Tuesday, 22 January 2008
Life after and before Florida
I was reading Georgia Farm Woman's blog yesterday and it reminded me of life in rural Pa.
I am from Florida, but at one point I decided to venture out and live in other parts of the U.S. One of them was rural Pennsylvania -- Deodate, Pa, population 54, a village located between a lot of cow fields and a lot of corn fields, near Hershey and Elizabethtown, PA.
We owned an old farmhouse there...built in 1778, with the "new part" added around 1850. Quite a lifestyle change for a girl brought up in a south Florida suburb! It was 13 rooms and two staircases full of drafty windows and well worn wood floors and 200 plus years of families and all their joys and sadnesses.
We had a couple of acres, and a big barn (have you any idea how much JUNK can accumulate in a big barn! Yikes! )
The traffic on our road was mostly farm trucks, chicken trucks, milk trucks, tractors and lost tourists, looking for Hershey or Lancaster.
(Now the street outside my apartment complex is mostly SUV's, sports cars...and lost tourists looking for Fort Lauderdale. Guess some things never change!)
Our neighbors and the parents of my kids' school friends were either farmers or doctors from the med center. I learned quickly that both were very intellegent groups of men and women -- but the farmers had a little bit of an edge over the rest of us. This is one of the farms down the street...
We bought most of our fruits and vegetables at the farmer's market or from neighbor's roadside honesty stands. This one had the very best tomatoes in summer and big beautiful pumpkins in autumn, plus all the decorations for Halloween and Thanksgiving -- hay bales, corn stalks, and gourds.
And EVERYONE decorated their farm houses for autumn. Every porch, every lamp post, every rail fence was decked out for the harvest season.
Sometimes I miss the views...get a bit tired of the endless rows of condos and cookie-cuter houses, and long for something more like these glimpses of green and emptiness...
I know that even these views are temporary, though. Building is going on at an alarming rate, and farms are being swallowed up by development faster than anyone could have predicted even 10 years ago.
When I have my financial feet under me a bit more, I want to buy a place up there, again. Something with a view, something near the remaining farmers. Something with a creaky floor and quirky stairs and a couple of front doors that I don't have to remember to lock. Near an honesty stand, with a pantry I can once again fill with homemade apple butter and peaches I put up myself.
Until then, I will visit when I can. And sit at the counter in the local diner, where I know the owners and the manager and the waitresses -- and their families...and probably half of the customers who aren't tourists...and there are hugs and how are you's and when are you coming home's waiting.