Selling the Family Farm | TheFencePost.com

Selling the Family Farm

Ellen Campbell
Central City, Neb.

We have sold the old family farm, the one we called the Clark Place. It was the first home for my parents, newly-married Thorvald and Alice Jacobsen. The house was ramshackle, and before I was born our family moved into a small house on Grandpa Jacobsen’s farm across the section to the west. Our father farmed both with Grandpa and on the Clark Place where I have so many lovely memories.

I can remember early years before the house started falling in. We could still go upstairs, and the yellow roses at the doorstep bloomed every June. I remember sitting in the cool luxuriant uncut grass in what had been the yard. Daddy told me it was bluegrass.

The entire farm has been a pasture for about fifty years, but when we were growing up Daddy still planted corn, small grains and alfalfa there. Most of us remember taking lunch to him in the summer during wheat harvest or when he was cultivating corn. Mama spread an old blanket in the shade of the shelterbelt beside the field and we had fried chicken, homemade bread and butter, whatever fresh fruits were in season, and maybe oatmeal cookies. Then Daddy stretched out on the blanket for a nap while the kids explored. Sometimes we ran across small toads or sand lizards. We would look for Indian arrowheads, but seldom found one.

Our dad had a strong interest in history, especially the era when Pawnee Indians roamed our Loup River area. He liked to point out what looked like a council circle on the hillside in the southwest corner of the property, the area I’ve always believed was native prairie. He never took a plow to it, just used the grass for hay. He loved farming, and as he drove the tractor in the fields he was always looking down, noticing things. He found lots of arrowheads and other artifacts. When he mowed hay he watched for meadowlark nests on the ground and carefully steered around them. Sometimes he would find a baby rabbit and bring it home in a pocket. Sadly, we didn’t know how to take care of them and they didn’t survive.

After they were retired and living in town, our parents deeded the Clark Place to their children. It was already in pasture by then, and cedar trees had begun springing up all over. My memories from that era are great too. Daddy had hired someone to dig a pond for watering the cattle after the decrepit windmill gave out, and we’d see deer tracks in the mud there. Often on our visits we spotted deer, wild turkeys or the once-endangered jack rabbits. It had grown into a true wildlife habitat by that time. We identified many species of song birds on our walks in the pasture.

This farm is almost on the edge of the Nebraska Sandhills, and there were so many kinds of wildflowers, including violets, pentstemons (which we mistakenly called bluebells), sweet-smelling wild roses, coneflowers, vervain, yarrow, spiderwort, the poppy mallow my dad called Indian bloods, and the delicate pale yellow blossoms of prickly pear cactus.

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Each Christmas season, my husband Duane and I took our family to the farm to cut a Christmas tree from the multitudes of cedars, just as my parents had done before us. For me, that cedar fragrance in the house just makes Christmas. I’m sure we didn’t always wade through snow on the ground, but that’s the way I picture it now. Our three kids would argue about which tree to take home and we’d finally select one. Later, after the kids were grown, we two continued to go there for a tree. We loved the serenity and silence of the place, and on one memorable trip we saw a snowy owl perched high in a pine tree.

I had many favorite spots on that farm. One was the house, which by now has collapsed into a pile of boards. Another was a shady parklike area with large broadleaf trees. I also loved the catalpa and locust grove, especially when those trees were covered with their fragrant blossoms.

Part of my nostalgia has to do with the old neighbors. On a recent trip over there I drove slowly past their former homes in a meditative state. On the farm where our dear friends the Cargills lived, the house and barn are still there. I stopped to take a picture. I passed the George Deininger place where the old house is gone and someone else is living in the new one. Next I went by the ruins of the house once owned by Marie Johnson and occupied by Bob and Lyla Jones and their children, Genevieve and Dwayne. At a curve in the road there was the fancy Toman house, still looking good, and then the site of the old Dobish place where once stood a proud house among a stand of pine trees (a trailer home has taken its place). Another turn in the road, and as I drove up the hill just before the railroad tracks a longtime memory came to mind. Though it happened only once, I’ve always remembered when our car on the way home from town met Sturdevant the bee man at that spot, in his old open touring car with his long gray hair and beard streaming behind as he drove.

