A handful of years ago my husband decided the barn should be tinned, and so he borrowed a lift from one of the neighbors who had rented one for the week and who was done using it.
The lift made the barn tinning project a one-day piece of cake, so in the usual farmer fashion, he looked around to see what else he could accomplish while he had it. Thus, the corn crib became the object of his next project-a demolition one.
It was kind of sad, really. The corn crib had been part of our farm for as long as either one of us had lived here, and for maybe as long as my father-in-law had lived here as he was growing up.
It was historic, for sure, but had outlived its usefulness, with an alleyway that was too small for today’s tractors and wagons, and upper grain storage compartments that gave way to modern grain bins.
The ear corn bins were no longer used since hardly anyone picks corn.
My husband and sons had determined the space it was taking could be used for something that could serve a useful purpose. And so the decision was made.
It didn’t take that long to tear it down with the help of the lift, and before long it was nothing more than a pile of wood in the grove and a memory.
Not long after that it was determined that the wind was still and it would be a good time to burn the pile.
It was one of our favorite things to do. Watching a rubbish fire can be a very relaxing thing-that is, if things go as planned.
Thus, we decided to order a pizza, gather up some refreshments and some lawn chairs, and fetch a box of matches.
Supper arrived, the lawn chairs were set up, and the pile was lit. Now we would just sit back, watch the fire and enjoy the fruits of the guys’ work.
As we began to consume our outdoor supper, we saw the stream of cars on U.S. Highway 71 that were coming back from the Clay County Fair. Before long, we saw what looked like red flashing lights at our corner half a mile away.
We didn’t call the fire department, so we were hoping it wasn’t them headed our way – after all, we wanted this blaze to occur, and were watching it.
Meanwhile, the local sheriff’s deputy pulled into the yard in a hurry, inquiring about the fire and telling us that people driving to and from the fair could see it from the highway and were concerned.
Several people had called the communications center about it. He scolded us for starting the fire without calling them first to let them know. It was quite a haughty admonition, but we probably had it coming.
As the fire trucks rolled into the yard, we were a little embarrassed to tell them that we didn’t call them and that (hopefully) we didn’t need them.
Luckily, they were nice to us and headed back to town. We were to call the communications center when the fire died down.
With such a showy display in our yard that night, it looked like the red light district. My mother would have wondered where she went wrong with me, and immediately began a prayer vigil.
All that was trulyamiss now was that our pizza was cold and the beer was warm.
Farmers are very good at taking care of themselves and their needs – even in disposing of old buildings.
But apparently, we leave a lot to be desired as anonymous arsonists.
Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at email@example.com and at www.karenschwaller.com.
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