When Molly Saved the Barn


It has been a while, since I had a day without some sort of obligation or some place to be .  Under such circumstance, I was drinking coffee at the “morning table”, when the day arrived.  I listened to the mockingbird sing a prelude, and watched the sun rise, shyly over the old barn.  The fragrance of morning, drifted in the open window and this day I could smell the wild privets blooming in the young woods.

For a while, the world was a silent and peaceful place, then a dove took flight, and shattered the spell with its’ alarm of impending doom.  When a dove coos, I declare it as a beautiful sound as this world offers.  His song is capable of putting one in a trance , in a total state of contentment . . .when the dove flies, its’ song could startle a rock!  The dove always seems in a state of panic, when it flies. 

Last night I heard a “Bobwhite”.  I am convinced,  I will always feel young when I hear a bobwhite, for a flood of memories wash over me like a sudden rain, every time.  I do not know why, but learning about birds, was  as important as learning your abcs when I was a child.  The lesson on the bobwhite has remained vivid in my mind throughout the many passing decades. The bobwhite sings his name and if you whistle back, he will answer!  I clearly remember when Daddy demonstrated this.  I was quite young and was amazed that when Daddy whistled back, the Bobwhite did too!  Now, I have never been able to really whistle.  Kyle can whistle with clear trills and on pitch.  My whistle sounds like something is in dire need – and it is almost too late. . .however the bobwhite , is a courteous bird and will answer the most feeble attempt.  I do not hear a bobwhite, without calling back . . .and also remembering the unfaded magic of those long ago twilights.


By mid morning, clouds had moved in, making the constant breeze cool and so very pleasant.  I have the usual chores to accomplish and in addition, there is that one last room in the farmhouse, that needs to be scrubbed.  I am also going to  tend  to those awful vines at the back of the property, for left unchecked, they can give shade in  just days!  There is also the small pasture, now vacant, since the grand children were born.  It needs to be mowed.  If “idle hands are the devils’ workshop”, as Grandmama used to warn us, then I suppose the rabbitpatch has been a remedy for that.


Not long after noon, I tackled the vines.  It is a dreaded task, as you must cut and then pull the hateful, itchy things off their victims.   A the same time you are looking out for snakes and bees that sting.   The day was almost sultry, on top of that.  Of course there was more work to be done than I thought behind the barn.  I decided to take a break.  On the way to the house, I passed the cherry tree and to my delight-there were cherries on it!!  Now, not enough to make a pie, but it was the first time, the thing had produced fruit.  I had taken the half dead tree from a neighbor, who had bought it, with good intentions, but left it in the pot a few years.  I happened to be there, when they were tossing it in a burn pile and asked for it.  That was almost a decade ago.  Every year, the tree bore blossoms, but no fruit.  I remained on good terms with the tree,  as it was pretty in spring and so fragrant.  I overlooked the absence of fruit . . and quit expecting it.  I saw the cherries and forgot I was hot, dirty and tired! 


Christian and I tackled the pasture in the late afternoon.  The thick grass was knee deep and you had to mow painfully slow .  We used a push mower, for that is what we had.  We took turns so it wouldn’t kill either of us.  We ran out of gas, with about ten minutes left of mowing.  It was almost dark anyway.

I was tireder, afterwards, than I have been in a long time.  A bath felt the best is has in a long time,   , . .and the grilled cheese, for supper, well , that was the best, I could do.

When I first moved to the rabbitpatch, many days were like today.  It mattered little to us, that we didn’t have TV, for we worked so hard, that after a bath and supper, we wanted to go to bed.  My elders used to say “hard work never killed anybody” . . maybe that is true, but a few times, it at least came close to that.  We made an entire garden, with shovels!  It is a big garden sight, too.  That was hard.  There was the time, the  Roofers came, and I had the bright idea, that to save money, we would do the clean up.  That remains the hardest work that I have ever done and I was sorry, almost immediately.  Shingles are heavy!!  I was amazed at at how the young men would toss a bundle on their shoulder and then climb a ladder!    By about day three, the yard was covered in broken shingles as we were way behind.  When the crew drove up, I was out there with a bucket, picking up shingles and barely able to walk.  The men jumped out of the truck, like spring chickens, and began spreading a huge blue tarp.  Next, they began tossing the shingles in the middle of it.  They told me just to throw what I could on the tarp.  Well, this was a different game, altogether. Then,  it dawned on me, that the tarp would have to be emptied and the horror of that, sunk in.  In a state of panic, I asked, how that could happen?  The crew said they would empty it . . .and hours later, after three days of watching them work, in that awful back breaking work, they did,  To this day, I am full of admiration for roofers. 

