Out of the Sacred Ground
"Out of the Ground... made the LORD to Grow"
What is it about this dirt... this ground of our farm? Sometimes I think about it. How my great grandparents and my grandchildren, even though they've never met, have all held it in their hands.
Isn't that awesome? It's humbling. Life is short and fragile and passing, but the dirt remains... connecting us all.
Six generations of family have worked this land. Close to 100 years. We've milked the cows and gathered the eggs, fed the pigs and raised our families.
My grandfather taught my dad to whistle with his fingers in his mouth to call the boys a half mile away at the end of the farm, and Dad taught me. It seems only a few summers past that I taught my sons. But it must have been longer because soon they will be teaching theirs. Maybe I can help.
My Grandma and Grandpa Shank raised their seven children in the same brick farm house where my wife and I now live and are still raising our youngest three. And now we're the grandparents. Four times already.
One comforting thought is that we aren't as old as my grandparents were at our age. :)
We've eaten together, three meals a day in the same dining room and sat around and read the Bible and sang and prayed and shared our hearts with one another in the same living room. These walls have heard the laughter, seen the tears and felt the joy of it all. The daughters in the family all courted in the same dating "parlor."
We rotate chickens and cattle in the very same pastures where my father remembers moving chickens when he was a boy. Everyone in our family learned to drive on the same dirt field lane.
We've learned the same tricks over the decades. Like how to pull a backwards calf and how to pick the best heifers to keep, how to respectfully butcher chickens, and where the groundhogs can be found for a fine summer hunt.
But it hasn't all been good times. We've shared hard times here, too.
The big barn burnt down in 1946 and the hog barn threatened to cave in under snow load three separate winters. And it would've done it too, if it hadn't been for friends who dropped everything to man the shovels.
We've mourned the loss of favorite cows, good dogs, not a few cats and several close neighbors. I'll never forget the afternoon Dad smashed his finger to a bloody pulp in the wood splitter.
Yes, all this, but our kitchen has also been filled with casseroles and home-baked bread brought by church and family to share over the births of our children, stress of financial loss, raw milk regulatory nightmares or just an extra busy week.
I think about the number of men who have gotten their hands greasy and their knuckles skinned in the shop. And the number of children and cousins, who have built tunnels in the haymow, risked their lives on the barn swing, and played in the cotton seed.
I think how we waded in the creek, picked peas and sweet corn in 'the patch' and canned peaches with the old wood-fired furnace and iron kettles in the wash house.
We played 'Kick the Can' and 'Piggy-Wants-a-Motion' in the glow of light streaming from the house on warm summer nights, while kindred spirits and family stayed till late just soaking up good times and making memories.
I wonder how many prayers for rain have gone up standing in the same place during the last 100 years? How many arms and faces have been jubilantly lifted to receive that rain in heartfelt, out-loud praise to our good God when the rains did come... and they always did.
We are all part of each other, six generations separated... yet joined at the heart by Faith, Hope and Love.
We're separated by time... yet grounded by a legacy of family, faith and growing food from this dirt... this rich, brown, God-created ground.
Edwin & Dawn Shank and Family
God Designed it. We Respect it. That Explains it!
Praise GOD From Whom All Blessings Flow!
It's all about Him!
The LORD God formed man
Of the Dust of The Ground,
Breathed into his nostrils the Breath of Life;
Man became a Living Soul.
The LORD God planted A Garden eastward in Eden;
There he put the man whom he had formed.
Out of The Ground
Made the LORD God to Grow
Every tree that is pleasant to the sight,
And Good for Food...
And God said...
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,
till thou return unto The Ground;
for out of it wast thou taken:
for Dust thou art,
unto Dust shalt thou return.
(Selected from Genesis 2&3)