There’s somethin’ ’bout them farm boys – Empty Nest by Curt Swarm


Our first spring at the Empty Nest Farm was a busy time for Ginnie and me. There was the garden to plow and plant, the barn to clean out from moving (everything we didn’t know what to do with we jammed in the barn), and the mulch bed to build along the highway. Our “farm” is located along Highway 34, and I wanted to construct a six-foot wide mulch bed along the highway to display my metal sculptures. I laid down a strip of tar paper along the highway, secured it with stakes, then dumped mulch on top of the tar paper.
It was a lot of work, but a nice time for Ginnie and me to work together outdoors. We would go to town in the truck to Mt. Pleasant’s waste-disposal yard, shovel mulch into the truck, then haul it out to the farm. I don’t know how many loads we hauled, but it was a parcel. Every once in a while I would look up at the crystal-clear blue sky, breathe in the fresh air, and say, “Thank you, God, for this life You have given us.”
Spreading the mulch on the tar paper was a lot of work, too. Once again, we shoveled the mulch out of the truck and then spread it by hand, a foot deep, all over the tar paper. Ginnie, being a city girl, wasn’t used to work like this (wet mulch is about like shoveling manure). I told her that if she wanted to be a farm wife, she’d better get used to it. She emptied the mulch out of her cuffs and threw it at me.
We were busy spreading mulch when we heard a rumble and a roar. Looking up, there were two boys on four-wheelers, wearing spacemen helmets, looking at us. They took off their helmets and one of them said, “Whatcha do’n?”
I said, “We’re spread’n mulch for a mulch bed so that I can display my metal sculptures to the people passing by on the highway.”
They both said in unison, “Can we help?”
Ginnie looked at me. I looked at Ginnie. She shrugged her shoulders in a, “Sure, how-can-we-refuse?” manner.
Both boys jumped right in, got down on their hands and knees, and spread mulch with their bare hands like troopers.
This was our first encounter with our neighbor boys.
After they left, Ginnie commented, “I’ve never seen kids that want to work like that.”
I said, “Them’s farm boys.”
Their names are Brody and Boden. We call them, “Bro” and “Bo.”
Since then, it’s been a repeating scenario. I’ll be doing something like unloading chicken feed from the truck, they roar up in whatever: dirt bikes, snowmobiles, four-wheelers, ask what I’m doing, and offer to help.
When Ginnie and I are gone overnight, we have Bro and Bo take care of Buddy and the chickens. Buddy loves Bro and Bo because they spoil him. The chickens love Bro and Bo also, and flock around them when Bro and Bo arrive looking for corn scratch. The boys gather eggs, bring in the newspapers and mail, and generally look after things.
I text them when we’re gone. “How’s things?”
“Great. UPS came, we put in garage.”
I read it to Ginnie. She says, “We’re so lucky. Them’s farm boys.”
Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at, or find him on Facebook. Curt’s stories are also read at 106.3 FM in Farmington.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: