Mailice here with a short review!
You have a beautiful and well developed introduction. I like the imagination you use to transport the reader to that particular July day. I especially loved this sentence because you managed to describe the heat in really well chosen words:
The heat was oppressive, claustrophobic and cloying.
I like the story. It has something magical about it, even though the whole theme and plot is rather realistic. But I think that's what I liked so much about the story. You managed to create a plot and make it a kind of journey of discovery. I liked the descriptions and the depictions. Especially because you wrote about family members, it gave the text a strange familiarity that I really liked and made me feel like I was there in the story.
One thing that struck me and tugged a little at the reading flow was your alternation of a short and long sentence. This works for the short duration and then also has something of a wave style, but I think if you turn these short sentences (which are mostly just reactions) into trains of thought, you can more purposefully connect the reader to something there. For example, here:
There was kindling, logs and twigs, but I settled for an old broom handle. It was long and sturdy.
You could reword the second sentence to "It was long and sturdy, I tought." That would give the text a change of pace from time to time.
Another point that struck me:
I crossed the yard to the barn. The barn was filled with various bits of junk hidden in the dark ranging from cat food to refrigerators to sticks.
You can start with "It" here, otherwise you'll be repeating yourself within two sentences.
Overall it was a great text. I think it had just the right length and key elements in it to make a really nice short story. I think it was exactly this simplicity that I liked so much.
Have fun writing!