Many of you have asked where in the world I've been.

All I know is that after 7 plus years of blogging and a different lappy, which I don’t like, I seem to have lost my blogging fervor.

Someday, when you least expect it, I will post again.

For those of you still waiting I say thank you.

Meanwhile, I am rather prolific on twitter. Find me: @KeethaB
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The Eclectic Company - Waitin' on a New Adventure!!
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Uncle Harold's Barn


When I was a girl living in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, we made several trips each year to Vernon County. In many ways, Vernon County was a "hub" in our universe.

It was where mom grew up on Grandpa's farm. Grandpa and Grandma lived there in the tiny town of Hillsboro. Three of mom's sisters and their families still lived there on farms of their own. And, possibly most important of all, our beloved Burr Camp was there.

As children, we could not realize how precious were those days. To us it seemed life would ALWAYS be the same and we could return at any moment and find all that we loved untouched and unmolested by the fingers of time.

How wrong we were.

As we would travel toward our Vernon County destination, when the flat northern lands would bunch up into steeply rolling hills, Sister Pam and I would begin to lean as far forward in our back seat as we could.

No seat belts in those days.

We would lean forward, straining our eyes ahead to be the FIRST to catch a glimpse of Uncle Harold's barn around the curve. Uncle Harold's barn meant we had arrived in the promised land.

"I see Uncle Harold's barn!!!" we would shout, and then argue over who saw it first.

When uncle Harold and Aunt Vetra lived on this farm, the barn was the center of their dairy existence. "Chores" had to be done twice a day at 5. With more than 30 milk cows, there was plenty of work for everyone at chore time.

When we stayed there, Sister Pam and I would arise with the family at 4:30, don some borrowed "chore clothes" which included rubber boots for mucking about in the barn, and sally forth to do what we could do to help with the milking.

What we could do wasn't much, for we weren't part of the well oiled machine that was milking in Uncle Harold's barn.

Our cousins, on the other hand, who milked TWICE every day of their lives knew precisely what they were doing and did it with utmost efficiency.

Aunt Vetra's house was right across the highway from the barn.

Aunt Vetra too helped with milking, but she returned to the house well ahead of the rest of us to fix breakfast.

Oh what breakfasts!!! Eggs, bacon or sausage, and pancakes or waffles. Let me tell you, milking 30 cows before the sun is up makes you HUNGRY and that is just the BEGINNING of the daily work on a dairy farm. Farmers can eat a breakfast like that every day and still be trim and slim.

Time passed.

My cousins grew up and moved away from the farm.

Uncle Harold and Aunt Vetra remained and carried on with the "chores" by hiring in some help until they simply could not do it any more.

Uncle Harold said his kids would have to "carry him out of there feet first." But when Parkinson's took its toll on his strength, he was forced to eat those words and he and Aunt Vetra spent their last days being cared for in a nursing home.

No one could take over the responsibility of the farm and the awful day came when it was sold.

Now when I drive by, I notice that the folks who bought it aren't keeping it as a working dairy farm. The house is lived in, loved, and cared for but the barn looks lonely and forgotten - - - tall grass is growing up around it. I doubt it has heard even one bleat of a calf in decades.

Sad, this thing called progress.

One day while searching for something else on the web, I had the happy accident of coming across this video of "Dan" (whomever he may be) riding his bike through parts of Vernon County.

As soon as the images began I KNEW where he was. Sure enough! The very first farm he passes through is Uncle Harold and Aunt Vetra's. You will see the house on the right and the barn on the left.

Hang on, it's a dizzy ride!


Linking today with "Barn Charm"
Please click over to Bluff Area Daily

To enjoy all the Barn Charm posts.



Tami said...

Beautiful country side. This is where I go in my happy place, the gorgeous parts of America.

Jan n Jer said...

What a wonderful story n happy memories! This is something that will always live in your heart! You write very well!

Carol said...

I love this post...and Uncle Harold's barn. Fun to read about your happy memories. Yes, it was a dizzy ride!

Pam said...

What a nice tribute to family who have gone on before us but played such an important part in making us who we are today. You have me longing to return to those golden days - or at least take that ride once again! I imagine that most who read your post and watch the video will figure out that we were coming from the opposite direction when watching for that first glimpse of Uncle Harold's barn around the bend. It always amazes me how our minds and bodies remember the road - don't you shift in your seat ahead of the rider because you know what's coming?

Definitely wish Dad (Happy 83rd BD) could read this one!

Tina´s PicStory said...

beautiful house :)

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

Beautiful post and photos.

Regards and best wishes

Debbie said...

What a beautiful place and a fabulous story!!!

Nancy said...

Riding without seat belts. Yes, I recall that. How did we survive? Nice story. Midwest barns have their own special charm. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. God bless.

Elizabeth Edwards said...

such happy memories. thank you for sharing. looks like a wonderful area to see & travel to. my hubby speaks of the no seat belts all the time. he loves to say i'm still alive so it must not be so bad. i never had that, i missed out. ha. ha!! (:

podso said...

That's randomly cool
I think!

Rose said...

I really enjoyed this post...and the ride.

TexWisGirl said...

awww. love the family history, but sad it all came to an end (as do so many small family dairy operations!)

i pulled up your site and went "Wi Rapids!" i grew up very close by (Auburndale area), then Marshfield before moving to Dallas many years ago... still consider Wi home. :)

Bev said...

What memories....

Carletta said...

I am so excited for you that you found this video - awesome to have the barn and house in it.
We often traveled the same road over and over growing up. I think I could almost drive blindfolded from my childhood home into town. :)
Really enjoyed your memory filled post!

Tammy said...

What a nice story and happy memories to share.

geetlee said...

This is a lovely post. I can feel your warmth and affection for your Uncle and Aunt.
I guess what matters is that you remember them so fondly.
I can imagine that life on the farm would be fun and busy. I sometimes wish I can get a glimpse in and you have allowed me to by writing down your memories.
Thank you for sharing.

Mari said...

What a fun post! I like the video too.

Anonymous said...

Uncle Harold's former dairy barn is still very charming. Love the sweet memories that you shared. Thank you Keetha.

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

What great memories you have of visiting Uncle Harold's barn. It is sad to see the old barns being neglected.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my barn.

don said...

A fine account and excellent barn post. It's sad how many barns are languishing into ruin.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Keetha,
I'm SO glad you visited my blog yesterday and left a comment.
This is a wonderful post about your uncle and aunt's farm. Isn't it sad to lose loved ones of whom we have so many special memories?
And that video of the guy on the bike is amazing - how special that is to be able to see their property as he's passing by.
I'll be checking out more of your posts, and hope you'll visit my place again soon!

Nancy said...

It's so nice to meet you and thank you so much for coming by my blog and leaving your sweet comments...
I really enjoyed reading your post about visiting with you relatives at the farm...brings back fond memories of my own.....

Margaret said...

Wow, a winding road that is! This post really has that "There's no place like home" feel.

42N said...

You should stop by that house and offer to tell them what you know about it.

Anonymous said...

Your Uncle Harold's barn looks like a nice one & what a ride in the video... Don't know Dan, but neat to take a virtual motorcycle ride!

Thanks for joining =)

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Great storytelling Keetha, well done!
You captured the feeling of that time so well.
Having grown up in Western Wisconsin on a farm, I so get it.
hugs friend,