I know that I’m not the only one with these feelings of affection, otherwise there wouldn’t be calendars and books about them. So what exactly is it, why do we love old barns? What do they say to us?
I’ve explored different reasons in my thoughts. Are they a symbol of simplicity in a harried life? Do we feel closer to our roots and natural living in a barn? Are they remnants of a by-gone era, a chapter of American life that is quickly falling away into disrepair and loss that we aren’t ready to let go of? I say yes to each of these reasons. Each old barn that falls into decay is a loss for each one of us and for our children.
Reasons for loss….
Besides the reasons that mother nature will inflict upon a barn to destroy it; fire, flood and storm, our barns fall to ruin because of the expense to maintain them.
It’s difficult for a farmer to put time and money into a structure that isn’t nearly as useful to him as it once was. The old barns weren’t built to hold the new modern equipment, or even to store the large round hay bales of today. With the popularity of old barn wood and hardware, farmers can receive a great deal of money if they sell them. There are actually bidding wars for the right to tear down and salvage old barns now when at one time a farmer would have had to pay someone to take it away.
Some are bought by millionaires and are dismantled piece by piece and moved far away to be reassembled and turned into a home or a business. Others are bought for the wood to be milled into flooring. In certain ways our love of old barns is actually increasing the rate of their demise.
Can you join with me in saying that you feel a stab of pain every time you see that a farm has been sold so the land can be turned into yet another housing development?
A positive note….
There is a renewed interest in agriculture with people choosing to adapt a more natural lifestyle. The historical value of these old barns we love is being recognized more and more by some of our young entrepreneurs. Farmers markets are very popular where you can purchase fruits, vegetables, eggs and meats grown right on the farm where you’re shopping. Food co-ops where naturally grown food is the standard have also increased in popularity.
Ever wondered why barns are often red?
Ready-made paint was not available, so farmers had to mix their own in an attempt to cover their barn with something that would protect and seal the wood. The ingredients they used were skimmed milk, lime, red iron oxide and linseed oil. Iron oxide is essentially rust and it was the rusty color of the iron oxide that gave the paint it’s red coloring. The rusty “Barn red” color has remained the traditional color for American barns.
My affection for this icon of American life led me to begin taking pictures of them in our travels. These are just some of them I thought you might enjoy!Do old barns call out to you? #oldbarns #farmersmarkets #farm Click To Tweet
There are many organizations now that are dedicated to saving our historic barns. Some of these are:
I will be sharing this post on some of the lovely link parties found on my “Where I Party” page!
Thank you so much for reading today!