Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

In loving memory of my farmer dad April 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 7:56 AM
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The barn where I labored alongside my father while growing up on the southwestern Minnesota prairie. File photo.

The barn where I labored alongside my father while growing up on the southwestern Minnesota prairie. File photo.

CALL ME THE BARD of barns, if you will, for barns have inspired me to pen poetic words and to compose poetic photos.

There is something about a barn rising strong and majestic or sagging with the burden of age that moves me. I am reminded of my childhood years toiling in the barn—scraping manure, wheeling ground corn in the wheelbarrow, forking silage.

Cats clumped in corners. Buckle overshoes slapping against cement. WCCO booming “Point of Law.”

Fly specks. Pink baby mice. Long sandpaper cow tongues.

The milkhouse, attached to family barn. File photo.

The abandoned milkhouse, attached to family barn. File photo.

Stuck drinking cups overflowing. Twine on bales. Pails of frothy milk.

Cracked, chapped bleeding hands slimed with Cornhuskers lotion.

Footsteps of my father. Time with Dad. Gone 10 years ago today.

A snippet of the land my father farmed, my middle brother after him. The land and farm site are now rented out.

A snippet of the land my father farmed, my middle brother after him. The land and farm site are now rented out.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


17 Responses to “In loving memory of my farmer dad”

  1. Erin Says:

    Beautiful pictures and words of your Dad. You have many wonderful memories of him. Thanks for sharing.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Reflecting now, I see how blessed I was to work side-by-side with my dad on the barn. Few kids today have that much time with their fathers.

  2. Jackie Says:

    I love hearing the memories you have of “the farm”, a lot of the same memories I hear from my parents who both grew up on the farm. I didnt grow up on the farm but did visit the farm often, and I have some of those lovely memories as well. Playing in the hay loft, being careful not to fall through the hole 10 feet above the cement floor below. Riding bare back, making willow whistles with my mom from the willow branches in Grandma field, putting chickens to “sleep” by rocking them back and forth between our legs (Grandma would of taken a switch to us if she had known) Oh all that fun, back when being a kid, in the country was an adventure! My mom talks a lot about the farm and working along side her dad, just like you Audrey, Sadly I never got to meet my grandpa, who I know would of been the best grandpa ever. I’m glad you still have those vivid sweet memories of your dad and you, on the farm. I’m sure he was a wonderful man! P.S. Love the barn photo’s, I had forgotten about the milk house….another memories stirred up for me. Thanks for sharing

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      There’s nothing quite like growing up on the farm. It’s not necessarily an easy life, but a good one.

  3. Beautiful Post – loving your captures:) Have a Great Day!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thanks. I really need to go back to the farm and take more photos as I shot these several years ago. I’m just sad that the barn is no longer used for cattle. When barns sit empty, they seem to fall apart. But so life goes…

  4. Beth Ann Says:

    Finally getting to reading posts today! So glad I did not miss this one! My grandparents were farmers and I have such great memories of being on their farm—watching Grandpa milk the cows and squirt milk into the barn cats’ open mouths, shelling corn with the corn sheller, crawling around the hay mow and getting eggs from the pecky chickens! Great memories. I know that growing up on a farm would have been difficult work but memorable and I am sure glad you shared today on this day of remembering your dad! 🙂

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Oh, yes, I recall my dad squirting milk into the cats’ mouths, too. Lots of memories, which I barely touched on in this post. Watch for tomorrow’s post with a “This Barn Remembers” poem in honor of National Poetry Month.

  5. cecilia Says:

    You guys worked so hard, your dad must have been a strong good man.. lovely piece.. c

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Worked hard, like you. He was a good man. Yes, a good man, summarizes his character well.

  6. Yes. I wrote a poem about my dad years ago. I should pull it out…

  7. This post is so great! I love old barns.

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