Taking Care of the Land


My family has embarked on a new adventure.  My mother and stepfather decided around this time last year that they wanted a change.  They bought a 22 acre tract of land about 30 minutes away from our hometown.  This land is made up primarily of riverfront woods, with a 9-acre cornfield and about an acre of land for the house and yard.

Well, the people who lived here before us were hoarders.  The house had been abandoned years before we ever saw it.  The house itself was demolished and a new one (a modular home) was “put together” in its place.  So we live here, on our little 22-acre patch of heaven…except, it’s not quite there yet.

The land is beautiful.  The woods are peaceful and private and the river is beautiful.  However, between the house and the woods there is a…mess.  And it’s our responsibility to clean it up.  Not only do we want to live in a beautiful place, but we want to take care of the land as best as we can.  So, this weekend I returned to my roots and came home to help do some picking up.  I rocked out my tiny work gloves and my tiny boots and some grubby clothing and I WORKED.

I dug up and pulled fencing, I sorted scrap metal, I cut thistle bushes and pulled vines.  It was work like I haven’t done in ages, and it felt great.  I even got to go for a tractor ride, which felt fantastic after so long.  (In case anyone was wondering, it was a Ford 8000 loader.)

For me, this day was special for two reasons.  One, it was fun to work the land with my parents and a very helpful neighbor; it was great to get dirty and do some real labor after so long away from it.  And, it felt good to put in hard work and see the change in the land around us.  We made great progress.

Here are some pictures, care of my Mama and her photographic prowess.

A view of some of the woods.
Beautiful!
Our 14-year-old ChowChow, Chewy, has settled into the new place well!

Riding along with our neighbor Jeff on his loader tractor as he helps my parents clean up scrap.

It was a fun weekend, but more importantly, we had the opportunity to work at beautifying and cleansing the land now under our care.

We may not raise livestock or grow large amounts of crop, but we consider this our little “farm.”  It’s our very own patch of heaven, tucked away in rural Illinois.  And, slowly but surely, it’s being restored to its natural beauty and full potential.

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