Our majestic red barn is a landmark for those traveling north of Richardton on Highway 8. It was built in 1939 after the original barn was destroyed the year before by a tornado. My dad told me that before they got their first tractor, the barn was the most important building on the farm. The barn came first; the house came second, because the barn housed his father’s draft horses that ploughed the fields. The horses’ well-being was more important than anything.
My grandfather homesteaded the Hueske farm in 1900. When my dad took over in the late 40s, he used the barn to milk cows to earn a living and feed his family. Cream, eggs, and wheat were a farmer’s economy. Before electricity, the milk herd was 10 to 15 cows, but after electricity the herd increased to 21.
The milk cows were sold in 1970, just after my two older sisters graduated from high school and before I entered grade school. My sisters never let me forget that I was spared milking cows. It is probably no surprise that their memories of the barn don’t match my romanticized memories.