when people ask 'where are you from?", I have no clear answer. I've lived all over the country. my family typically moved to a new state every year. but, we always went back to nebraska for the summer or holidays. both sets of grandparents lived there, it was the one constant location of my childhood. I even had my first job in nebraska, I was 13. I worked for the geneva seed company making $1.35 an hour. I worked in the cornfield with some scary children of the corn... but that's another story, likely another blog.
this summer, I took my three kids back to the family farm in nebraska.
I loved to drink fresh well water from that tap with my grandfather. he kept a plastic coffee cup hanging from a nail near the tap. he'd pull the lever and it would start to shake and water would sputter and spit till it became a constant flow of fresh cold water. and, CORN! corn for as far as you can see.
the old barn still stands (bigger)
my mom found some old doors in the barn that were from the house that she grew up in.
the child (my niece) instinctively knows to turn the knob of the old door.
without the realization that she is probably the 4th or 5th generation of our family to grip that same knob.
UPDATE: my mom brought over some old negatives of the farm house that the door came from, see bottom of post for my attempt to scan one.
the people who rent the old house that remains on the farm had a handsome chicken. I know you like looking at chicken portraits.
My mom standing in her soybean field. or, my mommie's edamames.
I recall my cousin and I helping my grandfather lay this pipe irrigation for this corn field. I was younger than #1 son is now. Kenny (cousin) and I were deposited at one end of the field and told to follow a row of corn till we came out on the other side where they started opening the gates on the pipe.
I recall riding in the combine, harvesting wheat with my grandfather. then riding in his big red IH truck to that grain elevator (seen above, behind #1 son).
it was raining buckets back in texas while we were dry in nebraska. now the drought is in nebraska. the big well pump was working hard to provide water for corn.
my grandfather called that stuff "loco weed". it grows wild up there, but the cows won't eat it.
#1 son quickly fell in love with the fresh corn on the cob we enjoyed daily. #2 son was excited about the "corn holders! why don't we have these at OUR house?"
current owners of my grandparent's house have added a covered porch to the side, brilliant!
and on the other side of town, my other grandmother's house, current owners have converted the front yard to a nebraska cornhukers football shrine.... not so brilliant (IMHO). those huskers take their football seriously.
one of the high points of my summer in nebraska was getting a chocolate malt from the daisy queen. it's still there, and they still make malts.
cemetery visits: meet the great grandparents, and the great-great grandparents etc.
a family member from my mom's side met us at their family cemetery. he lives near and helps care for the place. it was great walking around with him as he knows/knew many of the names/people on the headstones. mom showed us where she will lay some day. there are a bunch of us in that dirt, going back generations. out there in a corn field in nebraska, it all starts and ends for us.
who knew the cemetery could be so much fun? we got this old water well working. the kids didn't want to leave we were having so much fun. that water coming up from underground... ancestor water!
we drank some, I can't say ancestor water tastes great.
poured a little out.
look at that goofball!
the fresh brewed beer from lazlo's tasted better than the ancestor water. the kids were disappointed by their beer bread but that 4oz sirloin steak from the kid's menu ($6.29) was REALLY GOOD BEEF!
the nebraska state capitol can be seen from just about anywhere in the area (view above is from between the buffalo statue legs at pioneer's park). the land is mostly flat with NO other tall buildings. I used to get so excited to see it as a child, and the same captiol sighting fever caught on with my kids (and nieces). so we went.
it's an impressive capitol, but the real beauty is found inside. you will find modern art in there, really.
the rotunda at the top features some beautiful mid-century modern art, murals by artist kenneth evett (1956). better pics of all three murals can be viewed from this link
the main hall downstairs features amazing works of modern art by charles clement (1967, above and below). his beautiful mosaics can be viewed in detail from this link if you can't make it to nebraska to view them yourself.
we did go to the very top, and I did consider taking a pic from up there. but with no other tall landmarks in lincoln and no distinguishing geographic features to be seen... wasn't much to photograph.
we enjoyed dinner at the farm of my aunt and uncle. some cousins came, brought their spouses and children along:
#1 son found an apple tree. they were not ripe yet, a bit tart. living on a farm, you want an apple? plant an apple tree and feed yourself. there is no store just down the street.
went walking around with cousins and kids.
we found an old windmill driven well pump. we got it working after pumping a good while.
my uncle's old farmall 666 tractor.
#2 son was THRILLED!
it was great to see all the kids playing together. the next generation... summer trips to nebraska.
the boys love the cheese and crackers.
Minnie the dog is 18 years old, has had her back broken some years ago so her back legs don't follow the front. she is completely blind in one eye and partially blind in the other and of course she's deaf. keep on truckin' minnie.
another highlight of my summer trips to nebraska was the children's zoo. while much of the world changes, nebraska has remained pretty much the same, including the children's zoo. the boys loved the train ride around the zoo.
elephant hall (morrill hall) has largest mounted mammoth in the world. it was free back when I was a kid, but well worth the current price of admission. another great stop for kids.
live buffalo in pioneer's park and buffalo statue and myself below.
my grandparents used to picnic in this park when they were dating. we have an old photograph of this buffalo and my grandfather. time marches on, the buffalo observes.
the daughter loves all creatures. they have many at the nature center there in pioneer's park.
a seasonal/summer ice cream stand
#2 son spends most of his time with his older siblings, playing video games. half-life is their game of choice this summer, and minecaft. his vocabulary is a reflection of gamer and older kid culture. phrases he likes to toss out include "this level is hard" or "I need to level up but this boss is hard to defeat". his young preschool cousins have not been contaminated with such language, they have remained princess pure. this contrast was obvious when he would issue gems like "why is it so freakin cold in here?" or while at the cemetery, "why are they dead? did a zombie get them?". I'll admit that I share as much of the blame as the games/siblings. a new favorite term I've heard is "die you bastard", we've had to explain that may not be appropriate, to which he replied "why?" (that his is response to everything). nevermind the constant fart/poop comments... actually the girls seemed to appreciate the scat talk...
then again, he's a boy, they are girls. while riding back from the farm, they were completely absorbed with Snow White (1937 movie). Snow White was singing with some birds, "la-la-la-LA". he watched along and then I saw him make a face. I could see his opinion form as he blurted out "that song is HORRIBLE! it freaks me out, why is she making those CRAZY sounds? it's HORRIBLE. I don't like this freakin' movie". then I realized that "freakin" is considered a bad word up there... I can't keep track of the bad word/good word list.