Farm Collector

The Ladies Page


At about the same time this comes into print I expect to be
unusually busy. For the first time in five years our six children,
our married-into-the-family children, and four grandchildren should
be keeping the place real lively around here. If God is willing
that it be thus we will have seventeen people around the table for
about a week. In my weaker moments I feel a little shaky in the
knees. We haven’t all been together at the same time for five
years. Right now I am planning how to successfully carry off the

It may sound a bit way-out, but I am intending to take refuge in
the barn. Our offspring get into endless gab sessions, and monopoly
games that threaten to live into the next day. While it may not
surprise old threshermen, even one iota, to think of sleeping in
the barn, it isn’t exactly a modern practice. You see, my
husband is a very modern farmer, who when he remodeled his barn,
put in an office for efficiency. It is really a rather nice place
and most always cool and quiet. So I will be sleeping in modern
comfort while all the younger element is burning up the energy I
don’t possess anymore. I hope to be up with the birds, feeling
almost as chipper as they. Last year when most of them were here I
envied my husband pulling out at nine thirty or ten o’clock to
the quietness of his retreat, while I bedded down on the makeshift
bed in the living room. The off spring were a around the dining
room table, and we don’t even have a door between. Never again,
if I can help it. Not as long as the office can hold another single

Yesterday I had the novel experience of showing a teacher and
four of her young friends around the farm. The first things they
were looking for were the cats. We have only two, and they were out
hunting, but one finally came after I called him quiet lustily.
Then I think I pulled a boner. We went to see the hogs, and we have
had a wet spring, and consequently have they a nice juicy wallow. I
appeared that they were making full use of it. They came over to
the feeders, dripping with their unappetizing coating. ‘Ooh,
they are dirty,’ said the one little girl with distaste in her
voice. ‘What do you do with them?’ she asked.

‘Oh,’ I said quite nonchalently, ‘they make ham and
bacon out of them, and pork chops, and all kinds of good things to

‘Those dirty things?’ she asked shuddering. ‘I will
never eat a piece of ham or bacon again.’

‘Oh dear,’ says I to myself, ‘Now what have I
done.’ For the next few minutes the teacher and I did some fine
talking about how the hogs were scrubbed clean before they are
butchered, and sometimes even the skin was all taken off, but I
don’t believe she was very convinced. She just looked at those
hogs as if they were the dirtiest things she had ever seen, and
maybe they were. As for me, we will have bacon for breakfast.
I’ve grown up with hogs.

The man of the family and his Mrs. took a trip up to the Soo
lately and he went on into Canada while I stayed at a writer’s
meeting. In fact, it was the meeting of the National Fellowship of
State Poetry Societies, We were bedded down in dormitories of
Superior State College, and the meetings were held there too. It
was a great experience. On the way up there we hunted up a steam
engine which was rusting its life away in a rather deserted place.
Don’t ask where, anybody. I don’t even remember.

But one thing we saw I shall never forget. If any of you ever
venture into northern Wisconsin you might find the Railroad Museum
in Marinette as interesting as we did. There was a collection of
birds’ nests, and birds’ eggs there such as I never hope to
see again. The man who collected these had special permission from
the proper authorities to do this. Each nest had the exact number
of eggs which are normally found in that particular birds’

Some were so crudely put together, some so artfully formed. And
the eggs varied so greatly in size and color. The most beautiful
color, in my estimation, were those of the blue heron. These were
large eggs, and were in such sharp contrast to those of certain
kinds of wrens, which were no larger than good-sized bean

I laughed right out loud to see a nest or two where a
cowbird’s egg was conveniently placed for someone else to do
her hatching for her thing. It was all so exact, yet such a
charming display. And, for you ladies, especially, there was the
most beautiful old bedroom set in there that I ever hope to see. It
was carved with such care and the dresser, commode, and I believe a
table, all had marble tops. This set had belonged to some lumber

And yet my eyes were drawn back to the birds’ nests. This
was something God had wrought, not man. How these small creatures
of His build these nests, and raise their young, is a marvelous
thing. And then the words of a song, His Eye Is On The Sparrow,
came flooding over me, and the other words followed, I Know He
Watches Me. I walked out of that place humbly grateful, knowing He
would go with us the rest of the way.

Coming home, again I sensed His joy, and His strength, Happily I
went back to my weeds and my waiting. The book I toiled over all
winter is getting scrutinized by the first publisher. It has been
there two weeks. At last I have come to the point where I can wait
without impatience. Someone else has my egg in his nest. Will he
hatch it for me? But above all, Someone has my hand in His and I
can safely leave it there. After hearing Ethel Waters sing that
song about the sparrow on the Billy Graham broadcasts last week, I
think I will sleep like a baby out in the barn, even with seventeen
people to feed for several days. After all there used to be
threshing crews, larger than this. It will all work out, I

  • Published on Sep 1, 1967
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