Saturday, February 16, 2013

Memories - Homesteading

  More memories and looking back today. Homesteading....not me, my Grand-Dad.
  Dewena, over at Across the Way, mentioned the author Hal Borland in her fine series of posts called February faces. That rang a bell with me and I remembered my Dad "encouraging" me to read a book when I was a lad.  So I researched a little and found the book, by Hal Borland.

  Good ole' Amazon.  I was able to locate an old battered copy of High, Wide and Lonesome for only $10.  Hal Borland moved with his family to the High Plains of Eastern Colorado at the age of 8 or 9 in about 1908. They homesteaded south of Brush, Colorado and the book recounts the tough times they experienced proving up on the homestead.  In 1915, his father returned to his trade of printing by buying the newspaper  further south in Flagler.
  So the hook is that my Grand-Dad homesteaded in 1908 just 20 miles from Flagler; my great-grand parents (Grandma's parents) had homesteaded there in 1907. My Dad, born in 1918, was raised on the homestead place and my cousin still lives there today. Dad wanted me to read the book because it closely paralleled his childhood. The book must have kindled something in me, because as a boy, I devoured all books about wagon trains, moving west, etc.
  I really enjoyed reading this book again, some 55-60 years after the first reading. And I also really appreciate that I have family still living there. Most of my living cousins live in the small town on the old farm and another in the house in town to which my grandparents moved in retirement.
  According to my Dad's memoirs, Grandpa built this barn in 1919; quite remarkable for that time, as it had concrete lower walls.  Here are some pictures taken in 2008.
  And this pump house, pictured in 2008, dates back nearly 100 years.

    I appreciate the fact that so much has been left mostly untouched. There is not much left of my home place in Idaho, as it has been developed. Here are stanchions my Dad milked in as a boy.
And a milk can from an early era.

  A saddle from days gone by.
Here is a shot of the countryside in the High Plains, showing the vastness and flatness of the land.
And here is the road leading to the homestead in 2008. Dad wrote many stories about going to town, to school and church on this road in the buggy and later in old cars.

  Thanks, Dewena, for the reminder about this author. I enjoyed rekindling these memories.


  1. I am trying to catch up with my blog reading after taking a break and just read backwards to this as I do love your memories of being part of a farming family. It will mean so much to you and your family to get these memories written down.

    I have never read this Borland book. You must write more about it sometime. I love the look of your copy.

    Thank you for mentioning Across the Way in the post. Part of the fun of blogging has been discovering fellow bloggers who share an admiration for certain writers.

    I hope your chicks do great and I see that Mary Ann from Calamity Acres has found you. She has such a heart for the poultry she raises. Those first eggs will be delicious!

  2. Hi Dewena,
    Good to hear from you. Yes, I really enjoyed reading the Hal Borland book. I don't remember any specifics from 55 years ago, but it jogged many memories of similar themed books. I loved them! There was another book I read in Jr. High school called "Milk Flood". I think I checked it out and re-read it at least a half dozen times. About a young man getting started dairying.
    Just returned from town with a 50# bag of chick starter. Their appetites are growing!