Teenage boy and tween sister move from the big city to a working farm in the Ozarks.
|It is April 1959 and Dad and Mom, mostly Dad, has decided to purchase a three hundred acre working farm in Southern Missouri. I just turned fourteen in March and my kid sister is about twelve and a half. We are city kids from birth yet our parents are farmer folk from way back before we were born. Dad loaded everything we own on a Studebaker truck and we took off. Mom, Dad, and the kid pretty much filled the cab, so I had the joy of riding in the open air for a week while we made our trip east. I got to see a lot of desert and even prong horn antelope in the wild. That was cool.
We arrived during the morning hours and while parents went to town to get utilities turned on me and the kid were left to our own devices. We found there was an ever running creek flowing through our land and we entertained our selves watching beautiful sun perch flit around in the deeper holes of the creek. This new farm life was one continuous adventure for a couple of city kids.
Dad got busy buying a tractor and farm equipment and soon we were tilling the ground and planting the ground with corn seed. Soon the land pushed the corn sprouts from the warm earth and we were cultivating to keep the weeds and grass from our new crop.
One day at noon Dad came in from the fields and informed us that a little Jenny Wren had decided to nest behind the brake pedals of his big red tractor. Wrens are tiny little birds and love to hide their nests away where nothing can find them. Dad Found out about this when Mrs. Wren kept flitting around the tractor as he worked the crop. He stopped to clean his plows of weeds when Mrs. Wren flew down from a stalk to the big tire then, with a fat corn worm in her beak darted through a hole beneath the floor boards to her nest behind the brake pedals.
Dad is a rough and tumble construction contractor and it is a hoot to see his tender side as he periodically parks his tractor to allow the little wren to feed her brood of hatchlings. Why he even parked his tractor right next to the field so Mrs. Wren wouldn't have to fly so far to collect the juicy corn worms to feed her family. After a few weeks we were called outside by Mom and Dad to watch the wren family coax their fledgling fliers from the nest and teach them to fly. During that spring and summer the Kid and I were fascinated watching the scissor tailed swallows and martins raise their families in mud nests in the rafters of our old barn. We lay in the hay loft and at eye level watched as they fed their young and later launched them into the world. We found later that these helpful birds ate worms that troubled our crops, and the swallows and martins spent their day swirling over our barn yard catching mosquitos by the thousands. At night the bats took over doing the same job. True story.