When we go to the farm for the weekend, there’s always something that needs to be done. There are cattle and horses and fences to check. Equipment and plantings that need to be cared for. Don’t even get me started with the ongoing problems of an aging house: the refrigerator acting up again, an air condition unit on its last leg, the Internet connection down, and the house in need of painting and caulking. All typical homeowner woes. This weekend it was primarily electrical and septic tank troubles.
A Trip to the Old Pear Tree
While others saw to the non-fun stuff, Russ and I took the truck over to the 100-year-old pear tree, that bears fruit on occasion. It’s located in a clearing next to an Ozark cabin as old as the tree itself. Likely it was planted at the same time the house was built in the early 20th century.
As we bounced along over the rutted dirt roads, I snapped a few photos with my iPhone. When we arrived at the old house, I got out and walked about the yard. Russ had earlier cleaned the area with his newest toy—a weed whacker, that he swung mightily, much like a golf club.
Despite the humble nature of the place, a peaceful air rests upon the weathered homestead. Standing in the yard, I felt like I had been transported to another era in Doc Brown’s DeLorean. Today the site is enlivened only by clumps of daffodils, that dare to bloom by the flagstone walkway each year and patches of wildflowers that spring up in nearby fields.
A family of four lived in the cabin for a lifetime, tilling the land in a remote part of the county. The place was heated by a pot-bellied stove, had no air conditioning or insulation and only a pipe coming from the kitchen wall, that brought cold water from the well. An outhouse and storm cellar sat in the side yard as reminders of a bygone era.
I have some history with the pear tree, that stands like a guardian of time, overlooking the house. Four generations of my family have eaten pears from this magnificent fruit tree, that refuses to give up. I’m not sure what kind it is, but the pears are hard, hearty and sweet—good “keepers” as my grandmother might say. It most nearly resembles the heirloom Comice, a variety developed in the 1840s.
Meanwhile . . .
Meanwhile, back at the farmhouse that evening, unable to use the indoor drains, Russ and Robin washed dishes by hand, using water from an outdoor pump. No matter how much we roughed it this weekend, it didn’t compare to the family who planted that old pear tree a hundred years ago.