June 24, 2021

This morning it is raining, a perfect summer shower with soft rumblings of thunder here and there.  Finally, I can write.  June on a farm (or even a tiny homestead like mine) is not a time for leisure. It’s not even time for indoor housekeeping. The laundry languishes, and my blog posts are late.  Midsummer is the season of beautiful outdoor busy-ness. The garden needs weeded and late plantings of flowers and vegetables put in the ground. Farmers are making... Read more

June 15, 2021

I’m composing this in my head as I sit on the riding lawn mower, passing back and forth, back and forth through the yard as the kids ride their bicycles in the gravel.  We are not lawn people. Our acre of land has never been re-seeded or sprayed. It is some parts grass, but more parts white clover, dandelion, plantain, sorrel, dock and every other kind of sunshiny weed that grows in Western Missouri. We do not manage it in... Read more

June 1, 2021

“Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.”  The house that Grandma built is not really a house at all.  The house that Grandma built is eight boys and two girls. Then, fifteen granddaughters and nine grandsons. Twenty-two great grandchildren. They are fathers and mothers, doctors and nurses, teachers and writers, artists and craftsmen, farmers and orchardists, men and women of all types of business.  The house that Grandma built spans four U.S. states, but... Read more

May 25, 2021

My seven-year-old daughter balked.  “Do I really have to rest?”  “Yes,” I said. “This is our schedule when you’re at school. It’s part of our day. You don’t have to fall asleep, but you do have to sit or lie down quietly and read, draw, pray. Rest and silence is good for your body and for your brain. It helps you grow.” The conversation whisked me back in time. My grandfather, after eating his midday meal and before he returned... Read more

May 22, 2021

“Be glad, O sons of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord, your God; for he has given you the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. I will restore to you the years which the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer and the cutter, my great army, which... Read more

May 18, 2021

This essay ran originally in the August 29, 2020 edition of the Sedalia Democrat. It is perennially relevant and has become relevant again with the onset of devastating flash flooding in Southwest Louisiana this week.  Why don’t they just move?  It’s a question I see after every major hurricane, including this week’s Category 4 Hurricane Laura, which battered the Louisiana coast.  Why would you live in an area where your property or even your life could be destroyed by a... Read more

May 11, 2021

Almost nobody I knew was a “stay-at-home-mom.” I don’t believe I even heard the term until I was at least ten years old. Of course, I knew there were ladies who stayed in their homes–grandmothers. Both of mine were always at home. One was a farmer’s wife, with all the unique toil that entails. The other did things like stitch fancy quilts and bake pies for a local restaurant. But the mothers of my friends, they were postmistresses and piano... Read more

May 8, 2021

“May, with alle thy floures and thy grene, Welcome be thou, faire, fresshe May!” -Chaucer May in Green Ridge is spring pressed down, shaken together and running over. The fields are crowded with buttercups. Purple dame’s rocket and wild asparagus shoot up on the sunny roadsides. Grass and weeds seem to grow inches overnight, as do the regal irises standing tall in the yard of every old house. The bugs are back: small green grasshoppers, mosquitos, and the misnamed June... Read more

May 4, 2021

This essay ran originally in the May 2, 2020 edition of the Sedalia Democrat.  I love to garden.  As a child too young to have a plot of my own, I read books like The Secret Garden over and over again, just for the descriptions of “sharp little pale green points sticking out of the black earth.” I once grew a prolific morning glory up the porch pillar. I cried bitterly when my father mowed it, taking it for a weed.... Read more

May 1, 2021

Feast of St. Joseph the Worker/May Day  May 1, 2021  Old farmers do not begin to die until they can no longer work.  As my tall, strong great-grandfather grew old, he watched his domain dwindle, acreage and livestock slipping out of his still-iron grip. But he was still happy. He had the garden– pole beans and prize sweet potatoes and zucchini in meticulous rows perfectly tilled. Then he got the shingles. Then he got them again. They injured his iron... Read more

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