11 April 2010


I have peppered this blog with pictures of Spanish colonial ruins in Mexico with which I obviously have a fascination. It therefore seems only fair to put up some pictures of ruins in the Midwestern United States of America.

I take my exercise here by walking “around the block,” meaning walking the country roads that track the Section lines of the Section in which the farm is located. This takes me by farmsteads that are now abandoned, farmsteads on what used to be family farms in my youth.

I spent a lot of time on this farm, sleeping over with the children in that farm house on occasion.

Later, when I was bigger and stronger, I left a lot of sweat in the hay mow of the barn that used to stand on this foundation mowing away hay bales as they were transported up into the mow through a large door up under the eaves on the end of the barn by the usual arrangement of a large hay fork operated with a block and pulley system mounted inside the barn.

This farmstead does not look too bad, but it was a beautiful layout in its day, the home of my best friend in the country. It housed what was called a Grade A milking operation with a large herd of Holstein cattle. Because of the strict inspection of Grade A milking operations, it was maintained in immaculate condition. The least bit of weathering of the buildings resulted in a new paint job. Immediately. Everything was clean. No other way to describe it. Clean.

In the foreground there used to be a smaller second house where the hired man, Tommy Scofield, and his wife lived. Tommy was an old Scotsman with a fantastic sense of humor in stark contrast to the grim, stern personality of the owner,his boss and my friend's father, who was eye-ball deep in hell fire and damnation religion.

Off in the distance there is Blodgett Cemetery where some of the people who inhabited these nearby farmsteads are now buried along with some of my relatives on my father's side. I used to sled on the hill adjoining this cemetery.

Blodgett Cemetery has been around for a long time.

None of this is intended to imply any sentimentality on my part at all. These locations are interesting curiosities to me. All things change. The only thing that endures is change.


Anonymous said...

I know of an abandoned farm in the area known as the "Near North" in Ontario, Canada. It's rough country, and though there are some areas where the farming is perhaps not too bad, despite the short growing season and tough winters, this particular farm had been cut from scrub. I used to go there to chase trout in a river nobody much bothered with, a river that holds a few good speckled trout for those who are willing to brave the mosquitoes and the black flies to go after them.

The farm was abandoned even when I was a kid. My father remembers it being an operating farm when he was first shown the stream by his pal Charlie. Charlie knew every trout stream around.

I often imagined what life must have been like for that family trying to subsist on their little chunk of crappy land. For years we camped in a clearing on the other side of the river, by a big pool we named The Cataract. It never seemed to change much and there were always some big trout to be found in that pool, bigger trout than you would expect in this little river.

Then one year I stopped in there on the way home from a road trip across the country. Candy was traveling with me, and I'm sure she will remember this. We had driven for a long time and the plan was to camp overnight. I pulled off onto the dirt track that takes you into the clearing...around the bend... and geez man there was a monster house there. I was stunned. It seemed to wrong to me. We backed out and I took us to another place I knew to camp. I've never gone back there. I don't want to go into my other old secret haunts around there only to find those spoiled too.

Margarita said...

Thank you for sharing your feelings, your memories and the used to be´s.
Its hard to come back home and acknowledge changes.

Señor Steve said...

As a matter of fact, Mr. Anchovy, there are some new houses built on acreages at one corner of the section (1 square mile) that I walk around. They do not seem right there either.

That's the way it goes though.

mr_wingert said...

come visit again next nice burn night (except saturday) ... i don't know your number ... please call ... 319.981.3309