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Saturday, July 09, 2016

Friday's Visit To Sally Bair's Hegins Farm

Sally and Lulu picking blueberries for lunch.

Small Farms and Coal Mines go together. In 1948 - I was born in a farm house - just like this one - about 10 miles south of Tamaqua where the main highway crosses the Appalachian Trail. For 6 years - habits that have lasted a lifetime were instilled in me by the Pennsylvania Dutch farm families. Then my family moved into the big city of Tamaqua so we could walk to schools and have indoor toilets.

When we visit Sally Bair - all of that heritage floods back into my soul. Sally's Dad - Wayne - is 95 and we just had a wonderful lunch with him. Sally's Mom - Jean - was a Registered nurse. She worked for a private practice Doctor. Wayne used to work in a local mine and kept the farm going. He bought a Farmall tractor new in downtown Hegins - less than a mile from his front door.  Sally and Lulu picked blueberries. I enjoyed my annual tractor ride. Wayne still cuts a couple acres of grass. He does it in 3 days.

The video above shows me driving the 1948 International Harvester Farmall. It is  68 - just like me - and  has never left the farm. It has 4 forward speeds and a 4 cylinder engine. There are two separate brakes for each of the back wheels. There is nothing quite like driving an old tractor with straight axles - no shocks or suspension movement. The battery was low so I had to catch it in gear to start it up once. It is amazing how much torque a tiny engine can put out through giant wheels. One time I choose a higher gear and accidentally did a wheelie. My ride was abruptly ended by a rain shower - good timing - because lunch was ready.

There is nothing more Pennsylvania Dutch than sitting around a large wooden table in the kitchen on a  bench - leaning up against a bead board wainscoting. We had chicken salad - kielbasa and cabbage - and ham and cheese sandwiches. This was highlighted by fresh blueberries - cherries - watermelon - and 2 gallons of Penn State Ice Cream.

Sally is a certified therapy dog trainer. 

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