Revisiting the Heisler Family Farm

As a ten year old boy, I spent a lot of time roaming the fields of our grandparents' farm. Whether it was inspecting an interesting plant, looking for where crayfish came from, or just contemplating Things, the fields of the family farm have left an impression in my psyche that I think of as 'home' and 'place'.

I remember there being a small henhouse in the field on the left side of the barn.
Woodchucks caused considerable damage in this hayfield. On a couple occasions I borrowed my cousins 22-caliber rifle and tried to shoot them from a window in the peak of the barn roof. I was a terrible shot, however, and the bullets only kicked up a little dust.
A fully-loaded haywagon almost turned over on this hill when a wheel went into a chuck hole.
I was quite proud that as a ten year old I could lift the 100 pound bales onto the wagon. I would tilt the bale onto my knee and then use my stronger leg muscles to assist in the lift.
Above the discs you can see the end of a conveyor system that loaded the manure-laden straw used for bedding the cows into a spreader, whence it fertilized the fields.
After milking, the cows were released into this field. The younger ones would jump and kick their heels in elation over their release from confinement.
A steam meandered through this pasture behind the house. Weeds have choked it off now, but in 1960 it ran clear and beautiful. By brother caught a fish with his bare hands in it.
The stream continued to meander through more pastures on the other side of the road. The cows kept the grass neatly clipped. Their wanderings created well worn paths that were the easiest ways to get to the most interesting places.
Whenever Grandpa wanted to be alone, he would get on his tractor and disc that field across the road.
Of course, it was a more secluded field then, when the great chickhouse sat on this foundation.
In the middle of this hill, toward the tree line, you can still see traces of a couple blackberry brambles. In the summer of 1960, we all donned heavy clothes to protect us and waded into the thorny bushes. We filled a washtub with berries and gorged on them for weeks afterward.
It is hard to believe that this mass of weeds was once a pond. My brother and I once caught enough frogs here to provide everyone in the household a tasty frog-leg dinner.
On the other side of the road the stream is now covered over by scrub willow. Here I caught minnows and crayfish in traps of my own design. The stream froze over in the winter and became the floor of a snow fort carved out of the banks piled up by the snowplows.
There is an old family cemetery half-way up the hill along the road leading to Route 20. It pre-dates our family's arrival on this land.
One of the tombstones is in pretty good condition still.
This other stone is worn but still legible. Other stones in the plot are broken and weathered away. Someone does seem to look after it, the weeds were cut the day I visited.
This stately evergreen stands outside the front door of the house. I remember my sisters playing house under its branches.
It probably hasn't heard children's laughter in a long time.
Whereas this grand maple continues to beckon travelers along the welcoming road.

Outbuildings Fields House Roads Scenic Back to Main Page

These pages and all their contents, including images, © Copyright 1999 Gobind Khalsa