Farm Lament

old-minnesota-farmstead-don-anderson

This old farmstead damp after a spring shower. Hand colored. by Don Anderson

What Condition We’re In

Some call it a North Dakota condition
Where some rivers run north and poor crops are tradition.
Its’ farmers are Commies and its’ banking’s State-owned
Please pass the hot dish, your future’s postponed!

Once filled with small farms, quarter section in size
Now tilled with tractors and global positioning is prized.
Gone are the Holsteins, a milk house and barn cats for cream
So are the children who loved playing, farming and had big dreams.

Small towns are dried up, the schools gone away
Consolidation brings busing, two hours each day.
Gone are the churches, cafes and the small stores
Wheat fields, barley, and the dog’s locked indoors.

Time keeps on moving, no room for the past
Weather is changing, drought is forecast.
Empty the farmhouse, move into town
Go shopping at Walmart, and let’s just simmer down!

                                      -CJ Holm

Lessons I Learned On A North Dakota Farm

Image ©2017 Clarence Holm

  • Never dig an outhouse hole deeper than what you can climb out of.
  • The fluffiest cats were always skunks.
  • Grabbing an electric fence in never fun, despite what your older brothers tell you.
  • The facts belong to whichever sibling is telling the story.
  • To judge a man, look into his friends eyes.
  • It is never good to take a bath in the same water as the youngest child.
  • Brakes on a John Deere only work if you can reach them.
  • The best neighbors come when you holler.
  • A man plows straightest when he looks at where he is going.
  • When your hands are full, it is harder to pick a fight.
             – Clarence Holm

Going Home

Words and Image ©2016 - Clarence Holm

Words and Image ©2016 – Clarence Holm

I miss walking along green prairie shores
Miss gazing into deep azure skies.
I yearn for the sun’s healing touch
And witnessing the killdeer’s cry

Just above the skyline, where soft clouds ride
Where wind tracked memories reside.
These harvested acres are missing small farms;
Honeysuckle and rock piles, buried and gone

Pastures and barnyards, good things now past,
Friend now just memories, under a cross.
Shackled recollections now frozen in time
Stamped in my memory, shadows on my mind

Dust on the horizon has clouded the view
My tears cleanse the vista, though heartbreaks remain.
Life is a journey, a stroll down a lane
Good things are coming, that is heaven’s refrain.

-Clarence Holm

Winter Memories

Bingham, North Dakota Prairie Country School

Bingham, North Dakota
Prairie Country School

This is a picture of the Bingham, North Dakota school. My family lived in the basement of this school during the winters of 1952 and 1953 while mom taught. During the summer we lived on our farm. In the falls we would go with mom to her teaching jobs. My father would follow as soon as harvest was done.

I was born during my mother’s Christmas vacation in 1952 and my little brother was born during her 1953 Christmas vacation. Mom had successfully hidden her pregnancies from the school board when she was teaching.

Eugene’s birth (the sixth and last in our family) was too much for this small North Dakota School Board to handle, so her teaching contract was terminated for “Morals”. Our family of eight returned to farm to wait for spring planting.

Mom went on to other teaching jobs and we would continue to spend summers on the farm and winters under the schools she taught in.