Return to My Great Grandparent's Farm / by Leslie

This summer, during our trip to Canada, we returned to my Great Grandparent's Farm so that I could take some more pictures and explore a little further. Our previous visit was in November and it was too cold to spend very much time there. This time it was a beautiful summer day, however the mosquitoes were the size of helicopters. You could literally hear them coming, they were so big. Milo got two bites, despite the bug spray, one on his jaw and one on his hand and they swelled so badly he didn't look like himself.

Besides that irritation though, I was able to spend a little more time looking at all the details on the farm and exploring the outer buildings and the machinery. I still didn't get to do everything I wanted, next time I'd like to take my tripod and some of the old pictures that we have and try to recreate some of them.

It's very interesting to me how things weather and age, what time does to things. I love chipping paint. The layers of colors and the textures are so beautiful to me. There is chipping and peeling paint everywhere here. Watching something decay and fall apart is so beautiful and sad at the same time.

I also love the haphazard way that things seemed to be patched and fixed at the farm. In the barn there are walls of different sized plywood and old wooden shipping boxes nailed together, and in the house there are patches of flooring nailed down in random patterns. Some of these things are revealed by things falling apart, but it is also how things were repaired back then. It didn't matter how it looked, as long as it did it's job.

Finding the details that remained at the farm was thrilling for me, I loved to slow down and look carefully. There are bits and pieces of beauty amid the mess. I was also able to collect a few items, which I cleaned and photographed on a white background. Taking some of these objects out of the context of the farm really elevated their status from garbage to artifact. Stay tuned for those soon.

I wish I had a better picture in my head about what life was like when the Farm was at it's peak. I wish I was able to watch a movie, where I'm looking at the decayed and crumbling kitchen and then it fades back in time to 1925 when the windows were whole and there was a pie baking in the oven. I try to imagine my great-grandmother in the kitchen of the main house cooking, sitting around the table and laughing. It's certainly the place that I am most drawn to. I'd even love to see that kitchen in later years, after the family had moved out and it was inhabited by just the grown sons and grandsons (my Dad). They were there for just the summer to farm the land, they slept on mattresses on the floor and cooked up a quick meal with garlic powder and salt. I think a lot of the things that were left behind were from the summers that the men were there farming.

I wonder if that is what it's like for my Dad to be there. Does he see a fade out of what the farm looks like now, to what he remembers from then? I'm so interested in the nature of passing time and nostalgia. I love to see what things were like then compared to now. There are great books that take pictures of New York City streets then and now, to compare how they have changed, or this fantastic series by David Dunlap in the NY Times that uses a slider function to swipe back and forth between perfectly lined up pictures of then and now. You can even buy vintage maps and take a tour of a European city noting what is the same and what is different. 

I especially love ruins and abandoned buildings, it's as if you are closer to the past than you would be if it were a fully restored and functional space. What I wouldn't give for a time travel machine to go back and spend just a few days with my great-grandparents, to sit at their table and tell them what the family becomes and grows up to be. I'd love to tell them about the new children in the family, about our successes and how their legacy has been passed down. Wouldn't that be the coolest? I wonder what they would think of me? 

Related Posts:

Canadian Homesteading: My Great Grandparent's Farm