Battered by the “weeds of life,” his widow and
children are happy to see his dreams again take root.

If stress, suffering and grief grew like noxious weeds, Jennie Taylor said her unkempt little farm in North Ogden could be a picture of 2020. That overgrown lot has also reminded her daily that her husband, former North Ogden Mayor Brent Russell Taylor, is gone, killed in 2018 while on Army National Guard duty in Afghanistan. Those 5-foot weeds showed somehow that she and her seven children, ages 3 to 15, were unable to keep up, too overwhelmed since his death to nurture one of Taylor’s dreams – that the small farm might teach the value of quiet hard work with an eye on posterity. Now it has become emblematic of the coronavirus pandemic, too.

“I thought my life turned upside down in 2018, when my husband was killed and now the entire world is upside down,” she said this week. “It’s been so eye opening. But weeds are what life is full of sometimes, right? You try so hard to plant and cultivate, and then you turn around and some kind of pest has taken over.”

Thursday began a transformation as donors, led by one of the region’s largest landscaping firms, Stratton & Brätt Landscapes, launched a three-day overhaul of the farm to bring it back to working life and make it easier to maintain. The “major’s mini-farm,” as the family calls it, was his love. However his day had gone at City Hall, Brent Taylor liked to come home and dive into farm work with his kids, his widow said. She calls the place a metaphor for the family’s life without him.

Volunteers Help Fulfill Dream Of Former North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor

Prior to his death in 2018, then-North Ogden Mayor and Utah National Guard Maj. Brent Taylor wanted to use his “mini-farm” to help teach his children lessons about life.

Two years after he was killed in Afghanistan, preserving the space has proven to be trying for his widow, Jennie Taylor.

“It’s been really overwhelming in the three seasons that he’s been gone to try to keep up on it and water it and weed it,” Taylor said. “Getting little kids to work in the farm is a lot of work.”