Kolton looked across from the left hayloft to where Bonscott, in the one on right side of the barn was coughing and waving his arms in the dust. “What’s wrong?”

“I guess you gave me the dusty side on purpose!” Bonscott pe-tewd straw from his mouth.

 

“It’s dusty here, too.”

 

“Yeah, I guess. I’m mostly done with the shovelling. I’ll need a broom to make this any cleaner.”

 

Kolton looked around at the area he had cleaned out. It hadn’t been too bad. Each hayloft, one on each side, ran the length of the barn—he had counted off forty paces—and they were both five paces wide. Trap doors opened into each of the eight stalls below. Kolton figured they could divide the loft up into barracks that were ten paces by five, so four on each side of the barn, and that the trap doors could be used to access them by ladder.

 

“With three bunks in each of the rooms back here against the outside wall,” Kolton called out to Bonscott, “we can put six in each room. That’s twenty-four of us to a side. We can convert the stalls below, too and that would be another twenty-four on each side.”

 

“How you gonna heat all this?” Cral had walked into the barn as Kolton was laying out his plan.

 

“Heat?” Kolton leaned on his shovel and looked down from the loft at Cral.

 

“Heat.” Cral waved his hands. “I got an idea.”

 

Cral described making two charcoal kilns on the ground level of the barn spaced a third of the way in from each end. Cooking the charcoal would produce a good amount of heat and that could be used to keep the barracks warm.

 

“We can angle the chimneys a little this way and that so that more of the heat comes off the stove pipes into the barn.”

 

Kolton smiled. “This sounds like a great idea.”

 

“We’re going to need bricks and stove pipes.” Cral shrugged.

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Copyright 2018, 2019, 2020  —  Bill Snodgrass