The Filhart’s: A Lot of Love to Give
On a back country road a white house sits adjacent to a green pasture where horses graze. A swing set, sandbox, small garden and an old apple tree lay behind the house. In the early morning the farm is quiet except for the 2 dogs, Louie and Willie, who loyally follow their master around the yard. In the late afternoon the yard comes to life.
Ed and Mary Filhart have raised twelve children of their own in this home, and now twenty-four grandchildren. Most of their kids have stayed near the Shepherd, MI farm to be close to their siblings, nieces and nephews. Members of this large family are always coming by the farm, bringing the grandchildren together to play in the yard that they grew up in.
In addition to taking care of the farm, Ed raises and trains colts and horses. Currently he has two colts and four Belgian horses, which he broke to ride in teams and pull wagons for yard work. “The horses used to do everything on the farm,” said Ed, “now we use tractors.” Ed’s sons and son-in-laws come to help him with the heavy labor of farm work.
When it comes to the fun tasks around the farm, the whole family lends a hand- even 3-year-old grandson, Maverick. On a warm sunny September afternoon, Ed spends time with his daughters and grandchildren picking raspberries from the patch behind the house. The grandchildren race to see who will fill up their carton first. Emma, 7, would rather eat the raspberries straight off the plant than fill up her carton. Her older sister Molly, a competitive sport, filled her’s up first. Toads, bumble bees and crickets distract the kids, and soon they’re off to playing in the sandbox.
When the family leaves to go back to their respectful homes, Ed and Mary are left in their front yard waving goodbye as the kids scream farewells from the car windows. “And then it gets quiet again,” said Ed. Although only Ed and Mary reside here, it is home to the whole family, and a home that has a lot of love to give.