I stopped being an IPS employee at 4pm Thursday, June 10th. By 5:45pm I was at the country homestead of my nephew Zachary’s and his wife Lindsay’s country homestead outside of Kokomo. I had never been there and really wanted to experience their country life before I left. I lived on a farm or in farm country until I left for college, so country living has always held a soft place in my heart.
My Brother Mike has four sons and all five are obsessed with antique Case tractors to varying degrees. Mike and two sons have barns and huge sheds devoted to that hobby. They restore the tractors and show them off any time they can. Last weekend, Mike’s sons and daughters-in-law held a great 70th birthday party for Mike at his own farm in Logansport. (Read about Mike’s place here.) On the morning of the party, he and all four sons each drove one of their antique tractors in a parade through the country with about 35 other antique tractor drivers. It’s a time to show off your prized possessions and hang out with others who share your passion. The father and sons talk to each other through walkie-talkies from their respective tractors during the parade.
At Zachary and Lindsay’s place, I got the grand tour: The very old barn, housing a couple of very old Case tractors, a very old manure spreader, a horse named Moe, and lots of other old barn stuff that you can imagine. They have a HUGE shed, housing Case machinery (all old of course), where Zach built himself a workshop where he performs his machinery miracles. The wonderful 19th century farmhouse is a big 2-story cube with flowers beds surrounding it.
They are raising baby turkeys (to eventually eat)—which Zach really enjoyed teasing me about since I am a vegetarian. They have chickens that keep them (and lots of others) in beautiful brown eggs. I learned that eggs can last unrefrigerated up to three months if you don’t wash the protective layer off. Six long-haired and beautiful barn cats pranced around us wherever we went. As is typical of northern Indiana farm country, you can see for miles in every direction.
However, kitty-cornered across the road, is a many-acred woods which holds two divine things: 1. Morel mushrooms in the spring, and 2. An eagles’ nest in clear view from their front yard. I missed the morels, but got to see the eaglets in the nest and their parents flying around over the newly-planted soybean field. For someone who is semi-obsessed with eagles, I was thrilled!
After dinner, Zachery asked me if I wanted to spread the horse manure. YES! Of course! We hooked up the crazy-old spreader to the tractor and off we went! I started out slowly, but opened it up on the back stretch. I’m not sure when I’ll get to drive a tractor again; I felt like a queen! I treasured the opportunity to relive a peaceful country evening.
We watched the sun set in front of the big weedless vegetable garden. The cats ran around the yard as we said good-bye. I’m not sure when I’ll come back to Indiana again. As I head toward my very urban Oakland home, I treasured my first post-retirement evening in such a peaceful setting.
Family will always be the connector between past and future. Family abides all things. Even horse poop. Thanks Zachary and Lindsey!