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The Old Farmstead


The valley is mostly green on this beautiful spring day. Off to the southeast is a group of tall green Elm and Oak trees scarcely visible among the other foliage. Sometime over the years, we named this location The Old Farmstead. The Corps of Engineers demolished The Old Farmstead to establish flood easement area for Clinton Lake. The farmland became part of the Wildlife and Parks hunting area. Each spring we visit The Old Farmstead. Red cedars planted in rows provide the windbreak for the ghost home, remnants of a foundation the only hint of its location. Clumps of iris and daffodils bloom along a sidewalk that leads to nowhere. Fragrant overgrown lilacs flourish as if decorating the grave of a loved one long deceased. Could a fenced clearing have been the garden? We feel the spirit of the family who lived, loved and laughed in the yard, acknowledging their presence as our neighbors.One day a young lady asked if she could park at our house and walk down to The Old Farmstead as it was her grandparent's farm. She could remember visiting there when she was young. She didn't stay long. She said it made her sad.The lake changes how we perceive the land and soon there will be few who remember how it was before. However, we will remember The Old Farmstead as a special place, not yet ready to send it back to the land forgotten.


Aisling 9 years, 12 months ago

Linda, that's a powerful image you portrayed. Thank You. When I come across 'old farmsteads' I often picture the family who lived there and wonder at the phantom images of their every day life.

matahari 9 years, 12 months ago

The Corps of Engineers demolished The Old Farmstead to establish flood easement area for Clinton Lake. The farmland became part of the Wildlife and Parks hunting area.demolished? ok, your choice of words, but many forget that the engineers save many from perishing in floods, and after all it became a hunting area, how bad is that?

Alison Carter 9 years, 12 months ago

nice writing, imagery and thoughts. thanks for sharing

David Lignell 9 years, 12 months ago

Beautiful story, Linda. Wonderful descriptions of past and present juxtaposed. Where I grew up, I can think of some areas of the lakeshore in Michigan that have changed to accommodate businesses and high-end condos. Still, I remember racing down the sand dunes on an empty stretch of beachfront with a friend and chasing the seagulls away. It's the same place, but someone new to the area might only note the many restaurants or concrete slabs of apartments blocking the view.

Linda Hanney 9 years, 12 months ago

Thank you all for your kind words and personal observations. Eileen, I don't have pictures. The most effective would be from above. I should go there with my camera and work on taking thoughtful shots. The site is very overgrown.

eileenroddy 9 years, 12 months ago

I like the idea of including our memories of places as we celebrate Memorial Day/week-end. It's interesting to think how many of our senses are tied up with places - the smells and sounds, as well as the colors, shades of lights, and the deep feelings of comfort, safety, joy, and fun.Some of those places can seem almost as real as the people who lived there. It's interesting to me, as I look back; the inhabited places I remember the best are those where the people were loving, kind and welcoming. The uninabited places I remember tend to be ones where I can run free, wild and alone next to the water - preferably the ocean.I'll take another look out around Clinton Lake and see if I can find the Old Farmstead. Do you have a photo to add to your blog, Linda?

Ronda Miller 9 years, 12 months ago

Linda, I enjoyed this too. We had a chance to visit our old farmstead over Christmas - something I had not done for over thirty years and all I could do was stand with my children and cry. It looked so different from what I remembered. I cried for so many reasons: my children were with me and almost grown and finally seeing where I grew up, I cried for joy at being on ground that I so loved and all of the memories that came with that, and I cried because of how run down the buildings were. But I also cried because I realize how trivial our existence as humans is and that all that we attempt to build will one day go back to the earth as it should - that cry was both happy, sad, and aware of the large and small of our existences.Thanks for freshening my memory once again.

Linda Hanney 9 years, 11 months ago

Ronda, I don't know if you will pick this up, but I appreciated your comments. I also grew up on a farm so know how special those rural roots will always be. I don't know if it is the isolation of rural life or respect for land passed down by parents, but growing up rural leaves an indelible mark.

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