Chronicles of the Farm Woman: Homesteaders

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The farm census taker called today.  We all received sample copies two weeks ago.  Some folks sat down right then and filled in the answers. Most of us glanced at it, thought we would read it carefully when we had more time.  That time never comes.  The census taker found us with a blank sample copy.  It wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be.

We wonder how great the back to the land movement has been.  There aren’t nearly as many houses in the country as there were a generation ago.

Have you ever noticed a group of trees as you drive along a country road?  Perhaps there is a cedar among them and maybe a gnarled old apple.  A yellow rose bush to blossom first in spring and possibly a lilac and a clump of asparagus.  If you drive more slowly you will see a pile of stones and the ruins of a cave – the remains of a Kansas homestead.  As I sit on my front porch I can see six such groups of trees.  A generation ago those houses were teeming with life.  Three or six or eight children.  The boys slept in the loft and girls in the front room.

As the boys grew up they turned their backs on the farm.  The girls married and left it.  The old folks passed on.  Fire and time have brought the houses to ruins – a clump of trees, a few stones and a yellow rose.

No doubt some of those sons and daughters are on relief.  And they must remain there.  They cannot return to the land.  Their ancestral home has been destroyed.                 2-13-35

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