Saturday, June 11, 2011

Century Farms

Last year the Farm Bureau published a book on Massachusetts farms that were at least a 100 years old. I just received a copy of the soft cover book from my brother Larry.

Click on the pictures for better viewing.
Century farm project book cover 2010
My Finnish grandparents farm was mentioned on page 43. Read Article below
Century farm project.Harju write up
Last year my dad was contacted and was asked to submit a photo for the book project. Since Dad doesn't have a computer he asked me to send the photo by email for him.
The photos used in the book were all reduced to a small size. I submitted both of the photos below,  the photo that was published has my Finnish grandfather, Fiilus standing with his plow horse, Jerry, and 4 of his oldest children, Reino, Ellen, Eino and Toivo.
Harju Homestead with family and horse3
Like the article mentioned; my grandparents had chickens, pigs, cows and a horse that did the plowing and pulled the wagon when haying the fields. The farm also had a large garden and fruit trees. The property has a large barn, garage, and screen house. Years ago the cranberries would go through several processes in the screen house before being packed for shipment. Now all the  cranberries are processed at Ocean Spray.

  I have many fond childhood memories of time spent at my grandfathers house. Unfortunately, I never knew my grandmother, because she died 2 months before I was born. We only lived a couple of miles from my grandfather, and we visited almost every night. As I got older I would ride my bike or walk over to visit.  I spent many happy hours at the farm.
I learned to ice skate on the cranberry bog by the house with my brothers and cousins in the winter. Grandfather gave us an old chair to push on the ice to keep our balance and to help us stay upright as we learned how to skate, but sometimes we used an old cranberry box to push around the ice.
Long before we were old enough to even think of driving my brother, Larry and I would drive and old truck thru the fields. One time I couldn't stop it in time and hit the barn door. No one was hurt, thank goodness.  Now, most of those fields have been replaced with cranberry bogs.

On summer nights while at the farm we would watch baby foxes near the sand piles that were around the cranberry bog while their mother was out hunting for their dinner. The babies were so inquisitive and cute and would come right up to the car and look at us. 
In the spring and summer we loved to pick blackberries near the barn and watch barn swallows build their nests. It was fun to watch the parent birds feed the young after the eggs hatched.
Grandpa always had a bag of M&M's to share with us, and a cold glass of ginger ale and a sweet. We always looked forward to that treat.
On the front lawn, my older brother, Larry and I would have sword fights as we played pirates using the spikes from yucca plants. The stiff points on those leaves were sharp as they poked into a leg. Ouch!
We also had sword fights using the long beans from the catalpa tree in the front yard.
We would catch fireflies on a summer night in the fields and put them in jars with holes poked in the cover so they had air. I treasure those wonderful childhood memories.
Sadly, my grandfather passed away at the age of 85 when I was senior in high school in 1966. I think of him often and still miss him. My dad, Wilho and my aunt Gert are my grandparents only remaining children and they are now 92 and 87. (my dad passed away in 2014 at the age of 95 1/2)
My grandfather came to this country from Finland with $5.00 in his pocket. He worked hard and was a good provider for his family. Many other Finnish families stayed at the farm with my grandparents in their farmhouse when they first emigrated to the United States from Finland until they found jobs and places to live. I am so proud of my family and what they have accomplished.
My brother Paul and his wife, Linda lived at the farm for a little while when they first got married. My niece Trish and her husband, Ronnie and twin boys and my niece Julie, her husband Geoff and son Graham have also lived in the farmhouse before moving into their own homes.My youngest son now lives in the farmhouse.
Harju Homestead2 
right corner of photo..large catalpa tree with Yucca plant under the tree to the left.
 elaine signature3


Anonymous said...

Loved seeing this! Neat to have your family history recorded!

Barbara said...

So nostalgic you, Elaine. You lost your grandfather about the same time I lost my grandparents, and I have many photos that I treasure which look a great deal like yours.

Joanne Huffman said...

What a delightful memory stimulator the book is! And, I just learned that you and I graduated from high school the same year.

Mervi said...

Hei Elaine!

So nice you shared this with us, nearly tears in my eyes reading your family history.
Some of my family moved to Alaska and worked hard there.
It was very warm, hot week, but now it's cold
again, waiting for the midnight summer fests
Warm wishes from Finland;-))m