Holes: A Homesteader's Narrative


| 2/4/2015 10:09:00 AM


Tags: rural life, farm stories, humor, garden tools, Wisconsin, Laura Berlage,

Work Boots Patched 

Let’s be honest, holes happen on farms. I always get holes in my jeans from making hay — throwing bales, stacking, climbing, crawling. There’s a sand-strewn hole just under the garage foundation where the thirteen-lined ground squirrels have taken up residence. And there are all the quirky knotholes in the walls of the barn, where the light shines in and casts speckles and streaks in the morning.

There are holes in my chore boots, right where they fold when I walk, that lets in the morning dew and splattering rain, dampening the tops of my socks. So much for keeping me warm and dry…but I still haven’t taken the time to replace them. Seems like you just get something broke in when the holes start appearing.

Our summer intern Sam found the hole in the pair of thick, blue, rubber gloves used for dunking the chickens in the scalding tank during butchering. Now and then, she’d have to pour out the hot water that had collected inside. And, of course, there’s always the holes worn into garden gloves from weeding and transplanting, with sandy grit impacted under my fingernails or the sticky greenness from handling tomato plants. 

Yup, it seems that some things have trouble holding up to farm work. Last summer, a particularly pointy rock managed to put two holes in one of the truck tires.  At first, it looked like a nail, but the fix-it garage saved the dagger-shaped stone after extraction for us to see.  What luck it was indeed to run over such a treasure wrong-side-up.  We actually kept the little bugger, to show when telling the story to family, but also to quarantine it from reappearing on the driveway!

Every Saturday during farmer’s market season, I load up the car with bakery, jams, produce, gelato, and other farm goodies. The fold-up canopy rests on top, along with the tables and bakery bins.  Our first canopy, which lasted 10 years of active duty, had a pretty forest green and white striped top with a center peak. The case that slipped over the top was equally striped, like a big Cat-in-the-Hat chapeau, minus the brim. Well, as the 10 years were getting on, the case first wrinkled, then wore out at the corners, then tore down the seam, then simply disintegrated. 




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