A country childhood must surely put nearly anyone in close proximity to a barn. They are pretty interesting, if you think about it. Consider the materials they are built of--the old ones relied on local materials. To some degree, you can judge the age of a barn by it's structure. The roof-lines of barns in snowy areas might be designed to carry a snow load. Most of the local barns are hillside barns, as is the one of the farm I grew up on. That particular barn was constructed of logs, and had a barn-stone (quarried sandstone) foundation.
And in those country barns, sometimes you find a beenest. White faced hornets and yellowjackets are two types that often built inside old farm buildings. And where you find bee nests, you find children who get stung because they do foolish things, like mess with the bee nests.
Behind the barn where I grew up, there were old ponds in the woods on the neighbor's property. The ponds were edged in cattails, and were more swamp than open water. The tree canopy was dense, and the woods were dark. So were the swampy ponds. My grandmother told us that was where the boogeyman lived. That was enough to keep us away from any danger of drowning. ~laughing~ Well played, Grandma! The creepy factor followed me the whole way to adulthood. The really funny things is, almost 15 years ago, we bought property to build a house. The boogieman woods is part of it. I've come to love the woods, but you still couldn't pay me enough to pitch a tent down there and spend the night in it.
Homemade butter, buttermilk, and homemade bread were part of every lunch.
And berry picking was part of every summer. And if you've ever done it, you probably know...it gets into your veins. I loved to do it as a kid, and even slipping on the downhill side of fifty years, I still love to do it. One of my very best memories is of a summer day, getting home from work early, grabbing the berry pails, and we took off, me, my three children, and two dogs. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing, and we picked wild black raspberries for hours. The kids' faces were stained purple from berries and we were weary when we made our way back to the house. All that winter--and even still, when I open a jar of black raspberry preserves, I take a sniff and smile. I swear, I can smell that day, feel the warmth of the sunshine and the wind blowing, and I hear my children laughing.
Another day in the country...a good life.