Please forgive this post for being late…between an early schedule and our stellar satellite service (NOT!), try as I might I was not able to get this to load yesterday, due to severe storms in the area. However, I do take responsibility and will be more diligent about watching the weather and having something ready in case of impending winds, rain, slight breezes, light sprinkles or the possibility that an errant leaf might disrupt or distract said satellite.
Now for the good stuff! My love of barns is not something that I only foster in the fall so don’t let the picture lead you astray. I’m always on the lookout for these amazing legends of our past. Over the years I’ve seen too many that are simply neglected and sadly in need of some serious tlc. Unfortunately I’ve seen even more that are in differing states of deterioration, sagging and leaning here and there and eventually giving up altogether and collapsing into a pile of rubble and rot.
Last year I happened across a barn tour and spent the better part of a day walking in and out and around several different barns; learning about their history and the families who have cherished them. During that first tour I learned about the Iowa Barn Foundation and how they, through their team of volunteers, help qualified barn owners receive matching grants to restore these pieces of our past. For those who are able to do the restoration on their own they offer Awards of Distinction. They even have volunteers who create their bi-annual publication, offer legal and financial advice as well as administrative services.
In an effort to educate people about the history and importance of rural life, they bring people together through varying events and meetings. In the fall they hold their annual barn tour that allows us to witness these beautiful relics up close. Some of the barns are listed on the National Register but they all offer a glimpse into a rich past. I love the feeling of stepping back in time and imagining the people who built them and used them. Many of the current owners have had these barns in their families for generations and their enthusiasm and emotion is contagious as they talk about their late great-grandparents or uncles and aunts and reminisce about stories from childhood. Many have some wonderful photos of not only before and afters of the barns restoration but the people who originally built them and in one case the different horses and a pony who were stalled there.
It’s a humbling experience to stand inside these rough, sturdy built structures and in a sense, be surrounded by the generations that knew first hand what it meant to work hard and provide for themselves and their families solely through the land and what their efforts brought from it.