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Field Stories

Things To Do, Places To Go

Published on Monday, September 22, 2014

In the past few weeks, I have been driving a lot visiting customers in IL, IN, and OH. However, my largest driving challenge took me only a half mile up the road.

On our farm are three houses. I’ve been living in my great-grandparent’s house for the last couple of years. Well, two weeks ago I sold it and temporarily moved ½ mile north to the original farmhouse which has been sitting empty since my Grandpa passed away. Then, two days later, I closed on another house closer to Beck’s. You see, I’m getting married at the end of October, so some changes needed to take place. Buying and selling houses is no simple feat anymore. The family farm house was part of an estate creating even more paperwork and requiring merely 83 signatures…or was it 183?!

Anyway, every time I step in to the farmhouse, it’s like stepping back in time to around 1950. I wasn’t around in 1950 so for me it’s like stepping back to about 1976, when this picture of me was taken.


That’s me standing in the back room of the old farmhouse which still looks EXACTLY THE SAME! I mean EXACTLY! The 1970s green carpet adorns the floors. White walls with very little hanging on them, amazing woodwork, and furniture never updated to sum it up.

But then there’s that smell. That smell takes me back to my childhood. There’s something special about Grandma and Grandpa’s farmhouse. I don’t know where that smell comes from. I thought it was them but they’re not here. I thought it was the smell of WD-40 on my Grandpa’s coveralls mixed with Grandma’s 'rose hips and orange blossom' spray or maybe it’s just their detergent? It could be the basement? What does 1950 smell like? If everything else goes unchanged, does the smell know not to change as well? I don’t know. But there’s something about that smell that takes me back to when things moved a bit slower.

Our lives are undoubtedly moving at a faster pace, thanks in part to technology intended to make our lives simpler. However, putting that aside…my grandparent’s generation just seemed to be so slow to me. Is this a generational phenomenon or personality type driven? Maybe I’m thinking of two different things here? Give me your thoughts.

My fiancé, Mary, and I were recently over at her parents. We decided we wanted to build a couple of tables out of old barn siding for the wedding. The wedding is going to be outside with a fall type of “laid-back” theme. But getting the “laid-back” theme is anything but laid back.

We explained to her dad (future father-in-law) that we wanted to cut old barn siding off the falling down barn for the table top and buy “new” 4x4 posts for the legs and then distress them for an antique look. Phil and Janice thought that was a great idea. Mary said, “Well, let’s go!” Phil’s response was simply…”Now? You want this now?”

Long story short, Mary and I were definitely going at a pace that was undoubtedly too fast for dad. We also just wanted to get it done…so, if it was 1/16” off, that’s okay! As you can see in the background, I think Phil was thinking to himself, “I don’t know what the rush is? If they’d just slow down they’d make it look better. Why are we taking old stuff that needs burned and mixing it with new materials and making them look old? Crazy kids!” (This is just my guess, but I think I’m not far off.)


                            This is Mary rushing so fast that her stride looks to be 4’ in length!

                                                           The finished product!

Do Mary and I just have personalities that make us want to go fast and get stuff done? Does Phil’s desire to go slow and do it right reflect his personality or his generation? We all have stories like this.

For our generation, I think there’s a lot to learn from the ones that came before us. Slowing down to smell the…farmhouse? (Roses…you know where I’m going with this.) Slowing down to savor every moment with those we love is never a bad thing. If we don’t get it done today then we can probably do it tomorrow. My battle with that voice inside my head telling me to speed it up will probably always be there. But I’m trying to embrace slowing down.

Take some time to appreciate a time when things were slower, smelled better, and simply did not change much. It does a heart good.

Comments (3)Number of views (15897)

Author: Ryan McAllister

Categories: Field Stories


Ryan McAllister
Ryan McAllister>

Ryan McAllister

Practical Farm Research Director at Beck's.

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Full biography

Practical Farm Research Director at Beck's.


3 comments on article "Field Stories"

Cindy bailey

9/23/2014 7:42 AM

A wonderful reminder, thanks for the story.....congratulations to you and Mary! PS. The tables are very cool!

Ryan McAllister

9/25/2014 7:41 AM

Thanks Cindy!

Ronald Schultz

1/6/2018 12:57 PM

When I started farming grandpa was old,62,dad was 40 I was 20. We worked together to get the job done. 47 years later I and my wife are still farming. It's wonderful to reflect back to simpler times but exciting to plan for next year. Thanks for reminding us.

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