Telling the story of 200 years  of White Mountain History

                       Art of Homesteading 4

Many types of outbuildings were needed on farms of all sizes. All needed barns and depending on the activities carried out, there might be a sugar house, an ice house, a creamery, a smoke house, and a carriage shed along with a variety of storage sheds.  Many New Hampshire farms connected some of these buildings to the main house, making it a little easier in the winter to get from the house to the barn.

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Farm Buildings and Structures

A farm is not just made up of a house and a barn. It can have a wide range of structures to facilitate the work needed to be done on the farm.

Both people and livestock required shelter. Houses often started as small Cape-style structures, which were expanded as needed. Barns could be small or large depending on the needs of the farm. Examples of barn use to consider would be the number of animals kept and the grain to feed them, the type of equipment or vehicles needing storage, and any work that needed to be done under cover (corn husking or flax and grain processing).

Animals thrive when they have fresh air, access to pastures with green grass and shade from the sun during the spring, summer and early fall. In the winter, it is healthy for the animals to be outside but they need an indoor shelter to escape the elements.  A pasture is a field where animals can graze the vegetation. A paddock is a fenced in area for animals usually near a barn or stables.

Some animal shelters are movable. By having a shelter you can move, animals can be relocated in the pasture giving them fresh food and preventing over-grazing and the buildup of manure.

Chicken coops provide protection from the elements and predators, a roost for them to sleep on each night and boxes to lay their daily eggs.

Other Farm Buildings

Raising dairy animals (goats, sheep or cows), made a dairy or milk house necessary on the farm. To use the milk for cream or butter, the farmer needed a cool room or building to store the warm milk while it chilled and the cream rose to the top.

The winter weather made it difficult for people to get fresh meat so they needed to preserve what they could during the autumn.  One way to preserve meat was to “smoke” it in a smokehouse on their farm.

From around 1850 to 1950 ice houses were constructed to store the ice harvested from ponds and lakes in February. The ice was packed in sawdust in the ice house to keep it frozen for use in ice boxes throughout the rest of the year.

Making maple sugar was an important part of New Hampshire life. Maple sugar provided a less costly sweetener than imported white sugar. Sugar Houses, where the maple sap was boiled and made into syrup and sugar, became a common structure on the farm.

Wells were dug to give farmers easy access to water for livestock, crops, and their families. Well houses covered the wells to prevent people or animals from falling in.

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