Many of the barn histories are fascinating and even jaw-dropping snapshots of times past. Then there are the funny stories from my painting journal. A few bits and pieces are included here.
…The main stone barn structure is 62 x 57 feet, with walls measuring two feet in thickness!... Beautifully hand-hewn posts, in three rows, support the three huge unspliced, carefully hand-hewn beams. The unspliced beams are approximately 60 feet in length. ..
…Early photos show sheep and goats in and around this unusually modified bank barn. The goats kept the weeds down and the sheep were raised for the wool. Being a self-sufficient farm some of these animals were also a supply of meat…
…Family members tell a story about a barn:
William Garriott provided for many family members, he had twelve younger siblings. One of his younger brothers, John, had the ability to negotiate disputes. John was the go-between with the area’s native Indians, especially during conflicts. When John unexpectedly died, the family buried him in the barn to hide his death from the Indians. They hoped to maintain peace by keeping it a secret. One of the larger corner foundation stones is engraved with his name.
What is known for sure is that the name “JOHN” is carved on the huge southeast corner stone of the log barn.
…..This barn was strategically located along the New Harmony to Mt. Vernon stagecoach route of 1817. The old farm is surrounded by the beautiful rolling countryside of southwest Indiana very near Big Creek and the Wabash River. Some of the barn’s original pegged timbers remain, attesting to the durability of timber frame construction.
July 12, 2007, Thursday
An artist friend and I headed north very early this morning. Our destination was a lovely old barn in Noble County. We arrived just before the early feeding of the many rescued and boarded horses.
The farm owner, Beth, took us into her new pole barn to meet the horses and talk while she fed them and then she opened their access doors to the pasture. When she finished, Beth took us into her big old bank barn.
I hadn’t realized how hot the pole barn was, that is, until we stepped inside the lower level of the old barn. It was still pleasantly cool there. I mentioned this to Beth and she confirmed that this barn was always cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Early barn builders knew what they were doing. Beth assured us the new metal pole barn was hot in the summer and very cold in the winter!
We moved further into the lower level of the barn as Beth pointed out different features. As we neared the opposite end of the barn we came upon a large stall with an old wooden gate. Quietly peeking over the gate we saw a huge gray horse. He was curled up like a kitten sleeping with his hoofs pulled up next to his head! His mouth was open and his tongue was hanging out. We could not remain quiet it was too funny. He woke up.
Manly, the old retired circus horse slowly stood up and walked over to greet us. He is accustomed to receiving horsey treats…from anyone at the gate. He stuck his gigantic head right in our faces wanting to give a kiss for a treat. That was a surprise! Beth showed us how it works, you hold still while this big horse nuzzles your cheek and them you hand over a treat. The process requires a lot of faith, at first.
I chose a perspective from the northeast corner of the barn and set up my painting easel. Manly’s stall was in this corner and he would come out of the barn on occasion, graze, study me a while then retreat into his cool stall. Often he would just stick his head out of the barn door to see if I was still there. I had to capture that view in my painting.