From left to right, that's my mom's brother, Uncle Carl; my mom's sister's husband, Uncle Lloyd; my maternal grandma; my cousin, Carolyn; and my mom's youngest brother, Uncle Leo. Carolyn is a couple of years older than I am, so I'd assume this was taken around 1945.
You can see Grandma's house in the background. I spent at least a week there, every summer. Uncle Leo (on the right) lived down the road from Grandma about a half-mile (easy walking distance), and his place was a wonderland to me. He had milk cows and hogs and chickens, and kittens in the barn. Oh, and he had four kids I could play with. Carolyn, in the picture, was his first-born.
Grandma had her own milk cow and chickens. After milking, she'd go to the smoke-house, pour the milk in a cream seperator, turn a crank (which made a unique whirring sound), and I'd watch skim milk come out one spout and cream out another. You can see the smokehouse roof in the background to the right of the house.
Right across the woods from Grandma's was a wooded area which magically turned me into an Indian when I entered. I could play for hours, talking to my imaginary tribe. There was a creek where I often waded, until the day I looked down and saw my legs had leeches hanging on them from my ankles to my knees. I turned back into a Caucasion really fast, and ran crying to Grandma. She held a lit match to the little blood-suckers, and they let go.
When I was growing up, even after we moved to Kansas City, most all the kids I knew had relatives living on farms. Thanksgiving, for many of us, meant a trip to the country, "over the river and through the woods".
I feel sorry for children these days. Most of them don't have a farm to visit. My fondest memories are of times spent at Grandma's house, and at Uncle Leo's, eating huge country meals, making home-made ice cream, riding behind the tractor on a wagon, and so many other marvelous things.
Besides, farms these days aren't like they were in the fifties. Back then, every farm had an assortment of animals and crops. Now, hogs and chickens are raised in huge, factory-like places. Farmers concentrate mostly on grain crops, or on raising or fattening cattle. Mega-dairies with hundreds of Holsteins are producing our milk, cheese and butter.
The small farm has disappeared. I sure do miss it.