Another job, that tops my list, was making the path in the patch of young woods.  We did everything by hand.  We cut the trees, with hand saws.  Then cut them up to burn.  We removed vines that had trunks!  The vines had been there for years and had choked many trees , that we were cutting.  The vines clearly “owned the joint” .  Removing the roots of the trees, with a hand tool, was maybe the worst job of all, and when we were successful, we would yell out to one another, our victory.  One particular night, I was so tired, I didn’t think, that I could walk back to the house.  I was filthy and my back was hurting, so that I stepped oddly.  I came in, put a sheet on a sofa and laid down.  I was too tired to even eat.  The phone rang several times, but I was dozing and let it ring.  Next my young neighbor, Molly came bounding in the back door, calling out “Michele, your barn is about to be on fire!”  I sprang off the couch and nearly ran!  Molly, was the one calling . . .and she was right about the circumstances.  The fire I had started and put out, was made on peat soil and peat will burn underground.  Smoke was rising in several places, a long ways from, the burn pile .  Now, we had to carry water, in buckets from the house to the woods.  Her children helped and they were so very young.  Kyles’ friends drove up, and in the midst of their greetings, I interrupted and screamed, ” bring water!!”    Hours later, it was all over.  Molly had saved the barn .  I have never made a fire, on that soil, since.

I remembered these things, tonight – and many other such occasions , of the same nature, as well.  Of course, I was younger then and blissfully ignorant of what it would take to make a home, out of the remnants of a farm.  . . but the rabbitpatch proved to me . . .that it can be done.   








28 thoughts on “When Molly Saved the Barn

  1. What a beautiful place with all the symbols of love there. I remember the Bob Whites, but no one ever told me they will call back. Now I have another reason for the next trip home. much love, Debra

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I was enthralled by your post, Michele. The way you write I am taken away immediately into your world. What a brilliant writer you are! And all that hard work! OH can I relate! Just lately I was so tired I don’t remember hitting the pillow, leaving my sneakers right where I stepped out of them on the floor, which I never do. Some of my boy cats will “mark” shoes …. so all shoes must go in the closet. Thank goodness my sneakers were missed and in the same condition the next morning as when I left them on the floor. Yep, hard work will clear up all sleeping problems. LOL

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Ma’am,
    It was glorious to read of all the hard work you do and did in the past. I was enthralled with the story of the burning barn and how you forgot all tiredness to rush out and save the barn. When an emergency strikes our bodies are so resilient that a strange power comes out of it to conquer all tiredness. Thank
    God for the Mollies of the world( my mum is called Molly too).
    Are you ready to move ?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had not realized how hard you and your family worked to make the rabbit patch your home, Michele! No wonder you have mixed feelings about moving into somewhere easier to maintain. But you will always have these sweet memories, the lessons you learned and most of all, the time you spent with your children.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Michele, sweet memories will continue to flood through, and it will be bittersweet when the time comes when you hear those words “someone is interested in buying your house”. I love those time of days when the world is silent and peaceful. Be well. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do have sweet memories. I am working today on the property and have been for hours! Still have more to do-It is just too much these days. I remain glad for every hour here though-thank you and best wishes! love Michele

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, I understand your wanting a bit less yard work. We went the wrong way with the last move, and I’m spending more time outside than I ever have before. I tell myself it’s good for me. Next time — low maintenance!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. My goodness, you’ve had a very busy time of it, Michele! Hard work, but totally worth it. I’ve been on a spring cleaning “rampage” the last few weeks, and it really feels good. I’m SO glad you got the fire out!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My husband and I were just talking the other day about how we used to put in a full day at jobs then come home to put another full day in on the farm. It was good we were younger then as I would hate to do all that now!
    What a great surprise those cherries! In the middle of all the work it was a good surprise I am sure.
    Nothing like a fire to energize a person. We had that years ago. We had burned tree stumps. One week later the wind blew in and restarted those stumps and set our brooder coop on fire and a tractor. Both were lost….the tractor being the biggest loss. It is a memory that convinces us that we can survive things in this life!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’ve had more than my share of those grilled cheese and hot bath evenings — although, sometimes, it turns into cereal and a quick shower. I smiled at your snake reference, too. I’m careful, but even so I stepped right on top of one on Sunday. I wasn’t harmed at all, since I think the snake was curled and napping, and I don’t think he was much harmed, since I knew what I’d stepped on immediately and took my foot off lickety-split.

    Bless Molly. I have friends who live in the Texas hill country where the fire risks are different, but equally real. You were blessed that time around: first for Molly, then for water, then for help.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Your stories make me want to catch the next plane and head out there. You have a beautiful way of narrating the stories. You take me into your beautiful home. Thank you Michele

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Grilled cheese is like a saviour after a hard day of outside chores…I fall back on it many times!!! I loved being reminded of the whipporwhill. I don’t hear them at this home, but I remember growing up with my siblings how we would all call back to them and amazed at their constant answering us. Thanks for the memories!!

    Liked by 2 people

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