Meet Mr. Squirrel.
This is his house. It sits in the shadow of old elm trees. Years of ice storms have littered the yard with broken limbs, creating an obstacle course to reach the front door.
Once upon a time, I suppose a hired man lived in the house. The house sits near the gate to the pasture, just a few hundred yards from our house. Even though I pass it nearly every day, I rarely give it a second glance.
When the kids were little, they called it Mr. Squirrel's house. When their friends came over, an excursion to Mr. Squirrel's house was usually part of the afternoon's activities.
Jill used it as a life-size playhouse. And, because Brent was the little brother, he had to help carry the cleaning supplies and broom to Mr. Squirrel's house. It was a lost cause (according to Dad), but Jill was determined to clean the grime of years and make the little house into a home again.
It's been years since the days when a little girl searched through the kitchen cabinets and sent her brother to dig for treasures in the bedroom closet. And time has not been kind to Mr. Squirrel's house. The roof is tumbling down, creating a jigsaw puzzle that reveals the sky.
Leaves and dirt cover the few dishes left behind in the kitchen cabinet.
It's hard to imagine a family who once lived here, as the roof gives way and the walls come crashing down. But I imagine a mom looking out the window as she washed the supper dishes.
The sink has long since tumbled to the floor, and only a hint remains of the blue paint that used to brighten the kitchen.
Mr. Squirrel's next door neighbors - our cow/calf herd - are visible through the kitchen door.
Like many other old structures on the Great Plains, it tells the story of a time gone by and is a door to the past.