The Plain View Farm Buildings,

by Leroy Stadem

THE GRANARY

[This is a partial account of the Granary, until we find the Samtaleren page that is missing. Also there is a great more to the account, as I recall, dealing other buildings, and details about harnesses, etc.!--Ed.]

What happened to the granary? It actually became the structure over the hog house! Papa got the idea, "Why not dig intot he hillside just tot he east of the basement barn and the old well,and then after building a foundation, move the granary over to it to form a warm home for the pigs!"

THE "NEW" HOG HOUSE

How did this granary move to its new location? ig equipment, no tractors, not even horses! Just the trusty old well rig that had a hand crank geared to turn easy, but able to pull a large load with its steel cable. We first pulled the granary up the hill straight east with several roller type wooden rollers and also pipes from around the farm, so the building wouldn't slide. Then when the granary was straight north fo the newly made foundation, we relocated the well rig to the south of the foundation, and pulled the granary unto its new location. We had to make sure it was held back by ropes around stakes which were manned to let the building roll gently. The mission was accomplished! After windows, doors, farrowing pens and electricity were all in place, Papa had the best hog house in the country. He even had an easy way to bring grain from above with a slide trap and spout. (Actually the basement barn had a similar feeindg operation for the cows since an oats bin was constructed in the northeast corner of the hay mow area.)

There were two other building additions made to the farm during this time. One was a straw shed and the second was a brooder house for baby chicks.

THE STRAW SHED

The straw shed took shape just to the east of the hoghouse, where years before a silage pit had been dug. The silage pit was used during the dry years when the planted corn seldom got enough rain to produce anything except the stalks. The straw shed was also used as a place to put the car during the bitter cold winter days and nights. Starting the car was always a challenge on the farm. Some tricks which made it easier were: by jacking up the back wheel to make the crank easier to turn; by heating the radiator fluid, and by pulling the automobile with horses to get the flywheel to turn fast enough so that the engine would start. These tricks would work some times but, often times were met with frustration. So the strawshed was designed to be a place of warmth for the cattle and also the car. There was an extra length on the north end for the car, and enough room for the livestock on the south side. The warmth of the cattle did the trick, but once in a while the car still wouldn't go--the tires were slipping a little and you can guess why!

When electricity came to the farm, engine headbolt heaters also came, so again, REA [Rural Electricity Administration?] to the Rescue!

THE BROODER HOUSE

There were two ways we got baby chicks. Often we ordered them and they came through the mail in boxes with air holes. Sometimes setting hens and their nests of eggs would be brought into the southeast corner of the house basement. There the hens would set until the eggs hatched. Baby chicks needed to be kept warm, so a brooder house was built. What a small building, but, oh, how serviceable. Lumber from the leftovers of the original barn was used to build a double walled building. The walls were packed with straw for insulation. Heat for the building was provided by a small oil burner at first, then later, of course, electricity was used.

THE OUTHOUSE

Well, now the list of buildings is complete. Oh, oh, not quite complete. We always had (and there still is) an outhouse! Sometimes it was called "The First Home Freezer"! During the night, we were able to use the pottie, which was stored under the bed. One of its nicknames was the "white owl." Also, it was well known that the boys would sometimes stand or squat in the barn or chicken house, but there were no catalogues to use, and the corn cobs were not very clean to start with [I thought this was just a family joke, and asked Mom to verify that, but she said, no, they did use corncobs--Ed.]. This has reminded me of an old story that is too cute to pass up telling. When using the outhouse, a person would use three corn cobs as toiletry for cleaning up. One would be white, and the others could be brown. The person would use the brown ones first, then the white one to see if you needed the other brown one. UFTA!!

[Now we are far too fastidious to even think of descending to such primitive conditions, aren't we? Yet people back then had to make do with what they had--and "frills" were sometimes obtainable or just too expensive. A frill was anything you could possibly do without--or manage without it by inventing or finding a substitute. Toilet Paper, scented and three ply, was unthinkable on the Farms of that day described in this account. Imagine having to go out in the frigid cold of winter to use the only toilet available, the outhouse! If you couldn't face the cold, then the next best thing was the commode, the "white owl." But this was a large family, and you all couldn't use it. And someone might have pushed it under the bed, and imagine groping for it at night, trying not to wake everybody! What luxurious accommodations to our human condition we have now, and take utterly for granted! But Uncle Leroy and his generation probably remember the old days and say a little prayer of gratitude every time they use the heated and sanitary, indoor "convenience."--Ed.]

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