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Sunday, June 7, 2009

BARBARA'S CHICKEN HOUSE

STUNNING RED LICK CREEK VALLEY BARN


RED LICK CREEK, WILD DAISIES, AND SOME WHITE WATER

Peaceful valley might be a good name for this Red Lick Creek area in Estill County, Kentucky. I have only lived in Kentucky a year and a half and I am still finding stunning places such as this area within about a half hour from my home. As I cruise down the valley road in my black Toyota pickup, I stop at graveled turnouts, let my eyes wander the landscape and ponder the soul of the place. If one is inclined to great country views this area would contribute much to your psyche.

BARBARA COLE

On my latest visit to this area I had some questions about a swinging foot bridge that I spotted off the road leading across Paint Lick Creek. Close by I noticed a brick ranch home with some folks enjoying the afternoon on their side porch and stopped to ask them about the bridge. As always, friendliness is de rigor of the area. Sitting in either a porch swing or wooden chairs was Barbara Cole and her husband Lester, along with her brother and nephew. They proceeded to fill me in on the footbridge. As we talked, I noticed an old chicken house off to the side of the property and asked them about it.

Barbara, a soft spoken woman, knew the history of the chicken house Her parents had once owned the farm. The homestead had been in the family since 1944 when they arrived from Rock Lick Creek in Jackson County, Kentucky loaded down with horses and wagons. They farmed fields of tobacco, corn and vegetables with two mules and a plow until the mid-1960s when they bought a tractor.

Her roots are deep in Kentucky -- going back to her great-great grandparents and perhaps beyond. She volunteered her age as 65 although she looked much younger.


BARBARA LEANING AGAINST HER CHICKEN HOUSE

Barbara has a special history with the old chicken house. When she was about ten her father built the house and pretty much put her in charge of the chicken house operation.

Stocked with White Rock chickens they contracted with a merchant in a town near them, providing eggs for his business. Barbara gathered the eggs, scaled them for size, packed them 30 dozen to a large cardboard carton and had them ready for the local mailman that picked them up every other day and delivered them to a to the merchant in the town of Irvine. A special country service indeed. He even picked up their freshly churned cream along with the eggs to be delivered to the Irvine merchant. Again, an old country service.

Today, Barbara is not a chicken farmer. Her chicken house is used for storage. Its presence is defined by its grayed-- natural wood patina, vertical and horizontal board exterior, two-exterior front doors and a two-room construction interior.

She is a fortunate person to be living her life with family and friends in such a spectacular place.

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