Old Barns

I’ve always been intrigued with old barns.  Seeing the uniqueness of each one as we drove around was what kept me sane, as motion sickness tried to take me down.  As a teenager, I would become enraged seeing all the barns in various stages of decay.  Part of history was being lost board by saggy board.  As an adult, I realize that the average rural family can’t afford to repair a building that isn’t needed.  It is still sad to see them fading away.  


It seems I am not the only one who feels this way as there are numerous sources out there depicting barns, from the decrepit to the newly refurbished.  I feel like part of my fascination is growing up in a rural area, surrounded by farms and fields full of corn, beans, beets, and hay.  I consider myself lucky to live where I do, although I could do without the long dreary winters!  


My family moved to this little niche in the thumb of Michigan many years ago and farming was how they survived.  My grandpa-great’s farm, where he was also a blacksmith, is half a mile down the road from me.  The old home and barn are gone now, but were there when I was growing up and lived across the road. I would visit the pigs that my neighbor raised in my grandpa great’s barn and ponder what it was like when my grandpa lived there with his cows, chickens, geese, and draft horses.  


Across the road from grandpa great’s old farm is where I grew up.  It was my grandpa’s original farm which my parents bought and built a home on  when I was about five years old.  The old house was turned into a garage and the barn, grainery, and chicken coup remained there as well. My grandpa built the barn himself which I think is pretty neat. Many hours were spent in these old buildings as a child. Thankfully, the barn remains, although the grainery and chicken coop have been demolished.     


My other great-grandpa also farmed just a few miles from me.  The area they settled in is only a couple miles from me and the road still carries their name today. I even lived in a home right down the road from the original homestead when I was newly married, many years ago. 


My grandpa also farmed, right in my backyard, as I live in the house him and my grandma built.  Sadly, they tore down the barn many years before my husband and I bought the property.  The lonely silo, milkhouse, and a few cow stanchions are all that is left today.  


I love to hear my uncle tell stories of the days in the past when they would build wagons in the loft to make some extra money.  Grandpa, who wasn’t afraid of height, came close to falling one day, and a tornado whipped through the area while they were in the barn on another occasion.  My uncle made it to the milkhouse and the force from the tornado was so strong he couldn’t open the door.  Although it was a close call, the barn and my grandpa and uncle came out of it without a scratch.  Family history definitely adds to my barn addiction.  


I recall telling my mom I wanted to take pictures of all barns before they were gone.  I still carry the same strong feelings for preserving them to this day.   I don’t have pictures of all of them, but I do enjoy the ones I have taken.  It is the only way I can preserve them, so I will continue on, one barn at a time.


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