The railroad is no longer there except in my imagination, but I think of when we used to pick wild sweet peas along the tracks in the spring. It was only a quarter mile from our house on Grandpa’s farm. That small house is gone, moved to town for my grandparents’ retirement home after they sold the farm in the late 1940s. Their own house still sits, beautifully remodeled, on its slight rise above the road.

I think of other neighbors whose farms were not on our direct route to the Clark Place, but who are as clear in my mind as the ones I drove past. Most of them had kids in our District 12 school. That school yard is long gone, now part of a cornfield along with the Casey Jones farmstead next door. There were the Albert and Ted Kunze families, the Harrison and Lee Morses, and a little farther away the Cain ranch where my mother’s relatives once lived, and the Ben and Hazel Wulf place.

It took me a few years to come to terms with selling the property, but finally I could see that the time had come. For one thing, my brother Lawrence had died and his three children now owned his share. As the remaining shareholders die, there would be an unwieldy number of owners in the next generation, almost none of whom are interested in the farm. (The exceptions would be our two sons and daughter). Duane and I are the only ones living close enough to do the upkeep, like chopping thistles in the pasture and repairing fence where leaping deer or falling trees frequently dislodge the top wire. We no longer have the energy to keep this up. The most important reason, of course, is the continual growth of cedars rapidly taking over the grazing areas, with eradication too expensive. The farm is no longer the place we all remember from childhood, and maybe it’s best to just cherish those warm memories than to deal with what the property has become.

We’ve been blessed with a good buyer, and our good renter will continue to keep his cattle in the pasture. The Jacobsen era of ownership is over, but the land itself will always be there, and remembrance of the Clark Place will live on in our hearts.

We have sold the old family farm, the one we called the Clark Place. It was the first home for my parents, newly-married Thorvald and Alice Jacobsen. The house was ramshackle, and before I was born our family moved into a small house on Grandpa Jacobsen’s farm across the section to the west. Our father farmed both with Grandpa and on the Clark Place where I have so many lovely memories.

I can remember early years before the house started falling in. We could still go upstairs, and the yellow roses at the doorstep bloomed every June. I remember sitting in the cool luxuriant uncut grass in what had been the yard. Daddy told me it was bluegrass.

The entire farm has been a pasture for about fifty years, but when we were growing up Daddy still planted corn, small grains and alfalfa there. Most of us remember taking lunch to him in the summer during wheat harvest or when he was cultivating corn. Mama spread an old blanket in the shade of the shelterbelt beside the field and we had fried chicken, homemade bread and butter, whatever fresh fruits were in season, and maybe oatmeal cookies. Then Daddy stretched out on the blanket for a nap while the kids explored. Sometimes we ran across small toads or sand lizards. We would look for Indian arrowheads, but seldom found one.

Our dad had a strong interest in history, especially the era when Pawnee Indians roamed our Loup River area. He liked to point out what looked like a council circle on the hillside in the southwest corner of the property, the area I’ve always believed was native prairie. He never took a plow to it, just used the grass for hay. He loved farming, and as he drove the tractor in the fields he was always looking down, noticing things. He found lots of arrowheads and other artifacts. When he mowed hay he watched for meadowlark nests on the ground and carefully steered around them. Sometimes he would find a baby rabbit and bring it home in a pocket. Sadly, we didn’t know how to take care of them and they didn’t survive.

After they were retired and living in town, our parents deeded the Clark Place to their children. It was already in pasture by then, and cedar trees had begun springing up all over. My memories from that era are great too. Daddy had hired someone to dig a pond for watering the cattle after the decrepit windmill gave out, and we’d see deer tracks in the mud there. Often on our visits we spotted deer, wild turkeys or the once-endangered jack rabbits. It had grown into a true wildlife habitat by that time. We identified many species of song birds on our walks in the pasture.

This farm is almost on the edge of the Nebraska Sandhills, and there were so many kinds of wildflowers, including violets, pentstemons (which we mistakenly called bluebells), sweet-smelling wild roses, coneflowers, vervain, yarrow, spiderwort, the poppy mallow my dad called Indian bloods, and the delicate pale yellow blossoms of prickly pear cactus.

