Monday, August 29, 2016

All the King's Horses ...

Randy purchased a barn at a sale on Saturday. If only the little Fisher-Price barn could replace the real McCoy.

Just the day before the sale, we discovered that the old barn at the County Line was falling down. It wasn't really a surprise. After a  2015 windstorm, the front of the barn was bowing deeper than a curtsying dancer.
April 2015
But, this time, there was no big windstorm. We heard no dramatic crash. The cupola and the hay loft simply gave way to gravity. Randy joked that it must have been the 0.60" of rain that fell Thursday and Friday.
As of this month, we've lived in our home for 31 years. We moved here when I was 8 months pregnant with Jill. The house was built as a wedding present for James and Katherine Johnson in 1938. But the farmstead itself was settled in the 1880s. We don't know when the barn was built. Back when the Johnsons lived here, they raised Hereford cattle and pigs. In its day, it was a grand old barn with lots of different stalls and compartments.

Randy started renting the barn and corrals just before we were married. Last year, after we witnessed the demise of a 100-year-old stone barn in the neighborhood and saw the damage to "our" barn, we decided it was time to put up a calving shed

For the 2016 calving season, our ladies-in-waiting heifers and newborn babies were housed in the new accommodations.
But, even though it was past its prime, the old barn had sheltered mamas and babies during snowstorms  and cold weather for many years.
We still planned to use the barn as an alleyway to load out cattle. And, so far, the roof hasn't fallen into the barn itself. But I think we need to come up with a Plan B sooner, rather than later.
Kind of like those makeover shows, but in reverse, here's the before ...
 ... And the after. 
The old barn has been a backdrop for lots of sunrises on the County Line.
While we didn't house the kids' 4-H animals in that barn, the show box and other supplies were kept there, so the kids were frequently in and out of heavy wood door as they cared for bucket calves and steers.

Just like in the picture books, the barn has been a landmark for Kinley and Brooke as they have visited us at the farm.
May 2014 - Kinley & Randy
We're picking up the girls tomorrow for a short visit. But a trip to the barn won't be on the agenda.
Grandpa does hope they will enjoy playing with the new-to-us toy barn and silo he purchased at the downsizing sale.

Someday soon, the old barn will just be a memory for all of us. Old friend, it's been good to know you.


  1. Time has caught up with your barn of memories. Sad but not unexpected. My Grandfather took up a selection about 105 years ago and later divided it among his 3 sons. We moved to a farm in Queensland in 1960, but I always loved going back and scrambling through the original barn. Then, just like you I couldn't!

    1. Many of the old wooden barns in our area are succumbing to old age. They aren't as practical any longer, but we will miss them, nonetheless.

  2. One thing my father made clear...he said not to let the barn deteriorate after he was gone. We sold it to a lumber broker, and our new Morton building "barn" is built alongside the old foundation. My father's siblings played in that barn, and my brother and I, along with young friends and cousins, made many memories playing in that barn. It is sad to see all the old wooden barns disappearing.

    1. I wondered about the availability of finding someone to salvage the barn wood that seems to be so popular on the HGTV shows. Randy says others in this area have had people say they are interested in salvaging the wood, but then they don't show up to do the work. (We don't own the barn, but we do own a granary that also should be torn down). Right now, it's still standing enough to run the cattle through and into the trailer. We'll see how long that lasts.

  3. Oh that is too bad it is always a hard thing to see. It was a beauty. I would love to find one of those Fisher Price barns for Little Miss. I am on the hunt. Hug B

    1. We found it at a "downsizing sale" from family church friends. They had several Fisher-Price toys. I was tempted by several of them, but I resisted everything but the barn and silo. (I need to start cleaning out, rather than adding to!) Hope you are able to find one for your granddaughter, too!

  4. Kim,
    It's sad, and sometimes hard, to see pieces of history fall down. History of our farms/ranches, community and memories. I'm glad you know the history of your farm and have it recorded for future generations.

    1. I don't know all the particulars. I hope to discover more from the family.