Every day, there are changes that happen hourly. Every season, there are changes that happen monthly. And every generation, there are changes that happen over the years. These daily, seasonal, and generational changes are inexorable and inescapable.
At sunrise on a clear day, the line of light brightens the tops of trees and then moves down the trunk to warm the ground. A breeze springs up and quickens in response to the differential heating along that light line. This picture was taken several weeks ago, but we could already clearly see the shift northward from the winter solstice position about a month ago. As the suns climbs higher in the sky during the day, this sunrise location shifts to the north headed for the spring season.
Grandma Daisy Walker Shurr used to say, “As the days grow longer, the cold grows stronger.” The hours of sunlight increase all through the cold winter months. But there are also changes all through the years from one generation to the next. Grandma Daisy was the daughter of homesteaders who lived just a few miles up the Kanaranzi Creek from our Lone Tree Farm. But old folks move off the farm and young families move onto the farm to raise a new brood of kids. This old photo has the original house of the homesteaders circled in yellow. It was repurposed as one of the outbuildings when a new family moved in. Ironically, my wife Margaret is a descendent of that second family. Thanks to one of her cousins who recently shared this picture.
The warm, moist breath of the mouse living in this house, has built a rim of frost around his door. During the cold winter season, his short-term changes leave a mark to outline this entrance at the end of the path. Short-term changes are one thing to deal with, but long-term changes can be a real challenge. A friend just recently told me that he remembers my Dad saying that change is hard enough for people who are forty and fifty years old, but people who are fifty and sixty years old really hate it.
A couple of weeks ago, Margaret and I thought that we saw a bird at the door of this birdhouse. However, it turned out to be only a piece of last summer’s nest waving in the winter wind. The season controls what we see on a daily basis. Short-term changes are influenced by changes that happen over longer periods of time. Margaret has a favorite quote that says: “The only thing that’s constant is change.”
A friend who is a pilot took this photo earlier this fall. In this one picture you can see the homes of four generations. The old house in the background was built by the Shurr homesteaders. It was the house that Grandma Daisy moved into when she married the son of the homesteaders. And, it was the home for the homesteaders’ grandson and great-grandsons. The newer house in the foreground was built by Margaret and one of those great-grandsons….me. The homesteaders arrived at this place in 1871 and now, the neighborhood family who started renting our pasture in 1971, began the process of buying the new house in 2021.
So, the generational changes will be shifting from one family to another on Lone Tree Farm. Changes aren’t easy, but they can’t be avoided and they can be healthy. We’re fortunate that the new homeowners are also good farmers who are renting the land. They’ve shown a commitment to work with Mother Nature and do whatever is “good for the ground”. In that way, the original homesteaders’ legacy of letting the land help to decide what changes are needed, will continue.