One of the things I like to check out in other people’s homes is the view from their kitchen window.

Most times, it is smartly located above the sink–perhaps because we keepers of the home tend to spend a good portion of our time in that vicinity. And that window gives us one of the best views of the world. In most old farm houses, the barn is in view of the kitchen window. When we were kids, that window warned us when mom was done with the night's milking. We knew it was time to start behaving and get supper on the table!

From my own kitchen window, I get to see the sunrise every morning. That first glimpse of color sometimes has me wondering if I only imagined it. But as it grows stronger, the light dispels the darkness. At night, the full moon can light up the outside world, which is especially bright on the fresh fallen snow. The snowy trails are getting used plenty now that it is calving time. The morning milker takes a different route, later bringing fresh milk to the house. All this I can see from that window.

Seasons change quickly, and any day now we'll note the robin's return, another signal that snow will soon be replaced with green grass and leafy trees. The flowering crabapple tree outside the kitchen window was planted too close to the house, landscape experts might say. And most of the time we agree–except for the week or two of spring blossoming, when it’s glorious beauty invades my kitchen, courtesy of the window. Other notable beauties that unfold in view of the window are roses–bright red, yellow and orange flowers that cannot hide from my peering eye.

The kitchen window keeps me up to date when the neighboring farmers are planting their crops. When the crops are small, I can see the traffic on the intersecting roads nearby. Later in the season when the corn is tall, there are times my eyes are closed in silent prayer for the safety of the two speeding vehicles approaching the corner without caution. Meanwhile, cherries ripen on two trees, and later on, apples–all in the view of my window. During the harvest season when preparing late night suppers, the sounds of wagons and trucks heavily loaded with grain and flashing lights shiny through the window remind me there are others working hard and long hours too.

When I visit my son, things seem a little out of place for me; it’s not farm buildings I see from his kitchen window. Instead, it’s his vegetable garden, bordered by a field. The crop differs each year, but the whole cycle of planting, growing, harvesting is still observed. From his window we can watch the summer storms with its vivid lightning from some distance away.

And instead of the sunrise, it’s the sunset colors we see, reminding us another day is drawing to a close.

Renae B. Vander Schaaf, freelance writer, lives on a real working farm in northwest Iowa. To Contact Renae B. Vander Schaaf, please email her at [email protected]


The ever-changing view from the kitchen window. You never know what might wander by! Ironically, the day after I wrote this column, two longhorn cattle crossed in front of my window. They had escaped from a neighbor's yard.