Each Christmas season, my husband Duane and I took our family to the farm to cut a Christmas tree from the multitudes of cedars, just as my parents had done before us. For me, that cedar fragrance in the house just makes Christmas. I’m sure we didn’t always wade through snow on the ground, but that’s the way I picture it now. Our three kids would argue about which tree to take home and we’d finally select one. Later, after the kids were grown, we two continued to go there for a tree. We loved the serenity and silence of the place, and on one memorable trip we saw a snowy owl perched high in a pine tree.

I had many favorite spots on that farm. One was the house, which by now has collapsed into a pile of boards. Another was a shady parklike area with large broadleaf trees. I also loved the catalpa and locust grove, especially when those trees were covered with their fragrant blossoms.

Part of my nostalgia has to do with the old neighbors. On a recent trip over there I drove slowly past their former homes in a meditative state. On the farm where our dear friends the Cargills lived, the house and barn are still there. I stopped to take a picture. I passed the George Deininger place where the old house is gone and someone else is living in the new one. Next I went by the ruins of the house once owned by Marie Johnson and occupied by Bob and Lyla Jones and their children, Genevieve and Dwayne. At a curve in the road there was the fancy Toman house, still looking good, and then the site of the old Dobish place where once stood a proud house among a stand of pine trees (a trailer home has taken its place). Another turn in the road, and as I drove up the hill just before the railroad tracks a longtime memory came to mind. Though it happened only once, I’ve always remembered when our car on the way home from town met Sturdevant the bee man at that spot, in his old open touring car with his long gray hair and beard streaming behind as he drove.

The railroad is no longer there except in my imagination, but I think of when we used to pick wild sweet peas along the tracks in the spring. It was only a quarter mile from our house on Grandpa’s farm. That small house is gone, moved to town for my grandparents’ retirement home after they sold the farm in the late 1940s. Their own house still sits, beautifully remodeled, on its slight rise above the road.

I think of other neighbors whose farms were not on our direct route to the Clark Place, but who are as clear in my mind as the ones I drove past. Most of them had kids in our District 12 school. That school yard is long gone, now part of a cornfield along with the Casey Jones farmstead next door. There were the Albert and Ted Kunze families, the Harrison and Lee Morses, and a little farther away the Cain ranch where my mother’s relatives once lived, and the Ben and Hazel Wulf place.

It took me a few years to come to terms with selling the property, but finally I could see that the time had come. For one thing, my brother Lawrence had died and his three children now owned his share. As the remaining shareholders die, there would be an unwieldy number of owners in the next generation, almost none of whom are interested in the farm. (The exceptions would be our two sons and daughter). Duane and I are the only ones living close enough to do the upkeep, like chopping thistles in the pasture and repairing fence where leaping deer or falling trees frequently dislodge the top wire. We no longer have the energy to keep this up. The most important reason, of course, is the continual growth of cedars rapidly taking over the grazing areas, with eradication too expensive. The farm is no longer the place we all remember from childhood, and maybe it’s best to just cherish those warm memories than to deal with what the property has become.

We’ve been blessed with a good buyer, and our good renter will continue to keep his cattle in the pasture. The Jacobsen era of ownership is over, but the land itself will always be there, and remembrance of the Clark Place will live on in our hearts.

We have sold the old family farm, the one we called the Clark Place. It was the first home for my parents, newly-married Thorvald and Alice Jacobsen. The house was ramshackle, and before I was born our family moved into a small house on Grandpa Jacobsen’s farm across the section to the west. Our father farmed both with Grandpa and on the Clark Place where I have so many lovely memories.

I can remember early years before the house started falling in. We could still go upstairs, and the yellow roses at the doorstep bloomed every June. I remember sitting in the cool luxuriant uncut grass in what had been the yard. Daddy told me it was bluegrass.

