Sunday, October 21, 2012

West Haymow

West Haymow (click photo to display full screen)
Ray Purington took this photo in early September, 2012. He was standing in the haymow over the holding pen and looking to the west over the sawdust pen into the west haymow. This is a great shot that captures the geometry of the post and beam construction.

Herbert said this part of the barn was built in the early to mid 1920's when he was a baby/toddler. There used to be one of his small handprints cast in the concrete in the manger of the heifer stalls near this part of the barn. It may still be visible if you know where to look.

The barn was built by his grandfather, Orren Davenport Purington, and Orren's construction crew. Herbert recalls being told that the hemlock posts and beams were cut in the "North Pasture" (between Cal Coombs Road and Thompson Road) by a man named Willie Smith.

Detail of steel rail and pulley in the peak of the barn
The steel rail and pulley system in the peak of the barn was used to lift loose dry hay from a wagon parked below and then rolled to either side to drop the hay down to the mow. An online reproduction catalog showing hay unloading tools of that time period may be viewed here: 1918 Louden Hay Unloading Tools and Litter and Feed Carriers Catalogue. Someone should climb to the peak and inspect the old pulley and see if it is stamped with the Louden name. Bob Purington says the old hay hooks that were used with this pulley are still on the farm.

The peak is about 30 feet above the floor. There was a heavy rope tied to the steel track that hung nearly to the floor with a large knot on the bottom that many of us enjoyed using as a swing. When Herbert was looking at this photo he recalled that on his 50th birthday he climbed the rope hand-over-hand  to the top, not once but twice!  Dave Purington remembered seeing Herbert climb the rope and grab the steel rail and hang for a few moments before sliding back down the rope.