Tuesday, April 2, 2024

If Old Barns Could Talk

The sun set last month for the final time on what we always called the Palmer barn.

During our days of active farming, we loaded cattle and bulls through the rickety old barn. 

After we retired, Randy's sister sold the property to the Millers, who took over our farm ground and cow-calf herd. 

Tye texted Randy the morning they set the barn on fire. But Randy was out of town at a co-op meeting, so we just saw the aftermath later that day.

In truth, we couldn't believe that the Kansas wind hadn't already brought the old gal to her knees. Though the barn hadn't been in good shape for years, she still held on through wind storms that brought other compatriots down, including a landmark barn along the Zenith Road and the barn at our homestead. (Click the links for more on those barns.)

After windstorms, we'd drive by the Palmer barn and were always surprised it had survived yet another blow - literally and figuratively. 

The photos below were taken in 2015, when we ran cattle through the barn to load trailers.

After we got them gathered in the pen, we herded about 10 at a time in the barn ...
... and into the waiting cattle trailer.
In 2013,  we drilled a new well in the pasture and added a solar panel after the water well near the barn gave out.
From a September 2013 blog

So, it was time - probably past time - for the barn to come down.

From the south, looking north

From the east, looking west

I talked to Tye later that day, and he said it was kind of sad to see the old barn come down. I agreed, and I also remarked that we were impressed with how many old barns in Iowa had been reburbished and still stood tall and proud as we traveled through that state.

"But they raise 200-bushel-an-acre-plus-corn up there," he said.

True enough. 

I found an ode to old barns as I searched for quotes. The prose by Pete Mason probably says it best.

Goodbye, old friend.


  1. My uncle had an old barn similar to this one. It must have collapsed when I was in my teens. I still have loving thoughts of it and the fun we had in the hay.

    1. Barns were definitely a centerpiece of farmsteads back in the day.