Here are pictures of the abandoned farms and houses I promised you all a couple of weeks ago. Most were taken in Republic County and, maybe one or two, in Jewel County, Kansas. These two homes, the one above and below, were left to nature's ravages more recently than the others. The one below has curtains still hanging in the windows. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can see a lone chair still sitting under the collapsed porch roof.
I love this house (below). It looks like it was a grand farm house for a large family. The land around all these abandoned places is still being farmed. I kept the combine, and large truck that were waiting to begin wheat harvest out of this picture.
There was no house on this abandoned place. Maybe someone bought and moved it, as was the case when my parents sold their farm. I like the way the colors lined up in this picture: the blue sky, the green of a shelter belt, the wheat field ripe for harvest, and the mixed grasses of fallow-land in the foreground. A typical Kansas country scene at harvest time.
I didn't realize I had lined up the V-shaped cloud formation so perfectly with the center of the picture. I think it looks like the wings of a large angel coming in for a landing or flying away from this abandoned farm a couple miles east of Republic, Kansas where my friend lives.
This old house below looks really small compared to the spacious farm houses of today. I don't think the smaller building is attached to the house. My farm home had a little building like this a few yards from the house and it housed our Maytag wringer washing machine with two rinsing tubs, and the milk separator that somehow strained out the cream from the whole milk, or so I thought. We called that little building the "wash-house." I'm still mystified about how the separator worked. Maybe all it did was separate the dust and flies from the milk to make it more salable to Tip Top Dairies who made cheese, ice cream, etc. with it. By the time I would have been old enough to learn to use it, we got rid of all our milk cows except one as our family shrunk down to just my parents and me. My mother painted the separator black and planting flowers in and around it. I've repeatedly heard about the time my sister got her arm in the wringer to almost above her elbow before my mother got the wringer in reverse. Luckily sis didn't have any broken bones.
This isn't a house, of course. But in that spread-out agricultural area in North Central Kansas, I saw these old threshing machines decorating the top of a hill looking like pre-historic dinosaurs. This was the rattling, growling machine that we could hear coming down the road behind a popping John Deer followed by neighbors with their teams of horses and hayracks to help our dad do wheat harvest. I talked about that in a previous post. It was quite scary when I was just a little girl, but also pretty exciting.
The pastoral scene below reminds me of the farm I grew up on. It looks too quiet and serene now. It revived memories in me of waking up to the crowing of the rooster and his entourage of cackling hens, the lowing of the cows as they heard the farmer clanging his way to the barn with clean metal milk buckets. Add to that the clamor of waking birds, cats, and a family of five children, with mother making pancakes and sizzling home-grown bacon in a cast-iron frying pan, and you have the perfect scenario for a 1950's working farm. The memories bring with them the smells of farm life, some of them wonderful, like warm milk, sweet clover, and new-mown hay, and the not-s0-pleasant odors of cow and chicken manure, and the lingering scent of a skunk who paid an overnight visit in hopes of finding a stray egg somewhere. We prayed it had left long before we arrived in the yard.
I particularly like the picture with the windmill next to the barn. We had one that the wind would set to whirling and creaking, but the water it drew up from the well nearby, though refreshingly cold, was fit only for the chickens and livestock to drink. On a hot summer day we would carry water from the stock tank in buckets, up the hill (it wasn't difficult for me to picture the Jack and Jill story) and throw water under the shade trees in hopes that the chickens would stay cool enough not to stop laying eggs, or worse, giving up and dying from the heat.
I hope you've enjoyed the pictures, though they're sad. We've lost a wonderful era to progress and perhaps a lot of greed. I miss the small farm and wish it would still be there to go home to. But, as they say, "you can't go home again." It seems like a dream after all these years.