The Glory Has Departed
Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence
Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Friday, June 12, 2015
I worked at my father's donut shop very early, but I always felt I was a farmer. I realized it when I was five and enjoyed my aunt and uncle's farm.
Rural life appealed to me, but I was forced to live in the city, wear shoes, and go to school. Sometimes I dug in the rich, black Illinois prairie soil and wondered how deep it went. Insects interested me in school and I got the top grade for my collection in high school.
I took botany in college, but the professor managed to make the semester as boring as possible.
Grades led me onward into more city work and city life. I started some gardening in Sturgis, Michigan.
I really got involved in Midland, Michigan, collecting all the organic books, going to the Grace Dow Library, and trying out all the theories. I liked talking about agriculture with farmers and finding out how they did their work.
My wife Chris recently said, "I thought I married a future pastor or professor and suddenly I was a farmer's wife."
But that farming instinct was suppressed after some fun years in Minnesota. Next, the desert years were not productive for the inner farmer, Leaving the drought years (!) of a desert valley, we managed to move to a beautiful setting in Bella Vista but the main gardening tool was a pickaxe. On the edge of an oak forest, we had shade galore, so there was no need to buy a pickaxe.
Finally, in so-called retirement, I felt free to complete the process of becoming trans-farmered. Our helper joined me in mulching, trimming, digging, and planting. Our neighbor opened up the entire yard for sunlight. I rigged the yard for watering everywhere and worked on the latest and best soil theories.
Horses graze a block away. A nursery is a short walk from our house. People ask me how to fix their gardening problems. I am growing 73 rose bushes and perhaps more some day. I am a farmer.