barn

What About The Barn?

Well, what about the barn?

“You can’t have a farm without a proper barn?!” Well, actually you can.

Either way, we have one. It’s red and large and it needs a big hug. Actually, a hug won’t make it feel that much better. Some TLC?  That just won’t cut it. Tough love? I think it will just laugh that off.

No, what this barn needs is romance and a deep commitment to bring it back to its former glory. I might just have to marry it.

Kimmy loves it so much she wants to live in it. I don’t see how that’s possible especially with the cows and sheep right below us. Although I have heard that was quite popular in medieval Scotland. In tight quarters, livestock generate body heat. Heat rises thereby warming the inhabitants upstairs. I think it’s an idea whose time shall ring anew, but she’s not too jazzed about that type of alternative heat source.

Anyway, I digress. Why do I digress? I’ll tell you why: it’s because the barn is going to be such a huge job.

Old Barn

Thinking about the big picture

This week I spent some time soul-searching in the barn and took my notebook & camera along. The barn is a large structure with several additions. There’s about 40 stalls, a milking parlor, a cold storage area, a covered outdoor barn and 2 large haylofts at street level.

While I am totally looking forward to renovating this old barn and making it a productive dairy again with cows & sheep, I am somewhat intimidated by what a huge undertaking this is going to be.

Most of our time has been focused so far on the garage and fields, but the barn renovation is something we can’t put off for too long. It won’t be taking place just yet but I’ll be thinking a lot about it in the coming weeks.

Old Barn

Broken windows, rotting boards, sagging supports

You name it and we pretty much got it. For me, fixing a broken window is not a huge task in itself but with this barn, all of those little tasks will certainly add up! I’ve shown quite a few exterior photos of the barn so far on this blog. Here’s a few from the inside where you can fully visualize the beast we’re dealing with.

Huge clean up job awaits

Some folks were kind of creep-ed out by the place in its present state when we gave a tour. I can see how it would make a good film setting for a scary movie. Just lay some bones around the place and cages. Oh wait. It already has them…

Old gate

Beauty in the beast

In all honestly, the only monster in the barn is one of neglect because there is also timeless beauty inside. There are huge hand-hewn beams throughout and things like this dusty gate covered with spider webs gives a visual recollection of purpose.

The spacing for the cows in the milking parlor seems real tight to me having seen the way other farmers have done it, but it’s there to make note of and possibly build upon. There is a history to this place and we’re slowly uncovering it.

Milking parlor

Discovering utility

At the end of the day, we have to figure how to best make use of the barn. At present we are being taxed for its presence on the land. It’s clearly necessary for us to put it to good use. Part of that is discovering what we can use and what can be altered for our needs.

Stall feeder on pulleys

Take this for example: After a long Google search, I found that this is a Star Line Feed Carrier. The wooden bin hangs from pulleys that run around the barn on a track mounted to the ceiling. Great I suppose for stall feeding chores.

Stall views

The stalls themselves are actually not too bad. A few of them need some wood working but all of them need to be cleaned out and cleaned up. There will be a bunch of whitewashing to be done in this whole entire area.

Old Barn

A barn with character

When you think of the “iconic red barn on a farm,” this is the sort of image that comes to mind. Across America there are thousands of these old beauties dotting the highways. Some are bright red and beaming. Others are faded and tired. But they all have character in common. Quite literally, they all stand for something and some purpose in agriculture.

I don’t know what type of barn ours will be yet. I can tell you that there is a pulse, even though it’s quite faint. The resuscitation is going to be successful. I’m sure you’ve seen the kind of job it’s going to be for us and our oh so lucky work volunteers!

So there’s the full scoop on the barn. Like I said, I’m looking forward to it and will be sharing our progress over on the projects page.

See you next time in the journey!