November 28, 2007

Just A Few More Barn Books ...

Ok, I've given up on building that stable in England that I was dreaming about. But what a delightful time I had looking at the properties "for sale" in that beautiful country. There were so many that offered such a magnificent lifestyle for the horses ... and me.

Have you ever searched those sites and seen some of the castles those horses live in? You really must try it sometime.

But here I am in my abode far from my fantasy and I'm now on to another interest ... old barns of America.
I made a trip to the library to gather an armload of books about the barns built during those years so long ago and about the lives that had been such a large part of our American history.

So, getting all cozy on the couch and covered with animals ... I began to look at these wonderful barn books and
wondering what stories they could tell me.

Page by page presented more and more questions. I wondered what kind of animals lived there. Did they have any Percherons? Did the children learn to drive those gentle giants when they were barely knee high to the horses?

I have always had a fascination for barns and have traveled many places taking photos of old barns. Some were still standing in all their glory, some tilting from the winds they have endured over the centuries.

But the barns I found truly interesting were the ones that were but a shell of their past, only remnants of the life once lived. Tall grasses were growing through the broken windows and the barn doors were no more.

Each book on the floor beside me had a character all its own.
Each barn a story.

I thought about my grandparents who had left Denmark to homestead in North Dakota, so very near the Canadian border. Through their determination and courage they built a sod house for their then four children on the barren unturned soil. They weathered the storms to live out there dream in a new country.

In time, there were 7 children, a farm house and a magnificent barn, which is still standing and remains a landmark in the area. It was in this barn that my father worked as a child and helped to care for the horses.

And, today, it is that same barn which still proudly stands ... filled with the memories of days long past.

Each book held me captive with pages of interesting designs,
beautiful locations ... and unique histories.

In many of the photographs, I felt a loneliness for the cold of winter
and the beauty of the fresh fallen snow I had known as a child.

Then I came to the last book.
I was in trouble again.

It seems I ended up where I began ...
dreaming of a barn so beautiful I could claim any stall for myself.

But to be honest ...
I think I'd rather have that old barn in North Dakota.

My grandfather's barn ...

It's such a part of me.



  1. Aah yes, the new barns are beautiful but there is nothing like a good old barn! I'm a barn girl myself. I always said, if I ever moved to America, I would love a few acres of land and big red and white barn or a bare wooden barn. There I go with the dreams again! LOL
    Have a good day!
    Love from the kittens' mother xxx

  2. One of the things I enjoy about being in New England is seeing all the lovely barns especially up in Vermont. The last photo on this post is stunning, what a beautiful place. The kind of English stable that is in the last post is magnificent in a different way, I live near to Chatsworth which is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and the buildings that are now used as a restaurant and shop are the former stables and are magnificent buildings - almost as grand as the house itself.

  3. Isn't it interesting how our heritage will almost always trump our wildest fantasies and dreams? I loved reading about all your barn reading. Did you find a barn that will inspire you to have one of your own? Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  4. Kittens' Mother:
    Oh, great ... another dreamer and another barn lover! How wonderful.

    Chatsworth!! So incredible. I've never been there, wish I had. I've been searching for photos of the buildings you mention that were once the former stables. Perhaps, they are so grand, I'm missing them ... I'm thinking they are part of the grand estate, itself.

  5. Cindy,
    So right, family history pulls on the old heart strings.

    A decision? Oh so many choices! Each page of those books seemed more enticing than the one before.

    I'm inclined to want to live in a barn, I think.

    Yes, I did have a large barn at one time. Quite unusual, to say the least, as it included stain glass windows.

    Sometimes wish to be back there, again, even though it broke all the rules for "typical".

    The horses loved it, however.

  6. Hi there, Thanks for visiting MidWestHorse. I actually live in a converted barn. It's over a century old. All post and beam with wooden pegs, no nails. I love barns too. When I road trip I like to see the difference in cultures by the barn that was built. Even the differences in Wisconsin.

  7. I love the old barn the best...more sweet memories and heart! I love barns and have been lucky enough to see the ones of New England and the Midwest, deep South and out West. I have even enjoyed seeing some in Germany, Holland and England.

