Grandpa Marlin

When I say “It is with a heavy heart…” I know that many have felt the gravity of what I am about to write. Many have had loved ones who were here for the exact right amount of time for them, and yet, not even close to enough time for those who they left still here. And if I’m being honest, as life goes, “enough time” doesn’t exist for great men like Marlin Hammond.

My grandpa Marlin was quite possibly one of my best friends. I have a heart full of memories, but from the day I told him “I’m 6.” and he responded, “Well Brenny, I’m 66, so that means I’m only twice your age.” I felt a kindred spirit in him. With 60 years between us, my grandpa and I had no problem ever finding something to talk about, something to laugh about, or something to just bullshit over. When I went to visit him just a few months ago my aunt told him Matt and I were there and he said, “Oh good those are my kind of people, farmers.”

My grandpa was in the service where he served in WWII. He was a farmer, the hardest worker you will ever meet (those who knew him know this is the truth), a carpenter, a real estate salesman, a husband of 77 years, a dad, a grandpa, a great grandpa and a great great grandpa.

At 97 I think he lived enough for three lifetimes over. Although with our math together we could never figure out how he got so old since he was only twice my age (such a mystery). He was a traveler and enjoyed trips with my grandma Arlene, many times with other family in tow. I doubt I’ll ever walk in a camper or trailer without thinking of the many adventures we all had with him and grandma. He said words like “pertnear” and “davenport” and was always clean shaven. A gentleman to the end.

Marlin Hammond passed away peacefully on Friday October 22nd. The night before I was there holding his hand, he still had enough grip to let you know he knew you were there, and the hospice nurse told us all that in death people will go when it’s their time, and it’s on their terms. So to hear that within minutes of my Aunt Jo arriving and praying over him, he had passed away, it just all felt like it was right. I find great comfort in that thought; he was ready in all the ways that you can be to move from this earth.

There’s a part of me that is a little jealous of all the folks who I know were there with open arms to welcome him to heaven. I can imagine all the handshakes (because let me tell you Grandpa Marlin’s handshake will go down in history) and all the big hugs. Even as I sit here writing this all down, all I can picture is him with a giant smile on his face, and for that, I’ll forever be thankful.

My grandpa Marlin taught me important life skills like how to get out of a bear trap (hint….it’s say “Please”). He gave me good advice like never put a raspberry on the top of a dessert at a strawberry farmer dinner, or to never underestimate the value of perfection when hanging a picture frame. When farming he always said to let those roots go deep. And maybe most importantly; how to love and laugh your way through a whole lifetime of memories.

He loved his family and as it grew and grew, to well over 70 people. He showed me that you can have a place in your heart for every single one of us that were lucky to call him Grandpa, 5 generations worth.

I’m forever thankful that out kids got to know him and love on him for as long as they did. Hoot loved him for his farming & hunting stories most, and Auggie for all the M&M’s that he would give to him. Millie just loved teasing him and giving him hugs, which he also in turn loved.

Grandpa Marlin you took a big piece of my heart with you when you left this earth, but like I said before, a very good man once taught me how big a heart could be and how much it could stretch. So until we meet again, I’ll stay down here with Grandma Arlene and her giant crew of family to continue making memories, laughing and loving, thankful for one more angel looking out for us.

Tomorrow we will do a send off to one of the greatest men that this world has ever seen. For me, I couldn’t be more grateful that I got to be around for so many years with my wonderful grandpa, who happened to be only twice my age.

Below you will find a link to Grandpa Marlin’s obituary along service information:
Marlin Ellis Hammond

Harvest Kids – Photo Friday

This is one of my most favorite photos that I took this summer. Harvest was tough on us this year. The weather, while hot, was consistent and good for seed harvesting conditions. But mentally it was very draining and long. Every field was a different challenge, a different scenario, sort of like choose your own disaster (instead of adventure) for how you wanted to handle what was happening. Some of that had to do with pests like voles, other things were more challenging like seed shatter due to the high heat wave we had during cutting, add that to an overall dry spring, topped off with the usual equipment breakdowns and harvest juggling.

But this photo, and the ones below, show my favorite part; sharing harvest with our kids. They love being out in the field with us during harvest. Either playing in the dirt, riding on the combine or helping Matt take a truck in to the cleaner to dump seed. Their love for the field is something that will never get old for me as a farm mom and hopefully never get old for them either!

Hoot’s Farm Tour!!

It’s been awhile since we have been able to host a tour group at the farm. It’s one of my favorite things, showing folks around our farm and letting them experience a little of our farm life. So when Hoot asked if we could have a farm tour for his school birthday party, the answer was “ABSOLUTELY!!”

And while it’s one of my favorite things, I quickly learned that it’s also Hoot’s. He basically gave the whole tour for all his friends and they had a great time climbing on tractors, learning about crops like crimson clover, and even getting to dig into bins of grass seed, swiss chard seed, and clover seed.

Some other highlights were showing off some farm displays that the kids built for their friends to see, and also going on combine rides.

As folks get more removed from the land and from the farming roots, that inevitably most people have somewhere in their lineage, it’s always nice to give a chance for people to see a working farm. Which is why I have always said that we have an “open farm door” policy here at Kirsch Family Farms. We love to have people take us up on the opportunity to show them around. It always sparks great conversations, allows for people to see what we are up to, and get the chance to ask, “Why do you do it that way?”.

I have to say though, during this tour, it was an absolute joy to watch our kids showing their friends around. I think the “open farm door” policy won’t stop at my generation. Which is just fine by me.