Everything Old Is New Again

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
Whether it is vintage clothing, trailers, or albums, it seems that “everything old is new again.” Recently my oldest son, who is currently serving in Afghanistan, sent my husband a push mower. Not the motored kind, but a rotating-blade push mower. It was the perfect Father’s Day gift, one that showed both the practical side of my Marine and the comedic side. You see, my hubby has never had much success with lawn mowers, and it has become a sort of joke in our family. I am convinced that every mower that my husband has purchased in our 25-year marriage must have been built on a Friday.

So, this mower is a stroke of genius. As long as someone can push it and we keep the blades sharp, we are good to go. I love the little thing, which I guess makes it a double gift for my husband, since so far I have been the one the uses it. Maybe that was the diabolical plan the whole time. I love the little whirling sound it makes as you cut the blades of grass, not the loud, obnoxious roar of the gas mower. No one has to yell at the top of their lungs in order for me to hear them. It is simply perfect.
As I was mowing and allowing my mind to wander, I couldn’t help but be grateful for the lawn I was mowing. Just last fall it was a HUGE hole where a pool had been.
Oh sure, a pool is nice, and I’m thankful there’s a community pool where we live. But for this farmgirl, nothing says wealth more than ground, gardens, and the likes. My little backyard has become quite the oasis.
A couple years ago we moved into town to accommodate the kids and their high school sports. Before that, we lived out on the farm and it was 35 miles one way to school. While the boys didn’t mind it so much, I, being the somewhat over-protective mom, did. It didn’t seem right to have the boys leaving at “o’dark-thirty” in the morning just to arrive home late at night to start it all over again. Not to mention the nights when they had away games and never made it home, sleeping instead on the floor of a team mate.
Moving to town was a hard choice for me. Luckily, we found and old fixer-upper that was no doubt a great place in its prime, but now was definitely no longer in its prime. With its Pepto-Bismol pink walls and glued down “vintage” carpet, we set out to make it a home. Now instead of the boys driving 35 miles one way, my husband makes the drive to the farm every day. I have adjusted to living in town somewhat, although I can’t wait to get back to the farm. With the third of our four boys graduating this next year, we will be down to just one, and my heart senses a return to true farm life just around the corner.
I am lucky that I still get to walk the carrot fields with my hubby as he checks the crop on those lazy weekend mornings. I will ride the swathers with my dad this summer and take in the wheat harvest. I have brought much of the farm with me: my garden, my girls, my canning, and such. I have planted huckleberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and a cute miniature apricot tree. As the mower whirls, I am so thankful for the past year…all that I have learned and done and accomplished, and all the people who I have met. My yard stands as a testimony to all the changes that have come about and the experiences I’ve had.
While this mower was sent in part as a gag gift, making fun of my hubby’s follies with the gas powered mowers, I have decided that for me it is simply perfect. Yes, it hasn’t escaped me that this wasn’t my gift, but I suspect the hubby and firstborn don’t mind. I also suspect that they aren’t surprised that I have latched onto it.
There was a time in my life when I desired all new things. Then, I may not have been swayed by the little push mower; I was young and enticed by the new. But now, I can see that all things new aren’t necessarily improved. There is a magic to those things that have a direct link to the past…a history and commonness; they make me feel more connected with the world around me. Here in my little town we have a darling antique shop. I love to just wander around it and think of all the “stories” that may (or may not) go with each new find. I always ask if they know the history of whatever I’ve found. Usually they do, which makes it all the more valuable to me.
It is obvious that I am not the only one that feels a kinship to old things and to the “old ways”. Vintage shops seem to be cropping up everywhere, replicas have returned with a vengeance, and the music industry is returning to turntables and vinyl. Even 50 is the new 40. Yep, seems “everything old is new again.”

  1. Heather says:

    I love love love it! You are so right that when we’re younger we get distracted by shiny objects, but as we get older we feel the need to nurture the old….like trailers and lawn mowers. 🙂 Great post!


