Breaking and Enduring

As my friend Dawn was helping me wash dishes one night during their visit she dropped my Phaltzgraf soup tureen into the white porcelain sink. It bounced twice and split in half like a ripe melon. “Oh, don’t worry, Dawn. It’s just an old bowl. I have loads of bowls.” I tossed it in the trash can and later threw out the useless lid. I didn’t tell her it had been a gift from my mother-in-law. WAH.

I love all my pottery, crockery bowls, bean pots, and pitchers. I have a set of bowls from Marshall, Texas, besides many other heavy bowls, and a couple of old pitchers that keep tea cold and fresh. I have a pickle crock that I store rolled maps in all year, except for a month or two in summer when I make pickles in it. On my dinner table I have a lovely satiny blue pottery bowl that I bought from a Creek Indian potter.

Recently, I threw away my “pomegranate bowl”—a beautiful antique cream-colored bowl with fruit painted delicately on the side. It cracked during a move and I had kept it on a shelf and put some old spoons and packets of flower seeds in it. I chipped the edge of my brown Hull platter and had to throw it. I have trouble parting with some things— any pottery dishes especially. I kept the pieces of a broken china teapot with a wicker handle for years before I could throw it away. Why do I cling to these things so?

But living with kids, which, of course, is one of those things you do during motherhood, means things will get broken. I could put all my pretty breakables aside and never use them. I could pack them up and preserve them, but I love to use them. Life is fuller and richer with them. A friend whose house burned told me she had never eaten off her china—never! She said if she ever got more she would use it as often as she liked.

My mama, who raised nine children, used to say in despair at an accident, “You can’t have anything!” I know the feeling. Things get broken, scuffed, worn out, cracked, chipped, stained, scarred, scratched and marred. It can’t be helped. But you can’t get mad. People must be valued over things. We toss and go on. There will be other pretty things to enjoy in the future. Today there are friends and family to love and the sun is shining.

Barns in America

Traveling to north Michigan, across Illinois and through Indiana, Arkansas, Missouri, and back into Oklahoma, I became intrigued with barns and the state of farming in America. This barn is Silver Lake in Traverse City, Michigan. A beautiful well-kept barn and grounds with a neat silo and a good roof, this barn seemed the essence of the small long-established family farm. These barns are huge and stand out above the farmland and houses around them. Some had silos of stone or brick. Many had silos missing. Some were maintained and many were decaying and no longer used.

The Boone Farm is a landmark. The family is proud of it and maintains it. Notice the stone base and the word BOONE across the front. Beside it is a small shed and the farmhouse which is small by comparison to this monster-sized barn. The porch of the white clapboard house is embellished with scrollwork–a fine touch of beauty for its day.

This stone barn must have been used as a home at one time. Now it is full of fresh-baled hay. It is located east of Westville, Arkansas. It is built of round white and gray rocks. I can imagine it with pigs, cows, a pair of mules, and a chicken yard. The farmhouse is gone; maybe burned down or swept away by a tornado. Who knows?

Many old weathered barns like this one seem to still be in use. Imagine it full of life with snow banked against it outside. Imagine the farmer and his sons working- feeding the animals, forking down clean hay from the loft and dried corn from a silo, long-since dismantled. Imagine children playing in the loft; hide and seek and swinging on a rope out of the loft to the floor below.

Several old red barns had white trim and the white arches painted on the side doors like this one does. I wondered if that style is a particular ethnic style like a Polish farm, or a German farm. I will have to study. The silo is empty and in bad repair. Barns are not used as much for farming, for animals, for hay or storing tractors and wagons. They are picturesque reminders of the days when a farm could support a family growing corn, beets, potatoes, working a cherry or apple orchard, tapping maple trees for syrup, milking a barn full of black and white dairy cows, or harvesting wheat.
There is certainly still much farming going on. We are a rich country as far as arable land is concerned. Farmers have formed cooperatives and they have the means to ship to markets and yet they cannot compete with the huge conglomerates that have the money for irrigation systems, major equipment like combines and tractors, fertilizers, crop storage with refrigeration, transporting, and marketing.
We drove past hundreds and hundreds of miles of corn, soybeans, and past orchards of peaches, apples, and cherries. We saw farm equipment, irrigators, windmills, and barns; larger barns with tin roofs, larger silos for the huge amounts of corn a farmer can produce with all the equipment -faster and more efficient than a team of mules.
We stopped at one old barn and bought corn. We stopped at still another to buy gladiolas – white with pink edges. We dropped our quarters into a weathered wooden box since noone was minding shop.
Soon I will tell you about the trip -the lakes, the bay, the birds, the foods, the people, the fun, and mishaps. I’m too tired now. Be watching for more beautiful barn photos.

Barns in America

Traveling to north Michigan, across Illinois and through Indiana, Arkansas, Missouri, and back into Oklahoma, I became intrigued with barns and the state of farming in America. This barn is Silver Lake in Traverse City, Michigan. A beautiful well-kept barn and grounds with a neat silo and a good roof, this barn seemed the essence of the small long-established family farm. These barns are huge and stand out above the farmland and houses around them. Some had silos of stone or brick. Many had silos missing. Some were maintained and many were decaying and no longer used.

The Boone Farm is a landmark. The family is proud of it and maintains it. Notice the stone base and the word BOONE across the front. Beside it is a small shed and the farmhouse which is small by comparison to this monster-sized barn. The porch of the white clapboard house is embellished with scrollwork–a fine touch of beauty for its day.

This stone barn must have been used as a home at one time. Now it is full of fresh-baled hay. It is located east of Westville, Arkansas. It is built of round white and gray rocks. I can imagine it with pigs, cows, a pair of mules, and a chicken yard. The farmhouse is gone; maybe burned down or swept away by a tornado. Who knows?

Many old weathered barns like this one seem to still be in use. Imagine it full of life with snow banked against it outside. Imagine the farmer and his sons working- feeding the animals, forking down clean hay from the loft and dried corn from a silo, long-since dismantled. Imagine children playing in the loft; hide and seek and swinging on a rope out of the loft to the floor below.

Several old red barns had white trim and the white arches painted on the side doors like this one does. I wondered if that style is a particular ethnic style like a Polish farm, or a German farm. I will have to study. The silo is empty and in bad repair. Barns are not used as much for farming, for animals, for hay or storing tractors and wagons. They are picturesque reminders of the days when a farm could support a family growing corn, beets, potatoes, working a cherry or apple orchard, tapping maple trees for syrup, milking a barn full of black and white dairy cows, or harvesting wheat.
There is certainly still much farming going on. We are a rich country as far as arable land is concerned. Farmers have formed cooperatives and they have the means to ship to markets and yet they cannot compete with the huge conglomerates that have the money for irrigation systems, major equipment like combines and tractors, fertilizers, crop storage with refrigeration, transporting, and marketing.
We drove past hundreds and hundreds of miles of corn, soybeans, and past orchards of peaches, apples, and cherries. We saw farm equipment, irrigators, windmills, and barns; larger barns with tin roofs, larger silos for the huge amounts of corn a farmer can produce with all the equipment -faster and more efficient than a team of mules.
We stopped at one old barn and bought corn. We stopped at still another to buy gladiolas – white with pink edges. We dropped our quarters into a weathered wooden box since noone was minding shop.
Soon I will tell you about the trip -the lakes, the bay, the birds, the foods, the people, the fun, and mishaps. I’m too tired now. Be watching for more beautiful barn photos.