Last weekend I went to my family's farm. It's in the middle of corn and soybean country--completely rural and open. I love it out there, nothing but big sky and open fields dotted with trees and houses. I can't help but be a little sad though. The land used to be a person's identity--a way to make a living and a life. Families were supported and lived there. The near by small towns were alive with people. They probably never were teeming with people, but had thriving businesses and people living in them. Church's full on Sundays. Now, it's just dead. If people live there they probably drive somewhere else to work. The farms are non-functional. No one raises a variety of crops and animals--it's all just corn and soybeans. All the old barns, silos, and other various building are just rotting. There is no money in farming, so those that do work there can't afford to keep the homes and property in nice condition. It takes fewer farmers to farm the land now, so more and more houses are abandoned or people still live there, but drive else where to work. The small towns are ghost towns. What is happening to our rural way of life?
This made me think of one of my all time favorite books. Stories from the Round Barn by Jacqueline Dougan Jackson. The author wrote about her grandfather and his farm in Wisconsin near the Illinois border. It's full of wonderful stories and insights in to a way of life that is gone now. I recommend it. She followed up with More Stories from the Round Barn. I've had the book for several years now and haven't read it. I am saving it--I'm not sure why.