Part of this project is collecting stories, to connect the land back to its history and memories. After being left alone for so many decades I want to infuse a sense of place and presence back into it.
Where better to start than with a conversation with my grandpa? Every month I have dinner with him, and last month, unbeknownst to him, I came prepared to pepper him with questions. Why did he buy it in the first place? What were his dreams for the land? Below is his answers written in first person, edited by me. Totally not verbatim, but you’ll get the gist of it all.
I bought the land back in 1972. My wife and I were thinking about moving to the country and the piece of land seemed perfect for it. We had a Green Rambler at the time and we took the kids down with us to look at the land.
We ended up buying it as a place to spend the summers at, and it was until we started having problems with vandalism in the winter. That started happening around 1980, I think.
The land was owned by two farmers who had bulldozed the original farm house and were hiring people to farm the land for them. In all there are 86 acres and about a half (40 acres) were tillable. For awhile I cut the 40 acres of grass. I liked tramping around a cutting the grass, it was relaxing to me.
I bought a tractor at a farm auction down in Stoutsville, OH, which is about an hour away from the farm, to mow the farm. This was during the gas crisis in the 70s so gas was really hard to find. Looking back it was a stupid idea to drive the tractor all the way to the farm. I almost ran out of gas getting there! But I was able find some to buy off a farmer that got me the rest of the way. The three-wheeled tractor, bush hog, and plow were the big equipment I bought for the land.
We never stayed longer than a weekend at the farm, and eventually I stopped going because no one would go down with me. I didn’t feel safe using the tractor with no one else around. I knew someone where a three-wheeled tractor fell over on them and killed them, and I wanted someone there in case something happened to me. I think I stopped going about around when Frank [oldest son] was a senior in highschool.
There is more from this conversation, but I’ve decided to break it up into multiple segments. The conversation jumped around quite a bit and it would make for a longer post.
*Featured image of this post is my mom and Grandpa on the tractor