Tag Archives: Homestead

Three million is a heckuva lot of cage-free chickens

lex11_pasture_raised_631

A corporate food producer plans on building a big egg farm near Lake Preston, South Dakota, hometown of my grandmother and great grandparents. The place will house three million cage-free egg-laying hens. It sounds like it will be quite the operation.

I visited my great grandparents farmstead a few years back, during a family reunion. It was fun. I was there with my nephews and lots o’ cousins.

I don’t have many memories of the place, though cousins have told me that we did visit the homestead as kids. I do recall my great grandmother’s funeral, which must have been at the now-shuttered Methodist church in town. My younger brother was crying, having been scared by seeing her laying in an open casket.

There’s a museum in town with items related to the family, including a lot of her father’s items from his dentistry practice.

I spent quite a bit of time in South Dakota that summer and just scratched the surface doing research on the family. In Watertown, my mom’s hometown, I pored through microfilm of old newspapers for a few days and only got through a year or two.

I also learned that I had lived there for the first two years of my life, which I didn’t realize, as I was born in Iowa. I really need to get back there to explore some more. Maybe I should just pick up and go for a bit this summer.

ajh

June 3, 1945

A photo from my grandparents’ — Raymond ‘Ray’ Hill and Marilyn Hay — wedding at the family homestead near Lake Preston, South Dakota. (front row: Geneva Estella Darling Hay, Azalea Hay Davis | back row: Everett Hay, Raymond ‘Ray’ Hill, Marilyn Hay Hill, Grace Leek Hay, Grace Hay Stucke

This is a photo I’ve never seen before. I wonder what other gems are lurking out there long forgotten in someone’s attic that I’ve never seen and don’t know about. It’s a photo taken on my grandparents’ wedding day.

According to what my mother wrote on Facebook, starting with the back row, left to right, pictured are Betty — a good friend of my grandmother and the maid of honor at the wedding, her older brother Everett — who just celebrated his 100th birthday, the bride and groom — my grandparents, Ray and Marilyn, Everett’s wife Grace, and the youngest sibling of the five also named Grace. In the front row are my great grandmother, Geneva Estella Darling Hay, Marilyn’s older sister Azalea — known to some as Kay, and the pianist from the Lake Preston Methodist Church.

Apparently the wedding took place at the family farm just south of town, what their father George named Fair Haven Farm. The oldest sibling of them all, Lois, was pregnant at the time and didn’t attend.

ajh