As I was standing this evening on my front porch…
Looking out at the same view I have looked at all my life…I was filled with a grateful heart that was full of honor for my parents and for my ancestors that came before me. I am so incredibly blessed to live where I grew up…where my family has lived forever, as my Great Grandmother would have stood on the same front porch looking out at the same view…as did my Mom.
To me that says a lot about living your heritage and breathing it in every day.
I live in my forever home…this is me when I was 3 or 4…it was taken on a snowy Christmas Eve as my folks and I were getting ready to join Grandmother T and all of Dad’s brothers and sisters with their families. I loved the family get togethers…I had lots of cousins my age and it was always fun!
And here is my beautiful Mom…she was such a lady…full of style and grace but mostly lots of love:) She would make homemade cut out cookies every Christmas and would take about 200 of them to the family get together as all us kids loved them! She iced them and decorated them…they were delights! I still have the cut outs…and guess what…she found a cut out of a horse so I could have horse shaped cookies too:)
And this is the front porch today…where I often stand to watch the weather or sit on the porch swing to cool off after a hot day…or watch the horses play in the pasture. It has always been front and center in the life of this house as when you want to see what in the world is going on outside…you go to the front porch. Right now it looks a bit bare as we moved all the furniture off the patio including the porch swing…and my pots of flowers as we are working yet on the patio as it needs some TLC.
Several years ago now I had the opportunity to travel to the Middle East with my sister in law…it was a gift of time for me to see another part of the world.
The above picture is of Jerusalem…we spent almost a week there touring the Old City as well as all the historic sites…it touched my heart and spirit deeply.
This photo was taken at the “Wailing Wall” in the Old City of Jerusalem, I am in the blue skirt and black t-shirt.
We were gone for three weeks and the night my plane touched down in Portland I was thankful to be almost home again…we saw many incredible sites in Israel and Jordan…Syria and Turkey…but the best site that I saw, was in NY at JFK Airport, it was a Burger King!!! Humus, strange meat and weird veggies did not cut it at all…I lost 20 pounds due to not eating unsafe veggies and meat…so an American Hamburger was “Manna” from heaven for this American Cowgirl:)
The first morning I was home I stood on the front porch and thanked God that He chose for me to live right here…where I have lived forever…and not in Syria or Jordan or Turkey or Israel…but here in Juniper Canyon:)
God blessed me with my parents and blessed my parents with me…they had waited a long time for me to finally make an apperence…I was their little cowgirl as I grew up and still a cowgirl today, we had lots of good times together and good memories…and then God directed my path to meet Wild Bill and we made a family together of our own…God was determined that we would meet…we came close to meeting many times when we were growing up!
What a blessing it has been to live here in the same old house my parents and I lived in with Wild Bill…we have made lots of good memories here…where my family lived before me…leaving me lots of heritage, traditions, hopes and dreams…mostly though they left their love for us.
Often when I stand on the front porch or saddle up my horse to go out riding into the country or be in the kitchen cooking dinner I will smile and laugh as God brings back some good memories of my folks and I when I was growing up…good memories of Wild Bill and my folks…and our family. Living in a forever house does that…it brings back comforting memories, sounds, smells and love.
I look out the same window that my Great Grandmother looked out of and the same view that my Mom looked out at…now it is my view of life today…but for some reason I would rather view life the way it was…being an only child I know that all the heritage and memories will be lost with me, part of my wanting to view both the past and future is to write all the history down.
I can close my eyes and imagine what my Great Grandma saw and felt…I can hear the sounds of horses and mules with the noise of harnesses…men talking about how many acres that can be done today in the heat…or maybe she was baking homemade bread and pies…or Norweigian potato cakes…maybe not simpler times but they did things the old-fashioned way…and created family times…working together on the land…with hearts full of heritage and hard work for the future of their families.
This photograph would have been in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s…pull combines pulled by tractors without cabs or air conditioning…no CB’s or communication…you had to watch the machines in order to tell where a combine was in the field…sometimes the pull combine would be down in a canyon so you could not see it…but if you listen and watch for a puff of smoke from the Caterpillar tractor pulling the machine up a hill, then you knew…truck drivers always sat on top of the hill in the field, trying to figure out where they were needed. Today’s truck drivers have the luxury of radio or cell phones…and they know where they are needed.
