The oil painting of Drummy was done by my mother sometime in the 1950s. The huge piggery barn with the light blue roof that can be seen in the middle, was finally finished, having taken Grandpa six or seven years to get it done. I’d often helped him collect the stones for the project from the tailing piles of the nearby quarry, the one from which had come the rocks to build the Bell Lighthouse. You can see how big the building is compared to the rest of the farm; the walls were at least 20 inches thick, each stone carefully fitted into the next, held in place with sand and pebbles, not mortar. A cement slurry was applied to the outside to close off all the cracks, and when brushed smooth it gave the building a nice appearance.
There’s a black blob beside the piggery, in the middle again. That’s the enormous navy rum barrel, famous in an earlier blog, when, set up as a water butt, it had, at first, made the hens very tipsy with its watery rum mixture.
We’ve had a little snow here, which kept us indoors for a few days, and looking at the above picture more than I otherwise might, I was reminded of a time I was at the farm when there was a snow storm and a wicked wind blowing directly at it from out of the east. I wasn’t very old at the time, ten or eleven, and really not up on the consequences of nasty winter weather.
The first thing that struck me as peculiar the following morning, was Grandpa sitting smoking his pipe in the kitchen. He ought to have been down in the Boiler House getting the potatoes cooked to add to the pigs’ feed, but there he was, doing nothing.
“What’s the matter?” I asked.
“Can’t get out,” he replied, “snowed in.”
I went through to the front door and opened it; snow filled the opening, top to bottom.
“I was waiting for you to wake,” Grandpa said, ” you’re the only one who’s small enough to get through the back window. “I’ll lift you out, so that you can go along the back and into the Boiler House to get things started, and after that’s done, you must see if you can come up the close and clear a way to the first door.”
Remember the water butt? The door was right beside that, and the close was the space between the big piggery and the building behind. Grandpa was betting, you see, that there would be no snow at the back of the farm, that the heavy winds had blown it from off the fields to the front, and piled it up against the building, making something of a wave of it, which was keeping him pinned in.
He was right. Such a wave it was, right up and over the roof for the entire length of the exposed building, but absent everywhere else.
I had a bit of clearing to do to get to the door, and we had to burrow along the front of the little house which stands in front of the piggery to feed several sows and their little ones kept in there, and make a tunnel across the yard to feed a batch of hens and ducks in the Granary.
You could say the farm had been in the way; but powerfully built of thick stone walls and roofs of heavy slate, it was quite unconcerned. It was only us poor mortals who had to make something of the problem.