This is a photo of my Mom, and our dog, Benji (he was a great dog!), in her garden with our barn and windmill in the background taken in 1975 or so.
Our old red barn has so many memories for me. It was built in 1921, the year before my Dad was born, by my grandfather. My grandpa and then my Dad raised cattle for many years but I was fairly young (2nd grade) when he decided to get out of the cattle business and I remember the day a big semi came to load them up. The barn sat empty for several years then until my oldest brother decided to raise hogs. Fascinating creatures those pigs and there's nothing like the smell of a hog farm on hot summer days(!). My sisters and I didn't bother the pigs too much. The boar had his own larger pen on one end of the barn and he scared the bajeebas out of us, he was huge and ugly and very ill-mannered. But every spring, if we promised to be quiet and not in the way, my brother would let us watch the birthing of new piglets. The labor always looked so long and painful for the sow but those slippery piglets seemed to just pop right out, one after the other. We would keep checking then to see if the "runts" survived, quite a few didn't. :,( We came up with names for all of them. They were so sweet and fun to watch when they were little but always grew up to be loud, obnoxious, dirty and smelly. I also helped my brother with castrating one time and, oh my, what an eye-opening experience for a teenage girl!
Those hay bales were home to many a batch of kittens over the years. As soon as we saw the momma was skinny we would carry her to the barn, up to the hay bales, and wait patiently until she showed us where they were. Oh the hours spent in the barn with those kittens! When they were old enough they would follow the momma down the stairs and across the yard to the house.
The barn held some other icky creatures too, like huge spiders, snakes, mice and yes, rats. They seemed to hang out under the stairs and we would always try to talk the other into going first and learned to go up and down very quickly lest we be attacked by the rats.