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Still In Use Today – for Oct. 8, 2009

A recent article regarding a barn sparked memories in our family of the barn built on our farm in 1915. The owners emigrated from Iowa to a farm on the edge of the Turtle Mountains in 1914, and built the new barn the following year. It is said that originally the barn was used only for horses, as Mr. Kelly, the owner, thought so highly of these animals.

The barn is still in use today. Its original size was 28 feet wide by 40 feet long. The plank floor was replaced with cut logs in later years. It was a well-built structure, as many nails were used; and of course, this was all done by hand. In 1951, a lean-to, 14 feet by 28 feet, was built onto the back for cattle. A new foundation and a cement floor replaced the old ones in the same year.

Our family bought the farm in 1961. A metal roof was put on in the early 1980s and metal siding replaced the old wood siding in 1997. Today, the barn houses seven calving pens and a calving chute. Barn cameras are used to watch over expectant mothers during calving season.

The loft was both a useful and fun place. Of course, its main purpose was for hay storage. We remember the bale elevator slowly and steadily hauling the square bales from the rack up to the loft. Before that, a “sling” was used to move the loose hay from the rack. Two generations of our family have had great times in that loft, looking for the latest batch of kittens or playing games of hide-and-seek!

The barn has been in use every year since 1915, except for one, 1960. Imagine how many hooves have passed through that barn door and into the pens over the years! In the changing face of time and landscapes, it’s nice to know that some things, like this barn, really don’t change.

– Penny Dixon (Simpson) writes from Hamiota, Manitoba

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