Today I want to take you on a journey through some dark times that led to so much joy in our present times. The first generation to own this farm was my great grandparents, Ernest and Valera. From what we know about them, they were some tough cookies surviving not only a Great Depression, but two World Wars. They originally farmed this land and Ernest even had a moonshine still during prohibition (thank god the statute of limitations has passed) at one point. Everything we know about them has been passed down by my dad and two great aunts, all of whom knew them personally. My dad spent many of his younger days on this farm, his memories are fond and many.
The story goes that Ernest and Valera had a mule named Jack and a red mare named Mable. Those two farm animals and what I’m sure was a boatload of persistence allowed them to produce enough food and sustenance to survive the Great Depression.
When they passed, the farm was then passed down to my father’s parents and in 1997, my parent’s purchased the land making them the third generation to own it. For most of those years, the fields were leased out and farmed with corn and soy beans with my family using the land to hunt. As their only child, I will be the fourth generation to farm this land. It’s an honor and privilege to carry on that legacy and an even greater privilege to bring the land back to nature while my parent’s are still alive.
I get weepy thinking about the dreams we have for this farm. Dreams that only recently made their way to the surface, but I’m sure have been developing for some time. I now find myself thinking about what Ernest and Valera would think about all of this. Would they be as excited as we are to discover red wigglers in the ground? Would they marvel at the sunsets and new saplings determined to grow despite the invasive privet trying to steal their sunlight?
I hope so.
Mable and Jack Farmstead is our effort to preserve their legacy. It’s our opportunity to give back to the land that gave so much to our family when it needed it most.