Tag Archives: old barns

Vermont Barn

Double click for a larger size image...
Double click for a larger size image…

When I was a child in Iowa, we had a red barn. I don’t know why it is that barns are almost always either red or white. Have you ever seen a green, blue, orange, purple, yellow…or any other color of barn? There are a few I’ve seen that were intentionally left with just the unpainted wood, but those are more “collector barns” for those who want that rustic look.

This barn was at the farm where we stayed in Vermont. It was a fairly typical barn, but the thing that made it unusual was the bright red phone booth at one corner. Perhaps it was just put there for decoration…probably, in fact. But I could imagine a phone call between a cow and her sister (like something right out of The Far Side comic strip where a cow is bragging on how much milk she gives in one day. I probably never happened, but every now and then you have to just let your imagination run a bit wild. The possibilities are endless!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1777, Samuel Mason, a Patriot captain in command of Fort Henry on the Ohio frontier, survived a devastating Indian attack on this day in 1777.

The son of a distinguished Virginia family, Samuel Mason became a militia officer and was assigned to the western frontier post of Fort Henry in present-day West Virginia. In the summer of 1777, with the colonies fighting a war for independence, Mason feared attacks by the Indian allies of the British. He was proven correct on August 31, 1777, when a band of Native Americans from several eastern tribes attacked the fort.

The Indians initially fired only on several men who were outside the fort rounding up horses. Hearing the shots, Mason gathered 14 men and rode to their rescue; this was exactly what the warriors hoped he would do. They ambushed the party, killing all but Mason. Badly wounded, Mason escaped death by hiding behind a log. A second party that attempted to come to his rescue suffered the same fate as the first. All told, Mason lost 15 men, compared to only one fatality among the attackers.

Mason recovered from his wounds and continued to command Fort Henry for several years. Following the end of the war, though, he fell on hard times. Repeatedly accused of being a thief, he moved farther west into the lawless frontier of the young American nation. By 1797, he had become a pirate on the Mississippi River, preying on boatmen who moved valuable goods up and down the river. He also reportedly took to robbing travelers along the Natchez Trace (or trail) in Tennessee, often with the assistance of his four sons.

By the early 1800s, Mason had become one of the most notorious desperados on the American frontier, a precursor to Jesse James, Cole Younger and later outlaws of the “Wild West.” In January 1803, Spanish authorities arrested Mason and his four sons and decided to turn them over to the Americans. En route to Natchez, Tennessee, Mason and his sons killed the commander of the boat and escaped.

Determined to apprehend Mason, the Americans upped the reward for his capture, dead or alive. The reward money soon proved too tempting for two members of Mason’s gang; in July 1803 they killed Mason, cut off his head and brought it into the Mississippi territorial offices to prove that they had earned the reward. The men were soon identified as members of Mason’s gang, however, and they were arrested and hanged.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The first recorded “nose job” is found in ancient Indian Sanskrit texts (600 B.C.).c Physicians would reconstruct noses by cutting skin from either the cheek or forehead, twisting the skin side out over a leaf of the appropriate size, and sewing the skin into place. Two polished wooden tubes would be inserted into the nostrils to keep the air passage open during healing.

…an Old Shed

Double click to see a larger version of the image.
Double click to see a larger version of the image.

I see that WordPress has changed and is now forcing me to use their new program to make posts.  I figured this day would come, be avoided it as long as I could.  Seems the option has been removed from me!  Hope this comes out OK!

This last Saturday, my bride and I were planning to go to a cherry blossom festival, but she wasn’t feeling all that great.  She encouraged me to go out and go somewhere on my own.  After some initial resistance, I did just that.  I’d been wanting to get out and shoot some pictures (what wonderful therapy that is for me!!!!) so I grabbed my Canon 7D and headed out the door.  I had no particular destination in mind, but there was a road near us that we’d never taken and I thought that perhaps I might find an old barn or something to photograph.

Well, I didn’t find a barn, but I did find a neat setting that included an old shed, a farm gate, a beautiful green pasture and some other interesting things!  And so today I start with a photo of the shed.

I grew up with sheds similar to this in Iowa on the farm and the farms surrounding ours.  Maybe that’s why I found it interesting…it transported me back across the miles and years to something that I grew up with…and it made me feel at home.  And for me, home is good.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1980, a floating apartment for oil workers in the North Sea collapsed, killing 123 people.

