Wednesday, April 29, 2015

changes and reality

Another farm is up for sale in our neighborhood. Funny thing is, it hasn't been used as a farm in many, many years, and yet I still think of it as a farm.

I truly understand the hows and whys of such things. I know about the taxes, the upkeep, and the amount of time involved in maintaining a small place (and can't imagine what it would be to do 12x the amount I do now). I know that for such places to remain a farm, someone must be willing to actually...farm.  And most Americans today do not have a love for the soil and a love for plants or farm animals, much less a desire for long, hot, hard working hours with a wild card called nature that can upend it all. So even if I don't like it, I do understand that at some point, farms must be sold, and when that happens, they will grow a development instead of crops.

But what bugs me beyond belief is that there is an old house with lots of character and charm, that would make an awesome home for a small family, that will be torn down. Evidently farm houses are not desirable to developers. Just for once, I'd love to see a developer come in, and build a development around a farm house, leaving a reminder that this area was once a working farm. Smaller houses, mixed with bigger houses, and even some barn-style sheds built on some of the properties. A throwback tribute to the tenant farmers who lived on the land but didn't own it, but without whom the crops would never be planted or harvested. One or two small apartment (as in one or two story) complexes as a modern day reminder of all the migrant workers who keep American in food. (Just google the story of GA and migrant workers...when the economy crashed and people headed back to Mexico, crops were rotting in the field because no American workers would do such hard work. Most Americans quit the job on day two, if they showed up for day two.) You could add a nice house or two for people who like big houses, in memory of the rare plantations, as a way of making a profit, but let most of the houses be smaller, open houses, like the true farm houses. You know, where you're not sure what the purpose of the room was when you walk into the empty house, because the rooms were non-descript so they could be interchangeable. Not that many kids? You've got an office, or a parlor (living room or den, we call them now), or even a library. Have a lot of kids? No problem. Move furniture around, and it's a bedroom. They didn't decorate in those days like we do now. That was for rich, frivolous people. And the kitchen? It's big enough to do farm things...like canning and processing food, with plenty of cabinets for storage. And the porch that connects to the kitchen...ideal for shucking corn or shelling beans and not making a mess in the house. It wouldn't be wanted by today's standards. I get that. This is probably why I could never make a living as a developer. My ideas would not match today's standards at all.

And as much as I hate to see it go, we have a house that works for us and that we've spent hours upon hours working to get it as we want (the yard, not so much the house). Other than the historical aspect of this old house, there's no reason to change the set-up we have. It's not realistic or practical.

I know that change must come. It's inevitable, really. But there's a small part of me that cringes and whispers "NO!"

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