Granddaddy Bob Ledford’s old barn fascinated me. My brother and I explored it and found many treasures. The musty smell of straw and animals burned your nostrils as you entered the dark building. Sometimes a rat darted from the shadows and started me.
The corncrib came first. It was located on the lower side of the barn. Granddaddy harvested the corn and piled it in a mound. I would shuck ears, toss them into the troughs. The horses stood in their stables and chewed grain from the corncobs.
When Ma Minnie’s bin got low on meal, Granddaddy and his sons took corn to the house and shelled it. He loaded his wagon with toe sacks of corn and took that to the mill to grind into cornmeal.
Granddaddy stored farm equipment—hoes, shovels, rakes, plows, harnesses, cross-cut saws, pitchforks—in the barn. He also kept seed, and feed there. His presence filled the old barn. That was his domain.
Striped barn cats slunk through the barn waiting for someone to milk the cow. My brother squirted milk toward the felines and actually hit their mouths. I never could learn to milk the cow. It’s a skill that comes naturally, or maybe I was not born a farmer.
The old barn has many memories. I cringe when I recall my cousin tore the barn down a few years ago and destroyed its history. I want to preserve the way of life that old barn represented. It’s a story about farming, family, and a simple time lost to modern society.
By: Brenda Kay Ledford