Tuesday, December 8, 2015

New Barn, Old Barn

I've had these pictures of two barns sitting in my file for 2-3 months, and I'm finally getting around to sharing them.  The first I really like, and wish SO much that I had taken a 'before' picture.  The second is a rather sad case judging by the appearance of it.

This beautiful small barn is not in the valley, but in the village of Conn, which we drive through on our way south to Cambridge or Kitchener.  It's simply one of the nicest barn renovations I've seen.

I've gone by this barn for years, and often thought I should stop and take a 'before' picture, in case it fell down or was demolished.  The stone walls are in good condition, but the wood siding of the upper story was looking sad.  Then suddenly someone refinished it - so it isn't strictly speaking a new barn, but it sure has a new look!  As you can tell by the pictures, it was a late afternoon sun shining on the barn.

I liked this small cupola on the roof, just added during the renovations.

On the other hand, this farm is a sad case nearer home here in the valley.  When I first drove down this road I thought the barn was interesting, but as I looked more closely, I realized that it wasn't well cared for.  Now there's a chain across the driveway, and the entire group of buildings has started to deteriorate.

Apart from the lack of recent paint, and the gaps in the boards, this barn looked ok at first, but now the south side in particular is looking like it could fall in any moment.

I've found that once a barn loses any boards, and especially if any holes develop in the roof, it deteriorates quickly.  The wind and the rain get in, and downhill it goes.

But I really realized how bad it was when I realized that the roof on the drive shed had fallen in.  You can hardly see it driving by for the trees, but once I stopped for a look, it's quite apparent that this won't last long!

And in this case, even the house appears unlived in.  Once that happens over the winter without maintenance and heat, demolition or collapse is almost inevitable, though it may take several years if the roof and walls are solid.

I find myself wondering how this ever happens.  Real estate is valuable; how does a place get so bad that it is abandoned?  I suspect that cases like this reflect an older owner who develops illness and can't maintain the place, but doesn't want to move.  Once they pass on, if there are no close relatives to step in and deal with things promptly, it starts to deteriorate.  Once it goes through a winter without heat, there is no turning back.  Still, there must be an interesting, though sad story here.


Walking time 2o minutes with the dog, and 40 minutes walking in to a beaver pond.  This time I took my rubber boots, so I could get close enough for pictures, now that the beaver have repaired their dam and flooded the Bruce Trail!  Earlier in the day I headed for Owen Sound to buy a new printer, our really good printer having given up the ghost after many years of faithful service.  Do you know that you can't even find someone who will try to repair a printer these days.  It's simply cheaper to buy a new one.  What a throwaway society we've created!

Linking to:

The Barn Collective


  1. That renovated barn is a beauty -- someone spent a fair amount of money on that one. As for the second, unfortunately that's probably the fate of many (perhaps most) of the 100+ year old barns. They seemingly don't fit with modern farming methods and are so expensive to maintain that it's often cheaper to build a new, more modern barn.

  2. That first barn is a beauty! What a nice remodel job they've done.

  3. The remade barn is amazing - I like to think of the time when a barn was first new - and now this barn gets to be new again. Wonder what they will be using it for. I am always sad when I see a perfectly good house go to ruin - so many possibilities. One does wonder what caused the desertion.

  4. It is indeed poignant when you see those old houses that have been abandoned. Each time I pass one I am given to wondering about the lives that were lived in them - children were made, meals cooked, birthdays celebrated.......all gone. How sad.

  5. What a wonderful collection you are sharing this week. I often wish that I had taken "before" pictures of things...I'm getting better at this. Real estate is not as expensive in these parts, but I often wonder why things are abandoned. I hope that you return often with your wonderful barns from the valley.

  6. The new barn is going to be great, I'm sure, but it will be a while before it has the character of the old one.

  7. That is a beautiful new/old barn.
    It is such a shame to see houses and farms going to ruin.

  8. The renovated barn is beautiful! The old farmstead looks so sad..they are disappearing everyday.
    Yes we are a throw away society...printers are one thing and microwaves another you are better off buying new:(

  9. Like the barns and comments. There are many barns out in this area that are just deteriorating. I, too, have wondered what happened to have a place abandoned. could be like you suggested.

  10. That's a brilliant restoration.

  11. I so love both these barns...wish someone could and would save that second. You just know that when they were knew, someone was soooo happy to have them. Just like an old house, they have seen a lot of living.