Where the fish are

The Farm. Now, here’s a name that conjures up images of red barns, animals, tractors and hay.  Well, this particular farm has none of the above.  To justify to people as to why it has this name we explain that it is actually a “fish farm,” which is technically true.

We do have a fish farm license and we do have fish, but we don’t do anything with those fish except fish them and eat them.  Small mouth bass are excellent eating.

I suspect the name “The Farm” came about because the place is out in the country.  It has been in my family for a long time.  The 16 acres that I call “The Farm” were carved out of my grandfather’s and my uncle’s properties.  That means that to get there one must leave the main road and drive on a gravel, single lane road for almost a mile, following other people’s property boundaries until you actual set foot, or wheel, on mine.  That isn’t a bad thing:  Not many people will brave a gravel road that seems to go on forever (with no chance of turning around and going back!) without knowing what’s at the end.  It’s great for privacy!

My parents built the house when I was little – probably about 3 years old judging from the pictures of me taken during the construction.  The original house was pretty small.  We had an open plan living, dining, kitchen area; three small bedrooms and one bath, plus a big screened in – roof too – porch.  It didn’t take my parents long to figure out that it was too small for 6 of us, so within just a few years there was an expansion that turned the old living area into just dining, and added on two more times that space to create a living room, with a huge hearth fireplace, and what we called the “game room.” (Many a game of Tripoly was played in that space!) Still all open plan.  At the same time, they expanded out the other side too and created a master bedroom and bath, plus a second entrance (or exit, which I don’t think we ever used).

Many, many weekends of my childhood were spent there.  I always loved it.  I spent hours wandering around in the woods and through my uncle’s apple orchard, playing out imaginary survival games. (“The Box Car Children” was my favorite book and Steve and I were forever playing “Wild Children.”)  I liked to imagine the animals living there, pick flowers, collect feathers, bones and seeds – all things I still do.

As a teenager, the tenor of my weekends at the farm changed, and now friends would come out for the weekends too.  I won’t get into the details of the things we did (most of them pretty tame!) but suffice it to say, I understand the appeal to a parent of having their child locked away in the woods with their friends, playing cards and perhaps, drinking, rather than cruising the streets at night in cars and perhaps, drinking. In our defense, the drinking age was 18, when I was a teenager.

I came to own the Farm only after my father died (my mother having died many years earlier).  The property was offered to all four of us, and I held my breath, but to me unbelievably, no one else was interested.  Now every time I drive down that long, gravel road, I think of myself as the luckiest person in the world.

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