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Walking around the farm

August 10, 2011

It’s been gorgeous out this week – highs in the 70s, little humidity – I can almost forget that it’s August out!

I promised the kiddo that we would go down to the farm to ride bikes in the empty lots for a while. It was a good reason to get out of the house and get some exercise. Riding bikes only lasted about 30-45 minutes or so (there are only so many times you can go around and around in a 20-foot by 40-foot area before getting bored, so the rest of the time we walked around and looked at different things around the farm.

Because the cattle were now all gone, we could go inside buildings and feedlots that I hadn’t been in for years, the first of which was the barn.

The barn was already on there when my great-grandpa purchased the farm in the 1920s. On some of the rafters you can see the name of the local lumberyard that was used to build it.

The barn hasn’t been changed too much since it was built, a few modifications here and there to modernize and update it to what the farm needed when it became a beef cattle operation. It still has all the visible heavy beams and soaring ceilings from way back when.

I think they’re very interesting.

We used to play up in the old hayloft when we were younger. It was a great place to explore and discover things, despite the overwhelming smell of manure and pigeon poop. We didn’t care back then. The barn was also a favorite hiding place for the old (mostly wild) farm cats to give birth, and occasionally we would discover a new batch of kittens tucked behind spaces in the walls or under some of the clutter in the haymow.

There’s a lot next to the barn that’s now home to the old feeding troughs and assorted other things they don’t use anymore. But I liked the old light fixtures underneath the eave of the barn roof. They easily have to be 60+ years old.

And then there were the water stations around the different lots from which the cattle would drink.

They’re all mildewy and scummy now, but I remember playing and splashing in those, too, when I was younger. How I didn’t end up with about a million different kinds of infections is beyond me.

This was from the feed shed the guys built back in the ’60s. Again, it’s horribly dusty and dirty and we would play in there all the time and “help” mix the feed and get it ready for the cattle.

Not too far from the house where I grew up (that was built in 1980) are the last remnants of the old homestead on the farm. A dilapidated old smoke house and falling over outhouse. My dad can remember when they were actually in use (or at least had been used), but now they’re left to the jungle of growth in the grove. In front of one is this old wheel.

I’m not sure what it’s from, but it’s been there as long as I lived on the farm.

It hasn’t been taken over by the grass and vines yet, but not for a lack of trying on their part.

Finally we headed back to the house but not without one last look down the lane.

This is one reason we wanted to move back – to give our children the opportunity to explore and learn about the world around them in a more open setting than the city. I know it won’t be exactly the same, but we can at least give them the chance.

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