05 March 2013


My grandparent's farm.

There are stories here. That's what I almost called this post, instead of memories. In one of the tilting outbuildings I discovered an icebox filled with letters and a chest of disintegrating clothing. Judging from the dates on the letters - 1933 - the pretty fabrics could have been from that era, but they crumbled in my mittened hands - a snug winter hotel for the critters of the farm.

The history and stories that belong to this place are like the roof of the collapsing barn - layers upon layers of weather-beaten materials that for all their beauty have a sharp edge in places.

It's sad that many of our barns in the Midwest face the same fate as this barn, which is now in such a state of disrepair that it's only fit for the bonfire pile. (One last hurrah on a cool summer night. Something to entertain the local teenagers, though there aren't many of those in this area either.)

I can remember playing in this barn as a very small child - though is was rickety and tilted even then. We grandkids were banned from the barn our entire childhood, which was a wise decision on the part of the adults.

But still . . . what would it be like if the hayloft of this barn was filled with golden straw? What if there was a rope swing in the rafters that the new batch of great-grandkids could spin each other on until they got headaches and saw stars?

I think a lot of people have a fondness for a weather-beaten barn that's still standing. I guess it speaks to some thread of our collective and imagined past. We all wish we could've spent some happy hours in a big red barn - even a faded one will do.


  1. Lots of history in those old buildings and the fields and woods you kids grew up in. Some of the same ones Grampa and his 3 brothers roamed back in the 30's and 40's. We're lucky to have Gramma and Grampa still with us and living on the old farmstead yet, where the memories are still alive and real.

  2. A beautiful post, Jill! I loved the photographs. Enchanting! These old out-buildings would have me curious, too. Treasures around every tilting corner :)


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