Jim Weir's Barn
Peggy Weir Lawrie:
Peggy Weir Lawrie:
was piped into the barn, pumped by a gasoline engine.
It was pumped into a large wooden tank upstairs in the barn and then by
gravity flow down to the cows in the stable below.
In the summer, water was hand-pumped into a trough. There was no plumbing
in the house, so water was carried to the
house from this well which was out near the barn.
The handpump was located in a small pumphouse and this building was also
the milkhouse where the cans of milk would be stored in a vat to be kept cool in
summer until picked up to go to the dairy.
the winter months, the cattle were watered from basins or bowls in front of them,
one basin for two cows. The water
was fed to these basins by gravity. The
cow would stick her nose into the basin and press down a valve
and the water would come in. The
water storage tank which was set on the second floor of the barn above the cow
stables, used to leak rather badly. The
water dripped down onto the passageway which ran from the horse-stable to the
other end of the cow-stable. There
was a very wet area about ten feet long just below the tank.
wooden water tank had a slow leak in it all the time we lived there.
The pipes went into the tank from the bottom, so that there was a lot of
pressure from the weight of the water onto the connections.
Dad was not very handy at repairing things and we put up with water on
the floor of the passageway for years.
in the winter the pump would not work. We
would have to pump the water by hand - hard work as I remember it.
It took two kids to pump it, myself and either Jack or Blake.
Ches was too small, although he probably had to do it too when he got a
little bigger. I hated that job of
One day the gasoline engine wouldn't go. Neil was going to clean the spark plugs and I was supposed to help him. He had it in his hand and he said 'Don't turn the wheel.' So just to see what would happen I turned it a very little bit, about one-half an inch. It was a great big flywheel. It went "Bzzz". Neil went up in the air and he came down running. He got me going through the barnyard fence out onto Markham Road. Fortunately, Mother and Father came along, or I don't think I would be telling you this story now.
was a fence separating the barns and barnyard from the house area and a narrow
gate through which the horses would be led from the buggy shed to the horse
main barn, painted red, was north and a bit east of the long shed. It was about
80' x 45'. There was another barn,
black unfinished wood, at right angles to the big barn.
It housed chickens, pigs and implements with a hayloft over all of it.
barn was a very good one. It had a
hip roof and it was the only barn I ever saw with cleats between the barnboards.
There was a stone foundation. At
the rear of the barn were two ramps to the upper level and also two silos for
corn silage. Just outside the
north-west end of the barn was a soft water cistern. The
water from it was used for the steam engine for the threshing machine, etc.
the interior of the barn -- the
horse stable was at the south end with a stairway to the upper level.
There was a passageway next to the horse stable and another long one
running almost the full length of the barn.
There was another short one at the north end - a widened "H"
shape. On the east side of the
long passageway were two box-stalls to house the young cattle.
As the barnyard was on the east side of the barn, the cows entered the
barn through a door next to the box-stalls.
The cow stable would hold about eighteen cows. The wooden stable was in
very good condition. The mangers
were of wooden construction. The
ceiling and walls had to be whitewashed. A
mixture of lime and water was sprayed on to keep the stable clean looking.
floors were cement, with gutters for the cattle droppings.
Fastened to the ceiling there was a "litter carrier" track
behind the cattle stalls and from the entry
door it led out into the barnyard. (Litter
was the manure and straw which gathered behind the animals as they stood in
their stalls.) The 'carrier' was a
large metal, round-bottomed tub which looked a lot like a horse water-trough.
It was attached by chains to an above-the-head track.
For cleaning out the gutters, the tub was lowered to the floor level and
filled with manure (shovelled by hand) and when filled it was cranked up again
and then pushed out into the barnyard on the track.
Here it was emptied by pulling a latch which caused it to get
off-balanced and it would fall over, emptying the contents onto the manure pile.
Some of these Litter Carriers were made in
The water pump and the root pulper and the gasoline engine to run them both were situated about half-way down the long passageway. The turnips and mangels had to be chopped up before being fed to the cattle. There was a wall between the passageway and a large room which was the root cellar. There was a hole in the wall, and a trough ran through this hole from the root cellar to the passageway. The gasoline engine would be turned on when attached to the root pulper, and someone in the root cellar would roll a turnip or mangel down the trough from one side of the wall to the other. Then the pulper would chop up the vegetable for the cows. There was really not much food value in those roots - mostly water - but the farmers then did not know this back in the '20s, and root crops like mangels were easy to grow.
day when Ches was only about three years old, he was standing on the handles of
a wheel barrow filled with turnips. He
lifted them one by one into the trough and let them roll down, through the hole
in the wall, into the pulper. When
most of the turnips had gone, the
wheelbarrow became unbalanced and Ches fell, breaking his arm.
Within a week or two of the accident, Ches was turning one-handed
cartwheels. At that time, turnips
sold for about six cents a bushel.
(Ches had a happy nature and I suppose he thought that doing the job was fun, but it was a rather dangerous thing for such a small child to be doing -- but typical on the farm in the 1920s.)
The Scarboro Heights Record V14 #11