We used to be CLOSER TO THE LAND

These days few of us are really close to the land we live on. We don't pay much attention to where our food comes from or the people who raise it. I'll be truthful and say I'm perhaps a little closer than most because I live in a working orchard. I feel the seasons change. I look anxiously for the bees each year when the trees have blossomed. I anticipate the harvest.

For most of us we can easily trace our ancestors back to those who in some way made a living off the land. On my father's side I need only go back to his childhood to find him living on a ranch. On my mother's side I must go back to her father and his youth.

Our ancestors knew what it was like to breath in the dust of a newly plowed field. To watch the weather in anticipation of how it would affect the growing season.

These photos were all bought at estate sales. The first group is of farmers in Nebraska.

Click on any image to see it larger.

On the back of the shot above it says "preparing ground for alfalfa."

And these are from California.

And though these have been posted before, they fit the theme perfectly.

This is my submission to this weeks Sepia Saturday theme of "work."


  1. Farms in Virginia just aren't that big anymore, sad to say. I can't imagine what a person's back and hands and feet felt like after plowing a field behind a team of horses instead of on a big comfy International or John Deere, not to be minimizing modern-day work

  2. A fine collection of photographs that tells so many stories and hints at so many lives. In this cradle of the industrial revolution where I live I need to go back many many generations before finding ancestors who worked on the land rather than in the mill or factory.

  3. Wonderful images of an almost forgotten time. That second picture with the baby siting on the Dad's knee is priceless. I suppose he wanted his offspring to start learning early!

  4. These are beautiful pictures. I'm reading about the Dust Bowl right now and how it affected people who wanted nothing more than to live close to the land. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. I highly recommend.

  5. I've always thought working on the land must be hugely satisfying.

  6. Those are such great photos. Could be the beginnings of a book all about work.
    These photos reminded me of a farm implements museum In the town next door in Vista, California. An interesting collection of farming tools, rigs and things.

  7. That's an interesting collection. I especially like the one with the cow and chickens.

  8. All That Fresh Clean Air!Grand Photos...Lives With Purpose.

  9. Until the last few years I always had a big garden and I miss that connection to a piece of land.

  10. I second Linda's recommendation of the book, The Worst Hard Time.

    As for those open-air tractors, having sat in a dust-free, climate-controlled, quiet John Deere tractor, I'm afraid I much prefer the modern option.

  11. What a wonderful group of photos. Many ancestors in my family tree were farmers. My grandfather planted a large garden in the country when I was a child. We looked forward to the delicious vegetable dinners my grandmother would cook during the summertime when his crops were harvested. What a treat it was!

  12. The photo of that old tractor reminede me that the best holiday job I ever had was driving an old Fordson (with a roller behind) round and round in a cloud of dust. Cabs were for the favoured few. Dusty air was the air-conditioning.

  13. Great pics!!
    The one that possibly amused me the most is the one man ploughing his fields while holding his baby.
    And I was quite impressed by the tractor. I only know going four generations back on my mother's side, and there are no farmers in sight. And since I don't know when my family arrived in this country, I don't know if even one ancestor has gotten his hands dirty...
    Oh well...
    Good show!!!

  14. I'm glad "Little Nell' pointed out the baby. I would have never noticed it. My sister, Nancy, and I spent a few years being avocado ranchers. However, we never really got the feeling of being farmers because we had a grove management company. We did worry about the price of water and some of the insect infestations but never actually got our hands dirty. So, I guess it didn't qualify as "work".

  15. I LOVE your pictures! Both sides of my family were farmers; in Arkansas and in Drain. Now we are gardeners.

    Thank you,

    Kathy M.

  16. My favorites are the woman with the broom and with the cow...a gret array of photos in tribute to when people did live off the land...

  17. Excellent category! I gotta do one like that.

  18. A fine medley that amplifies the individual snaps. My imagination is caught by wondering who was behind the camera? A family member likely but what were they trying to capture? The person, the work, the miules?