A few weeks ago when summer was winding down, my parents and I went on an impromptu visit to the farm. The farm is a sixty-something acre piece of open land in the Willamette Valley, Oregon on which my mom's mom grew up (and probably her mom, too). When I asked my mom if she wanted to add anything, she said it opens up a lot of history and provided some fun facts. Bear with me.
- I have a great great grandma named Zula who took it upon herself to write a book of memoirs of her father and grandfather's adventures when they came out West.
- Dibs on the name Zula! It's been added to the future Juergens baby list, so don't even think about it.
- The family came over on the Oregon Trail to settle in the Willamette Valley in Oregon Territory to farm and make an honest living. Unfortunately, Zula didn't write down many of the encounters that my brave ancestors faced; she merely stated that the stories of the six month journey to Oregon seemed so outrageous she hardly believed them.
- The house in these photos was built circa 1890 and is the house and farmland on which my grandma and her three siblings were raised. They raised Hereford cattle (beeeeef) and grew grain crops.
- My mom and her sisters used to ride the cows for fun and climb hay bales to find kittens when they visited. They also used to touch the electric fences (with 60s technology, mind you) "just to see what would happen. It was quite a little jolt!" I really do wish cameras were more available back then...
- It's also rumored that on one occassion while swinging on an old rope from the loft in the barn over the cows, the rope broke and one of my aunts fell face-down in a couple feet of manure. My grandma swears that this is the reason her hair has those rich, auburn highlights. :)
We used to camp on the property every summer with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. While I know many family members have their own stories to tell of memories made on this land, here are some of my favorite memories of the farm.
- We'd get our kites with various cartoons on them stuck in the tall, oak trees. Then we'd spend the rest of the trip trying to untangle and remove the kites. So fun.
- We'd rescue families of baby mice from our mean dad as he rode the riding lawnmower.
- We'd wander and explore and run around in the wild, native foliage. So many games.
- Our childhood vizsla dog, Sunny, would run for miles and would resemble a deer since he would leap through the tall grass to see.
- We'd stay up late roasting marshmallows, looking up at the clear stars and not sleep, since sharing tents with cousin friends is way too exciting.
- We'd pee outside. A lot.
When we visit, we dream of the day we can return for good. There are dreams to build a family winery and a home to share with the goal that family from all over the country moves back to the farm to work and live the simple life together. It's a little utopian, we know, but I say let's go for it. I know the Juergens are in.