  2. Gary says:

    You are right Rene’…
    Time has a way to lending an appreciation of things past, and the mower is a Brilliant idea. Your move for the sake of your Children is an act of Love, and one day they will come to know just how significant it was.
    I recently had a conversation with a young Friend at a shop in the mall, and noticed she was wearing BIG platform shoes. I commented: "Are those comming back?"… to which she replied: "They’re not ‘back’, they’re a new fashion."
    A few days later, I returned with a photo from 1920 of a young woman wearing BIG (wood) platform shoes, and one of ME from 1971 wearing a pair from Thom McAnn, and she was amazed.
    Hmmm… I wish I’d saved every tie I ever owned.
    Good Bloggie…!
    GodSpeed to Y’all…!
    in Tampa

    Gary, Dont I know it. I guess that is a sign of "aging" when we have seen it "all" before. LOL

    I do love my kids. What a blessing they are and have been. I feel the move into town allowed me to be with them more, so maybe a little selfish on my part. I couldn’t imagine sitting out on the farm while their lives were 40 miles away. While it was a sacrifice, just as it always seems to be, it was/is worth it. I have found away to carve out my farm girl exsistance, even while living in a rural community. My heart is calling me back to the farm and someday, when it is just grandbabies to worry about, I will get there. Until then, the neighbors are just having to deal wtih having the Clampets in thier back yard :).

    Thank you for all the encouragment.. A writer couldn’t ask for more.  R

  3. Mandie says:

    I have always wanted one of those mowers!! I am convinced now that I just must have one. I too do most of the mowing and hate the ringing in my ears when I am done. Plus the fumes I inhale while behind the thing, yuck!! Have a blessed day!!

  4. Debbie says:

    Rene, What a great story… You are right, it does seem as though all things old are new again! Even old ideas…I love that " farming is becoming hip" again and I hope it sticks! So many people are being inspired to plant their first veggie gardens, us included! We home school our kids and this was our year to plant our first veggie garden! We made it a "project". We studied some of the ideas behind self- succiciancy and why it is good for humanity and the earth. Then we got to planting! This farm girl and her family live on a half acre in suburbia so we decided a salad garden would be a great beginning. Half way through the growing season and things are looking good! It feels good to " grow our own"… to feel more self reliant and satisfied. Can’t wait for the first ripe tomatoes! No wonder MaryJanesFarm ( and blogs) are hitting a nerve with so many people… I think there are thousands of us out in the world who were missing our rural roots and didn’t even know it! Thank you for helping us all make the

  5. Tracy says:

    I love this blog! I think it is wonderful that you moved to town for your children. My husband and I left our farm 6 yrs. ago. There is not a day that goes by that I do not miss the country and living the farm life. Someday, I hope soon, we will get back to the country. I am sure our neighbors believe the Clampetts live in their backyard with our outdoor wood stove and dogs, lol.

    Also, like you, I wander through the antique stores and wonder about the people who owned those wonderful things and the stories of their lives. Seeing things from the past takes me back to days when I worried less and enjoyed life more. It reminds me of those loved ones that are no longer with me, yet for whom I have cherished memories. I can spend hours musing in an antique store.

    Enjoy the mowing. Just think of the health benefits you are getting while you beautify your lawn in an eco-friendly way.

    I really enjoy reading your blogs. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Suzy says:

    I am so glad that you can see the future and know you will return to the farm when all the boys are out of school!!! And your back yard now looks wonderful! Thanks for the wonderful thoughts!

  7. Grace~katmom says:

    Oh Rene’
    To true…..
    I grew up on Military Bases so we never could "keep" stuff as we were always on the move every 2 years….I sometimes wonder if that is why I am so obsessive in my collecting of all things 50’s & 60’s to replace/recapture that time of my life. Unlike some who had the good fortune to live in the same communities that their parents & grandparents grew up in and have a "History"….I try to have that by collecting and having gardens, another thing we never had.
    How wonderful of you to make changes that you find important…I so agree with you, that I would much rather have a garden than a pool. After all, you can’t get a "Dirt Manicure" in a pool! LOL!

