Growing up in my hometown in Connecticut the farming lifestyle was very foreign to many. It is rare to see sights of rural lifestyle such as stretched out acres of land or animals roaming. Yet somehow when we traveled just 30 minutes away from us to Grandma’s house it was like we entered a different world. Pulling into her driveway never ceased to amaze me as a kid. Peacocks, showcasing their beautiful vibrant feathers would walk right up to us, welcoming us as we got out of the car. As I entered the house the view took my breathe away every time. Through every angle of the house, the windows that spanned the entire rear, gave a glimpse of the backyard: a small piece of farming paradise. The hundreds of acres of land were home to horses, cows, ponys, chickens, goats, rabbits, you name it, my grandparents had it all.
Grandma’s house served as a symbol of togetherness for my family. It was the place we usually all gathered as Grandpa never liked to leave the animals for long, and it was the place my cousins who live far away always stayed. However, even though we were together it was the animals that brought out some of our best memories as a family. As the animals were raised on the farm, so were we. Just as we had milestones in our everyday lives, we had milestones on the farm as well. When we reached a certain age, we could learn how to horseback ride. When we had something to celebrate, we got to release pigeons into the air. When the baby goats were born, we each got to claim one and had to learn how to take care of it. Through growing up in this environment, I was taught many lessons about all kinds of animals, what they eat, how they sleep, the different sounds they make, etc. But what I cherished more than the lessons were the bonds I created with my grandparents and the newfound appreciation for my food. Every time we had a sleepover at Grandma’s, I would wake up the earliest in the morning just so I could walk down to the chicken coop with Grandpa and collect the eggs for breakfast. It was sort of him and I’s special thing we got to do together. I remember thinking how cool it was that I could taste the food on my plate and just by looking out the window could see directly where it came from. Everything we ate at Grandma’s tasted better, fresher but most of all made you feel more connected to it as you knew the story of where it came from.
As we got older, so did the animals, and so did my grandparents. The animals slowly began to die off and it became harder and harder for my grandparents to take care of them with their age. The farm eventually declined until there was nothing left and my Grandparents sold their land and eventually their house on it as well. Even though the farm is gone, the memories from it never will be. We will continue to sit around the table every holiday and tell stories of the time I got bucked off the horse into the chicken coop, the way my little brother would cry every time a peacock approached him would cry “no peacock no peacock”, or how my sister fell so in love with one of the bunnies we brought it back into our own home. These are stories I know will live on in our family. We will always look back at the farm and cherish our experiences as well as appreciate the things we eat and the animals they came from.
Pictured : My siblings and I with some of the animals 🙂