Growing Up in Iowa

Summer Day Faarm

I wake up, early, to animal sounds.  Roosters crowing, cows mooing, each beckoning the hands of care. A warm summer breeze caresses through two open windows framing the head of the double bed shared with a sister while another sleeps, alone, on the suspended trundle.

Breakfast aroma’s, riding waves of air, penetrate nostrils to hunger pangs alarm. Dressing quickly I make my way towards their origin. With luck a bathroom stop along the way. The sunlit kitchen heralds a new day.  Table set, oatmeal steaming, bacon, eggs, and toast with fresh coffee brewing. We sit, all seven, to a feast of beginning.

From there we are off to chore as across the barnyard we go. I to the chicken house and the rest to the barn. The chickens sing the cows are lowing at mangers full. Cows are milked and water carried. One takes time on days like these to breathe in the surroundings. The old red barn speaks history standing regally against the blue skies, corn crib and grain bins swell with last years crops.

A sound breaks the silence, putt, putt, putt, as the John Deere, hitched to the plow, gathers momentum. There are acres and acres to plow row, by row. My brother sits on the seat dreaming beaches and cool water as the sun beats down turning white to the deepest of brown. Rabbits dart out of the way and birds scold, warning of new life and nests.

Mid-morning break is a time for sharing fresh baked cake or cookies, a thermos of coffee, or maybe lemonade. Resting in the shade, from the large back tires, a rich communion takes place. Laughter and chatter.  Sometimes just quietness as one gazes over fields enriched by the feel of black earth.  Morning snack over, one balances the two-wheeler for the half-mile jaunt home. Slowly pedaling, precariously managing loose gravel, with a backward glance at the tractor and driver putt, putting, once more, row by row.

Things are bustling around the old farmhouse. Green beans, tomatoes, and leaf lettuce are gathered for the harvesters lunch. Beef ribs in broth, with potatoes, lend to anticipation. Pots and pans clamor in preparation.  Coffee brews, never-ending.  Tasks are shared.

The table set once again we wait for the sound of the old John Deere making its way home. Putt,  putt she corners into the drive alerting,  it’s time.  Meat on a  platter,  potatoes and broth in a bowl, Saturday’s fresh churned butter, and a jug filled with morning’s milk says we are ready. The hustle and bustle subside as we sit around the table, all seven.  Giggling and teasing, quieting only to take a bite.  Flavors titillate the taste buds reminding one of the fruits of our labor.  Fresh strawberry shortcake, punctuates, sublime.

Lunch over, dishes gathered to the sink, we all take leave to rest.  Rolling in the grass, finding shade under the giant spread of the maple, we are filled with a sense of belonging. Hot, always hot, ever happy.


Soon the old John Deere putts it way back to the field to move row by row not to stop ’til the mid-afternoon break. Once again a welcome rest, in the shade of the big tire, with conversation, goodies, and drink.

Meanwhile back at the house, we are busy cleaning, ironing, working in the garden, and yes, preparing for supper. It might be the day to grab a hoe and walk the field rows.  Acre by acre weeds are cut and white turns deepest of brown.  Hair rains sweat while one dreams beaches and cool water.

The sun hangs low on the western horizon reaching towards forever. Chores need to be done once again. Cows are lowing by mangers full, udders relieved of white treasure, chickens chatter as nests are invaded to retrieve their eggs, the mash is mixed with morning clabber, and water carried.  We take baskets of eggs to the basement to be washed and buckets of white treasure are poured into the separator. It seemed by some miracle one spout rendered milk and the other cream. As a child I couldn’t figure that out, it was just part of the wonder. Separator washed and readied for tomorrow we make way to the kitchen once more. Table set, food steaming, we sit, all seven to partake. Dishes are done as the workday ends.

Lying back cushioned by grass, the maple has become the shadow, fireflies tease to be caught, and heat lightning, like some close encounter, grabs the eye hinting of storms to come.

As one readies for bed a silent prayer is shouted. Hallelujah! In simple abundance, we abide.






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