Thursday, December 22, 2011

What's In A Name?

Eventually we have settled in on the farm or as settled as one can be after two weeks. There are still boxes to be unpacked and many other tasks outstanding before the house is truly a home again.

I remember many years ago when we use to go to Jongensfontein near Stilbaai in South Africa for vacations at the beach and how we used to walk the streets of that tiny coastal village. (It used to be tiny then, but I am sure it is much more crowded now.) We found a lot of fun in reading the names of the houses.  Some were funny while others were the obvious: Sea-esta, 2 fat ducks (whatever that implies), Eventually, “platsak” (out of money) and then there were the mundane: Huisie by die see (House at the sea), See-view, Ons huisie (our house), The Retreat, etc.

Similarly, a farm must have a name. All farms have an address, which make it identifiable for mail and other legal matters, but a farm isn’t a farm without a name. This naming tradition is worldwide and we also thought long and hard to come up with something for our little patch of land. Some of the neighboring farms around us are named One Duck Farm (what’s up with all the ducks?), The Frolicking Goat (with not a goat in sight, but a lot of geese and ducks (ducks again), or simply The Farm (so impersonal and anonymous.) Usually you consider the surrounding environment (hilly, forest, woods, etc.) or a special feature of the location or the farm (a pond, a tree, a road, mountain, etc.) or you give it a name that has special meaning or might be funny to the owners. No limits apply.

We played around with Pondview and Forest Glen (too many of them already and there is a Pond Side Farm just around the proverbial corner), and Woodhill and Woodcroft (our house is on a hill with woods around it), and a few others. An Afrikaans name (I thought of Platfontein, the name of my grandfather’s old farm in the Calvinia district of South Africa, but this is such a totally different landscape it would have spoilt my childhood memories of the Great Karoo) or an African name just did not sound right and we felt it would not fit in. The Americans would probably have had a problem pronouncing it in any case. This is not about remembering South Africa or our past; this is about our next phase in America and our future.

So where does the name Lily Rose Ranch come from?

Picture: From the Internet and not what I actually saw and described in this post.

To begin with, the land is a piece from Mother Earth, and it will eventually bring forth the food for the animals to eat and produce vegetables and fruits for us to eat and only women can “bring forth” and “produce” something from within. Not so? Therefore, it had to be a female name or a name that can be associated with a woman and Lily and Rose are both ladies names.

Next, on the very first visit to the farm there were the most beautiful bright noon-time-sunny-yellow daylilies blooming around the base of several of the White Ash trees in the back yard. A bright yellow I have never seen in daylilies before. Daylilies and in particular Asian lilies are my favorite flower.

Picture: From the Internet and not what I actually saw and described in this post.

In the same vein, near all the woody and overgrown areas on the farm there are wild rose, in our region also called pasture roses and out West they are called woods roses. Off course they are probably not really “wild” roses, just tough roses that can survive without human attention. Real truly wild roses are rare. But I am digressing. There are lots of these clusters of roses next to the dirt roads on the farm and in the woods. They are everywhere. Sometimes I think they are more a pest than anything else if I consider how many scrapes and how much pain they have caused me so far while I tried to clear some overgrown pasture land. Also, roses are M’s favorite flower. As a matter of fact, in every yard that we have ever owned I created a rose garden for M.)

Another important point was that the name had to be unique for business purposes, so no dot com had to exist already and so far I have not found any company or product with the name Lily Rose Ranch. (I have already claimed the dot com.)

Last but not least, Lily Rose Ranch rolls easily off the tongue and based on my explanation above there is a little story behind the name. And it’s always nice to tell stories. Once I have the farm entrance completed, hopefully sometime next year, there will also be an easy association between the farm and its name.

Now I am sure some folks in Texas and out West will scoff at me calling a 38-acre farm a ranch because the word ranch is usually associated with a large tract of land and the practice of raising grazing livestock for meat or wool while the word farm is usually used for smaller land areas that produce livestock and/or fruit, vegetables, wine, milk, cheese, horses and many other things that farms produce. But what the hell, those folks out West do not own the English language. Scoff and get over it! The ranch stays and Lily Rose Ranch it will be.

1 comment:

BoerinBallingskap said...

Ek dink julle het 'n baie gepaste naam gekies. En dit lyk waarlik pragtig daar.