Once upon a time a path led from the driveway along the edge of the garden to the barn where the hens lived. Red-the-cow and the nanny goats congregated there morning and evening to be fed and milked. We called tending the livestock “the chores.” Usually the teenage uncles were responsible for doing the chores. We little nieces and nephews considered it a privilege to get to help occasionally. It was fun to scoop out a portion of grain or to reach into a hen box and pick up a warm, freshly laid egg to add to the bucket.
The years went by, as years are wont to do. Old Red died. The uncles grew up and went off to college. The rest of us lived other places. Granddaddy’s “herd” of livestock gradually grew smaller and smaller, until finally there were none.
The barn is abandoned now, and while my dad gives it a fresh coat of paint every now and then to keep it looking nice, mostly it serves as storage for no-longer-useful-or-needed implements. The used-to-be garden and once busy path are now covered over with neatly mowed grass.
The farm is no longer very productive, but it holds countless memories for the generation of children who once ran barefoot all over the hillside. What a wonderful way to begin life’s many adventures.