With resolve unshaken by our incident at the river, Zen Master and I wanted to do some old fashioned rural exploration before the snows melted completely. We decided to stick close to home this time and check out a large abandoned farm I’d been eying nearby.
We were hesitant to be seen entering the property directly, for fear of the locals, and opted instead to park at a nearby cemetery, walking the old railroad tracks until we could find an entry point over the old barbed-wire fence that was sheltered from view.
Along the way we noticed a frozen pond. Deciding to push our luck one more time we made a detour, trekking across a field to reach it. The surface of the pond was frozen solid, and appeared quite stable. I carefully scooted out into the pond’s center, to see if it could be crossed on foot. Zen Master attempted to join me, but as he neared the middle the ice cracked, sending white lightning bolts racing in my direction. We were able to escape without a repeat of last time, and decided to get back on track rather than press our luck any further.
The farm consisted of a large home and several outbuildings (as most farms do), including a dairy barn and a small structure that was rumored to have been the local general store once upon a time. That building was my main reason for coming, but the house was our first priority.
The house must have been grand in its time, and could still be a nice home, though it’s currently a fixer-upper. I knew it had been occupied not too long ago, and on approaching the front door I was not 100% certain that the building was vacant. I knocked hesitantly to make sure no one was home, though I had no plan on how to handle the residents should someone actually answer.
Luckily no one came to the door, and after a moment’s hesitation we found it unlocked and proceeded inside. There was quite a bit of garbage lying around, no doubt left over from the previous tenants. I spotted a Rural Missouri magazine lying on a table from 2003, most likely the last time the place had been let out to anyone. Some vines had managed to grow through a nearby window. The walls were standard wood paneling, and some rooms, such as the kitchen, had clearly been added on at a later date, giving the house a chaotic feeling, with parts of old walls sticking out here and there.
At its center was an interesting semi-spiral staircase, which led to an attic/bedroom area on the second floor. The kid’s room was easy to spot, as most of their possessions had been left lying on the floor. The most interesting thing about the house was the fact that someone had attempted to repaint all the trim - throughout every room on both floor and even in the stairwell – using a can of spray paint. Not the best idea.
The barn was nothing special, other than featuring a hayloft with an interesting series of ropes and pulleys. Likewise, the milking shed was indicative of an ordinary, small-scale dairy operation. There was an attic that I climbed part way into, but there didn’t seem to be anything worth seeing up top. A notation in the poured concrete floor read “5-18-57.”
Finally, we headed down to the old general store, taking care not to be spotted by passing cars as it was nearest to the road. At least, I had always heard that it had been a general store, though it didn’t particularly resemble one, and appeared very nondescript. My grandmother even claimed there were dances held there once upon a time.
Entering from the back it was apparent that the building had been turned into a stable of some sort, but it was also evident from certain features, such as a flue, that this had not always been the case. Indeed, the large storefront windows – now boarded shut and visible only from the inside – proved that I was in the right place. Unfortunately it was getting dark by this time, and the general darkness of the building itself prevented any meaningful photography.
Cold, hungry, and satisfied with our discoveries, the two of us headed home.
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