The Alexander Kielland platform housed 208 men who worked on the nearby Edda oil rig in the Ekofisk field, 235 miles east of Dundee, Scotland. Most of the Phillips Petroleum workers were from Norway, although a few were American and British. The platform, held up by two large pontoons, had bedrooms, kitchens and lounges and provided a place for workers to spend their time when not working. At about 6:30 p.m. on March 30, most of the residents were in the platform’s small theater watching a movie. Although there were gale conditions in the North Sea that evening, no one was expecting that a large wave would collapse and capsize the platform.

The capsizing happened very quickly, within 15 minutes of the collapse, so that many of the workers were unable to make it to the lifeboats. The Royal Air Force of Great Britain and Norwegian military both immediately sent rescue helicopters, but the poor weather made it impossible for them to help. Most of the 123 victims drowned. A subsequent investigation revealed that a previously undetected crack in one of main legs of the platform caused the structure’s collapse. The Alexander Kielland sat in the water for three years before it was salvaged.

Eight years later, a fire and explosion on the Piper Alpha oil rig in the North Sea killed 167 workers.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  The largest number of fatalities ever in a production of a film occurred during the shooting of the 1931 filmViking. Twenty-seven people died, including the director and cinematographer, when a ship they were shooting from exploded in the ice off the coast of Newfoundland.  (Do we have a theme here, or what?)

I Finally Figured It Out

If you’ve read by humble blog for any length of time, you know I have an affinity for photographing old barns.  I’ve often wondered why it is that I find them so fascinating.  This morning, I think I may have come upon the answer in a flash (okay, maybe a dim glimmer) of insight.

Old barns are much like us humans as we age.  We once were straight and tall, well decorated on the outside, strong to keep out the wind and the cold and protect whatever is within.  Time has a funny way of doing things to us, and barns, as the years turn into decades and the decades become a lifetime.

Barns get weathered.  The outside isn’t as pretty as it once was.  There are cracks between the boards that let in some of the chilly blasts of wind and temperature.  What was inside isn’t as secure as it once was when the building was new.

We’re sorta like that, too, I think.  We get weathered as the storms of human existence beat upon us.  The sheen and luster of youth disappears.  We learn that we’re not as strong as we once thought we were.  What we held inside in order to protect ourselves gets jostled around by life events.  We are more vulnerable in all ways – emotionally, physically, socially…and perhaps spiritually as well (though I could make an argument that in some ways we may grow stronger spiritually).  We’ve dropped many of our pretenses and defenses out of sheer exhaustion.

But you know what?  It’s not all bad.  Old barns have an amazingly wondrous weathered beauty.  In many, many ways they are far superior, in the ways that count, to a new barn.  They have character…new barns seldom have that quality.  It takes time to build, and even more time to reveal, character.  And so it is with us humans, too.

That’s why I love old barns…they tell me about life and about myself.  They are reminders of days gone by, of the beauty of each stage of the journey, and about how old things can be spectacularly beautiful.

Let your beauty show as you age.  You’ve earned it.

Why I Like Barns

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1953, Hugh Hefner’s Playboy magazine made its debut in Chicago.  Marilyn Monroe was the magazines first centerfold.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: it takes 9000 pounds of roses (4-1/2 tons!!!), or about 55,000 blossoms, to make 2 pounds of rose extract for fragrances.

Down in the Holler

Yessuh, folk talk funny roun’ these here parts.  They talk about things like “sewin’ machine awl” (oil) and things down in the woods in a low-lyin’ place as bein’ “down in the holler.”  (hollow)

Well, yessiree, I’m gettin’ the hang of it, I think.  And here’s a barn shot I took recently that was down in the holler a wee bit.

I hopes y’all ‘ll come back now, heah?

The barn down in the holler...

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson sent 12,000 US troops over the border into Mexico in a failed attempt to apprehend the bandit, Pancho Villa.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  at the time of the Civil War, New Orleans was the Confederates most populous city.

Weathered Barn

This afternoon we drove northward into the southern end of the north Georgian “mountains.”  One needs to get used to the use of the term “mountains” when describing this geographical feature in Georgia.  When one comes from California, or Colorado, mountains are much larger than the ones that one encounters in the East.  Don’t get me wrong, they are beautiful and we enjoyed our day immensely.

We heard about a town called Helen, that is in Swiss Alpine style.  It was an enjoyable place and we’ll probably go back again some time.  On our way, we ran across some old, weathered barns…and of course, I was honor bound to stop and photograph them.  Today’s picture is the second barn we encountered.  At this point, the sun was shining on the scene, the grassy field was lovely and full of life, in contrast to the barn that was clearly dying.

Barn on the way to Helen, GA

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1927, 25,000 diggers made claims in the diamond fields in Gasfontein, South Africa.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Nyctitropism is the tendency of the leaves or petals of certain plants to assume a different position at night.

