Annette Laurel Batchelor – Crocket Ranch


Initiator Artist: Annette Laurel Batchelor
Artwork Title: Crocket Ranch
Medium: Oil Paint
Price: $495

Responder Author: Nannette Rundle Carroll
Writing Title: Magical Times at the Farm
Size: 11″x17″


Only The Farm could welcome our family of eight. It had abundant space for the whole clan. Sweeping meadows of rye and barley grasses where we sat and let time stand still. Rows of fruit, vegetables, and sunflowers contrasted with our small garden patch at home.

How we anticipated those idyllic summer vacations, watching Uncle Frank in his indigo bib overalls leaving at dawn. Tractor as his transportation. The Farm was another planet, distant from our kind of life with houses lined up next to each other. Us kids playing tag and baseball in the street. Dad leaving in the morning via bus for his job downtown and returning for supper. Wearing a suit and tie. Mom teaching at our school. Buying food from a grocery chain.

To reach The Farm we’d pile into our Nash Rambler, the younger ones crouching on the backseat floor. After a few hours and as many bridges, we’d stop at a backroad spring for a drink. Here the magic started. As Dad filled containers with clear water from a tiny waterfall, he began his childhood stories. How he rode his horse down this very road and outsmarted a pack of wolves by throwing his jacket on them. How he turned a bear inside out by reaching down its throat and grabbing its innards.

When we arrived at our destination, we passed the abandoned gatehouse, and entered an enchanting realm. We drove under the stone arch onto “the lane,” a long, windy dirt road. We vied for a window, climbing on laps, to see foxes in the surrounding forest. 

After the lane curved right, we crossed a small wooden bridge spanning a stream with turtles and frogs. We continued up an incline, gazing at the open land to our left, counting oaks and red-tailed hawks. At the top of the hill, we reached the crossroads: The Farm to the right and the owner’s domain to the left.

Although we could freely roam The Farm, the mansion side of the property was off limits. The estate owner was rarely onsite, but his private retreat was cloaked in respect and mystique. But who cared when we could go down to the big barn and groom Charlie the horse and Prince the pony? After chores, we might even get to ride them.

After feeding the chickens and shooing hens off their nests to gather eggs, we’d run to the farmhouse to avoid the honking, biting geese. Then we’d dig potatoes and pick red raspberries.

Aunt Dorothy spent the morning preparing a hot noon meal–sometimes roast beef. Uncle Frank needed energy for his afternoon labors. After lunch, she’d boil water on the wood stove for us kids to do the dishes. Then we had plenty of free time to lie around in the fields and enjoy this jewel: The Farm.


Copyright © 2024 by Nannette Rundle Carroll