In far southwestern Wisconsin, down endless two lane roads, lives a sturdy population of no-nonsense farmers. These farms are not part of an amalgamation, but 500 acre farms grown larger by marrying the girl next door or by purchasing from a neighbor without children.. Angus cattle, Holstein cows and wild-looking horses with manes and tails embedded with burrs are too leery to come to the fence and take an apple from my hand.
These farms are inhabited by people who have owned them for generations. The oldest members of the family retire, no further than to town, when the next generation gets itchy to fill their thick-soled barn boots and get to it. Men and women hunt deer and turkey and watch football games on TV. A squirrel supper is not uncommon. The type of rugged individual who lives here would be good to have with you in an emergency. They wouldn’t hold your hand or say comforting words, but they would get you through it.
The wind blows fierce across these corn stubble fields in January. Roads flung like ribbons across an eider down quilt cause apprehension at the top of hills where one wonders what will be at the top, a sheer drop or a man on a tractor straddling the double yellow line.
I spent a week there in January while my sister and her husband reunited with the sun in their prior hometown of Sarasota, Florida. The white frozen fog lifted high enough on just one day for me to go outside and walk on the property.
It is an interesting feeling to be alone in someone else’s house for a week. I’ve never been able to feel my sister in that house. But, I saw her personality outside hidden under fallen leaves and in the birdhouses riding on wire strung over the thick arms of old oak trees.
Stay warm…I’m back to work at the shop beginning the first weekend in February.