Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Grandpa's Barn

Barn Near Colfax, WI
(not my grandpa's barn)

There's just something about barns, especially old red barns, that I love. They remind me of my grandpa's barn when I was a child. I remember that barn was always kept clean and smelled like cows, fresh milk, feed, and lime (not the kind you use in guacamole). There were always cats in the barn, waiting for someone to throw them a strainer pad soaked with milk or give them a fresh spritz right from the cow.

I remember pushing the barn broom around, but I'm not sure that I accomplished much, unless it was to stay out of my grandpa's way while he was trying to work. Since barn walls were thick, the window sills were deep enough for a kid to curl up with a kitten or use as a place to store treasures - twine, old keys, milkweed pods, flowers, etc. My grandma's flower bed full of hollyhocks was on the south side of the milkhouse. I don't know what her trick was, but every summer she had the most beautiful hollyhocks, and many different colors.

 Unsure who to credit with this photo
Not my grandma's flowerbed, but similar

After haying, the hay wagons would be pulled into the barn, and a hay elevator was set up against the hay loft to transfer the bales to the loft. After that was done, my cousins and I would use the old rope that was tied to one of the rafters and swing out over the floor below and drop into the loose hay. There must have always been a pile of loose hay there, for I don't remember getting any broken bones from that adventure.

Holstein Heifers on lunch break

In my mind, although it may have been far from reality, there was a seamless transfer of my grandpa's farm to my uncle, for nothing changed much for me. We still played with cousins in the barn, still rode the toboggan behind the horse on winter afternoons, still enjoyed the sounds, smells, and animals of the tidy dairy barn.

It was a rather magical time, especially in the mind of a child who didn't realize all the hard work that was involved in creating the carefree setting that I enjoyed. And now, whenever I see a pretty blood-red barn, I am reminded of my grandpa's barn and the halcyon days of my childhood (with a few exceptions)..

Maybe that's why I like to take photos of the barns which are rapidly disappearing from the Wisconsin landscape.  I want to have a record to show the generation who may never get to see the real thing. It's too late for me to get a photo of my grandpa's barn, for it's been gone for several years.

And that reminds me - I'm terrible about actually getting my photos printed out. I need to have hard copies, rather than having them only available in cyberspace!

How about you?


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Terri @ A Creative Princess said...

What beautiful memories. I, too, have such special memories of my grandparents barn. My cousin and I loved climbing up into the loft and playing with all the kittens up there. Oh, what I wouldn't give to be able to climb up in that loft again!

You're not the only one who needs to make hard copies of photos. Someday I need to just spend a day and figure out how to send them to Wal-Mart (or somewhere) and get them developed. Maybe this winter...

Terri D said...

I loved this post and it brought so many memories forward for me. Summers at my Uncle's dairy farm. Forts made from bales of straw. Warm milk on our cereal. And the barn smells. It also reminded me of my mom's paintings. After she retired from the Post Office, she started painting, and her favorite thing to paint was old barns. I have one of her barn paintings in the guest bedroom. A treasure for all times. You made me smile!!

Smalltowngiggles said...

I just had some hard copies made. Snapfish.com had a offer for new customers,30 free prints. A lot of companies have similar offers from time to time. sutterfly.com, picasso.com to name a few.

I, too, find barns fascinating. Barn quilts are the rage right now, in Iowa. Highway 20 has a lot of barns with the quilts.

Wish my hollyhock patch looked like the one in your blog.

Loved you post today. Thanks for sharing.

Cherry's Prairie Primitives said...

I always love your posts! I could visualize everything you were writing about, such wonderful memories.

MadSnapper said...

your story reminds me of my granddaddy. he owned a bakery but i don't remember it, but when i was 4 he bought a restaurant and motel in Callahan FL and my fondest memories of him and of my life until i was 10, were staying in the little cabins and having FREE burgers and milkshakes. he had monkeys and peacocks as did all motels on Florida roads in the 50's. no barns in our family but the same fond memories. he was killed in an auto crash when i was 10

SImple and Serene Living said...

I love your memories. We lived in town, but owned a farm and I always loved going out in the country and the sweet smell when you entered the barn. I can still conjure it up in my mind.

I need to make hard copies of my photos, too. i also need to back mine up so I don't lose them.


Robin said...

I love barns also, especially bank barns. Not sure if you know what a bank barn is, I know a lot of people don't. There are some beautiful ones around here, I'm going to have to take a picture of one and send it to you. Did you make dolls out of the hollyhacks? I remember doing that. My cousins and I had hours of fun playing in our grandfather's barn, going into the milk barn when my uncle was milking and he spritzing us in the face. Good memories.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Having grown up on a farm with a barn in the pasture behind our home, I love to see them. It's the same in the South. Barns are rapidly disappearing, and ours is no longer there. Sigh. Or at least I think the people who bought it allowed it to fall down.

