By Leah

Old Home Farm

By Leah

Old Home Farm consists of 40 acres that has been our family home for almost 100 years now. My father was born here in 1920, and died in 1997 about 25 yards from where the original house sat. We are four generations down now, as my son and his family live here also.

I was actually born across the road in 1960. That summer, my father purchased 60 acres across from the family homestead and started a small dairy. We had 35 cows, milked by hand, and — counting both properties — about 70 acres on which to pasture them (with about 30 acres left as woods). In 1976 we gave up our grade C dairy (our milk was used to make cheeses) and switched to beef cattle.

I grew up almost totally self-sufficient. What we could not produce for ourselves, we purchased once a month from the closest town about 27 miles away. My grandmother lived with us. I used to help her make lye, then soap to be used for everything from personal hygiene to laundry. She taught me many things, from self-sufficiency to local history and superstition. We raised our own meat and did our own butchering. And we had our own garden, which Daddy plowed with a donkey while Mother did laundry in a wringer washing machine on the front porch.

I married my high-school sweetheart, Greg McAllister, in 1979 and left home for six years, as he was a member of the United States Air Force. We came home in 1985, purchased a double-wide mobile home, and moved across the road on the original 40 acres that I had roamed and loved as a child. Eighteen months later my parents sold the 60 acres and joined us on the homestead.

My parents and grandmother have all passed away, now leaving me in sole possession of the land. It is my treasure. In the second Sarah Plain and Tall book, it speaks of your name being written in the soil. That is true. My roots run deep on this 40 acres, and I see my son and his children feeling the same. My daughter married a farm boy as well and now lives next to his parents. I was raised that this is the natural course of life. Your parents care for you as you grow up, then you care for them at the end of their lives.

I am a writer by nature, and come from a long line of story tellers. I have a written a book that I am currently trying to get published. It is a story about a farm called Green Pastures, the animals who live there, and the shepherd and his son who own it.