The entire farm has been a pasture for about fifty years, but when we were growing up Daddy still planted corn, small grains and alfalfa there. Most of us remember taking lunch to him in the summer during wheat harvest or when he was cultivating corn. Mama spread an old blanket in the shade of the shelterbelt beside the field and we had fried chicken, homemade bread and butter, whatever fresh fruits were in season, and maybe oatmeal cookies. Then Daddy stretched out on the blanket for a nap while the kids explored. Sometimes we ran across small toads or sand lizards. We would look for Indian arrowheads, but seldom found one.

Our dad had a strong interest in history, especially the era when Pawnee Indians roamed our Loup River area. He liked to point out what looked like a council circle on the hillside in the southwest corner of the property, the area I’ve always believed was native prairie. He never took a plow to it, just used the grass for hay. He loved farming, and as he drove the tractor in the fields he was always looking down, noticing things. He found lots of arrowheads and other artifacts. When he mowed hay he watched for meadowlark nests on the ground and carefully steered around them. Sometimes he would find a baby rabbit and bring it home in a pocket. Sadly, we didn’t know how to take care of them and they didn’t survive.

After they were retired and living in town, our parents deeded the Clark Place to their children. It was already in pasture by then, and cedar trees had begun springing up all over. My memories from that era are great too. Daddy had hired someone to dig a pond for watering the cattle after the decrepit windmill gave out, and we’d see deer tracks in the mud there. Often on our visits we spotted deer, wild turkeys or the once-endangered jack rabbits. It had grown into a true wildlife habitat by that time. We identified many species of song birds on our walks in the pasture.

This farm is almost on the edge of the Nebraska Sandhills, and there were so many kinds of wildflowers, including violets, pentstemons (which we mistakenly called bluebells), sweet-smelling wild roses, coneflowers, vervain, yarrow, spiderwort, the poppy mallow my dad called Indian bloods, and the delicate pale yellow blossoms of prickly pear cactus.

Each Christmas season, my husband Duane and I took our family to the farm to cut a Christmas tree from the multitudes of cedars, just as my parents had done before us. For me, that cedar fragrance in the house just makes Christmas. I’m sure we didn’t always wade through snow on the ground, but that’s the way I picture it now. Our three kids would argue about which tree to take home and we’d finally select one. Later, after the kids were grown, we two continued to go there for a tree. We loved the serenity and silence of the place, and on one memorable trip we saw a snowy owl perched high in a pine tree.

I had many favorite spots on that farm. One was the house, which by now has collapsed into a pile of boards. Another was a shady parklike area with large broadleaf trees. I also loved the catalpa and locust grove, especially when those trees were covered with their fragrant blossoms.

Part of my nostalgia has to do with the old neighbors. On a recent trip over there I drove slowly past their former homes in a meditative state. On the farm where our dear friends the Cargills lived, the house and barn are still there. I stopped to take a picture. I passed the George Deininger place where the old house is gone and someone else is living in the new one. Next I went by the ruins of the house once owned by Marie Johnson and occupied by Bob and Lyla Jones and their children, Genevieve and Dwayne. At a curve in the road there was the fancy Toman house, still looking good, and then the site of the old Dobish place where once stood a proud house among a stand of pine trees (a trailer home has taken its place). Another turn in the road, and as I drove up the hill just before the railroad tracks a longtime memory came to mind. Though it happened only once, I’ve always remembered when our car on the way home from town met Sturdevant the bee man at that spot, in his old open touring car with his long gray hair and beard streaming behind as he drove.

The railroad is no longer there except in my imagination, but I think of when we used to pick wild sweet peas along the tracks in the spring. It was only a quarter mile from our house on Grandpa’s farm. That small house is gone, moved to town for my grandparents’ retirement home after they sold the farm in the late 1940s. Their own house still sits, beautifully remodeled, on its slight rise above the road.

I think of other neighbors whose farms were not on our direct route to the Clark Place, but who are as clear in my mind as the ones I drove past. Most of them had kids in our District 12 school. That school yard is long gone, now part of a cornfield along with the Casey Jones farmstead next door. There were the Albert and Ted Kunze families, the Harrison and Lee Morses, and a little farther away the Cain ranch where my mother’s relatives once lived, and the Ben and Hazel Wulf place.

