23 June 2014

Privy

At the abandoned farm north of Ellensburg by Highway 97, I was in my element. The place was all homemade - through the graft of the farmers who had occupied this remote property. The wooden fences had been nailed by the occupants. They had built the high barn and the stalls for the cows. They had made a tall conical store for hay and a little house to live in. I peered through the unglazed windows to the rusty old refrigerator and the rusty stove, the rusty bed springs and the broken rocking chair. Nearby there was a well and an area for dumping rubbish and rocks. There were two farm huts and as we all need to excrete there was the leaning privy pictured above.

As the farmer sat there, his thoughts would have mostly been about the running of his little dairy farm, the cows, the horses and the chickens. He would have considered the list of jobs he had to do as he struggled economically to keep his head above water. Maybe he would have remembered his last visit to Seattle or the Kittitas County Fair in Ellensburg or that time he kissed the girl in Leavenworth. What was her name? Rose - yes Rose. And maybe he'd have considered how fortunate he was to live in such a place - forged with his own hands and his own  ingenuity - self-reliant, proud in the summer sunshine as the grass grew thick and lush in the meadows and the cows lowed in the barn waiting to be milked.

11 comments:

  1. Abandoned farms always make me think of the people who struggled to make a living.

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    1. You feel their presence - like ghosts.

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  2. Honestly, if I had been the farmer there 40 or so years ago, my thought would have been, "How many more times can I rest for a moment in the privy before the thing falls down on me"? Maybe that family moved away because they didn't want to fix the facility.


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    1. You jest Mama Thyme. It's time and storm and the detrioration of timber that have pushed the privy sideways since the occupants departed. I loved the sun-bleached wood there.

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  3. Deserted, old buildings are so fascinating; one can't help but try to image the lives lived there in the past.

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    1. And when they were in the middle of their lives there, it is very unlikely they would have ever imagined the state of the place today - silent and rather sad.

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  4. I always think abandoned farms are sad as they usually mean someone has gone to the wall. All that backbreaking work that goes into farming and still failure.
    PS. In Aus we call them dunnies

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    1. You call an old farm a dunny? I thought that was your word for a privy. Is there one in your back yard for Tony's personal use?

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  5. This would have been the highlight of the trip for me. I hope you got lots of photographs.

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    1. Only about twenty. Shirley was waiting in the car by the highway and it was private property - "All Violators will be Prosecuted". But it was a highlight for me too Adrian.

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  6. There is a kind of magic about such places, isn't there. I wonder what happened to the last people to leave there. Hopefully, they found happiness elsewhere and were not too sad to leave.

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