Listening to the stories told by my aunts and uncles was priceless. When I came back I found this on the Practical Farmer's of Iowa blog and wanted to share it here. There are some parallels between his history and our family's.
We shall not cease from exploration,
and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time.
My cousin Tristan took a lot of great pics (link). Here's one of my Dad, on the right, and his brother Roger and sisters Sandra and Shirley.
My aunt Shirley gave me this high school graduation photo of her brother, my uncle, John. He died around 2002.
All the kids of the generation in the top photo who made it to the reunion.
I took the farm trailer down to Indiana so I could bring back a six row cultivator - pulled behind a tractor, it digs up all the weeds in between the rows of crops - that my uncle Roger hadn't used in decades, ever since herbicides became popular. While spraying sure is a lot easier it's not allowed under the organic production rules so I needed a cultivator up here in Turtle Lake.
My cousin Darrell used Roger's loader to put the cultivator on the trailer.
Then we strapped it down with chains for the 500+ miles back to Turtle Lake.
To get it off the trailer Dad and I took it up to the nearby John Deere dealer where they picked it up with a big fork lift and set it on the ground. There was still a bit more to do as two of the connecting pins needed to attach it to the back of the tractor were rusted in place. After a mechanic used a torch to break the rusted parts free, we hooked it up to the tractor and brought it back to the farm.
It has a place of honor on the old barn foundation. Prime location!
Next year Darrell and I, along with anyone else who wants to help, will be coordinating the Reunion. Hope to see you there!