Remembering farm buildings |

Remembering farm buildings

Marilyn Kratz
Yankton, S.D.

Even though it’s been over 50 years since I lived on my parent’s farm, I can still visualize many of the outbuildings. Maybe that’s because, as children, my siblings and I found them great places to play and have adventures.

The big barn was one of our favorite places. We loved playing in the hay mow. Often we’d find tiny new kittens hidden up there by a mother cat. It didn’t take us long to tame them.

The cats loved the barn, too. I’m sure it was because that’s where they ate. Once in a while, we squirted milk into their mouths while we milked the cows. But mostly we fed them by pouring warm, fresh milk into a curious little black stone bowl shaped somewhat like a shallow angel food cake pan.

My younger sister and I got into trouble with Dad one day when we were in the barn. We saw the horses’ fly nets hanging in a small side room. They consisted of lots of thin leather strands which, when draped over the horse’s back, would move and chase the flies away. Well, we decided to braid all those leather strands. When Dad saw what we’d done, we were put right to work unbraiding!

The building Dad called his shop was actually halfway under the ground. The top half was made of stones. Dad had a forge in one corner of that building. I remember the excitement of watching him heat iron rods red-hot and then pound them into the shape he needed.

Dad stored most of his tools, as well as his tractor, in the shop. Along one wall, he had hung a set of small boxes to hold various items. He said the boxes had come from the post office in a tiny town named Blaha which used to exist about a half mile from our farm.

I didn’t like the big hen house, because I hated gathering eggs. Those hens didn’t give up their treasure without trying to peck at my hand as I reached under them. I didn’t tell Mom that I often took a stick with me when it was my turn to gather the eggs. I’d use it to shove the hens to the back of the nest while I took out the eggs.

The little chicken coops near the big hen house were much more fun. I loved them when they were filled with downy little chicks. But they were even more fun when the chicks were big enough to be moved out. Then my sisters and I would clean them thoroughly and use them as playhouses.

Most of those buildings no longer exist. But I still enjoy wandering through them in my memories.