One of the endless blessings of our farm is that we have multiple barns and outbuildings. It was overwhelming at first, to think of all the space and maintenance, but we’ve slowly found our way in to what each one is good for, and how we can use it to be productive. The “newer” ones are actually in poorer repair, but the old beauty remains as standing the test of time. We estimate it to be about 100 or more years old, and it’s stature is quite assuredly the showpiece of the farm. Historically, it is considered a bank barn, with an extension built for storage. Practically, we’ve used it as storage for the hay off our top pasture for the past three years. The bottom level has housed every baby chick in the brooder. We’ve had goats birthed in it, chicks hatched in it, and a number of wild birds and bats that call the creaky old rafters home.
When we first looked at our property, we were awe struck by the size of the structure, by it’s quiet beauty, and intrigued by the stories it has lived through. Fast forward a few years and that intrigue and wonder has only grown, as has our affection for it. To consider the fact that this structure has survived through world wars, through droughts and floods, and through generations of families who have depended on it’s purpose is an awe inspiring thought. As we spend time, real, quiet, uninterrupted time inside this barn, the amazement just grows. Each beam, hand hewn, probably with wood from this land, carefully placed to build it’s frame. Each joint, hand carved to fit into the other, all without the modern conveniences we so readily run to today. Each slat, nailed by hand to the sides, so carefully placed together that from the outside the weather stays out, and from the inside, the light shines through so brilliantly that electric lights aren’t even needed. A tiny man door, nearly invisible to most, with a simple latch, that allows someone to sneak inside without opening the massive doors above. Stepping inside is like standing back in time, and yet standing in it’s present relevance and purpose, all at the same time.
We imagine the stories it could tell. Hundreds of cows likely flowed through the basement in the glory of the 70’s when the milking operation was in full swing. Hay bales have been stored for years, hay grown from the pastures right behind it, kept in the proper temperature and humidity to keep it all winter, despite whatever chaos may e happening outside it’s walls. A storage room, likely for feed, tucked neatly inside, that has kept the surplus of the summer safe keeping for winter. A loft above, undoubtedly climbed upon, and played upon. And even now, in between the bales of hay, a lone chicken, definitely not the first, chose this barn as her safe haven to hatch a clutch of eggs.
It’s a life of simplicity, function, purpose, and security. An inspiration to us all, standing right in front of us, our century old beauty.