I'm over my rant from yesterday. People are allowed to live in the country if they're not farmers. I would just appreciate it if they would't go so far as to call themselves farmers. But I'm over it pretty much, almost, mostly.
So what do I want when I go out looking at farms? I've been spending months figuring this out. When working on my correspondence course over the last few months, I've had to give a long look into my priorities.
If was sensible...if I had any logical thinking capacity whatsoever...if I was guided by practicality....if I worked from a business sense rather than giving in to what I simply like...if I had any smarts at all, I'd be looking for something like this:
(These photos are taken from Morton Buildings.)They're very nice! They have open sheds, and dutch doors.
Look at the interiors: so easy to work in!
There are two disadvantages to a modern, specialized horse barn.
1) Any real estate listing with the phrase "horse barn" automatically adds about another 200 grand onto the listing price. If you build one new, well...let's just say that's really stretching the budget.
2) It's new. It's modern. And you know what? I just...plain...don't...like....anything new and modern. With the exception of my Mac. But y'know, it is about five years old now so I guess in computer world it qualifies as an antique. Yeah, okay, I only like old stuff.
Call me a hopeless romantic. Fine. I can take the abuse.
Once we started actually reading the real estate ads instead of just looking at the pictures, I got a strange feeling in my gut. All these shiny straight barns caught my eye, sure. They looked great-- on other people's properties.
What I really want is this:I don't have any logical, rational, or practical thoughts. We all know this about me.
I imagined myself leaving my house- my slightly weather worn farmhouse- and walking across the yard in my coveralls and rubber boots. What would I be walking out to? I stopped in my imaginary tracks. That shiny straight barn just wasn't right. Practical, yes. Perfect for its purpose, absolutely. But all, completely, wrong.
It faded out and in its place a big, looming, century old bank barn materialized. I looked up at its high roof, at the tiny window in the peak where birds zoomed in and out. I swaggered up to the wooden door set into the stone foundation- stones so big that I couldn't imagine moving them without a tractor. There's nothing pre-fab about these old beauties. They were built one at a time, without power tools, without an architect's stamp of approval, and the fact that there are any left standing is proof of their quality.
The bank barn isn't perfect. Few of them are straight- they were probably leaning a little when they were new, 130 years ago. The ceilings in the bottom level are usually too low for horses. (This bothers my old man; he says their draft horses fit in that barn just fine when he was a little guy.) Old barns require repairs and maintenance that aren't ever necessary in a new barn.
Many have been altered to accomodate modern farming.
Jethro says they don't build em like that anymore-- they build em better.
He's right in many ways. He's the guy with the head for business. He'd never build a studio in a structure that wasn't worth it and tells me I shouldn't do business in an unsuitable building either.
But the bottom line is, no, they don't build em like this anymore. They never will again. We'd have to let the trees grow for 300 years before we could get beams like that again. These old barns are treasures to me, and while most people speed past them on the highway, ignoring them or worse, scorning them for being so old and weathered and, (gasp) rural, I admire them and mourn for the ones left to rot. They're part of our history.
I won't feel right without one of those in my yard.
Tomorrow I'll take you on a tour of the one I grew up in.