In todays techno world…combines are outfitted with a GPS, that can program the machine to drive themselves…and the driver does not have to drive it as the combine is satellite guided. We have come a long ways baby!
Farming has gotten as high-tech as my office is high tech…smart phones…satellites…gps…computers and all the incredible bells and whistles.
Todays equipment does not compare to yesterday’s equipment…today they have 40′ headers that flex in the center, with their own wheels to help drive and turn them.
This is a Gleaner combine with the 40′ header…you can go with a 42′ or a 45′ header as well.
The smaller John Deere combine next to today’s machine is a 1955 model…no cab and a 10′ header compared to the 40′ header…it held 40 bushels of wheat while todays model holds 400 bushels of wheat…when I was driving truck we had one of the JD 55’s and my uncles always used it to open up fields and draws or canyons…I can not imagine the 40′ header today…WOW!
Harvest has changed a lot since my Grandfather homesteaded the land out here…often I wonder what he would say today if he saw the equipment and how much our way of life has changed.
Back when WB and I farmed the land, the machines we had were considered the art of technology…20′ headers and a bulker that held 120 bushels of wheat. Here the combine is leaning as it is using the automatic leveling to unload the wheat into the back of the truck.
The first summer I drove wheat truck, I was 15. Our harvest started June 25th on the winter cattle ranch…if all went well with good weather and no huge equipment breakdowns, we were lucky to be done by my birthday in late August. We had a total of about 5000 acres to cut…we ran four pull combines with tractors and two open cab combines that at the time we called pushers as they were the first of the machines you see today. Harvest took a long time as the machinery moved slower and the headers were small…as were the wheat trucks. My little truck held 2.5 dumps from the combines and I would be off to the elevator to dump it…my truck had a hoist which means I would stay in the cab of the truck and would activate the hoist which would lift my truck bed up into the air at an angle so that the wheat would dump out the back of the truck, falling into the grate on the elevator floor, going into the elevator bin below, where it would be stored until we sold it. Today, the old cab of my truck sits out in one of our fields behind the house…someday I hope that we can restore it…I loved that old truck!
As the world of farming evolves each year with new farming practices, along with equipment that has all the bells and whistles…I am blessed to have the old memories of farming during a different time when life was a bit slower and time seemed to stand still…and with the old stories that were passed on to me about my Grandfather coming to America when he was 13 years old…eventually homesteading 10,000 acres.
My imagination carries me back in time when he was here farming and my Great Grandmother was seeing a whole new world as she stood on the front porch watching her son farm…I am reminded of the past and how hard my ancestors fought for this land, working long hours and days to leave a lasting legacy that today blesses my life.
I was born country right here where I live today…with a 100 years of down home, filled with rural heritage and hard honest work…I was born country and this country is what I love!
Clear creeks and cool mountain mornings
Honest work out in the fields
Cornbread in my momma’s kitchen
Daddy saying grace before the meal
Family ties run deep in this land
And I’m never far from what I am
I was born country and that’s what I’ll be
Like the rivers and the woodlands wild and free
I got a hundred years of down home, running through my blood!
I was born country and this country’s what I love
Moonlight and you hear beside me
Cricket’s serenadin’ in the yard
What more could two people ask for
Laying here in love beneath the stars
Now this is where I wanna raise my kids
Just the way my mom and daddy did
I was born country and that’s what I’ll always be
Like the rivers and the woodlands wild and free
I got a hundred years of down home, running through my blood
I was born country and this country’s what I love
I was born country
And I will always be that same country cowgirl, farm girl…this is what it is all about. Traditions, family heritage and the incredible land and soil of the ranch. I thank God for His blessings and His incredible beautiful land and scenery…His animals and His world:) For harvest time and the blessings of those who went before us and those who someday will follow in our footsteps after us.
In remembrance of Donna Goff…she was a great lady and a good friend.