My Farm Barn Thing is a long term project… it was begun by my dad.
I grew up in the Midwest (northern Indiana) during the 1950′s and 60′s when much of America’s food growing was still done on the family farm. This lifestyle usually involved the farm family with ALL the children. Each child had a job necessary to make this farm be the family’s livelihood as well as their home. The farm barn building was an integral part.
My job(s) began at 5am EVERY morning (dad allowed no exceptions) 5 o’clock sharp, with milking the 12 to 18 milk cows… by hand. By hand… until 1962 when we bought two used SURGE milking machines.
The cows and our horses lived in this barn, in the lower story. The upper story is where we stored food for the animals along with farming implements as the space allowed. Click on the composite picture above to better see the plight of my family barn, the one in which us kids both worked and played.
By the end of the 20th century many family farms have become part of larger scale corporate farms. Now the milk we drink is produced in large, maybe a thousand cows (or more) milk farms (“milk factories”) and many of the “part-of-my-life” barns are unused and falling down, now decaying. I want to document what I can of this happening.
There are a variety of barn designs but most derive from about a dozen basic styles. Our family barn had a Gabel roof and a hillside (a bank) built on to one side so we could drive up to that “second story” bank barn examples and it had a little milk “house” with a water tank we used to store and cool the milk (in cans) until the milkman came for them… usually 3 times a week.
It seems to me the predominant color for farm barns is either red or white, at least so in Indiana. Most are rectangular in shape; a few were built “round”. My father used to tell a story about a young man who ran himself nearly to death when visiting a round-barn farm and I imagine every Amish boy of my generation has been told that same story… the young man was not able to find a corner so to “go to the bathroom”.
My Farm Barn project will hopefully develop into compilation(s) depicting something about the history, the types, and now the decay of that barn building in America. My personal hopes are to capture interesting images with a variety of barn types and colors, geographic locations, barn functions, etc, etc, so future generations can have more record of “what used to be”. I’ve made a 10-year timetable for this project (and it’s in honor of my dad who’d be proud to see the pictures — he went on to “the big barn in the sky” in the Summer of 2008) and am in my fifth year now photographing a hundred barns per year. Just two years ago, 2010, I was (un)fortunate enough to record the end year of two large barns here in Northern Oregon. Every year more collapse or are destroyed. It’s a little sad.
note.. photos of various barn groupings are listed on the Barn “sub-pages”. The state and town location for each barn is shown as you “mouse over” the thumbnail image and also is the title shown at the top/left after you click to enlarge the thumbnail. Thanks
click here to go straight to the White Barns
click here for the Red Barns page
or… click here for the barns NOT Red nor White
or… click here to see the barns I have posted on flickr.com
or… click here to see the file where I’m keeping all my barn images. My goal is to visit and collect a thousand interesting farm barn images at the rate of 100 per year. I am now entering year #6 with the beginning of 2013. (note… as of 1/9/13 I’ve just begun posting to this page. The first 100-plus were photographed during 2012. I’ll post prior images as I find time).
Click here for farm barns with the traditional “milk house”.