As you drive through the countryside you will likely see different types of farms scattered around — some sit empty and run-down and others are new, full of innovation and life. In the minds of many people, these may seem like just a bunch of buildings, piles of wood, nails, tin, and screws. However to a farmer and their families, this is their life.
Growing up on my uncle's small farm, the farmyard was filled with many different buildings: a barn filled with cows sat below a tall haymow, a granary stored the feed, a machine shed housed all of the equipment, and a workshop where you could find just about any tool needed. Each of these buildings served a purpose to the daily operation of the farm.
To a farm kid, these buildings were much more than just walls. They were a playground with endless possibilities of adventure and exploration. Most of my memories on the farm include one of these buildings—fun memories of playing hide-n-seek in the granary, or discovering a new litter of kittens in the haymow while we were building a hay bale fort.
Some memories are not so fun—filling that haymow with new itchy and heavy bales on a hot and humid July day. And some memories are more memorable than others—the day that the old silo came down. I remember standing back and watching as my uncle and dad used chains and tractors to pull the old silo in the right direction so it didn't hit the house or barn as it came down and imploded.
As we got older, we made new memories and those buildings became less of a playground and more of a place to hang out with friends (or boyfriends). How does that old saying go "If walls could talk.” Sometimes I think it’s all right that those walls cannot talk—they’ve heard and saw a lot over the years.
I realize now, as a parent myself, how important the farm is to a child. Those farm buildings served not only has functional building crucial to the farms operation, but also as a great babysitter for our parents while they were getting chores done. They far better entertainment than a TV or video game, and they were where we, as kids, discovered ourselves.
My own girls are just getting old enough to spend their time exploring the farm—this past summer was spent enjoying several new litters of kittens. The barn may no longer be filled with cows and the machine shed filled with bigger tractors, but I hope that my girls enjoy discovering the same playground and build some of the same memories that I have.
So on your next drive through the countryside, slow down and think of those farms not just as a bunch of odd buildings, but look at them through the eyes of a farm kid because to a farm kid, those buildings are the perfect definition of home.
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