Growing up on Muddy Creek
(Page 3 of 3)
A fire is a wonderful but terrible thing to experience. It all happens so quickly - one minute, the building is there; a few minutes later, it is a pile of ashes, which smolder for several days.
As soon as our barn's ashes were cool enough to handle, Dad used the slip scoop and a team to move them out and get ready to rebuild. The cement floor was badly scarred from the heat, but the new barn was built right over the old foundation. A new poured cement silo was erected, and a new milking barn was constructed on the south end of the old barn.
The new barn was 57 feet longer than the old structure, which measured 60 by 40 feet, and had a specially designed hip roof line that gave much more mow space with no interior supports. Most important of all, it sported a new manure handling system - a manure carrier that hung on a track and made it possible for us to forget the old wheelbarrow. Now the cows had 'indoor plumbing,' something that even few people's houses of the time had.
The night of the fire, they had to tie the cows to a fence post to milk them, so the next day Dad put the whole crew to work remodeling the red barn across the road into a suitable milking parlor with stanchions and feed mangers. It served well during the two years it took to construct the new barn.
Now, years later, that one section of drive still has a rough surface where it had to be reworked after that down-pour on the day the barn burned down. FC
The late Perry Piper was a newspaper columnist in Indiana and Illinois for more than 12 years. His columns, reprinted here from his memoirs, appear in Farm Collector with the permission of his family.
Great jagged bolts would flash toward the earth; the thunder was deafening, and then it hit with a terrible crash...
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