Author back where it began

Ellen Bromfield Geld, daughter of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield, is in town until the first week in October. She says she gets a lump in her throat when she sees Malabar Farm.

LUCAS — Ellen Bromfield Geld, daughter of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield, said she always likes to come back to Mansfield.

“I always get a lump in my throat when I see Malabar,” she said Friday from AngelWoods Hideway Bed & Breakfast & Gatherings on Pleasant Valley Road, where she and her husband, Carson Geld, are staying through Oct. 9.

Bromfield Geld, who has lived in Brazil since 1953, said the couple plans to see old friends, Malabar Farm, and their great-grandchildren coming from Canada.

One of three daughters of Louis Bromfield, Bromfield Geld grew up at Malabar Farm. She will sign her books and her father’s books this weekend during Heritage Days.

She hadn’t yet stepped inside the Big House since arriving in town, but planned to spend time seeing what’s going on at the farm where she used to enjoy walking in autumn and picking berries.

“The Big House definitely needs to be maintained. The house is an important part of the whole scene,” she said of recent state cutbacks.

“The main goals of my father were soil conservation and changes and he kept right on doing that up until the day he died,” she said. “Brazil is very much influenced by my father, and that’s why we went there.

“One of the last practices that Brazil adapted was from my father’s work, no-till or direct planting. You plant directly in the trash of the last crop. If you had wheat, you plant in the trash of what’s left from the wheat or corn. It’s used in Brazil in practically everything. It prevents erosion.”

The couple also is in town to vote.

“We wanted to vote for the presidential election. Very important,” she said. “This year my husband and I are both voting for the same person,” she said. “Obama.”

In Brazil, they are farmers and raise Santa Gertrudis cattle.

Bromfield Geld said they make their living growing special grass for pastures, which helps farmers prevent erosion.

“It’s very special grass because it proliferates by its stolons (runners) and therefore secures the land very well,” she said. “We have five different varieties of that and we sell the stolons and make hay with that.”

Following in her father’s footsteps of being a caretaker of farmlands, she is concerned for the future of Malabar Farm State Park in light of plans by the state to open state parks to oil and gas well drilling.

With two recent state House bills, the potential for oil drilling and gas reserves and further cutting of timber in state parks like Mohican and Malabar Farm are likely. Effective last September, House Bill 133 permits the state to enter into leases to drill on park properties, and create “a streamlined and more efficient method of leasing other state land parcels,” which were previously open to oil and gas drilling. House Bill 153 enables the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to harvest timber in state parks to generate money.

“It’s a hideous way to try to get more gas or oil out of the ground,” she said.

She also is very concerned about fracking.

“It is such a dangerous process. It’s terrible. What’s more important to us than our water?” she said. “I write for Farming Magazine, the Amish publication, and I wrote an article about fracking for that. I think it’s the worst thing anyone could think of.

“If we want to survive as human beings, we better start working more with nature. It isn’t nature who needs us,” she said. “We better start thinking about how to work in harmony. It’s we who need to be more in tune with nature and work in harmony.”

Bromfield Geld said people should be more concerned about taking care of resources for future generations.

She said her father always said, “The land isn’t ours. We’re its stewards to pass on to future generations in better shape than we found it.”

“That’s what he always wanted to do at Malabar,” she said.

The author said she is working on a new book about dreamers who achieve their goals, which also keeps her busy.

“It’s based on the idea knowing who you are and by that, doing what you want to do. If you don’t make a fortune you still won’t be wasting your time,” she said.