It took me a few years to come to terms with selling the property, but finally I could see that the time had come. For one thing, my brother Lawrence had died and his three children now owned his share. As the remaining shareholders die, there would be an unwieldy number of owners in the next generation, almost none of whom are interested in the farm. (The exceptions would be our two sons and daughter). Duane and I are the only ones living close enough to do the upkeep, like chopping thistles in the pasture and repairing fence where leaping deer or falling trees frequently dislodge the top wire. We no longer have the energy to keep this up. The most important reason, of course, is the continual growth of cedars rapidly taking over the grazing areas, with eradication too expensive. The farm is no longer the place we all remember from childhood, and maybe it’s best to just cherish those warm memories than to deal with what the property has become.

We’ve been blessed with a good buyer, and our good renter will continue to keep his cattle in the pasture. The Jacobsen era of ownership is over, but the land itself will always be there, and remembrance of the Clark Place will live on in our hearts.

We have sold the old family farm, the one we called the Clark Place. It was the first home for my parents, newly-married Thorvald and Alice Jacobsen. The house was ramshackle, and before I was born our family moved into a small house on Grandpa Jacobsen’s farm across the section to the west. Our father farmed both with Grandpa and on the Clark Place where I have so many lovely memories.

I can remember early years before the house started falling in. We could still go upstairs, and the yellow roses at the doorstep bloomed every June. I remember sitting in the cool luxuriant uncut grass in what had been the yard. Daddy told me it was bluegrass.

The entire farm has been a pasture for about fifty years, but when we were growing up Daddy still planted corn, small grains and alfalfa there. Most of us remember taking lunch to him in the summer during wheat harvest or when he was cultivating corn. Mama spread an old blanket in the shade of the shelterbelt beside the field and we had fried chicken, homemade bread and butter, whatever fresh fruits were in season, and maybe oatmeal cookies. Then Daddy stretched out on the blanket for a nap while the kids explored. Sometimes we ran across small toads or sand lizards. We would look for Indian arrowheads, but seldom found one.

Our dad had a strong interest in history, especially the era when Pawnee Indians roamed our Loup River area. He liked to point out what looked like a council circle on the hillside in the southwest corner of the property, the area I’ve always believed was native prairie. He never took a plow to it, just used the grass for hay. He loved farming, and as he drove the tractor in the fields he was always looking down, noticing things. He found lots of arrowheads and other artifacts. When he mowed hay he watched for meadowlark nests on the ground and carefully steered around them. Sometimes he would find a baby rabbit and bring it home in a pocket. Sadly, we didn’t know how to take care of them and they didn’t survive.

After they were retired and living in town, our parents deeded the Clark Place to their children. It was already in pasture by then, and cedar trees had begun springing up all over. My memories from that era are great too. Daddy had hired someone to dig a pond for watering the cattle after the decrepit windmill gave out, and we’d see deer tracks in the mud there. Often on our visits we spotted deer, wild turkeys or the once-endangered jack rabbits. It had grown into a true wildlife habitat by that time. We identified many species of song birds on our walks in the pasture.

This farm is almost on the edge of the Nebraska Sandhills, and there were so many kinds of wildflowers, including violets, pentstemons (which we mistakenly called bluebells), sweet-smelling wild roses, coneflowers, vervain, yarrow, spiderwort, the poppy mallow my dad called Indian bloods, and the delicate pale yellow blossoms of prickly pear cactus.

Each Christmas season, my husband Duane and I took our family to the farm to cut a Christmas tree from the multitudes of cedars, just as my parents had done before us. For me, that cedar fragrance in the house just makes Christmas. I’m sure we didn’t always wade through snow on the ground, but that’s the way I picture it now. Our three kids would argue about which tree to take home and we’d finally select one. Later, after the kids were grown, we two continued to go there for a tree. We loved the serenity and silence of the place, and on one memorable trip we saw a snowy owl perched high in a pine tree.

I had many favorite spots on that farm. One was the house, which by now has collapsed into a pile of boards. Another was a shady parklike area with large broadleaf trees. I also loved the catalpa and locust grove, especially when those trees were covered with their fragrant blossoms.

