Explore America's Campgrounds
A drive through rural farm country will reveal similar scenery--fields, tractors and familiar structures. There are many types of farms from the subsistence farmer who farms a small area, producing enough goods to support his family, to community farms and large commercial farms. There are dairy farms, grain farms, crop farms and livestock farms. But no matter what type of farm, the farmstead features many of the same type of buildings.
The hub of any residential farm is the farm house, which houses the farmer and his family, and sometimes the extended family. The farm house is usually located close to the barn and also closer to the road than the other buildings.
Farm houses are generally large, with three to four bedrooms, a large dining and kitchen area and lots of storage space for food--including a basement for canned goods. Since farm houses are home to the very people working in the fields, most contain a rear entrance with wash room allowing farmers to remove soiled clothes and clean up before coming into the main house. Multigenerational farms sometimes feature more than one farmhouse, as children choose to build a home on the property. Some larger farms feature separate dwellings for staff.
The traditional red barn is likely the building most associate with a farmstead. There are many types of barns, varying on the purpose of the farm. For example, dairy farms may have a large barn that features stalls for the cows, as well as separate milking areas. Barns also feature areas for food and hay storage, often on a second story loft. Livestock farms may have larger barns to accommodate cattle. Horse farms feature barns with large stalls for each horse, as well as tack rooms. It is not uncommon for larger farms to have several barns on the premises.
Other farm animals, such as sheep and goats, can live in fenced-in pastures in mild climates, but there is often a sheering shed nearby.
Silos are perhaps the most striking feature of a farm as their towering presence can be seen from a distance. The round silos, usually 50 to 60 feet tall, store chopped hay or corn, called silage. Silos are traditionally found at the end of the barn. The top of the silo is ventilated to release dangerous gases created from the fermenting grains. A good year on a farm will fill the silo with enough animal feed to last through the winter.
Silos aren't only used to store animal feed. Larger farms will also store commercial crops in airtight, temperature-controlled metal silos.
Many farmsteads contain shelters for other animals, including rabbits and chickens. Broiling houses, also known as chicken coops, provide a space for hens to nest and lay eggs. Chickens live in stacked cages within these houses. Rabbits are housed and bred in a similar fashion.
Pole barns and large sheds also dot farmstead landscapes. These structures protect tractors, tillers and other farming vehicles and equipment from the elements. These buildings are generally large enough to include maintenance and repair areas.
Since 2000 Donna T. Beerman has contributed to newspapers and magazines. Her expertise includes higher education, marketing and social media, and her presentations and writing have won industry awards. She has an MFA in creative writing, is the integrated marketing manager at a Pennsylvania college and founded "Hippocampus Magazine."