John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.
It used to be fun to go for a car ride and look for the leaves turning colors. This year it seems that the leaves are turning colors sooner than last year. You can see the farms with many of their crops done for this season.The squirrels are eating more food now that fall is here. Wild turkeys and deer will sometimes invade farm lands in search of food to eat. Corn is one of their favorite foods. If you are from northern Wisconsin, you could find bears in the farm fields.
When we were younger, we used to go to North Milwaukee and visit our relatives who lived on the land once owned by our great-grandparents. Sometime you could see ancient farm equipment left from the past. We used to play soft ball on the grass to pass time. Sometimes, we would visit the green houses and smell the sweet odors of fresh flowers and other indoor crops. In the back of the green house, there was an old" out house" section that had lots of spiders, hornets and flies nearby. The regular house had indoor plumbing, but these green house out houses were a relic of the past. Feral cats were all over the farm and kept the mice away. The old barn and powerhouse were still there. In the old garage, pigeons had a nest in the upper portion. The pigeons made excellent manure for the farm crops. My dad used to haul some of this manure for our garden at home. These buildings are now razed and replaced with a shopping mall. Memories still exist of the old days when we were kids.
Today, many people are unaware of life on a farm. Early to rise and early to bed were the rules in the old days. Much work had to be done in the morning. Big meals were a part of life on a farm. Hard work gave you many muscles. When the crops were ready to harvest, great joy came because you were a part of making of this crop. Your hard work payed off with a good crop. As my great-uncle once said," we can do what we can, but God determines our future." A great faith in God was important to a farmer. Such is the life of a farmer.