Saturday, September 25, 2010

A tree farm as a part of my family tree

The Barna family farm at sunset in Waymart, PA.
Pardon the interruption for a shameless plug regarding my family tree.

Most of my family came to this country a little bit over 100 years ago with one part of my family initially settling in the Pittsburgh area to work in the coal mines of Western Pennsylvania. After a few years of doing this, my great-grandfather came to the realization that coal mining was a dangerous business and after making the perilous journey over the Atlantic for a better life here in America, he wasn't going to risk losing his life in a coal mine.  So my Great-Grandpa Barna and his pregnant wife (with my grandmother) and 4 children made one final journey to the rolling green hills of Eastern Pennsylvania to do what his family in the "Old Country" had done for many generations, farm.

In time, the family grew to 8 children in all, with one of the younger kids eventually taking over the farm.  As a child I would go and visit Great-Uncle Joe and his wife Aunt Marge on the family farm (at that point a dairy farm), and although I only visited them maybe once or twice a year, my memories of that family establishment are still quite vivid and endearing.  I am so unbelievably privileged to have had that experience as a child because truly there is nothing that can compare to traditional American farm life. Unfortunately this lifestyle has all but disappeared thanks to huge food corporations (see book at side bar on Culture and Agriculture by Wendell Berry, two big thumbs up) but that's a beast of a topic for another day.

At any rate, by God's Grace, this farm is still around and now in the loving hands of my Great-Uncle Joe's grandson, Dan.  Dan has abandoned the dairy farming aspect of the business and has now focused on something really amazing, a tree farm!  One Two Tree Farm Wholesale Nursery grows over 50 varieties of high quality, well maintained trees on over 77 acres of rich Pennsylvania soil.  Simple words can not suffice in expressing my gratitude to my cousin Dan (and his father, his aunt and all those before them!) for keeping the Barna farm alive.  In doing so he not only preserves my childhood memories, but also preserves the Earth and thereby aids in the preservation of mankind.

May God grant much success to this tree farm and many many years of life to all of those in my family that have worked so hard to keep the Barna farm a living, breathing entity.

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