So where did you grow up? A question I often hear as people read my books and watch my Public TV shows. The photo, taken in the 1960s, is the farmstead of the home farm located west of Wild Rose, in Waushara County.

The farm included 160 acres, 20 of which was wooded. Most of the rest of the farm was tillable. But it was hilly, stony and sandy. We never had enough rain. We had more than enough stones.

These farm buildings included a red barn, with a wood-stave silo and a big white house. In winter we closed off all but two rooms, the ones with woodstoves.The little white building between the house and the barn was the pumphouse, which also served as the milk house because it is where we cooled the milk cans after morning and evening milking.

To the west was the chicken house and immediately to the south a combination machine shed and granary. Then the corn crib, the kind where cob corn was stored.

Another machine shed stood next to the white pine windbreak, and a bit further to the south was the brooder house where my mother tended the baby chicks until they were old enough for the chicken house. The photo was taken in August, note the big straw stack just to the west of the barn. 

Not to be forgotten, the white board fence that separated the barnyard from what we farmers called the dooryard. My folks were proud of these farm buildings, although there was nothing fancy about any of them. 

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: You can tell a lot about farmers by looking at their buildings.

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life.

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