Monday, April 21, 2008

The Family Farm layout

Here are my new layouts for the design team I'm on at Yellowbird Scrapbook Store. We were assigned to do a "heritage" layout using this K & Company family scrapbooking kit. Its not my normal style AT ALL but I thought I'd give it a try. I had a bunch of old pictures from my dad's side of the family. Most of the pictures I had were about farming so I took this as an opportunity to tell the story of how the family farm has changed over the years. You can read the journaling below.

Here's the first page of the layout "THEN":
Here's the second page "NOW"

I love how the journaling worked out. I had a lot to say and a lot more pictures so I created a mini-album with a gate fold on the layout.

Here's what the journaling says on the inside:

The Girard family has been farming as far back as I know. My great-grandfather, Narcisse Girard, originally bought the farm that I call “home” in 1929. Prior to this farm, they rented land and farmed east of Marshall and around Ghent, Minnesota.

In 1929, when my great-grandfather bought this land west of Marshall, Minnesota, he had 240 acres of land, a dozen horses, a dozen kids, and a lot of courage. Farming was, and still is, hard and risky work. If you don’t do your work or you have a bad year, your family doesn’t eat. Families were much larger then than they are now. The average size of a farm before the 1950’s was about 160 acres. If you had a large family (more labor) like ours was, the average size of that farm was 240 acres. Crops that were grown during that time were mostly oats, corn, and wheat. Many of those crops were grown to feed livestock. See the photo on the left (top) showing them thrashing grain with a team of horses.

The Great Depression brought hard times to the farm in the 1930’s. As a matter of fact Narcisse Girard almost sold the farm in 1935 because he didn’t want to pay the taxes on it. His brothers convinced him to try one more year and that next year made all the difference in the future of the family.

Times changed, Narcisse and Sarah Girard’s children grew, and my grandpa, Clement Girard, inherited the farm. His brother, Louis Girard, built the barn pictured here in 1949. The biggest change to farming in the last century was the advancement in machinery. On our farm, tractors were first used in the late 1930’s. (Look at this newspaper clipping, on the back page, of my grandpa (Clem) going on a trip to buy an Allis-Chalmers tractor. It was a big deal! And my Dad still uses that tractor today.) By the early 1950’s the last team of workhorses were retired. With less livestock to feed and better machinery, soybeans became a popular crop in the late 1950’s.

The advancements in agricultural technology have grown exponentially since the 1950’s. Now, my Dad, Donald Girard, owns the farm and it is about 1000 acres. The crops now are mostly half soybeans and half corn. Some corn goes to feed cattle but the majority of it is for sale. On today’s farm there are several tractors and attachments and no horses. And sadly, there are also no kids at “home” learning how to farm from my Dad. So, what will happen to our family’s farm in the future? It’s anybody’s guess. Two things are for certain: First, my Dad is going to farm as long as he is physically able to and secondly, everyone who has been a part of this family is proud of their farming history and it will not be simply forgotten.

Make it a great day today!

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