Our Home Farm

Silloway Maple Home Farm

See that barnyard fence? As a teenager, I dug the post holes with my Dad. Seems like we were putting in old railroad ties, I’ll have to ask David. The holes were stony, and deep. We had a long, long bar – so heavy, and a long-handled scoop shovel. The sweat ran off Dad’s brow, and he always had a red or blue bandana handkerchief ( which Mother or I had neatly ironed) , to wipe it away. Anne painted the boards white. She was the champion of balancing her way around the barnyard fence, barefoot, above the strand of electric barbed wire, and the bull thistles and burdocks, and nettles!

Notice the little house to the side of the fence. That was once a milkhouse, then it was towed out to the farm pond behind the barn to serve as a warming hut for us when we skated in the winter. We had a little woodstove, and a bench to sit on. All the neighbor kids came. Now the bull calves to be shipped go in there until the cattle truck comes.

You can just barely see the hay elevator running up to the mow, over the low, “new” section of the barn. I started unloading hay as a child. Wonder how many bales, over all these years. My older brother, Stuart, and I raced the clock, to see how few minutes we could unload in. My goal was to have a bale, about a quarter of the way out the wagon door, each time he turned from putting the last one on that elevator. Sometimes they’d get hung up, and we’d have to shut down to climb up and straighten things out. I turned my back on the elevator, to throw out the clutch, and the piled-up bales thundered back down the roof. One smashed my face into the motor, and knocked out four teeth and split my mouth open. I was fourteen.

The roof over the porch on the side of the house? I liked to go out the upstairs window, and lay out in the sun like a cat, reading books and eating apples.

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