Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Niklaus' Big Day!

I have a cousin who married a man named Kenny. He is from a big family in our home town and is a great man. I loved him from even before he and my cousin were married because he would joke with us little girls all the time and didn't seem to notice that we were mere kids. We used to tease him because he is "x" number of years older than our cousin by joking with him about needing a cane, a walker, having gray hairs, etc. and he would always play along. We (Trine and I) would always be recruited to be "servers" at the reception of our cousins because we were younger and had no lives, basically. We served at Kenny's wedding and followed their lives as they went on to have 3, stunningly beautiful children, and serve our hometown parish and community in many, wonderful ways. They (their whole family) are such humble, sweet, caring's funny we're related haha!
Anyway, Kenny's family was raised on a farm just outside of town that has an unusual feature...a round barn! I never knew about it (which is silly, since I must have seen it hundreds of times in my life) until I saw him a couple of months ago when we were at the grocery store, getting flowers to give to Anna at the airport (all of the kids were with us and Trine was in the store when I saw Kenny in the parking lot). He told me that he was trying to get into the fields to bring in the beans but that it was too wet. When I realized, with those words, that he still farmed the land a little, (his parents moved off the farm just a few years ago and it's been empty but Ken still works a few of the fields around the farm just to keep it up. His real job is in the U.S. postal service for a neighboring town.) I got very excited because Bocker has been wanting to ride in a tractor for the LONGEST time and he'd been seeing combines everywhere. He can describe for you all of the details of harvesting corn and knows what most farm equipment is called by seeing just a picture of if. I don't know why he is so fascinated by that stuff, but I suppose it's in his blood a little (both of our families farmed in past generations)? Anyway, Ken said he'd be happy to have Bocker see him harvesting and maybe get a ride when the time came. The time came!

Round barns have a very interesting history in the U.S.. There are not very many of the original buildings still standing and I was so happy to get a tour of this fascinating structure. The farm itself is such a cute, neat, little farm and Kenny was so generous with his time to show us everything we (well, ME, since Bocker had only eyes for the combine!) wanted to see. The barn is amazing on the inside with NO trusses and open all the way to the rooftop (you can see the daylight through the top windows). There aren't very good windows so the inside pictures didn't turn out very well, but I took a few pictures of the hooks and pulleys that were originally used to grasp the bunches of hay and stack in the barn. If I had a couple hundred thousand dollars, I'd buy that thing and renovate it for wedding receptions, or get-togethers and maybe turn the house into a gift shop/historical society for the town. In the next picture, if you can click on it and get a closer look, you can see the swampy area and woods beyond the farm through the oddly placed "window" on the right side of the barn. It's in a little wall that connects the barn to a silo.

Kenny had already harvested the fields (he said it would have been hard to combine with Bocker in the tractor since the fan was broken and the dust was pretty intense) so he gave him a ride to his brother's property adjoining the family farm about a half a mile away through the fields. I took the van over to the house to wait for Niklaus and Kenny. When they got out, Niklaus had a thoughtful expression on his face. He was so quiet in front of Kenny and his brother, and an elderly neighbor that had stopped by on his four wheeler (I got video of them chatting because I love the sound of their German accented, farmboy voices!), but when we got in the van, he chatted nonstop about his big ride and had a million questions about the whole thing. He probably will talk about all of this until he gets a chance to see planting in the spring! I know for sure that he will never forget his ride! I'll never forget the few times I got to go in the combine with my Grandpa Rudy. It was a pretty rare privilege because of having so many cousins, so I'll treasure that time alone I had with him.

Being in a tractor makes you feel like you're on top of the world...
According to almost-four-year-old boys...and their thirty-something moms!