    When seeing your grand stable book, I was reminded of being at the Royal Mews in London. Now THAT was a stable! *grin* Maybe Liz and Phil could send you the original plans so you may emulate...nah. It was a tad drafty and that would never do for the dashing Royal!


  8. Callie:
    How fascinating ... living in a post and beam barn filled with history. I do remember how different some of the barn were in Wisconsin. I wondered if they built what they knew in the old country.

    Susie Q:
    Lucky, lucky you seeing barns in so many different areas.

    But you're doing me in with this talk about the Royal Mews in London. I just might have a relapse, again.

  9. First, "thanks" for visiting my blog and commenting on Birds, Bugts and Beasts. It is always appreciated.

    Dream on about your barns. They come in all shapes and sizes, as you know. They were also for all sorts of purposes. It was a place for the neighbor boy and daughters to lose their virginity in the hay mow. There were barns only used to dry speared and hanging tobacco leaves and there were barns whose sole purpose was to house milk cows at milking time. With hay in the mow and grain that could be dropped down where the cows were, it was high tech of the times.

    There were barns just to store machinery in and horses and horse stalls where horses went to get some grain food. I used to love to set up on the backs of giant work horses whose feet were larger than my head.

    Stables are not really barn barns. They are just always called stables.

    Your post brings back a flood of memories.

  10. your grandfather's barn is soo beautiful! I love it!

  11. I love old barns too and I've been in a couple of pretty fancy new ones as well. It was fun to see the extravagance but I'd prefer a "lived" in barn to work in. lol

  12. I've been in fancy dressage barns and I always wondered if horses actually poop there or if it is frowned upon.
    I'll take an old barn with nooks and crannies and spiderwebs any day!

  13. I love old barns too. We had a beauty when I was growing up in Ohio. Built in the 1940s. Stone floors. Haylofts. A cupola. Deep red with white shutters. I have a framed photo of it in my home now. I look at it and sigh sometimes. Such nice memories.

  14. What a wonderful post! Like you, I'm partial to old barns. The palatial new barns are nice, but they have no ghosts or character. The best barn I ever encountered was at a place I lived in, a few miles from here, with a roundroofed barn and cupola (quite a bit like your grandfather's barn) It had seen better times and one day it just collapsed. I wrote an essay about it, which has been published in various magazines and papers, and included in a book..our barn is not so pretty, but it's sturdy and definitely has character.
    I'll be adding your blog to my ever-growing list of great reads!

  15. I love those old barns too, they are dissappearing here in the USA to rapidly which is sad.

    While I lived in London I didnt get away out into the country much but whenever I was in Hyde Park in central London I was always amazed at the fact that the majority of the Queen's horses were housed in a building along the one side of the park which looks like any other normal building in that area. Hard to believe that there are literally dozens of horses housed there. I never did get to see them being exercised in Hyde Park, where they have nice sandy trails which people ride on including these horses I believe. I am going to do some research now and see what I can find out, it has jogged my memory on something I have been wanting to look into for ages. If I find anything I will let you know!!

    My one fantasy was to ride in Hyde Park myself but the rental rates were totally out of the question for me as a struggling photographer in that huge city LOL, too busy trying to feed myself.

    Hope you are having a great weekend.


  16. Started digging, here is one link to the Kensington Barracks.

    In the first picture where they are all in the parade area if you look to the top/right of the picture, the trees and grass is the edge of Hyde Park. Hope you find this interesting. I know that their stables are amazing too so hope I can find something with pics of those too.


  17. THANKS ... to everyone for your comments and for sharing your memories of barns. It's just great to read them all.

  18. Thanks Lori for the link to Kensington Barracks. Fascinating reading.

    Riding in Hyde Park has been on my list for such a long time. Still hoping.

  19. I met my husband on the internet and one of my first questions was,

    "Do you have a barn?"

    He did.

  20. Jolynna,
    That is just priceless! Your first question ... "do you have a barn".

    Plus, he builds stuff, and knows about compost, if I remember correctly. What a guy !!

    That sure makes him a winner, for sure!


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