A Georgia Repair Job

There are some things that are famous for their utility, such as WD-40 oil.  It seems it can be used for many things besides just a spray-on lubricant to free up rusty nuts and bolts.  I’ve read that it even is very appealing to catfish – you can spray it on your bait and the fish will love it!  (I’ve not tried it, and I’m not sure it’s legal…so don’t go telling anyone that I suggested you do it.

Perhaps there’s nothing that has a better reputation for being able to fix anything than Duct Tape (there is a brand called Duck Tape…but it’s still Duct Tape)!!!  If duct tape won’t hold it together, chances are that nothing will!

But what do you do when a barn starts to fall apart, and some of the roof is failing?  In today’s picture, you’ll see one such solution: if the roof if made of corrugated metal, you just throw on a new piece and wait for the next section to fail so you can repeat the process.

This is another old barn I saw about 10 days ago.  I shot it with the 300mm telephoto lens because I couldn’t get anywhere close to it.  But, it’s a barn.  It’s a picture.  It’s old.  It’s dilapidated.  But it’s a barn.

Resting..and rusting..in Georgia

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: the newly built “USS Princeton” fired one of its guns on a demonstration cruise on the Potomac.  It exploded, killing the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Navy and several others.  The US President, John Tyler, was also on board and narrowly escaped being killed.  TRIVIA FOR TODAY: a teaspoon of neutron star matter weighs about 110 million tons.

Red Barn

The barn in today’s picture has long captured my attention.  It’s located a few miles south of Cloverdale on the right side of southbound 101.  I’d driven past it for years and often thought, “I want to get a picture of that!”  For some reason, until today, I never stopped to shoot it.

When I was a kid on the farm, our barn was red with white trim around the doors/windows – like this one.  This barn is much prettier than ours was.  Ours was taller, but not as long, and it housed the chicken coop where the hens roosted at night and where they laid their eggs.  (How I used to hate my mom saying, “Son, will you go out and get some eggs from the chickens?”  Why did I hate it?  Remember, I was just a young kid, and when you tried to take the eggs out from underneath the chicken, they would peck your hand HARD trying to protect their eggs!  I didn’t like it one bit…neither did my sister.

On the other side of the barn was an area where sheep, pigs or calves could come inside.  We didn’t have many calves, mostly sheep, including pet ones (at least they were pets up until a certain “point” in their lives.)  One ewe gave birth once to triplets and my sister, my mom and I each adopted on as a “pet”.  My sister named her’s Twin (don’t ask me why!), my mom’s was Snowball, and mine was Tykie.  OK, OK…so maybe we weren’t the greatest at naming lambs, but we bottle fed them and they were very friendly.

The barn I grew up with no longer exists.  Those sheep are LONG gone.  Somewhere, the years have disappeared like vapor and things have changed.  But the memories of the red barn will remain with me (I hope) for my entire life.


The legendary American red barn...


ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: what an ugly day this was in American history!  In 1913, the government passed laws allowing it to assess and collect taxes on income earned by citizens!!!  BOOOOOOO!

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: in 1935, the first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City, OK.  Another BOOO! – but not as big as for the income tax trivia!


Barn Again

Here’s a barn I found a week or so ago on our way back from Mendocino.  It was along the north side of highway 128 between Yorkville and Cloverdale.  There are several really lovely and picturesque barns along that road, but the trick is finding some place where you can pull over and take a picture.  I got lucky with this one – there was a turnout/driveway nearly across the road from this barn.

I love the color of wood – I have always liked houses with wooden shingle siding, or log cabins. I actually shot a picture of the entire barn that I liked better (because you could see all of it), but the barn was in such a dark, shaded area that it caused the hills in the background to be “blown out” (too bright), so I’m showing you this one instead.

I doubt that this barn will stand all that much longer.  That’s too bad.  I hate to think the future generations won’t get to enjoy it.

By the way…did you know you can click on the pictures posted in the blog and see a larger version on your PC?  You might even be able to right click on that picture to see it even larger!  It’s like magic!!!!


Barn, Again

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1939, David O Selznick began filming Gone With the Wind.  There were numerous problems that plagued the movie, not the least was when the actor they wanted to play Rhett Butler turned down the role.  After he turned it down, Gary Cooper said, “Gone With the Wind is going to be the biggest flop in the history of Hollywood.  I’m just glad it will be Clark Gable who’s falling flat on his face and not Gary Cooper.” 


TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Teddy Roosevelt found his dog, Skip, wandering around the Grand Canyon.  While he had many dogs, Skip was the only one that got to share the presidential bed!