One of my favorite things about my childhood is growing up on our family farm. I have so many sweet memories, some of which include our large red barn that was used to house our pigs. Growing up, my dad raised hogs from farrow-to-finish (from birth to market weight) and me and my siblings found many ways to entertain ourselves in our pig barn.
One of our favorite activities was to climb up in the haymow (where we would store our bales of hay and straw used for bedding and feed for our livestock). We would take turns climbing on the stacked bales and swinging on a rope into a pile of loose straw or hay. This was also a regular activity we would do when my cousins came over. Somehow I don’t remember anyone ever getting hurt or complaining about the smell of the pigs that lived just below the haymow.
Me and my sisters would also spend hours searching for the newest litter of kittens. Our cats would always find a little home in the hawmow for the little baby kittens. We would get real quiet and try to listen to the sounds of meowing and follow the noise. Then we would inevitably dress them in doll clothes and push them around in buggies once they got old enough. Oh, those poor kittens didn’t know what was coming to them; they were well loved!
And, of course one of my favorite memories in the barn were the pigs that it housed. I remember holding the little baby piglets and chasing them around once they were old enough to run around freely in the pen. We loved our pigs! I remember one pig that was picked on by the others and my dad made a little area where it could go so the other pigs would leave it alone. My dad put me and my sister in charge of taking extra care of that pig – we named it Oscar.
Now that we don’t have livestock anymore our barn is used to store our machinery. The haymows are still there, but no longer store hay and straw. But memories continue to be created. Just a few weeks ago we had a family reunion on the farm and my nieces and nephews were in the haymow playing “house” and having a picnic with some cheese-puffs.
And, this year we get to share our barn with all who are attending the DeKalb County Barn Tour. We are so excited to share our farm and make more memories in our old pig barn. Hope to see you there!
ELIZABETH KOENIG – HINCKLEY FARMER, THERAPIST, AND ARTISAN SOAP MAKER