Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Farm Crawl

Changing to a happier topic, a few weeks ago my home county held a farm crawl along a stretch of county roads that stretches from one county seat in a neighboring county to the local county seat. It is a blatant attempt to get people out to spend money along a stretch of country where none is typically spent but I didn't mind. The day was sunny and a bit warm but we had a good time. Besides an academy, the first west of Mississippi river, there was an Amish breakfast and a stop at the farm of a local doctor who lets artists set up and sale their wares. There was also this old barn which was just off roads I have traveled my entire life but had never seen before.

Talking with the lady stationed in the barn, I found out why. It had actually been moved here not long ago as a way to save it from rotting to the ground. In fact, she was leading an organization that was trying to save these old barns scattered throughout my home county. The first step was to sell a coffee table book with pictures of these barns to gain awareness and then to raise funds to help preserve them. Although I signed up to buy one of the coffee table books when they become available this fall, I'm not sure I will be donating to the cause of saving the barns despite my desire to save them. My problem is that giving money to private individuals to preserve barns for historical purposes has lots of drawbacks. It creates a dependence on the owner relying on the money and when the money dries up, nothing will have changed except the purchase of some time. I would be investing into a project in which I have no say. The owner could take the money, preserve the barn and then turn it into a strip joint and there would be nothing I could do about it. I actually think the lady telling us about this project was standing in the only real solution, moving the barns to places where they can be protected and preserved.

I can't help but find irony in this situation. Here I am, someone who would love to have one of these old barns behind my house but have none. Around me are those that do but are letting them rot into the ground. Right now I don't have the land to move one if I found one and had the money to do so. Perhaps someday, that will change and I can either build or move a barn that I can someday love... and then have my descendants let rot into the ground. Perhaps photographing and preserving pictures of these old barns is the best solution.


Kelly said...

Ha - funny sign. I've seen a similar one that says "beware of dog, survivors will be prosecuted".

I like barns, but the old ones always seem to be faded or falling down. Our "barn" is nothing more than a huge shed with a metal roof. Then again, it only houses equipment and hay - no animals. One of our tractors is a John Deere, too. :)

Bob said...

Love the idea of a farm crawl! As to your feelings about donating money, you're probably right to follow your gut. No doubt there are good intentions there, but you don't have enough info about how the money will be used.

Ed said...

Kelly - Traditional barns will probably be all gone by the time my kids are adults except for the odd survivor. What a shame! I'm hoping they will come back in fashion.

Bob - I know if I had an old barn, I would be soliciting "free" money to help me fix it back up!

Leigh said...

Great old barn. It's the craftsmanship that makes those old barns so unique and special. That seems foreign to today's mindset. The mass production of industrialization unfortunately filters down to individuals so that everything becomes quick and cheap. Things like structures no longer have personality and longevity.

Vince said...

Yes they are a lovely bit of vernacular architecture, and probably stressed for the vagrancies of that area too. But they are on the way out. And while the year on year replacing of the odd rotten board, leaving it for five or so without much upkeep and you may as well knock it down.

sage said...

The farm crawl is a nice idea (and more wholesome than a pub crawl).