The Corn Crib

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Contently Deranged Travelers
Life on a farm in the early 1900s

Submitted: August 22, 2016

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Submitted: August 22, 2016

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www.thebloodyrook.net

The Corn Crib

Grist Mill, Kansas-1902

 

Keeping our three pastures in good condition was always a challenge do to our small herd of Hereford. The number of cattle changed, of course, as we culled and bought, sold and/or traded stock. One average we had fifty head grazing at any given time.

After fencing off the lower, and richer, pasture for the sole purpose of growing top grade grasses for hay, the remaining two fields slowly came back to good health with few bare spots and good growth.

We usually had three good cuttings a year or more of hay and we were able to supplement the cattle’s grazing area with fresh bales of sweet hay. Bonus was that our large barn was easily filled for winter feeding.

Father had built a long wooden crib to store feed and corn, mostly corn, but was very stingy on feeding feeding the cattle with the treat. So stingy that he whipped me once for throwing out a few handfuls for our chickens.

“ Those damn yard birds fend for themselves. When you have your own place you can be as foolish as you want.” The belt came off and that was it. I didn’t make a sound, hoping Mother would not hear or see the belting.

I was twelve when my mother left after putting up with  Father’s  late night drinking bouts followed by his rants about how hard he worked for his unappreciative family and how I was an accident that haunted him and the unfair jabs that my mother came from a family of whores. Not a true word in that comment but that never stopped him until his favorite punching bag left in the middle of the night for St. Louis, Mo. where her sister lived.

She wrote me every day and often sent a few dollars that she would advice me to hide it well and come to St. Louis as soon as I could get away. If I would miss getting to the mailbox first I would find the letters from my mother in the burn barrel, opened and surely lifted of any money.

When I was fifteen, Father left too which was good for me. I could run the farm just as well if not better and if Mother had not caught pneumonia and died I’m sure she would have come back.

 

Well, eighteen years old and I have fifteen steers ready for slaughter and three cows ready to drop calves. I don’t like inbreeding the cattle and so I traded my Hereford Bull for Joe York's Angus mix. He named him Ollie which doesn’t fit his mean temperament. But he does what a good bull does so I don’t mind that all that much.

I built a new and larger corn crib and feed the cattle corn any damn time I want. Mostly to Ollie, the steers and cows pregnant with calves. The farm is really doing okay and I just wish I had a brother to work it with me. Been nice too if Father hadn’t been so damn mean. Had to make him go. We would have lost everything if I let him stay. So he’s at the bottom of the old corn crib with the old rat infested corn he was so stingy with. Sometimes I feel like he’s watching me when I’m in the barn. I wonder if he approves of the way I’m taking care of the old place?

eNd

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Robert Kasch. All rights reserved.

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