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The Pitchfork

The other day the kids and I were working on a pretty big project but it was one of those that if folks stopped by I could keep working and still talk to them. The weather was so pleasant and my view was of the valley, blue sky and white fluffy clouds, it was terribly peaceful, nothing to be heard but the birds and animals of the farm. Dan always jokes (half serious) that I could never work for National Geographic, as I always forget to photograph and document things. I just usually shrug and tell him that I’m just to busy living the moment. I do take photos, but I just have to be thinking about it. It was one of my favorite kind of days; I was getting things done (though not at a very fast pace since my help was the average age of 8 when you factor in the littlest one, 11 if you only count my bigger kids helping). It was my favorite kind of day because my little place has become a bit of a gathering spot, for friends, during the day my friends who stop have an average age of 70. It took me the last 10 years to be taken serious by these folks, all men, and all farmers. Most would stop by and always ask for Dan, or want to know when he would be home, but now they’ve decided I may know what I’m doing… kind of. I plant heirloom grains and have small patches growing so I’ve proved up on that and talk the talk. I do things on a small scale so I need smaller equipment much like what they used when they were kids working for their Dad’s or Granpa’s, so I can talk about that, and I can glean information from them about how it was done when they were kids. And I like to listen to their stories, so I’m a captive audience. Over the past year I’ve noticed that my friends stop by more often mid day, there are a few stories told, usually quite a bit of laughing and smiling and then everyone goes on with the day. I guess I just need to always have a pie and pot of coffee waiting to top it all off. I remember both of my Granpa’s would stop midday, come in for a piece of pie or something sweet and a cup of Joe before finishing out the days work. I remember I asked one of my Granpa’s what he remembered most about his mother, and he said she made pie… every day. Back to this day. I knew one of my friends would be stopping by as he had told me beforehand, so the kids were on the lookout. When he came they dropped me and the project like a wet rag, to go greet him and tell him where we were working. This is the kind of guy who usually shows up with presents… and that day it was one of my favorites, cantaloupe! He also had an old pitchfork. He’s had a bit of trouble with his feet in the last year so I didn’t think too much about him using a pitchfork to help him get around… but I still took note of it. When he got over to where I was working and I commented on his fine fork, as I could tell it was very old and had quite a bit of character. He smiled and said he had a story for me about that very pitchfork. He said it was his Great Great Granpa’s, he owned the second oldest deeded property in Kansas, and the farm is still in the family today. The farmhouse is gone, as is most of the other buildings but there was still one little barn standing, my friend had gone there a few years back and was looking around, he found this old pitchfork still hanging on the wall of a small barn leaning and ready to fall in on itself. The cool thing about this old pitchfork is that it is much smaller than those of today; it’s that it’s over a hundred years old; it’s that all the tines are still intact. It’s mainly about the fact that the handle had started to come off so it was repaired, a strap of leather was attached to one tine and then nailed to the handle, as my friend said, now that was homestead ingenuity. He then gave me that pitchfork, and said it should stay with a homesteader. Wow, I was humbled, I was given history, a story, a piece from his family. After that, another friend stopped by everyone knew each other so of course jokes were told and who knows if the real reason everyone stopped by actually ever came out. But at the end of the day, my heart was full, my soul was peace, my children will have memories and stories to pass on. I decided earlier this year my motto these days is, “Life comes down to a simple choice: Get busy livin, or get busy dying.” Shawshank Redemption So I’m livin. The roosters have already crowed and the ducks quit quacking, must mean I’m late for chores. Amy

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