There's A Place I Call Home
On September 23, 2017, I married my knight in shining farmer and transplanted my northwest Iowa roots to my husband's family farm among the rolling hills of southern Madison County. I'm no longer just a farmer's daughter.
New house. New community. New adventure as a wife. When life introduces seasons of change there are certain simplicities that keep us grounded. For me, organization and routine are key to keeping that balance. But when I need a quick cure for my insecurities, I make time for a trip home to the farm.
The familiarity of home is like an instant refresh button. When I pull into the gravel lane where my brother and I used to race our bicycles, a sensation of contentment washes over me. I scan the yard for my roaming pony, Dakota. Dad refers to him as our “Roomba lawn mower”. I smile when Daisy, the farm dog, is the first to greet me as soon as I put my car in park.
Ah, yes. There’s something satisfying about that front porch view, the permanent frame from where my childhood memories were captured. The cats lining up by the door for free handouts or the chance to slip inside. The porch swing idly swaying in the breeze.
Indoors, I’m due for a warm hug, a home cooked meal and seat by the fireplace. This is when my worries escape me and I begin to see the world more clearly.
I drift into a tranquil sleep and wake up in the wee hours of the morning to find my parents sleeping like statues where I left them on the couch. I’d rather fall asleep in the living room than miss an opportunity to visit with them.
On some occasions this is when I wipe my tired eyes and find a bed to collapse in. On others, like the most recent, it’s an opportunity to sneak out to the garden and save the last of the peppers, pumpkins and other produce from an early frost.
Now I follow my Dad into the night, guided by the glow of his headlight. Suddenly, chores no longer seem like chores. It’s funny how you enjoy ordinary tasks when they are no longer a part of your daily routine. I used to dread the idea of stepping out in the cold to check on the livestock. Now I look forward to it as an exclusive form of animal therapy.
I love dressing up in mismatched chore clothes. A pair of hand-me-down insulated coveralls, muck boots I haven’t worn since last season, adorned with a Scooby Doo hat from my childhood that miraculously still fits me.
I don’t get fresh air like I used to. New responsibilities as an adult are to blame for that. Chores provide me an outlet, and often remind me of how soft I am getting. Bags of feed, bales of hay and buckets of corn feel a little heavier than they used to, but it doesn’t take long for the rhythm of the farm to come back to me.
The choir of bellering sheep and cattle quiets into the sound of crunching corn. And the night grows still apart from the howling gusts of wind rushing over empty harvested fields. All is well for the girl who is back to her farm roots wearing her chore boots.