I’ve been away to my childhood home. This is the barn in Allegan County Michigan on the farm where I grew up. My mother still lives on the farm and rents the 60 tillable acres. A stream and 35 wooded acres made it a great to grow up. My mother is 85 and the barn looks much like it did when she and my father bought the place in the early 1950’s. My father put the metal roof on in the 1960’s and part in the 70’s with help from my older brothers. In the late 70’s, while I was in high school, I shoveled snow off the roof to relieve the weight during a winter with heavy snowfall. The peaks are about thirty feet high.
Originally this was two separate barns. The section on the right used to be across the street. Owners who my parents bought from made the move. This was home to 2000 laying hens and about 200 roosters during my primary school days. On the right side there is an upper level. On my recent visit, I showed my son-in-law the 2 X 3 foot sections of the upper floor that we removed to clean it. We parked the manure spreader under removed section and loaded it one forkful at a time.
My father and four brothers did a lot of hand labor in that barn. Five gallon buckets and metal scoops were the feeding tools. We did have automatic watering. Mom would help with egg gathering into wire baskets. Except for the Amish, farming isn’t done that way any more. The single row pull behind corn picker with over a hundred grease fittings that Dad would lubricate before using each day is long gone. It along with a combine, baler, seed drill, and straw bales made for great games of hide-and-seek 45 years ago.
One of these years, the barn will go. It is obsolete. The 10 inch square oak beams that lay on the cement foundation are rotten in a lot of places. Restoration would be costly and it would still be an obsolete design when finished. Chances of it becoming a museum are slim. Some day it will only be a memory.