Building Memories

Memories are mainly preserved in our minds, but there are “triggers” that help us to recall specific people or events or buildings. Photos help, but that only routinely goes back to the early 1900s. Older than that, we have to use other pictures like sketches or paintings. Tangible mementos help, but then these “treasures” or “souvenirs” have to be stored and sorted and curated. And, then there’s this blog. It’s storing memories and photos and stories. Specifically this week, there are recollections of some old buildings that are no longer part of the Farmyard.

This photo from the early 1970s shows the windmill looming over a building that had many uses. It was a garage, as you can see from the International pickup parked inside. After that, it was used to store a tank of fuel oil for emergency backup heating. But, this building was originally the Hen House, before it was converted for the later uses. I remember gathering eggs from nests protected by some grumpy old hens. The building has been demolished so all that’s left now, is the row of cement blocks that were the foundation for the old building.

Here are a couple of items salvaged from the old Hen House. The triangular bunch of boards is from the peak above the converted garage doors and the small door was originally just around the corner from the big doors. I may not have those detailed locations exactly right, but who cares? Now that they’re documented for posterity in this post, the old wood can go onto the burn pile. You can only keep so many “treasures” stored around the Farmyard!

These doors are all “souvenirs” from another building that’s gone, but unlike the Hen House we don’t have any photo of the Sheep Shed. The Sheep Shed was originally a hog barn, but we never had any hogs….we had sheep. This was where the lambing would happen about this time of the year. The people-sized door is in pretty rough shape, but the two smaller doors are more intact. Those small access doors let the sheep move outside onto a cement slab when the weather was good.

Currently, all that’s left on the site of the Hog House are these two hackberry trees and a depression located where the cistern once was. We planted the two evergreen trees after the Sheep Shed was demolished. The snow patch circled in red is filling in the hole where the cistern used to be; it’s frustrating to try to mow through that. The two hackberry trees are survivors that originally grew up as volunteers inside corncribs located along the south side of the cement slab.

The Silo was also located in this general area so it was convenient for feeding silage to the sheep. This is the way it looked in the early 1970s. One of the earliest posts on this blog has some pictures of the process of taking down the old Silo. That happened about 20 years ago and the location is part of the “tall grass”/unmowed part of our yard. After two decades, the circular foundation is still visible on recent high-resolution air photos available from the county. The three dark green shadows are the same three evergreens shown in the previous paragraph. If you’re standing next to the evergreens, you can’t see any sign of the foundation circle on the ground.

So, these buildings are preserved as memories associated with pictures and mementos. And, those memories are now part of this collective sharing of stories.

About Lone Tree Farm on Kanaranzi Creek

Recovering academic, earth scientist in phased retirement, farm manager by default, son, husband, father, grandfather.
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7 Responses to Building Memories

  1. Richard Bretz says:

    Down in this country old barn wood is fairly valuable, so you might consider getting a few bucks for it before relegating it to the burn pile.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. margshurr says:

    Glad you’ve preserved the memories. It’s so important and it’s nice that some of the tangibles are still around. (Remember, they do have a life-time limit though–2 years and counting!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Melanie Lupkes Olsen says:

    Your farm holds many fond memories for me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. John Shurr says:

    I stopped by on the road to take a picture of the farm. I might be employed in Spencer IA, I find out this week if I get the job or now. Maybe I could drop in sometime?

    John T Shurr


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