Childhood Farm

family farm
By Che Barnes

There are certain things that you learn on a farm.  One is that a very inopportune time to move pipes is in the late afternoon.  The best is in the morning, before the heat of the day.  This is the time of day when watermelons are still cold from the night, and bursting them open in the field reveals their cold sweet hearts that are yours for the eating.

If, however, you are made to move pipe after school – there is no way to avoid the hot aluminum.  At this point, removing the plugs and flushing the system with water pumped from the cold ground may help in cooling them. 

These are the things that I know. 

I know that, after moving pipes – especially if it is one of the first irrigation of the summer, it pays to flush them out.  A jackpot experience is to get a couple of starved cats at the end, and if you are lucky, the water will flush a rat or two out – in which case there will be in a instant chase and life or death struggle between the age old battle of cat and mice.  The cats usually win and devour their prey with salacious greed and small growls – picking up a relocating their newly killed meal if any other cat makes a move towards them. 

A few time, I witnessed the injustice of the animal kingdom – usually a man male cat taking away squarely earned food from a small and docile feline.  It such instances the justice of humanity is swiftly dealt by myself – the ten year old power broker in the driveway, by chasing and kicking the offender.  If necessary, a couple of eggs to a poor starving cat will right any injustice. 

The earliest memories I had of the place was the star thistle and a long driveway.

There were stain cans that Noah and I mixed with mud, and greased the ends of sticks with.  We would then take this over to the compost pile – amidst a swarm of wasps and flies all taking advantage of the stinking pile of melons.  Then we’d stick the wasps at the end of the stick, capturing them with the mud a stain, then we’d mix the hapless insects in the canned melee, creating a ever more protein enriched mixture of dead insects and goop to be used to further are insect homicidal ways.

There was such a room for self confidence then.  We had a steady stream of nurture from Mom and Dad, and the place was a huge playground. 



By: Thaddeus Barsotti