On my neighbor's property, there are quite a few old buildings. But there is one in particular that holds my attention, and that is the cow barn.
This old barn has been sitting quietly for at least 5 decades... No bovine has set foot in there in that span of time. It's just been sitting all these years. Being home to only mice and rats.
And let me tell you, 5 decades of silence makes for some impressive rat nests. :-/
All those sticks on the straw bales? That's a rat nest. And one of the smaller nests at that. I've counted 6 nests so far. The mice don't build those; instead preferring to live in old pots and suitcases (why there are suitcases in that barn, I have no idea...). This I know from experience, when I kicked said suitcase, and had a bunch of mice skitter over my boots.
Rodents aside, the barn itself is in stunning condition. No rot, no rust, everything's sound... It just needs someone to evict the rats and bring a heart beat back into its walls.
Below is a picture of the feeding alleyway. It's a concrete floor where you throw hay, and then the cows stick their heads through the slats in the walls. There are 22 holes in all. And the barn is big enough to hold that many cows.
Closeup shot of the feeding holes...
Across the wall from the "big cow" pens (for there are two of those), there is a smaller area for calves; complete with two nice hay mangers, and a little stanchion for dehorning/castrating/medicating the youngsters.
On the far right side of the barn, if you go through a little door, you'll find two awesome dairy stanchions that are built onto sloping concrete that has a drain leading outside. To a dairymaid, that's enough to make her squeal in delight. Farther into that room you'll find kidding stalls, calf pens, and at the very end of the walkway is a very large calving stall. I didn't get pictures of any of this though, because *ahem* I'm a chicken and didn't want to squeeze past the biggest rat nest in the entire barn:
That's not a beaver's dam. The rats have built that, and did it relatively recently. I went back into that room last week, but only because I had a friend with me who wouldn't let me say 'no' (which was a good thing). I'm not afraid of rodents, mind you, but those nests are just creepy... And when I'm in the barn by myself? Um, thanks but no thanks. I'll stay in the open areas.
Here's another fun part of the barn (and I say that with sarcasm):
I'm guessing that this wreck was once where all the meds and supplies were kept. Now the rodents have trashed it. (and yep, those sticks you see on the right side are another nest!) There's a lot of cool stuff in there though; I think I can see the top part of an old cream separator in that picture... It's a small room, and wouldn't take a huge amount of effort to clean it out. It's just when you first see it... All you can think to say is, "Wow." As you stare at the mind boggling amount of stuff.
Below is a picture of one of the "big cow" pens. This is the smaller of the two, and only has 8-10 feeding holes on it. The ground is pock marked from cattle hooves grinding it up, oh so many years ago... It's hard as rock now; leaving one feeling like they're walking on Mars; what with the uneven terrain.
There's also a hay loft that runs the entire length and width of the barn. Sorry, no pictures of that. This farm girl is afraid of heights! It's neat though. :) The barn also has electricity, and it appears that it used to have running water; whether that water can still run or not, I have no idea. Oh yeah, and there's also a decrepit cattle chute (unusable), and a farrowing pen and crate in the barn for pregnant sows. I had never noticed that until last week!
I've lived across the road from this barn for six years now, but never really thought about using it... It overwhelmed me, and I didn't like going in there alone. It wasn't until I went in there with my friend and together we REALLY looked the place over (okay, he did most of the looking over; I mostly just told him to be careful, and that he had better not do anything to disturb the rats!!) that the idea of fixing it up seemed doable.
I don't know if anything will come of my wanting to fix the old cow barn up, but I thought I would at least share some pictures with y'all for now. :)