“Across the wide acres, from the church house, the schoolhouse, the farmhouse––the bell rings and sings through the air and into your soul.” c.e.hollis
When I first moved to the farm 20 years ago, it was not then a farm. It had been a farm. It had grown sorghum, corn, hay, pecans, and soybeans. Its leaning barn had stored corn, feed, hay, as well as housed cows, horses, turkeys, and chickens. When we arrived there were a couple of barred owls that haunted the barn.
The old farm acreage had been home to farmers, ranchers, oil well workers, and assorted country folk. Two pear trees below the hill were planted by a man who lived with his family in one of two small rent houses on the property. This man’s son is elderly now and visited us one day. He told the story of how Doctor Watson delivered his baby sister in their house and the doctor was paid with a Jersey milk cow. The houses have long since disappearred and now only the pear trees survive. (We still eat pears from those two trees. I have canned bushels of them, year after year.)
The farm took lots of work to clear and clean up. We had trees to cut, brush to clear, acres to mow, spaces to fence. The house needed a new roof, good windows, new doors, siding and inside, gallons of paint. We pulled up carpet and fixed plumbing, took out a wall, added one, and on and on.p
One thing I wanted after we got the place livable was a bell––a farm bell to call children from their explorations along the creek, their horseback rides through the woods and hay fields, and from the barn, to announce dinner, etc.
Ron bought me one for Christmas that year nearly twenty years ago. (It made a tough thing to giftwrap!) He mounted the bell on a sturdy square post and we added a rope to pull for its clanging song.
I love our bell and so do the children and grandchildren. It saved me a lot of yelling.
I have seen it capped with snow, dripping with rain, decorated with icicles, backlit by the sunset, and hot in a sweltering August afternoon. Every farm needs a bell and this farm/pecan orchard/cattle ranch/ homestead has a fine one. If you listen closely I think you can hear the clang-clang, clang-clang, clang-clang it makes.
Stories in my book are about the farm, my children and my experiences as a stay-at-home mom.
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