Friday, May 05, 2006
End of a Goliath
It was 1977 when we first saw the barn. Even then it was a proud, overbearing structure that dominated its ground. It had been used for hay and grain storage, milking cows, lambing sheep, raising horses by humans as well as many generations of owls and barn swallows that definitely didn't feel the loft belonged to anyone but them.
I loved it because it was so old. The timbers were handhewn and maybe older than the barn. Back when it was built in 1910, farmers often recycled parts to build new structures and so this barn might've gone back into the late 1800s. The story of the Donation Land Claim it rose on was interesting all on its own.
For awhile we tried to maintain it, keep it usable but it wasn't practical for today's farming methods. It was beautiful but it was also rotting and the money required to rebuild it was way more than we could afford. By the time we might've been able to afford it, it was too late
Today it gave a mighty sigh and sunk to the earth. We had been expecting it to go down. Every windstorm that blew past, we'd look each morning to see if maybe that one would have taken it, but it stood against those. Time it couldn't withstand.
The barn served us and the animals on this place well for all the years we have been here; and it provided its last service today, as between its beams, it cradled a sheep that had been sleeping there to stay cool and saved its life. When we went out to look at the damage, we heard the sheep's plaintive cry. My husband was able to talk the young one out; and unharmed, it had quite a story to tell the others-- if sheep can relate such adventures.
I am sad tonight because it was something very special to have that old barn on this place. But like those old timers did when they built it, we will see what we can salvage from its parts. Some will be siding for the new barn and just maybe some of those hand-hewn beams will someday grace a living room. Its shape will have changed, but its spirit is not gone.