Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

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.


Paul said...

Nice pics !

Pam in Tucson said...

Sad story, but I'm happy that you'll recycle this wonderful old wood. Very nice photos, showing the wonderful character of the barn.

Parapluie said...

The photos are nice but having seen the barn, I think it had a hard to capture spirit. I can see it in your painting style. Are you ever going to paint it? I painted it once but did not keep the picture. And speaking of using the old wood to build new buildings, I am tickled that you are thinking of building for the animals before yourselves.

Rexroth's Daughter said...

It is a sad barn story. I sense that you will find wonderful, inventive, and artful ways to recycle it. It looked like it was a beautiful old barn.