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May 8, 2010

Greetings Dear Reader.   I like old barns.  Do you like old barns?  To me, they are fascinating structures that are the central part of any farm.  They house the farm animals, the feed for those animals, the bedding that the animals sleep on.  Tools are housed there, and tractors, implements; even a variety of wildlife.

The structure on the left is a “Bank Barn”.  If you look closely you can see how the earth has been “banked” up to the second level of this barn (on the right side).  The bank allows one to pull a wagon with hay for feed or straw for bedding right up to the second level.  Since the critters are housed on the ground level, this allows hay and straw to be dropped down a chute where it can be used by the animals.Here you see (from left to right)  a chicken house, a tool shed, and a cattle barn.  Tool shed does not mean a shed for rakes, shovels and hoes the way you might think. Although those tools are probably in there, it means LARGE tools- like tractors, cultivators, seed drills, combines with corn and bean heads.  That is for another discussion, here we are interested in barns.  I like the classic shape of the barn on the right.

This old barn looks to have gotten a metal siding facelift.  Notice the white “windows”.  Compare those to the real windows on the darker red addition to the right.

If you get a chance to take a Sunday Drive out in the country, sooner or later you will find an old barn that succumbed to the rigors of nature.  Many of these barns served their owner for a hundred years or more.  It is still sad to see one crumpled in a heap on the ground.

I wouldn’t call this red building a barn.  But it does house cattle from time to time. I included this photo to show you the silos to the right of the red building.  The silos are the cement cylinders on the far right, and that is where silage is made.  Plant material like corn stalks is placed in the top, and the weight forces most of the air out of the silo.  This causes the material to ferment, and the resulting silage is removed from the bottom and fed to the animals. The shiny silver structure is a grain bin, and houses grain that may be fed to the animals. A tractor-trailer is parked to the right, and might be receiving some grain to be hauled to market at a grain elevator.

What I really like about this photo is the shadow in the foreground.  I hope to get some photos of the interior of some old barns to share with you in a future posting.

Oh, I mentioned that wildlife also lives in these barns. Can you guess what types of wildlife I was referring to?  Well, barn swallows are a favorite of mine to watch.  Barn owls. Rodents like mice and rats are present, and it is a rare barn that does not have at least one barn cat to keep the rodent population in check. And if you visit a barn, watch out for holes in the ground-sometimes groundhogs have dug tunnels in the barnyard. The tunnels may provide a home for skunks or rabbits as well.

There is just so much to see when you visit an old barn.

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