Jun 3, 2014

How I fell in love with farmland {pt.1}

It all started with a phone call last summer. Grace picking the date for her graduation. And we said we were coming, because of course if it means Grace, then it means Laura and Liz, and this time the whole Brown family. We said we were coming! So we planned and there were Pinterest boards and giddy feelings and hoping, wishing and saying we were coming! And we did come! Hannah and I loaded up the car and took off. Well, in reality, first we got the brakes turned on our car and then we took off a few days later. Buzzing along the two lane country highways and jabbering all the way, snacking on candy, and really just hanging in there because we seriously could not believe we were getting to do it!

I'd seen all this area many times before driving to Grandma's house. But with all this excitement and sister and all this music to listen to, sleeping was not an option. Toi time. And a snapping I did go.

This was only to be the beginning of the red barns I would see. The first half of Nebraska looks much the same as where I'm from. Rolling cattle land with gold grasses and very few trees. But the deeper in you go, farms come into being.

The first night we stayed with Grandma. She bought a watermelon, but it was too mushy inside. And the closer we came to the Brown's, the more beautiful and lovely farms became. And old silos, like this one.

And the farmland, just bold and enduring out there, everywhere. Some farmers were just beginning to plant, others had their seeds in the ground already. Like the Browns' cousin, and he'd had frost and worried about his crop.

We stopped by the Capitol in Lincoln on our way. They have revolving doors there. Green ones. And fourteen floors and the most beautiful murals.

Yup. We loved it.

And, really, I had no idea the Browns lived where such farms were. There's a great white church in the middle of the corn fields, and it's where you turn when you're heading to their place. They get to see it on their way home. Laura said it's the perfect place for a wedding. And yeah, you know me, white churches with tall steeples out on the prairie are my one weakness. They look like something from long ago when the land was just beginning and the corn roots new.

She came running from the front door, Laura did, and we did what we always do, what is common among Browns and us. The long, wonderful, tight hugs. :) The tall boy met us at the door. The one, last time I saw him, was only just my height and far more blond than he is now. And there was Peter with his hair slicked back. Phil, sounding like his dad.

Her brothers stretch long and tall, like one of mine, though the others are catching up. And Peter is like Ethan, only in a shorter version. When Grace got home, and there were more glorious hugs and the sweet girl, I hadn't seen her in years, we did what usually spices up the Pinterest boards and makes our mouths water for just looking at them. We baked. Homemade pizza and Hannah and Grace made dessert.

Right in the midst of it, I remembered to toss that camera strap over my neck, and I stood in the whirl of the kitchen, just off to the side, watching. Laura made tapioca. From the same recipe we use. Though it was quite soupy, we didn't mind.

 We had a midnight snack, after we watched Cora and Call the Midwife. Tapioca and blueberries. Laura said her mom knew she'd eat up all the fruit in the house if she could.

You know you've been shopping and there are friends at your house when the grocery bags are abandoned on the kitchen floor for more enjoyable stuffs of life.

Melissa was there. And we met her. She came with her girl and boy to see the kittens. The precious kittens. The Brown boys love her kids. I loved that about them.

This is the view from the kitchen window, and in those trees the creek winds low and muddy. It's the view from the first scene in Pride&Prejudice, they said. And I agreed.

Melissa stayed. She helped fold laundry. I liked her, and all her lovable blunt-ness. She was at peace here, among Browns and cornfields. She loved them, the Browns. And she loved them cause they didn't mind her being blunt.

Fresh bread on the counter means you need to thaw some butter on a plate and getting out the cutting board, and open the jelly. Cause fresh bread on the counter means nothing else. Had my first slice of homemade wheat bread in years. Melissa said, "Now THAT is a picture!" when she saw me hovering over counter and bread. She couldn't have been more right.

And of course when you bake and there's a kitchen full of girls who are best friends, you laugh. You listen to music, and you love each other. Grace came up behind me and put her arms around me. How did she know I loved that?

I'm afraid I did very little that day, except take pictures and listen to everyone. But there was so much life here, and I could stand around watching it.

Raw Blueberry Vegan Bars. Delicious.

Yeah, and you know what this means, don't you? You precious person!

Laura in her element. Bustling from one side of the kitchen to the other. Never seen her in her home like this. Baker, cook, and homemaker if ever I saw one. There's so much in her I love.

Phone calls midst the dinner activity.

Kneading pizza dough. And it's the recipe we used to use. You can tell our families are friends, can't you?

First time I've ever seen pizza cut with scissors. Phil cut it. We had salad and all this delicious homemade pizza, and you know you're in a home when you have homemade foods, and the sons all pass by the oven and ask if that's the final timer. You gotta get your pizza around here. Next time I went back, the pans were empty, but I just kept thinking how like our house it was. Hungry boys and all.

You know, you can take all the pictures you want, but it's all the little things not captured on camera that count. You can't capture how happiness feels. Or laughter. Or being with a family you've grown up with. It's a strange feeling, as if you've been there all your life, and were never really ever far apart for so long.


Katie said...


Grace Brown said...

Love you so much! You're an amazing photographer and writer and woman and friend. The pictures are gorgeous!

Emily said...

This makes me miss you two so much!! <3

Laura said...

Love it all! I love how you capture our little ordinary lives and make them seem spectacular. Of course, this particular day WAS spectacular because you were there. :)