Part of my nostalgia has to do with the old neighbors. On a recent trip over there I drove slowly past their former homes in a meditative state. On the farm where our dear friends the Cargills lived, the house and barn are still there. I stopped to take a picture. I passed the George Deininger place where the old house is gone and someone else is living in the new one. Next I went by the ruins of the house once owned by Marie Johnson and occupied by Bob and Lyla Jones and their children, Genevieve and Dwayne. At a curve in the road there was the fancy Toman house, still looking good, and then the site of the old Dobish place where once stood a proud house among a stand of pine trees (a trailer home has taken its place). Another turn in the road, and as I drove up the hill just before the railroad tracks a longtime memory came to mind. Though it happened only once, I’ve always remembered when our car on the way home from town met Sturdevant the bee man at that spot, in his old open touring car with his long gray hair and beard streaming behind as he drove.

The railroad is no longer there except in my imagination, but I think of when we used to pick wild sweet peas along the tracks in the spring. It was only a quarter mile from our house on Grandpa’s farm. That small house is gone, moved to town for my grandparents’ retirement home after they sold the farm in the late 1940s. Their own house still sits, beautifully remodeled, on its slight rise above the road.

I think of other neighbors whose farms were not on our direct route to the Clark Place, but who are as clear in my mind as the ones I drove past. Most of them had kids in our District 12 school. That school yard is long gone, now part of a cornfield along with the Casey Jones farmstead next door. There were the Albert and Ted Kunze families, the Harrison and Lee Morses, and a little farther away the Cain ranch where my mother’s relatives once lived, and the Ben and Hazel Wulf place.

It took me a few years to come to terms with selling the property, but finally I could see that the time had come. For one thing, my brother Lawrence had died and his three children now owned his share. As the remaining shareholders die, there would be an unwieldy number of owners in the next generation, almost none of whom are interested in the farm. (The exceptions would be our two sons and daughter). Duane and I are the only ones living close enough to do the upkeep, like chopping thistles in the pasture and repairing fence where leaping deer or falling trees frequently dislodge the top wire. We no longer have the energy to keep this up. The most important reason, of course, is the continual growth of cedars rapidly taking over the grazing areas, with eradication too expensive. The farm is no longer the place we all remember from childhood, and maybe it’s best to just cherish those warm memories than to deal with what the property has become.

We’ve been blessed with a good buyer, and our good renter will continue to keep his cattle in the pasture. The Jacobsen era of ownership is over, but the land itself will always be there, and remembrance of the Clark Place will live on in our hearts.

We have sold the old family farm, the one we called the Clark Place. It was the first home for my parents, newly-married Thorvald and Alice Jacobsen. The house was ramshackle, and before I was born our family moved into a small house on Grandpa Jacobsen’s farm across the section to the west. Our father farmed both with Grandpa and on the Clark Place where I have so many lovely memories.

I can remember early years before the house started falling in. We could still go upstairs, and the yellow roses at the doorstep bloomed every June. I remember sitting in the cool luxuriant uncut grass in what had been the yard. Daddy told me it was bluegrass.

The entire farm has been a pasture for about fifty years, but when we were growing up Daddy still planted corn, small grains and alfalfa there. Most of us remember taking lunch to him in the summer during wheat harvest or when he was cultivating corn. Mama spread an old blanket in the shade of the shelterbelt beside the field and we had fried chicken, homemade bread and butter, whatever fresh fruits were in season, and maybe oatmeal cookies. Then Daddy stretched out on the blanket for a nap while the kids explored. Sometimes we ran across small toads or sand lizards. We would look for Indian arrowheads, but seldom found one.

Our dad had a strong interest in history, especially the era when Pawnee Indians roamed our Loup River area. He liked to point out what looked like a council circle on the hillside in the southwest corner of the property, the area I’ve always believed was native prairie. He never took a plow to it, just used the grass for hay. He loved farming, and as he drove the tractor in the fields he was always looking down, noticing things. He found lots of arrowheads and other artifacts. When he mowed hay he watched for meadowlark nests on the ground and carefully steered around them. Sometimes he would find a baby rabbit and bring it home in a pocket. Sadly, we didn’t know how to take care of them and they didn’t survive.

