It was a very pleasant morning. The sun shone beautifully; and now and then a drop fell from the roof on the south side of the barn. The cattle were standing, basking in the sun, in the barn-yard, and in the sheds, where the sun could shine in upon them. The whole area of the barn-yard was trodden smooth and hard by the footsteps of the cattle; and broad and smooth paths had been worn in every direction, about the house. Behind the barn was a large sheep-yard, also well worn with the footsteps of the sheep. A great many sheep were there,—now and then eating hay from a long rack, which extended across the yard.
When Jonas had shelled out the corn, he carried the bags, and put them into the sleigh, which was generally used in going to mill. Then he locked the granary, and put the key away, and afterwards went to the barn, and opened the great doors, which led in to the barn floor. He climbed up a tall ladder to a loft under the roof of the barn, and threw down some sheaves of wheat,—as many as he thought would be necessary to produce the quantity of grain which the farmer had ordered. He then descended the ladder, and got a flail, and began to thresh them out.
Standing, now, in a new position, he had a different prospect before him. Beyond the barn-yard he could see another larger yard nearer the house, in which the snow had also been beaten down by the going and coming of teams, sleds, and all sorts of travel, for two or three weeks, during which there had been no new falls of snow. Upon one side of this yard was an enormous heap of wood, which Jonas and Oliver had been hauling nearly all the winter. On the other side was a quantity of timber, of all sizes and lengths, which the farmer and Amos had been getting out for the new barn. Some of it was hewed, and some not; and several large pieces were laid out upon the level surface of the yard, and the farmer and Amos were sitting upon them, working upon the frame. Amos was boring holes with an auger, and the farmer was cutting the holes thus made into a square form with a chisel. Josey was there, too, and Amelia. They were building a house of the blocks which had been sawed off from the ends of the timbers.
When, however, they heard the sound of Jonas’s flail, they left their play, and came along to the barn to see him. Josey came into the barn; Amelia remained at the door.
“What are you doing, Jonas?” said Josey.
“Threshing some wheat,” replied Jonas; “but stand back, or I shall hit you with the flail.”
“Are you going to mill?” said Josey.
“Yes, I or somebody else. I am getting a grist ready.”
“Here comes uncle,” said Josey; “I mean to ask him to let me go.”
The farmer came in, and told Jonas that he expected that they were going to have a snow-storm, and, therefore, as soon as his grist was ready, he might harness a horse into the sleigh, and drive directly to mill.