The Old Barn

The Old Mill Farm Store Barn, on River Road is 85 foot long and 30 foot wide, has proudly stood in service to a multitude of hard working owners and their customers for almost 100 years.

The old barn now leans as if it is an elder statesman on a cane.

Some areas bow out, some bend in, some planks on the bottom of it are rotted out. It sports graffiti, like a tattoo, dating back 30 years.

This barn has seen many generations and decades of the Cottage Grove's history pass by, and in these years this stately barn has seen a lot of wear, but this holiday season it has a new style.

This Christmas something special took place at the barn. The owners, Debbie and Chuck, hung miles of Christmas lights on its tall peaks and along its paint worn sides. Yes, the barn has a new look a majestic look, as if a woman in her 80's was adorning herself with all her "best" jewelry.

Inside the barn it is immaculate. Hay and grain are stacked in tidy-orderly piles. The occasional friendly cat walks in and out to greet the customers.

Inside the store, Smidge, the store's soft tawny cat is holding court on top of a row of guinea pig and mice cages. Smidge is "hired" to keep the mice in the barn at bay. He purrs and walks back and forth on top of the rodent cages entertaining the children conveniently out of thier reach.

He reminded me of a chef checking his lobsters.

Every now and then Smidge will stop and stare straight down into one of the rodent cages as if to say, "In case no one noticed, there are mice in this store!"

The next time you may see Smidge he may be up at the cash register taking one of the toy mice, that are for sale, out of a container. He reaches in with a long-soft tawny arm, hooks a mouse with a claw and pulls it out to play with. Smidge must think the jar filled with cat toys is his pay for barn services rendered.

If you have not seen the Old Mill Barn drive by it this week and enjoy the history it proudly displays.

Cottage Grove is a town with mind-freeze-frames of the past. Take a walk into the past, and feel the pulse of this quaint old town.

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