Honoring Memories, Capturing History
As a child, Ted Peterson, an accomplished Michigan watercolorist, spent many summers on his grandmother’s farm in Hart. It was where as a boy of twelve he first tried his hand at painting. Ted found that he not only cherished his time at the farm, he loved watercolors.
In later years, after exploring Leelanau County and finding that the National Lakeshore area spoke to his spirit, Ted moved there and continued to honor memories and capture history in his watercolors of scenic vistas, the Port Oneida Historic District’s farmsteads and more.
Barn Believers was deeply honored when Amy, Ted's wife, offered to share one of Ted’s most treasured watercolors and her vision which his affection inspired.
Barn Believers is committed to doing what we can in partnership with others to inform people about the importance of our remaining timber-frame barns and how to protect them. We want to inspire others to keep barns viable for years to come and to preserve our extraordinary farm and barn history in many ways.
Thank you so very much, Amy, for sharing your writing and Ted’s art with us. Through them we can see Grandma and her farm continuing, inspiring yet another generation.
Midwinter Night's Dream
'Twas the night before Christmas…and something around each bend and stretch of the familiar old road kept drawing us on. Snowflakes from nowhere arced into our lights and disappeared as quickly into the darkness. Tree spires rose like silent choirs along the way.
What were we doing on the road to Grandma's farm on Christmas Eve? It had been years since she had lived there, keeping the fields planted in summer, the farmhouse warm in winter. She wouldn't be there now.
But if she were, Grandma would be out tonight, too. She would wrap her dark shawl around her head and shoulders against the cold, see to the animals, gather wood from the shed, and then go back inside to stoke the stove and check the Christmas dinner roasting in the oven before slipping out once more for the midnight service at church.
The lights of the old brown brick building would gather farm folk from the night, hold them in the comfort of tradition and the Father's love, then let them go out again into the night, forgiven, to warm the hearths for their children's children.
But that was then. Now the stable would be empty, the house cold.
Yet, we kept going. Just as the sky was beginning to lighten, we made the turn at the one-room schoolhouse across from the long barn onto Grandma's unplowed road.
Slowly we traveled the last quarter mile.
Were we ready for whatever had drawn us here?
Through the half-light, the outlines of a windmill seemed to take shape. Maybe it was only a tree—the windmill had been taken down long ago. But the driveway, or at least the old mailbox post marking it, that was real.
We turned in. There it was—the farmhouse, blanketed in snow.
Were we imagining it, or did the windows seem to have a slight glow? Probably just the gathering dawn shining through from the other side.
We left the car running to stay warm and watch the farm continue to emerge.
Finally we turned off the engine and stepped out into the pure white to watch the sun rise.
Then, something caught our eyes…an unmistakable trail of footprints
leading from the house
… to the woodshed.
And, hanging in the still, glowing air
a slight fragrance of Christmas dinner.
"Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place." II Corinthians 2:14
Amy Southwell Peterson © 2006