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From the Second Story: Old farmhouses, art on landscape

9:56 AM, Sep. 3, 2013  |  Comments
This black and white aerial picture postcard of the Turville farm was taken several decades ago, maybe about 50 years ago. My grandparents bought the farm in the1930s. It is no longer a working farm.
This black and white aerial picture postcard of the Turville farm was taken several decades ago, maybe about 50 years ago. My grandparents bought the farm in the1930s. It is no longer a working farm.
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It's not uncommon to see farmers harvesting corn this time of year. Their tractors and farm equipment are seen in the early morning and late at night in the fields. These farmers remind me of my grandparents and other family who were farmers from the beginning of the 20th century through the 1980s.

On an early morning drive to work, I took a short-cut route to Marshfield. I was running late (it's not uncommon). I followed a farmer driving a tractor, so I had to slow down. I hate to have to pass farm equipment, especially on a double-yellow line. But I do have to get to work. I was just lucky I didn't see a county sheriff deputy watching for speeders like me.

As I was passing cornfields and tractors on the winding country road, I saw an old abandoned farmhouse leaning, as if all it was waiting for was a gust of wind to take it down. The old house doesn't have any color anymore, yet it had raw, stark beauty - at least I thought so. Its facade has grayed with age, and nature's elements have torn away the white paint.

I wonder who lived in there and for how long. Someone mowed the lawn in front of the abandoned homestead, still caring for it although no one has lived there for years.

This wasn't the only old farmhouse I've seen. There are other abandoned houses, glass windows gone, bare wood exposed. They are lonely and forgotten. Still, they are appreciated for what they had been in their day.

These old farmhouses reminded me of my grandparents' farms. My mother's family, the Turvilles, were farmers. I recently revisited the old farmhouses. Both were still standing.

From a distance, my grandparents' farmhouse doesn't appear the same as it once did. The house was built in a valley; a long drive extends down to it. Today, the red barn is gone. The homestead isn't a working farm anymore.

The house isn't a sad place to see. It isn't like old abandoned homes, empty for decades, languishing in decline. Yet it isn't the same as it once was. Someone else has lived there for many years.

About a decade ago, I saw my Great-grandfather Turville's old farmhouse for the first time, but today it still looks about the same. The grand two-story house was white, but paint has chipped off, revealing patches of wood. I doubt the dilapidated house that once was home to 10 children is a home for a large family anymore.

Grass has grown up and around the house. Gnarly tree limbs have grown near the house, shrouding it from curious visitors. As I was passing by, I saw a glimpse of what the structure had been a long time ago. The old homestead still has nostalgia of a time gone by and forgotten.

I didn't stop for a better view. I kept driving. I tried to memorize the house's proud stature, and what it might've looked like all those long years ago in the 1920s. A few years from now it may appear as the abandoned house on the county road, forsaken and weather-beaten. Yet not entirely forgotten by those of us who appreciate old farmhouses that once had families who lived there and farmed the land.

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