Posts Tagged ‘homestead’



When Uncle Jeb was in his prime

And chose to settle down,

He found a piece of land up north,            

Several miles from town.                                    


He’d say it was “the good old days” –

A nearly perfect life,

For he was busy every day

On a homestead for his wife.


Across the lake were lodge-pole pines,

Just perfect for his needs.

He rowed across to cut some down,

Then trudged through waist-high weeds.                                             


He cut down three, to float across,

Not so with number four,

It knocked him down and trapped his leg

There on the forest floor.


Since Jeb was trapped and injured

At waning of the day,

His Collie, Shag, stayed by his side,

To chase the wolves away.


But night’s dark curtain, beckoned..

The wolves would soon come back.

Though Shag would fight his best for him,

He couldn’t lick a pack.


Jeb unsheathed his skinner knife

To set himself free, …

Cutting through the mashed bone

Just below the knee.


He crawled and slithered to the boat,

And rowed himself back home,

Then rode a horse ten miles to town,

Down trails he used to roam.


That’s Uncle Jeb’s  story

About how he lost his limb..

I believed it when a child – but,

Could it be a tale GRIMM?


8/28/05      Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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           (Griffith. Indiana)


I journeyed to my old homestead

before they tore it down.

Just a weathered run-down farmhouse,

a mile or two from town.


It was built from hand-hewn timber

with roof of tin and tile,

but I saw beauty in its form

and couldn’t help but smile.


The framework of the old homestead

was broken here and there.

This relic from another time,

was well past all repair.


Gaping wounds where doors once hung

from hinges made of brass.

A crumbling chimney of old bricks,

and windows minus glass.


Inside, the ceilings wept from leaks,

and holes exposed the sky.

The papered walls were peeling down,

and fixtures hung awry.


I walked around on sagging floors

that creaked in mild protest,

hearing echoes from the past

while on this memory quest.


And then my heart was overwhelmed

with feelings memories bring,

and I was quick to realize,

that a house is just a thing.


For home is what we make a house,

by sharing time and space,

with love and grace and tolerance

and smiles upon our face.


So it wasn’t just an old abode

of ceiling, wall, and floor . . .

it was the home inside the house

that I’d been longing for


The house now dies in sad decay

But the home will never fade away.



9/7/92     Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck


5’th … Arkansas NPD 1997

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End of the lane

Field full of grain

Barrel of rain

      House, once white

      Oil lamp light

Crumbling silo

Farm dog named Joe

A goat named Flo

      Barn of red

      Small plow shed

Worn “outhouse” trails

Broken fence rails

Dented milk pails

      Garden rows

      Big black crows

Piglets and sow

Brown Jersey cow

Hay in the mow

      Sway-backed horse

      Cats, of course

Mice, quite a few

A barn-owl, too

Duck-pond in view

      Coop and pen

      Plump brown hen

Rooster to crow

Chicks that will grow

Flowers to show

      Swing for kids

      Wells with lids

Tepeed corn shocks

Land strewn with rocks

Starlings in flocks

      My old farm

      Postcard charm    


2/2/89 –  Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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