After they were retired and living in town, our parents deeded the Clark Place to their children. It was already in pasture by then, and cedar trees had begun springing up all over. My memories from that era are great too. Daddy had hired someone to dig a pond for watering the cattle after the decrepit windmill gave out, and we’d see deer tracks in the mud there. Often on our visits we spotted deer, wild turkeys or the once-endangered jack rabbits. It had grown into a true wildlife habitat by that time. We identified many species of song birds on our walks in the pasture.

This farm is almost on the edge of the Nebraska Sandhills, and there were so many kinds of wildflowers, including violets, pentstemons (which we mistakenly called bluebells), sweet-smelling wild roses, coneflowers, vervain, yarrow, spiderwort, the poppy mallow my dad called Indian bloods, and the delicate pale yellow blossoms of prickly pear cactus.

Each Christmas season, my husband Duane and I took our family to the farm to cut a Christmas tree from the multitudes of cedars, just as my parents had done before us. For me, that cedar fragrance in the house just makes Christmas. I’m sure we didn’t always wade through snow on the ground, but that’s the way I picture it now. Our three kids would argue about which tree to take home and we’d finally select one. Later, after the kids were grown, we two continued to go there for a tree. We loved the serenity and silence of the place, and on one memorable trip we saw a snowy owl perched high in a pine tree.

I had many favorite spots on that farm. One was the house, which by now has collapsed into a pile of boards. Another was a shady parklike area with large broadleaf trees. I also loved the catalpa and locust grove, especially when those trees were covered with their fragrant blossoms.

Part of my nostalgia has to do with the old neighbors. On a recent trip over there I drove slowly past their former homes in a meditative state. On the farm where our dear friends the Cargills lived, the house and barn are still there. I stopped to take a picture. I passed the George Deininger place where the old house is gone and someone else is living in the new one. Next I went by the ruins of the house once owned by Marie Johnson and occupied by Bob and Lyla Jones and their children, Genevieve and Dwayne. At a curve in the road there was the fancy Toman house, still looking good, and then the site of the old Dobish place where once stood a proud house among a stand of pine trees (a trailer home has taken its place). Another turn in the road, and as I drove up the hill just before the railroad tracks a longtime memory came to mind. Though it happened only once, I’ve always remembered when our car on the way home from town met Sturdevant the bee man at that spot, in his old open touring car with his long gray hair and beard streaming behind as he drove.

The railroad is no longer there except in my imagination, but I think of when we used to pick wild sweet peas along the tracks in the spring. It was only a quarter mile from our house on Grandpa’s farm. That small house is gone, moved to town for my grandparents’ retirement home after they sold the farm in the late 1940s. Their own house still sits, beautifully remodeled, on its slight rise above the road.

I think of other neighbors whose farms were not on our direct route to the Clark Place, but who are as clear in my mind as the ones I drove past. Most of them had kids in our District 12 school. That school yard is long gone, now part of a cornfield along with the Casey Jones farmstead next door. There were the Albert and Ted Kunze families, the Harrison and Lee Morses, and a little farther away the Cain ranch where my mother’s relatives once lived, and the Ben and Hazel Wulf place.

It took me a few years to come to terms with selling the property, but finally I could see that the time had come. For one thing, my brother Lawrence had died and his three children now owned his share. As the remaining shareholders die, there would be an unwieldy number of owners in the next generation, almost none of whom are interested in the farm. (The exceptions would be our two sons and daughter). Duane and I are the only ones living close enough to do the upkeep, like chopping thistles in the pasture and repairing fence where leaping deer or falling trees frequently dislodge the top wire. We no longer have the energy to keep this up. The most important reason, of course, is the continual growth of cedars rapidly taking over the grazing areas, with eradication too expensive. The farm is no longer the place we all remember from childhood, and maybe it’s best to just cherish those warm memories than to deal with what the property has become.

We’ve been blessed with a good buyer, and our good renter will continue to keep his cattle in the pasture. The Jacobsen era of ownership is over, but the land itself will always be there, and remembrance of the Clark Place will live on in our hearts.