Returning to my childhood farm in Minnesota

I spent a few days at the beginning of my vacation with my Dad on the farm where I grew up.  It’s always good to return home.  The pace of life is slow there now.  My Dad is 91 years old and retired.  The house and barn hold many memories for me.

Open door to the old red barn

Latch to the barn door

Worn barn door and metal latch

“Life in the barn was very good — night and day, winter and summer, spring and fall, dull days and bright days.  It was the best place to be, thought Wilbur, this warm, delicious cellar, with the garrulous geese, the changing seasons, the heat of the sun, the passage of swallows, the nearness of rats, the sameness of sheep, the love of spiders, the smell of manure, and the glory of everything.”
     — from Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

West side door to the barn

Interior of the barn, now used for storage instead of cows

Light filters into the hayloft through holes in the siding.

Hayloft

Barn door and hayloft stairs

Leaking Stars

October 22, 2009

Light leaking through the hayloft siding

Light leaking through the hayloft siding

“The hay in the loft
misses the night sky,
so the old roof
leaks a few stars.”
     — Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry

Our hayloft is an atmospheric space, especially empty of hay, as it is these days.  The roof on our old barn has been replaced and is now water-tight.  But the siding still leaks in pinpoints of light.

Old Barns

October 20, 2009

The barn on my Dad's farm

The barn on my Dad's farm

Exposed wood framing and siding in the hayloft

Exposed wood framing and siding in the hayloft

The old red barn on our farm is empty of animals these days.  It’s become something of a catch-all for storing odds and ends.  My two brothers, who now own the farm, have done a good job of maintaining the exterior of the barn — it’s nicely painted and has a weather-tight roof.  The floor of the hayloft is being repaired, too.

I have memories of working and playing in the barn.  As young kids, we used to jump off the beams in the hayloft into piles of hay.  I also spent many hours stacking freshly baled hay, and blowing my nose free of the inevitable dust between loads.

Midwest farmers don’t build those classic wooden barns anymore.  Now they put up massive sheds, which are rather boring rectangular boxes, I think.  I still love seeing old barns dotting the landscape near my childhood home.

Faded red barn and brick silo

Faded red barn and brick silo

Classic white barn with twin silos

Classic white barn with twin silos

Barn across the corn field

Barn across the corn field