  8. Carmen says:

    You were so lucky to be able to keep the farm. (Even if your husband has to do all that driving.) By what you say, it looks like you have a miniature farm in the city. That’s what I have and I love it. My neighbors used to have issues but that’s their problem. Only wish I could have some girls but the zoning guy tells me I can only have two and they have to stay indoors in the main house and not in the yard or the detached garage (now a beautiful little cottage).

  9. Suzy says:

    Great story Rene’, I remember when I was little my Daddy mowing our yard with an old rotating blade mower. I would sit on the porch and watch and was mezmerized by the twirling of the blades and how Daddy didn’t stop until the job was complete.I am a big fan of old stuff, from kitchen utensils, furniture , even clothing ( I love Goodwill ) I also love our place in the country, but if I ever had to move , you bet I would have a garden somehow.Glad you were able to keep your farm,I know it will be great to get back there. Love to all, Suzy (Texas)

  10. Reba says:

    I love how "old things are new again." Kinda’ like us, eh? I am from a family of 12 children (and I am the youngest) so when our parents’ estate was divided, some of the treasures that I grew up with went to others. I also have some that they loved. So I started looking in antique shops for those things "like Mama’s" and started collected. The memories came flooding back as I saw things that I had even forgotten. Now when my sisters visit, they tell me that they feel that they have "come home." That is such a compliment to me!! Indeed, old things have become new when we laugh and remember.


    Great reminder that we have the power to create our own "home" in the "fashion" of those things and people that touch us the deepest. Thanks for the reminder.

  11. Margie says:

    I have always wanted the old fashion push mower for my lawn. I think it would be great. What exercise. I love your stories. Keep it up.

  12. Betty-Ann says:

    I loved your blog. My dad never owned anything but a push mower that I can recall. Boy can I tell you some funny stories about my brothers and the mower. In any case, I have always loved old things. My mother had some things from her family that were very old like a child’s rocking chair and rag doll over 150 years. We were never allowed to sit in the chair, but rather to appreciate it. As I grew up and had my own family, we bought and sold two victorian houses that I loved. I am now living in a ranch house which is on the market. My son has graduated from college so we are down sizing. I am excited but a little scared. One thing I do know about old things, if they come into your possession you are only their custodian. My mother taught me that with her antiques, and it means we are only a part of a long line of history. Many have come before us; many will come after.
    It sort of puts my little problems in perspective.
    Ps. I don’t really think there is anything new, just things that have been revamped restyled regurgitated.

  13. Charlotte says:

    So true it is! I have a great food pressessor and an old meat grinder. Which do you think gets the most use. There is nothing quite as good as left over ham that you put into the old fashioned meat grinder to make "ground up ham". It is perfect in omelettes and in those pinched edge sandwiches. I would never dream of taking out the food processor for this!

    Have fun reconnecting with some of the Old Vintage things!

  14. Linda-ProsserFarmGirl says:

    You stated, "It is simply perfect." I would add, "it is simply perfect; perfectly simple." I think we can over complicate everything and sometimes that just adds more stress in our over-complex lifestyle. As a single mother most of my life and having acreage, I would just hate it when a gas-powered motor did not start. If I can’t fix it, then I have to count on someone else to get ‘er going again, and in the meantime, the job does not get done. Yikes, that can be a huge speed bump when you are trying to check off your task list so that can go on to doing something fun! You have made great strides in creating your backyard haven and making your surroundings fit your preferred lifestyle. I think that we have seasons of our life and we are not always planted in ground where our roots would desire. You are thriving and being fruitful where you are planted! Love your blog (and you)!!!

  15. Bill Bartmann says:

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  16. Bill Bartmann says:

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  17. Bill Bartmann_ says:

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