This is the north side of our barn. The condition behind the tarp isn't much better. It really needed some love and care and attention that it didn't get years ago, but we're thankful that at least the tarp was tacked up. It's been there so long that it's actually ripping through. When we tell people where we've moved to, people usually respond with "oh, the red colonial with the barn with the big blue tarp?". We're starting to be a little depressed about the fact that the landmark is the tarp.
This is the inside view of our blue tarp. As you can see, the boards are rotting away, as are the sill under this floor and some of the floor itself. Kinda tops on our list was getting the siding on at least this part of the barn replaced this year. But, we've realized that we'll probably need to address the lack of insulation in the house along with the aged furnace. Oh, and that kitchen renovation will make our kitchen much more functional for me. Yes, the list is long, and unfortunately, we'll need to have the meager repair funds allocated to the building we actually live in first. I've tried to find grant money available to repair the barn, it's an oldie for sure. We're not sure if it is original to the house or not yet, we're trying to figure that out, but some of the building styles in it are the way it was done in Britain. The sale price on the first deed we have from 1755 is in actual pounds! So, we hope that the barn is original. How cool would that be? The frame of it is actually in amazing shape for it's age, it's mostly the siding and some beams that were allowed to be leaked on that need replacing. It used to house cows, and so there is some floor and beam rot where the cows stood, I supposed as one would expect.
Yep, here's more of it's warts in all their glory...
The glass is missing in the windows, some boards are rotted on the other three sides, but it's still a beauty to us. Kind of like how you feel about your kid, you realize that he might not be the best looker in the room, or the brightest bulb in the pack, but you love him with all your heart, just the same. It's sort of our ugly duckling, but we know it can be turned into a beautiful swan! There is bittersweet covering what used to be the blacksmith shop, now long collapsed. You can see the roof line of it on the side of the barn here, see the peak on the left side showing its ghostly image?
As you can see below, the ruins of the blacksmith shop are covered in copious bittersweet vines, as is a lot of the landscaping here. The pool fence has a bunch we're going to need to deal with as well. I, for one, just can't wait to get in there with the metal detector and see what I can discover. I spy a treasure hunt for the boys for sure!
As we're trying to come up with ideas for raising money to begin the long list of work on the barn, I've been trying to find if there are historic preservation funds. Most of them want the barn to be of some big significance. I feel its incredibly important to save old barns, they are a piece of our history that can't be replaced, but George Washington's horse didn't sleep in our barn, it never hid any famous runaways (least ways, we don't think so!) and for the most part it is just a beautiful old barn that needs work to save it. This homestead absolutely wouldn't be the same without it. She's seen a lot of living and dying in her 259 years, that's for certain.
Okay, so now you've seen it with all it's faults, tarps and warts. We're not afraid of the work involved. Those of you that may remember us working on a barn that was well on it's way to being torn down a few years ago know, we've seen and done worse. It's mostly going to be coming up with the funds to make it happen that will be the challenge. But, I know we're up for it, it's a great old place and it needs us.
Ready to begin the adventure, ~Peacemom