When our then, 7-year-old grandson had his farm project, five years ago, he worked hard with toy machinery. He disked and planted corn in a little area of our yard. Later in summer, after the corn came up, it hailed. He moved hail around, hauled it, shoveled it and piled it, until it finally melted a few days later.
Since his crop was ruined, he took a shovel and cut down each plant, disked the “field” and got ready for a new crop. In another section of his sandy-soil farm he hand-dug a hole about 2 feet deep just for fun.
During the winter he hauled snow off his field with his dump truck and piled all the snow he could into drifts that he shoveled into and out of the hole. One day he was with me in the house and then he went outside. I asked him where he had gone and he said, “When I go out I am either in the shop or at my place.”
He built an irrigation system using all manner of PVC pieces. His water supply is the shop hose, never mind that the hose itself is sufficiently long enough to reach his farm. That would be too simple.
As soon as the snow melted off he disked and planted grass. If it comes up it will probably freeze off but he has the optimism of a farmer in his heart and no one reminded him of more cold temperatures to come — he knows.
Using excess wrought iron dividers from my former flowerbed he constructed fences around his fields, allowing for crops and pasture. He determined that he needed gates between fences so he used baling wire to design his own gates which opened and closed.
I say ‘former flowerbed’ because he also took over the small space I had used. It became another major irrigation project complete with brick bridges, old iron pipe culverts, chunks of rock diversions and until last week, a second deep hole that he just filled, with an eye to expanding his farm or pasture.
Last week we found out how serious he is about his “place” which he also calls his farm. He took a measuring tape and used it to find his land is 45 inches long. He wrote 45 B on his hand, as we’ve seen farmers and ranchers do time after time. Over the weekend he had his mom call and tell us that he had gotten $45 out of his piggy bank and was ready to pay the 45 bucks for his farm. Granddad told him he could just work it out in labor, an agreement common among farmers, and he could put his money back in the pig.
How I wish we could get inside his mind and find out what he is thinking, and why he thought he needed to pay for his farm.
I just hope he doesn’t come and ask for the deed.
– Sanders is a national award winning columnist and author who can be reached through her website contact link at peggysanders.com.
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