Too bad that every kid didn't have a barn to have a haven when the world or the "cruel parents" made you feel bad. No, my parents were anything but cruel but sometimes I felt like I was being put upon, ridiculous I know but at sometime doesn't every child think the world is against them for a little while, The barn was a place of refuge where if it was winter the animals would all be in there and the heat from all the large bodies of the cows and horses would make it feel like it was many degrees warmer than outside. The cats were of course everywhere in the barn. You could always count on several cats sleeping on the backs of the enormous work horses. Wow, that was a long paragraph.
The hay mow was a wondrous place in the eyes of a kid, filled with sweet smelling hay, a place you could climb the framing and just jump and land anywhere in the soft hay. If you were industrious you could begin burrows in the hay and make tunnels that never seemed to go much of anywhere. Sis and I always had huge plans for lots of intersecting tunnels through the hay but usually wound up with a couple that maybe went ten feet and then we got tired of burrowing and anyway you always got hay down the neck of your shirt and it got rather itchy.
Barn swallows built their mud nests on the interior walls of the mow and they were welcome but all the sparows that tried to build usually got caught by the cat patrol. The sparrows had to put their nests on the framing and the cats could climb that but the swallows put their mud nests on the walls betweent framing where cats couldn't get tomthem.
When You came in the door on the right were the grain storage rooms. We had an entire room for oats, necessary when you were working horses hard. A bit farther on was the room that unshelled corn was stored in, now, with all that grain you are bound to have a rat and mouse problem. The cat patrol was responsible for guard duty and they performed their job well. I really have no idea how many cats we had at any one time but it was a lot, sometimes over thirty. The haymow was the place to have kittens, the cats would sort of hollow out a nest and have their kittens there. These were barn cats but sis and I always found the nests and played with the kittens so they were never wild but friendly cats. It was fun watching the mother cats carry her kittens down the steep stairs when she thought they were old enough to join the mob.
Dad had cut a hole in the lower part pf the door so the dogscould come in from the nasty weather. Odd, but the dogs seemed to prefer mingling with the cows and they would often sleep in the feed boxes. There wer plenty of other outbuildings that the dogs could find shelter in and some did but most seemed to prefer the barn and the company of the other animals. Enough