The farm was purchased in August 1927 from George Buell. It amounted to about 46 acres. I know of two homes and a large barn on the property. I don’t know if there were any other buildings there at that time. The following are the farm animals I remember at Topsmead.
HORSES – A pair of Percheron draft horses, Roxy and Rex, were acquired in 1928 to pull equipment such as the hay wagon, stone boat, field rakes, and any other farm equipment. Rex died on 7/8/1942 of a heart attack while working the upper field by the four corners. Roxy was put down on 9/15/1942.
MILK COWS – Miss Edith chose the Jersey breed of cows as they produced a higher milk fat content and could produce more cream and butter. The cows, I believe were also added in 1928. They were registered purebreds. They always had complicated, long names; we just called them by common names, like Meg. We always had three milking cows. Dr. Gilyard, the veterinarian, artificially inseminated them to maintain the herd. If a bull calf was born, it would be sold.
PIGS – They were added early on. Three piglets were purchased each year and the farm workers could purchase a share in them for the products they would yield when slaughtered. The pig pen was located south of the barn and equipment shed by the curve in the road. There was a grove of pine trees to the east.
CHICKENS – About 50 chicks were bought each year and were kept for about 3 years. They were originally kept in a section of the barn. In 1943 a new chicken coop was built south of the barn. It contained two rooms. The newest chickens would be kept in one room, the year-old chickens in the other, and the 2-year-old chickens in the barn. The eggs were collected by the farm manager’s wife or family. They were candled in the farmhouse basement, packaged, and refrigerated in the dairy. The oldest were slaughtered before the new chicks arrived and stored at the Litchfield Locker Co.
TURKEYS – They were added in 1945. A new raised enclosure was built on the rear and side of the maintenance shed which was to the east of the barn. It was raised about 3 feet off the ground. Ms. Edith bought about 25 turkeys each year.
SHEEP – Ten sheep were bought in November of 1946. They were of the Southdown breed. These were changed over to the Suffolk, as the Southdown’s would fall, and had problems trying to get up again. The picnic shed was brought over from Terry place and placed in the field behind our house, the garage and the equipment shed. In 1958, a larger sheep shed was added on the south side of the equipment shed.
BEEF CATTLE – Around 1955 a Black Angus steer was obtained, since Bernard Stairs was familiar with raising beef and could slaughter the animal. There was usually one steer, but I do remember that for a few years, we had two. The steers grazed in the same fields as the milk cows, east and south of the farmhouse and the barns.
DOVES – Finally in 1956, some doves were purchased to be raised for Squab. A small shed was built for them on the south side of the barn alongside the chicken coop. This experiment lasted only a short time as it required more effort and care than the results warranted.