We began talking--if we'd ever stopped it--of getting back on a farm. He hunted for farms that were for rent. Once he took me to see "a good opportunity." It meant our oldest boy driving twenty miles to high school every day, or boarding in town and I was not moving to a farm to leave the boys behind me. I wanted them where they could be under the wing of real fathership. I vetoed that.
Nor was he sure that he wanted to make the break. Were he alone he would have been carried back to a farm as surely as drift wood is carried to shore. But he hated to plunge us into uncertainty. Farm conditions--well, you've heard of them. And we did have an income--which might as well have been called an outgo.
As for myself, I felt this way: Were I set down in the middle of a great city with him, where he must earn his living with his head, I fear our living would be of the meagerest. Were we shipwrecked on a desert island it would not be long, I am sure, until we were living in ease, and such luxury as the island afforded, so great is his resourcefulness when put up against difficulties of the soil.
Yet we let that spring pass, and the summer--
But in the fall--he'd been secretary for our county fair for many years--when I saw how that fair gripped him! He worked with farm people again, grappled with farm problems. Overnight he became different. He worked sixteen hours of every day, or more, without in the least wearying. His elasticity returned. And happy!
"That settles it," I insisted, watching him "cease to live" after the fair. "Next spring we go on a farm. We've got to manage it."
He wrote letters while I prayed that some way would be found for him to do the work he loved to do. Which did the work? Both, perhaps, for God helps them that help themselves.
It has always been a dream of his to rebuild a run down farm, even when we lived on one of Iowa's most modern farms. For a long time he looked away from Iowa's high priced farms to the deserted farms of the East. Grazing beef in New York, or raising hogs in the South. As for me, of all farming countries, Norway or Sweden--where they tie their cows to a tree to keep them from falling out of their pastures--has appealed to me. Farming in the mountains!