Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Summer In The Hayloft

It is truly interesting what you find when you start digging. For instance, I have long known that my Great Grandfather, Ernest Bergquist, built the barn at the family homestead. I had also been told before that it had been ordered from a catalogue and shipped to its present location on the farm. (Yeah! Right, Dad! Someone shipped the barn to Great Granddad! Like how many stamps would they need for that!)

Until my siblings and I found the packing crate that the barn was shipped in. The boards from the crate had been used to house the ventilation as it passed through the hayloft. That was when my siblings and I decided that the stories my dad proffered were sometimes true.

The barn was made by the James Manufacturing Company of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin (which offered the Jamesway line of equipment). I've done a bit of research, just out of interest. It was a fairly common barn for its day. There are a number of sites out there that offer a history of the company and pictures of the products they sold. (Even the old Choreboy tracks that are in the barn are described in one of the sites I found!)

I cannot remember ever before actually seeing the hayloft empty, nearly empty, sure… each summer when we arrived to help bail hay, but never clean down to the floor. As a kid, I remember swinging from the ropes from the canted outer doors of the hayloft and falling into the loose hay that collected below. My cousins, when I was up there, recently, still swing on the loading ropes but with no soft landing, they could only swing, no plunging into soft, loose hay at the end. Bummer!

To get philosophical for a moment: Life is a summer afternoon with a half-full hayloft. It is something you have to experience to truly enjoy!

Wherever you are today, I hope you'll swing out and take the plunge.

Don Bergquist – July 07, 2010 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

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