The day when our farm is reduced in size by half. When corn fields, and bean fields and hay field are no longer ours. A day as a farmer you know might one day come. But you don’t really acknowledge it in your heart of hearts until it’s there staring you in the face.
We’ve known of this for a month or better now, been planning for it, but I couldn’t find the words to speak about it. Or when I thought I did, emotion got the better of me and I couldn’t. In some ways we’re lucky – more so than many. We aren’t losing the land to foreclosure or fire, flood or drought, hurricane or tornado. It’s our own decision and one we are so grateful to God for being able to make. We are giving in to old(er) age and health. And a need to be debt free and a bit more secure than we are right now. We’re lucky that at least for the time being we will still have the Burnham Barn and Round House and Woods and some acres around our daughters house. We’ll only be selling farm ground. Only farm ground?!?
Only what we see when we stand in our daughters yard and look north, what the sale bill calls “Parcel One” ~
Or when you stand in the yard and look south, at “Parcel Two” ~
When you come out of the woods looking to the east and the Burnham Barn and you see all of this ~
Only farm ground. I think not. It feels more like a death, it’s that profound of a loss. You feel like you have failed the land somehow, like you haven’t been able to keep it safe and part of the family. You grieve. You really and truly grieve.
Other farmers especially know how you feel. Its been evidenced by the phone calls and visits we've been receiving especially over the past few days as the sale looms closer. “Just wanted to see how you are doing” “Is there anything I can do to help?” “Do you need anything, just let me know. I can be there if you need me to” “How ‘ya doing, Doc?” “Do you need me to drop off a pie?” (Yes, as farmers we always associate food with comfort and rightly so!) You can tell by the hugs and the handshakes you get in the grocery store, coffee house and barber shop. Farm friends, and farm family. If you have ever had an attachment to five acres or fifty or five hundred, you understand it.
It has fed our livestock and it has fed us, both physically and spiritually for a long time. Now its time that it do so in a bigger way. And we’re thankful for the opportunity.
Like all grief and loss, time will help ease the painful sting. We’ll keep our eyes focused on God and the direction He continues to lead us in. We’ll work harder and hopefully smarter and more efficiently with what we have left to farm…our wee house and barn and pastures on the west side of the Burnham property. We’ll still enjoy the Round House and Woods and our children and grandchildren and beyond, God willing!
But for today – at least for today, if you are reading this, will you remember us in prayer as we say goodbye to this dear friend? Especially for my husband, who knows every single square inch of that dirt, where every stone in the stone pile came from. Especially for him.
And if you're reading this and have a similar story to tell, I would love to hear it if you would like to share. Just drop us an email or leave a comment. I'm not sharing this because I want anyone to feel sorry for us, not at all. We are able to make this choice with a lot of thought, and planning and prayer. And though it may not have been our first choice, if we had been able to do it otherwise, it is still the right one for us at this time of our lives. So no, I don't share looking for sympathy but only to help ease the sadness and help us to look forward from here.
God Bless ~