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A farmstead generally refers to buildings (and adjoining land) comprising a farm. Traditionally, referring to a “farmstead” (rather than a “farm” or “homestead“) suggested an agricultural holding with ample acreage, 100+ acres according to some sources. Within the farming community the designation still retains this historical implication, but more contemporary usage often includes smaller properties such as The Farm in Cossayuna, New York.
Given my poetic proclivity, an excerpt from Madison Julius Cawein’s appropriately titled poem better captures the mystique than attempt at encyclopedic precision.
Ah, the droning of the bee; In his dusty pantaloons Tumbling in the fleurs-de-lis; In the drowsy afternoons Dreaming in the pink sweet-pea. Ah, the moaning wildwood-dove! With its throat of amethyst Rippled like a shining cove Which a wind to pearl hath kissed, Moaning, moaning of its love. And the insects' gossip thin From the summer hotness hid In lone, leafy deeps of green; Then at eve the katydid With its hard, unvaried din. Often from the whispering hills, Borne from out the golden dusk, Gold with gold of daffodils, Thrilled into the garden's musk The wild wail of whippoorwills. — Madison Julius Cawein, "The Farmstead" (Source: internetPoem.com)
So evocative it ceases to describe its subject, and it becomes the subject. The atmosphere is summoned into existence my Cawein’s words. Can you feel and smell and hear it?!
Another excerpt, this one from James Hearst’s similarly well titled poem feels especially poignant to me because of how well it maps to The Farm of my memory.
The farmstead lies in the angle
of pine and spruce trees set to break
the rush of winter winds, a few
young apple trees lean north
so buds won’t wake too soon
if a March thaw stirs their roots.
The house from its knoll squares
with the compass points above
the feedyard flanked by an open barn…
— James Hearst, “The Farmstead” (Source: The James Hearst Digital Archive)