Thursday, December 23, 2021
It’s 2021, and I’m sequestered in the guest house at my parents' place, waiting the results of a COVID-19 test.
When we moved to this property, late in the 1980s, you could still tell it had once been a prosperous working farmstead on the model of the early 20th century. Along with wooden barns, corn cribs, machine sheds, and all the rest, most of it decaying rapidly as pigs rooted around the foundations, there was this little house. At the time it consisted of two rooms and a partially enclosed porch. Much of the structure was full of raccoon shit and corn cobs.
Most of the original outbuildings have been gone for 25 years or better. The little house has been fixed up for guests, deteriorated again, moved a hundred feet or so, and fixed up a second time. We built a new outhouse once, but it’s plumbed now. Hooked up to the electric, insulated, with new windows and a new woodstove in one corner. The woodstove burns too hot for a building this size and my dad’s got plans to put in a wall-mounted propane heater.
We’ve always figured, and maybe my parents were once told, that this was the hired man’s house. It would make sense for the patterns around here. I know the name of a couple families that owned the farm at one time, but I couldn’t guess at who lived in the little house. A lot of the elders around here who might have had stories are gone now, along with most of the farms that they inhabited and worked.