Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More to the Story

This is the skeleton of the old barn that was built around 1860. This is actually only about 1/3 of the original barn. Depending on how you counted. Back then, some clever farmers built their outbuildings strung together like beads on a wire. The big house was for the family, the little house was for cooking, especially in summer. The back house was for wagons and garden concerns. And the barn was the heart of the whole operation.

The barn represented life and warmth in winter. In the spring it was an object lesson in rebirth. Throughout summer, the barn filled up with hay that would sustain livestock in the season to come, and in the fall the barn was a place of celebration, to recognize the harvest and all the ways the barn sustained the family. A barn was as much a living part of any farm as the cows and the people who milked them.

Our barn was physically separated from the main house by a stream. It has a name. We call it Dry Belly Gulch. The real name is much more frightening. But there was a bridge, and some kind of aquaducted chilling system, most likely for milk. So the stream played a part in the farm as well. Perhaps this physical distance somehow contributed to the ultimate fate of our barn. As the other outbuildings slowly disappeared, the psychological distance increased as well.

The diagonals you see here were added by the deconstruction company to provide support after they had removed the original horizontal beams. The side pictured on the left was 40 feet, the side on the right was 50. The bowing across the remaining fifty foot ridge beam is evident.

There appear to be four 20 foot vertical posts across the front of the barn, but the two central posts have been reinforced by the deconstruction workers. A closer examination would reveal that both of these were cut in half with a mechanical saw, the lower portion being removed. This happened sometime in the nineteen sixties. I like to think they needed to get an airplane out of there. The barn stood this way for nearly fifty more years. This is a testament to the simplicity, safety, strength, and especially the fault tolerance of the old construction methods.

And this is what happened to the Broken Barn.  We got here too late to save it, but not too late to return the property to its farming roots.  Thus, the Broken Barn Flower Farm was born!

No comments: