Did ever a farmer [or a farmer's wife!] have his work so well in hand that at each day's close he could say: "I have done nothing that I ought not to have done and have left nothing undone that I ought to have done and I feel as fresh and strong as a bull moose." I haven't yet met that farmer. I think Longfellow was on a farm when he wrote:
"Labor with what zeal we will
Something still remains undone;
Something unaccomplished still
Waits the rising of the sun."
I think he wrote that along about July
or August when haying, hoeing and harvest overlapped and sat in each
Did you ever see a time during the
summer school vacation when you could spare the boys--the boys that
are just getting big enough to hoe their row and load the hay and
milk? If any part of the year runs on winged feet it is the days
between June and September when the children are home from school.
According to my observation a vacation on a farm is a rare thing. It
was on our old farm certainly.
We deliberately broke the old tradition
this season. And this is the way it came about. Just before school
closed the principal of our high school, who is a fine boy-man,
invited the Little Boy of our farm to join a boy-camp in the
mountains, there to spend a week. A week right out of the middle of
weed-time leaves a big hold, and a Little Boy, (now nearly as tall as
his mother) out of a family of three leaves a bigger hole. He had
never been away as long as that. But it was inevitable. Sometime or
other he would have to camp without his parents. It took about two
weeks of deliberation to persuade us that this was the time.
When it was finally decided and the
morning had come, we took him to the rendezvous of the expedition at
the village, where a strong team [of horses] and a covered mountain
wagon were in waiting. As the boys with their bundles of dunnage
piled into the van, faces radiant with expectation, I'd have given a
cookie to be a boy again for a week. For pure, unalloyed pleasure in
large chunks just hand me the first day of an expedition of this
kind. You don't get anything quite so high class in later years.
One of three things is essential to a
first-class week's outing--water, woods, or high places. Clear,
grove-rimmed lakes such as you find in Wisconsin and Minnesota are my
choice. But lacking these, then high places with streams splashing
down hill through tall, dark, leaf-carpeted woods will do pretty
well. In any case it must be a place so different from the farm that
weeds and skim milk won't occur to your mind once during the whole
week. I have often thought this summer that if I could take a week at
some quiet hotel in the city, get a room on the court where street
noises don't intrude, sleep sixteen hours a day, eat once, and spend
the rest of the time mousing round the city library, it would suit
me. I don't know but I would recommend a city vacation for farmers'
wives. It could be made much less strenuous than a week in the
mountains or a camp in the mosquito-infested woods. Sue says she is
going to try this next winter. But thus far this summer we have
chosen the mountains.
Part two is planned for September 5th.