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Sunday, November 18, 2012

JOHN KING'S ORIGINAL HOMESTEAD


JOHN KING, KENTUCKY

John King is a man that has successfully made a farming life for himself and family. He bought a large parcel of land in his early twenties that was to provide the type of lifestyle that he was familiar with and wanted to pursue during his lifetime. Now in his seventies he can reflect back and say it has been a full life filled with hard work and a love of family. He mentions that, "full time farming has become a thing of the past, one needs an outside job to keep the bills paid."

HOMESTEAD HOUSE
BEE HIVES STORED ON PORCH

When John bought the parcel of land it came with  a handsome barn and a sturdy wood house. He and his wife made their home in the above cozy house for a few years and then built their own roomier house. The homestead house remains in its original state and still  sits on a slight incline toward the back of their farm. Now sitting gracefully alone on its hill, it can almost whisper to the leaves that surround it,  "its been a good ride."  

HOMESTEAD BARN
STILL IN USE

Built before John King occupied the land, the homestead barn  still stands solidly erect. Still in use for farm machinery, it  appears to have many good years before it. Located near the original homestead house, together they formed a team  before John bought the land. They are the only two structures left on the farm from the previous owners.

Somewhere in the land's history a tannery was located here, long before John's tenure. It was near Clear Water creek which runs through his property.  He said the tannery provided employees with adjacent small tenant houses. Now he tells me that only one steel post remains of the once large operation. 

John was very amenable to letting me stroll around his farm and ask many, many questions. His farm was a reminder to me of the many farms I have known -- that they contain our rural histories and the predictability of the survival of independent farmers. Each independent farm comes with a  different story yet they have a common denominator of values that includes discipline, planning,  physical work,   family, community, and sharing. 

More about John King's farm and its evolution -- soon . . . . .

8 comments:

  1. I wish you have the inpulse and publication connections of a Studs Turkel. The few remaining farmers throughout the wide Midwest,have as much to tell about the meaning of hard work and dedication, changing times and difficulties as working class urbanites have. I'll be interested in future posts about John King. He seems to have endurance equaling that of his barn.

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    1. June --- I feel privileged to have had the chance to interview him and some of his family. You can meet the others that were there during the interview when I publish a post sequel in about a week. I know you were brought up in a farming tradition and you know how so many factors play in a farm's success. I feel that not only are independent farms important for our food economy but also for the retention of open space which is rapidly diminishing. thanks -- barbara

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  2. John King looks to be the kind of guy who has a wealth of wisdom to share. Will await the rest of the story, Barbara.

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    1. Nature Weaver -- I'm sure John King has a wealth of wisdom about farming. You figure he has been at it for about 50 years. thanks for the comment -- barbara

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  3. Think of the solid satisfaction of a life like that!

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    1. Hattie -- Satisfaction for sure -- he choose what he wanted to do and has spent a life time working at it. Like an artist, I guess, its a passion. thanks -- barbara

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  4. I can well imagine that he was happy that someone took the time to ask questions and care....

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    1. Teresa -- You point out something I had not really thought about. He probably was happy to share his story. As the interviewer I am so careful not to trod on anything personal. But, coming from an Irish storytelling father who delighted in telling his stories I should have looked at Mr King's side of the equation. Thanks for shedding the light on his side. -- barbara

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