my heart. We ministered in PA and had Dairy famers and turkey famers in our congregation. The dairy farmer had no life, milking was a demanding chore that never stopped. I like the idea of a minifarm with more manageable, less time intensive things. Big gardens are my dream and maybe a few chickens are a some day dream. Fresh pork is the best. I love that Grace has that heart…the heart to lie down in a field and look at the sky, and the love of a farm. You could see so much love in those pictures. I could almost smell the hay! blessings and hugs in SC

  31. here’s another farmgirl! I’ve mucked many a stall in my day – lol! grew up w/ horses. We raised Tennesse Walkers. so much fun. my grandparents are farmers. they have cows now.. but growing up there were sheep. goats. horses. and always chickens. I’ve had a pet “everything.” my favorite was a sheep named Fluffer – and yes, tell Grace we would ride it! 🙂 i would so love for my kids to have that same opportunity… you don’t have to have a full fledged farm for them to get the expierence though. just to have them raise a cow or sheep is aweseome! don’t know if ya’ll have 4H there – but it’s a great program for the kids to get involved in. they get the expierence w/out having to necessarily live on a farm. chickens are fun and easy – – and it’s awesome to get fresh eggs every day. i think growing up around/ with animals is the best – and yes, dogs and cats count too! lol. :P)

  32. My mom’s parents (and now her brother also) run a dairy farm, and it has always been one of my favorite places on earth. Papaw works really hard and has to get up early in the morning, but his lifestyle has always appealed to me. In a sense, my grandparents have worked as hard or harder than anyone else, and stayed just as busy, but somehow it always “felt” like a slower pace of life when I was there. I think it is because the work involved slow-moving animals, slow-moving machinery, slow-growing plants, etc…and everything took place in the fresh air, in the great outdoors. I think farming may be one of the most satisfying kinds of work anyone could have. My husband grew up in the country, gardening and having some animals, and we have always wanted to raise our children the same way in the future. Like you, I have a longing for that…

  33. I just had to comment and say that you are on your way to being a farm girl just by your comment….”Did you see the pig?  We’re going to eat him.”  LOL  Grace is so incredibly cute….love the way you described and captured her longing.  My grandparents lived near a dairy farm….always loved seeing those cows.  They also lived next door to a horse….didn’t get to ride him, but we were allowed to feed him carrots and apples….loved to do that and pet him. No farming around here…..though we are loving our vegtable garden.  With the veggies we raise, making kombucha, and sometimes kefir …I feel so much more like I am providing for my families needs.  It is funny…but I told my husband it satisfy’s something in me….I am sure something God put there. 
    I have a curriculum you might want to get….It is a Unit Study and covers Emergency preparedness, farming, all sorts of outdoorsy stuff, character development, history, handiwork/crafts, lifeskills clothing, shelter, health, nutrition, safety, science……something for all the kids.  David loved it the year we used it.  It uses a readers digest survival manual that is huge and David considers his book….it has all sorts of neat pictures and he just loves looking at it all even though we could not impliment all the outdoorsy things…your family has the area to do a lot. I will have to ask David were the book is so I can give you titles….prob. under his bed or something  Let me know if you are interested.
    Precious time with Grandpa…so glad he is doing well…and God worked out good from it!  That is a testimony for you all!  blessings, Jenny

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