It was a magcial time. Even with hard work, it still had a wonderful air about life back then. I have felt that way ever since we left, and we moved from there when I was still young.



Kaya said...

I enjoyed your picture of a barn which resembles your grandpa's barn and your story how you were pushing a barn broom around.

I love all barns and especially very old.

Fantastic pictures!!! And a white cow is looking at you with a very curious look.

Pollyanna said...

Oh my, it all sounds just idyllic ... how lovely that you have saved those feeling here. Swinging into the piled hay sounds like so much fun!!

Cheryl @ TFD said...

I loved reading this! I grew up on a farm and played in the barn much as you described. Our barn wasn't red, but old weathered wood. Red barns are a favorite of mine, but the old weathered look is a close second.

Thanks for commenting on my blog...and yes, I love German Shepherds, my favorite dog. We had one when I was growing up and after I was married, we've had 3, although one was just for a short time. Now, we just have 4 cats and no dogs, but I miss them.

RURAL said...

I love barns, and I just discovered two more of them yesterday....one is red.

I grew up in barns also, both sets of grandparents farmed...it's in my blood.

I am so glad that you like the cards, I was looking at my notes this morning and thinking, did she get them?

PS thanks for pinning the snow covered jars.


Deanna said...

I love barns, too! One of these days I hope we can build one here on our land. And my grandma had hollyhocks, too. :)

As for the photos, I'm in the same boat. I'm planning to have a bunch printed when things settle down after the holidays.

Heide at ApronHistory said...

Wonderful memories. Now I understand your fixation on barns.
I have always loved Hollyhocks. They just never seem to stay bug free in our area and halfway throught the summer start looking terrible, though once you have one it is hard to get rid of them.... I have thought I got rid of mine quite a few times to discover come spring that they are still hanging in there!

Debra Hawkins said...

Beautiful post and wonderful memories. I love barns ans as a photographer they are always an amazing location!

Anonymous said...

You could write a book about your gpa's barn, I enjoyed reading this post very much... very interesting! Wonderful

I don't remember how I found this post, but I did see your post, Amish Barn Raising, linked to Barn Charm, so do you mind if I link this post, too? =)

Faye said...

Lovely nostalgic post. How fortunate the kids who have good memories of growing up and being around an extended family. The snow brushed evergreens are the perfect accents in your barn photo.

And speaking of accents, your header is just perfect for the holiday season--love your use of natural materials.

Chatty Crone said...

I could read on and on and on about your past. You sure were blessed. I love red barns too - sandie

20 North Ora said...

What a nostalgic post. It is so wonderful to have those precious memories that will last forever. Thanks for sharing with us.


Anonymous said...

What a precious post of your memories. When my late dad was a young boy, his dad warned him not to jump from the loft. Of course, dad did anyway and broke his nose! Ouch!

Dianna said...

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog today, fellow Barn Charmer!
Loved reading about your Grandpa's barn. I grew up across the highway from a dairy farm, and I know all about those barns smelling of cows...!

laurie said...

I love barns too, and wisc has such awesome ones, I like the ones with stone. Your grandpa's barn sure left you with alot of good memories!

Tanya Breese said...

oh i love this post of memories of your grandpa's barn!

Unknown said...

My dream back yard and view! So beautiful!

Candace said...

What a wonderful post, Judy! I absolutely love the photos that you share....particularly the ones of barns...and especially love the first photo. You should definitely print that one out. I have printed a few of mine and have them framed here at home; but there are many more than are just digital at this point. I really need to get some hard copies too.

Denise said...

Sweet memories.

Susy said...

What a beautifully written tribute to your grandfather's farm life and memories of the red barn. Hopefully the farm is still in the family.

TracyMB @ Crows Feet Chic said...

What wonderful memories! I cherish the times spent on the farm my mom grew up on... playing with cousins and not having a care in the world. Riding horses, riding calves (a little more unpredictable) and bringing cows in. :)

Balisha said...

Wonderful memories. I love old red barns too. We drive through Wisconsin from Illinois often and find that they are slowly being phased out. What a loss.

Claudia said...

Judy, thanks for the reminder about photos. I'm guilty of that, too.

Such a wonderful story of your childhood and the barn and life on a farm. How lucky you were to have that experience. And yes, barns are disappearing and it's important to document them while they are still here!

Thanks so much for joining in this week!


craftyles said...

It sounds like you ha d really special childhood. The barn pictures are lovely. What wonderful memories you must have!

Babajeza said...

Those red barns are so beautiful, and "yours" is filled with memories. Have a nice week. Regula


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