The first house I lived in was once a farmhouse.
No, not one of these:
Not one of these either, though there was a large farm near my home:
It was just a house, built in probably the 1950s by somebody who had a lot of cattle in the neighbouring fields. For years, we had a milk churn in our front garden. It was destroyed by the time I knew what it was, rusted and rooted into the ground on its side, covered with grass and filled with mud. Dad eventually got rid of it when he worked on landscaping the front garden. I still sometimes miss that milk churn.
When we dug up and relaid the back acre, which was wild grass (and which has returned to being wild grass), we came across dozens of shards of pottery. I remember most of it being blue and white, but we only every found tiny pieces and I don’t have any of those left. I think I half hoped we’d find something bigger, like bones, but we didn’t.
While writing this I found out that the house, which has a name, is marked on Google Maps. I understand that the concept of naming houses is unusual in some countries, but it’s common enough in Ireland, especially in rural areas like where I grew up. For years the cows would eye us up from the other side of the fence, contemplating murder or possibly just where their next mouthful of grass was coming from. Once or twice we woke up to find they had occupied our garden like some sort of listless, silent invading army. Not unlike this:
I don’t have that now. As it happens, I live next to a field all right, and there are even cows in it sometimes, but there’s no chance they’ll break through and annex our territory (as it happens there is a way from the field to the site next door, but they haven’t figured it out how to climb it yet). It’s not something I can share with my children. Not the experience of cow conquest, but that sort of life in general. Even if I was to buy back that house, it’s not as it was when I lived there; it’s been extended further and I’m sure alterations have been made to the interior. Still, in my head, it’s my house. I’m sure it will be for years to come.