Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cana Valley Farm

My grandmother has been long gone, but I still remember the stories she told of home.  Home was a farm whose cash crop was apple orchards. A big focus of home life was making fruit gift baskets to ship north to Chicago on the train at Christmas time.

I remember her telling of peeling apples - she was a champ at peeling one long continuous peel of apple skin - and making cider and apple butter.  She used homemade apple cider vinegar to rinse her hair.  One of her specialties was making an Apple Butter Stacked Cake - I think it had like 12 layers or something.

My great-grandparents raised 7 children - and a couple grandchildren - at Cana Valley farm.  My dad spent a big part of his childhood there as well. When they had all passed, my great-aunt bought the home and restored it.  It was said she made it to look exactly the way it looked when she grew up, even to wall papering walls with the exact same paper used as before.

I heard all theses stories but didn't get to SEE where it all took place until many years later.  One day, a couple of cousins and I begged our uncle to take us to view the old home place.  It had long been sold out of the family. We drove to view it but unfortunately no one was home that day so we didn't get to see inside.

We were all snapping photos with our cameras and cell phones like mad.  Sad to say, we were just learning how to work technology so the photos are blurry.

The barn still says Cana Valley Farm - named by my great-aunt

Homeplace among the trees

Steps leading up the hill to the house
The reality of the farm didn't quite live up to the pictures I had in my mind ...  But somehow, this acreage means something to me.  I think ancestral homes just speak to us; perhaps a whispering of "Look how far you've come," or maybe even, "Come back to what's important."

Have you ever been back to your roots?  What did you hear?

Mama's Losin' It

This post was written in response to Writer's Workshop prompt 2.) Find a photo of your grandmother's hometown and share it. I don't have a photo of the little community nearby but Cana Valley is what she would have called home.  For more responses to this prompt, visit Kat's blog, "Mama's Losin' It."


Carol said...

Oh... to go back to the farm and have those memories come back like a flood. What a wonderful opportunity! Yes, going back to our roots connects us to our ancestors that makes us better, more joyful, and more thankful. Knowing where I come from and doing ancestry research is truly inspiring and uplifting. We learn not only about them, but about ourselves as well. Loved your post!

betty said...

I think it is neat Cana Valley Farm still exists, even though it is not in your family any more. Glad it didn't get torn down for a housing development or something else. It would be neat if you go again to see it if someone would be home so you could look around the inside of the house as well!


Melanie Cook said...

I grew up in several different houses but one stick out in my mind as the one I lived in the longest in upstate NY. I haven't seen it in 40 years. It had belonged to my paternal grandfather but had since been sold to others. In my mind, I can walk through it as clearly as 40 years ago.

Joyful said...

Well, I am living on the very acreage that I grew up on. We now own the farm my grandparents had when I was little. Things have changed. When we had to tear down the old barn I cried great tears of saddness! But it wasn't safe. When one of the original homes was torn down just a couple years ago...again, I cried. It was a wasp haven and nothing else. But when I walk the fields or go through the woods I remember all the great times we had here with grandma (who now lives with me) and grandpa (who went to heaven 10 years ago). Town is growing closer to us but I still love the place!

Angie said...

The home I grew up in burnt a few years ago. I had such a sadness and empty feeling when I found out. That truly was the house that built me!

Will said...

I love a pilgrimage like this. All my roots take me back to simple folk. Nothing glamorous, but solid. And solid is good! ~May

Miriam Gomberg said...

I love the pics you shared. The farm looks absolutely beautiful. Living in Nevada, anything green is quite impressive to me.

I always wanted to learn to peel an apple in one long ribbon. That is such a cool skill.

Thanks for sharing!

Mama Kat said...

Oh I think it's beautiful! I'm so intrigued by our grandparents story. This was such a fun glimpse into hers!