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Deconstruction: Postscript

Some thoughts and reflections on this project.

Recovered carrier

I was able to salvage some of the hardware from the barn. This is the hay carrier that ran on a track at the peak of the barn roof. This track spanned the entire length of the barn from the north end to the south. It was used to lift the hay from the wagon, raise it to the top of the barn and then carry the hay to one end or the other where it was dropped into the hay mow (pronounced 'mmm - ow', not 'm-oh').

The carrier and the track are intact and i hope to re-install it in whatever re-encarnation I make from the barn beams and boards - if only just for looks.


As I stand looking into the pit that is all that remains of this barn, It's dificult to take much satisfaction in a job well done -- and I believe it was well done. It's hard to feel remorse because there is nothing left to stimulate the memories. The hay mow is gone with it's high vaulted ceiling and thick beam supports that we could climb and build up our confidence in heights, grip, and sense of ballance. The hay ropes are gone that we could climb up and slide down and pretend we were firemen; rescueing damsels in distress. Or we would tie the ends together to form a swing that hung from the peak of the roof so we could swing back and forth the entire width of the barn - and farther when the doors were open.

When the barn was full of hay we would take blankets and pillows and camp overnight on top of the hay. We had flashlights and would make scary shadows on the ceiling and tell ghost stories.

And the downstairs is gone. The stancions with the cows that would all look at you when you walked in the door. They'd moo at you if they were waiting for their feed, or go back to their business once they saw who you were - if you were a stranger to them. The barn was always a warm and bright place on a cold dark evening. It had a richness to it (not just the aroma) and it was a comfortable place to come back to after moving away and moving on with my life. I miss that. I don't miss working down there when I was growing up but I do appreciate it and treasure that time of my life.

I am relieved that this de-construction job is over. In the end it became much more of a chore than I wanted and I had to really force myself to finish. But I did finsh and that's a relief. I still have to deal with this foundation and concrete floor. I will try to do so in a way that preserves the milkhouse and silo room. The concrete and stone walls seem sound enough, mostly. But there are places where they crumble when stressed and this would make it impractical to build upon.

As I talk to neighbors and friends who still have barns standing - unused and empty - I take a certain pride in what I have accomplished. These old barns are a delema to everyone who owns them and their owners are all facing the same options that I faced; either fix it up, or tear it down (or let it fall down.) I no longer have that delema. Now I can move on.