Monday, April 9, 2007

barn again

Recently we watched a tape of the PBS presentation called Barn Again. It highlighted the history of barns in North America, the various heritage styles such as German ones with stone walls on the first floor, round barns, etc.

The big red structure with arched peak roof was the first truly American design. Many of these traditional barns are still structurally sound and are being 'remodeled' for more modern uses. That is what we intend for our stately 1900-era beauty.

Once used as a cattle barn, hay feeders remain and the big sliding door is functional. We value the craftsmanship and want to maintain the design integrity as much as possible. Some doors are missing, but the basic structure itself is sturdy and usable. Rough cement flooring in half of the barn is ideal for sheltering the alpacas and helping to keep their toenails worn down.

We will build a chute for safe restraint of an animal during vet checks, and install a scale. The electricity needs to be reconnected. I haven't discovered a water pipe out there yet, but that would certainly be handy. We are considering putting in a cistern to collect rainwater, to use for the animals.

Readying the barn and pens is our priority, since the sooner we can bring our herd here, the less agistment fees we will be paying. A neighbor had her sheep barn redone last year, opening up one side, enclosing the other. I am grateful for efficient guides in this department!

Yesterday I met a neighbor who told me of an old man who used to ride his bicycle around here. Joe hasn't seen him in quite awhile, so he has probably passed on. But he remembered hearing stories of how the man had met his wife will visiting this farm in the 40's, and that they had been married here. Our neighbor across the street lives on property that used to belong to her grandparents, and she remembers, as a child, visiting the lady of this farmhouse with her grandmother. If these walls could talk!

We will continue to create stories as our family comes to visit and grandchildren romp in the fields. Life stretches forward through us and our choices.

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