There are gravestones made of wheat and here there are farmsteads marked with granite headstones. Tombstones to remember the once vital landscape.
This is the farmstead at the end of our section.
The Hansons erected this monument to their beloved. To a life well lived. I invite you to come visit this marker yourself. It shows a beautiful farmstead that I imagine with chickens, pigs, cows, small grains, a pasture, flowers, gardens, children. The windmill tower still stands. It is the most beautiful farm site-- right on a shallow lake. They probably saw waterfowl in the hundreds of thousands. I image they were happy, well fed, comfortable much of the time.
Was it a blip in time to have this American landscape populated with small farms? With self reliant, hard working folk? Is that all gone forever? Nothing remaining but old groves where barns and houses once stood. An occasional granite marker where the farmsteads and churches once stood.
I know a thing or two about grief-- and this is grief. One day last year I sat on the St. Paul campus in a group of faculty and rural community members. The metro faculty talking about how to confront all the encroaching growth and development. After 1/2 hour one of the rural people said "you talk about growth-- but we are just trying to stave off the grief at all the loss." The loss of our farms, farmers, children, neighbors. This county--Big Stone-- has lost 50% of its people in the last 30 years.
I'm not staving off grief. I never have. But we're certainly not ready to give up that dream of having more farms and farmers all around us. Did you hear MPR this morning? There are people who want to come back.-- to farm for a living.
I can show them some really nice farm sites....