Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tier poles

This is the tier poles in what was our old barn...the barn my brothers built.  When they were still in high school.  I really don't know how they did it.  I think my dad directed them, but he had muscular dystrophy and was unable to help much by that time.  Any ladder we had would have been homemade...and very basic tools.  Not even sure if they had anything other than a handsaw. 

This barn held tobacco on this side of it.  the middle had a loft, and tobacco was hung above the loft in the middle of the barn.  The other side had a loft, too.  Hay was stacked over there....again by my brothers.  Below the loft on that side were stalls for the animals. With one end having a sort of tack room...some corn was kept in there, some feed for old Bob, and his harness hung in there.  We had to have a latch that opened from the inside, because he was smart enough to get one on the outside open.

I don't know how tobacco is hung in barns in other areas, but around our area, it was total physical work... there would be one person standing on the wagon reaching the tobacco to the first person standing on the bottom tier poles...he would reach it to the third person who stood on the second row of tier poles and he would hang it up on the 3rd row of poles.  (Notice the 3rd row is up where the roof meets the side of the barn.)  BTW, he could not just stand on one pole and hang tobacco..he had to spraddle two poles till once he got the tobacco hung, he could make sure there were spaces between the stalks on the stick of tobaco, plus make sure there was space between it and the one hung before.  And the same goes for the second row of tier poles. 

The tobacco had to have space for air to move around for it dry and cure.  Otherwise it would get moldy and rot.  When grading season came, it all had to be taken down, but by then it was just a fraction of the weight...I could even walk on one pole, hold on to the pole above with one hand and get tobacco with the other...but the only time mom would have let me do it is if it were just the two of us.
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I spent hours and hours in this barn as a kid...my niece and I played up there hours on end, read books, carried mud from the creek and made stuff with it...we had swings, and also played on those tier poles.  We thought no more of walking across that second row of tier poles than walking on the ground...we would go over to the side and hold on to the cracks and walk along that 2  x 6 all along the barn.  Other girls had playhouses....we had a barn!

I often wonder if mom knew all we did...I think she must have.  I know she seen us do some of it...now I couldn't even walk across the first tier pole.  Heights really bother me now...another thing I never in my life expected to happen.  But I do enjoy remembering things we did.
 


15 comments:

Henny Penny said...

I really enjoyed this story. In the late 1950's and early 60's, my sister and I worked in tobacco for our neighbor...made .$50 an hour handing tobacco leaves to the stringer. We both loved it! I always wanted to go inside the tobacco barn to watch the boys hanging the full tobacco sticks, but never got to. Not a day goes by that I don't think about the things I did growing up. I loved my childhood! Just thinking about your brothers doing all that work and how easy it would have been for a foot to have slipped way up on those poles! Kids today have no idea the work, or fun we had back then.

Mascha said...

A barn is a great thing! And I've never known before, how they dry tobacco, never thought about...

Judy said...

Now when I see an old tobacco barn around here I will think of your story :)

Small City Scenes said...

Wonderful memory. The things we did as children and youngins and your growing up days so different than mine and yet.........somehow the same. I think.
MB

Mildred said...

Great memories of fun times, Rose. I lived in NC a long time ago and remember the tobacco barns. As a kid, I could balance on the smallest ledges to walk along but not now!!!

DeniseinVA said...

That's interesting, heights bother me too now and I used to love to climb the tallest of trees when I was young. I'll venture to say that your barn was the coolest playhouse many a child would envy. Very interesting post Rose. I remember when I first came to the states when we used to go on road trips, I would see a lot of barns with tobacco hanging in them and I didn't know what it was so asked hubs and he told me. I don't see them so much any more, a sign of the times I guess. Have a great week :)

Sandra said...

i have never seen or been in a tobacco barn, never heard of tier poles either. your memories are a learning experience for me. thanks for sharing this

Gill - That British Woman said...

saw a lot of pole barns in Lancaster County where they were drying tobacco.

Michelle said...

Our current barn is like this. Long poles for holding that tobacco. My husband made money in high school by working in tobacco fields.

Nancy Chan said...

I remembered when I was very young, we kids helped to string up the tabacco leaves. I guess after that the leaves will be hung for drying.

J Bonafilla said...

Gosh what a super post. How interesting to hear your memories of happy days on the home farm. I had no idea that growing tobacco was such hard work. It sounds like a real artisan crop that takes know-how and muscle-power to get right. All the best, Bonny

EG CameraGirl said...

I'm smiling, Rose. Great memories. I played in a barn and in an abandoned chicken coop I'm sure now that the dust in the coop could not have been good for our health but none of us got sick from it that I remember. We dug clay out of soil behind my grandpa's greenhouses and made stuff with it,. I doubt many North American kids do that anymore.

Linda Kay said...

My older brother and I also spent a good deal of time in the old barn, building things among the hay bales and "swimming" in the oats bin. We probably were in some danger, but they are good memories.

Cheryl @ TFD said...

I really enjoyed this post, Rose. It brings back many memories of playing in a barn and I wasn't afraid of heights back then like I am now. It's amazing that your brothers built the tobacco barn by hand! I wish I had taken more photos of things back then like our old barn, but I only had a brownie camera and my parents didn't want to pay for pictures to be developed and I had no money of my own then. Oh, for digital cameras back then!

Mary said...

I always enjoy your stories and they usually remind me of something in my own life. I can remember playing up in the hay loft of my uncle's barn and climbing on some beams up there. After one of my cousins fell out of the loft and broke an arm, we weren't allowed up there any more. I always loved climbing on the roof of our house where I grew up. Not sure how I would feel about doing it now! I think as we get older our head for heights gets worse.

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