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Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sunday Stills "Old Barns"

When I saw what the topic was for this week's Sunday Stills, I was pretty excited! I  love old barns and there are some really cool ones in our area. However, between family obligations, catching the ick that is going around and a blizzard, my offering is meager! 

This old barn is on our ranch. I have taken countless photos of it over the years.It is pretty photogenic in all seasons!  It is next in line for some major work to be done to it this summer. Our old barn has a history that must mirror that of others in the area. When the ranch's first owners arrived during the homestead era, the first thing they built was this barn. Until the house was built the next year, the barn served as a home for both the animals and the family. The animals, most likely a milk cow or two, a team of horses and maybe a couple of saddle horses were down below in the stalls. The upper part or hay mow was where the family lived that first winter. I like to picture the arrangement sometimes when I am in the barn on a wintery day....the wind howling outside, pushing the snow into drifts. The smell of horses and cattle, frosty breath, the sounds of the straw rustling beneath their feet. Built into the side of a hill, with three thick walls of cement and a the rest of tight boards it is pretty warm. Above there would be the smells of cooking, the sounds of a family going thru their day. 
The barn hasn't changed much since that time with the exception of housing only the animals now. The house that was built for the family so they vacate the hay mow didn't last as long as the barn. It was replaced with a new house up off of the creek bottom. Our grandkids always gravitate to the barn when they come to visit.The barn still has the metal rebar hangers in the concrete are still there. They no longer hold horse harnesses but instead have saddles, saddle blankets,or bridles and halters draped over them. We don't have a milk cow, the only cattle that come into the barn are bucket calves. We have a calving shed with a maternity pen in it that we use rather than the barn. Our horses spend time in the barn when injured or sick. The hay mow is full of small square bales of straw and hay, buckets and other odd junk you find on a ranch. One wall there is a set of horse harness that hasn't been used in my husband's lifetime. Instead of a family, the upper part of the barn houses our barn cats who keep it mouse and bird free. 
The windvane tops the cupola which crows the roof.  The windvane is a capital "H" and a hanging "J" which  was my husband's grandfather's brand and is now one of ours. This style of barn is typical to this area. many of them have fallen or been torn down, others added to or rebuilt. Our barn is in need of some repairs but I hope our grandkids will still have it to use if one of them chooses to ranch here when they grow up.

My husband and I both had grandparents and in my case great grandparents who came to this area to homestead. His family chose the North Dakota side and mine just over the border in Montana. His family came to this ranch in the 1940's. We sold our family ranch a few years ago and now the house and an old shop are the only buildings remaining. The barn and a wooden grainery  were purchased and moved to another ranch. 

I have had the opportunity to live and travel outside of my little corner of the world. I always enjoy looking at the barns on the farms and ranches I see. Barns in western Montana have a different look than those here in western North Dakota. In the area of Kansas where I lived for awhile had barns made of post rock, while I have seen barns made of railroad ties and logs in other states. In Wyoming, there is a barn made of  what looks like river rocks that always catches my eye. 

I have always thought I should start a collection of photos of old barns that I see. I do have many photos but spread over two computers and many boxes of photos I need to organize what I do have and go from there!
This set of old buildings is on a neighboring ranch. The barn is on the far left side. The building on the far right  was used as the root cellar I am told.


Anonymous said...

A truely grand old barn. I loved your narrative as well. :)

Janice said...

Great old barn and what a cool story... I could picture the family in my mind.

Martine said...

Great post, I love hearing family stories like this.
How cool to have such a wonderful barn in your home.

MTWaggin said...

The barn is marvelous but I like best, the picture of your whole place in the snow! Thank you for sharing the story and honestly, sounds very familiar. I see pictures of my grandparents farm and my Grandad building both the barn first and house second (Grandma wasn't moving into a barn thank you!). The barn was our favorite place to play growing up....till my cousins burned it down. :(

Crystal said...

What a cools story to go with your barn. I love the cupola too :)

Shirley said...

I really enjoyed the story of your barn. That's pretty cool that the rand tops off the cupola.
I like that photo from the hillside of the barnyard too.

Eva said...

That is a great looking barn and I loved reading about too. The cupola gives it a really special look.

aurora said...

Your barn is awesome, as is it's story - thanks for sharing it!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Very interesting barn! I loved the story that goes with it too! :)

Anonymous said...

wow, how lovely and peacefully they would'v lived there, you are pretty good in detailing the whole show :), nice shots.