“I have often wondered what city boys find to do for fun. All cluttered up with houses and laid out in streets with no horses or mules or dogs . . . it must be pretty dull.” That sums up Hugh Orchard’s philosophy—and makes Old Orchard Farm a delightful reading experience.
Return to an Iowa farm of the 1880s, seen through the impressionable eyes of a lively young boy. There in Des Moines County, not far from Burlington, Hugh Orchard grew up when the farm was the center of life in rural America. A broken binder was a major crisis. A violent prairie storm was a terrifying experience. A trip to the county seat town was a thrilling adventure.
There were peculiar neighbors, traveling peddlers, an excursion to the mill to grind wheat for bread, hunting expeditions for the prairie chicken and wild geese. Progressive farming in those bygone days meant that Hugh’s father had the first windmill, the first top buggy, and the first barbed wire fence. There was also the pricey purebred cow who refused to allow anyone to milk her. From these homely, everyday events, Orchard crafts engaging tales of long-ago days—when both America and agriculture were simple, innocent, and untroubled by the complexities of modern life.