Sunday, April 12, 2009
Standing tall after 101 years, the barn attests to builders who did more than a credible job. I rounded a curve and saw the immense structure. Turning down a “likely road” had proven to be a good roll of the dice one more time.
This barn is part of what one might call a family compound — a couple of homes, some out buildings, and the barn, all in one neat tightly grouped package — residences on one side of the road, the barn on the other — all of which are clustered just off Dallas County Road 207, about six or seven miles south by southwest of Sparkman, Arkansas. It is just a few miles east of the Tates Bluff Bridge across the Ouachita River.
I stopped the truck. That signaled “Dude,” a large shepherd mix canine — I say large, he looked like he could pull a small plow — to sally forth, do his job, and inspect me, the intruder. I barely passed muster. Fortunately, not far behind Dude was Herman Nutt, master of the domain. We exchanged greetings as well-intentioned southern good-ol’ boys will do. I asked if he cared if I photographed his barn. He said that would be just fine. I reeled off my explanation of reasons behind the shooting. He said to be sure and send him a link. Music to my ears.
The barn belongs to his wife’s family. Over the years the family, with Herman leading the charge, have managed to keep it in the good condition it enjoys now. Look just to the right of the metal doors on the left and you can see where Herman patiently cut and installed patches to the clap boards.
Not surprisingly, the barn originally was a livestock and feed building. As you look at the barn, the left side was for the life stock: mules, horses, cattle. The right side was a corn and feed crib. There was a second floor accessed by stairs inside and the loading window you see above the big door. Typically, the second floor was kept high and dry to protect feed for later munching by the livestock.
This farm, like many others of the same genre, is no longer a farm. And the barn is no longer a livestock / feed facility. Now it is a convenient storage building. Besides a plethora of memories, it now holds, among other things, a 1966 Ford Fairlane station wagon, complete with the venerable Ford 289 small block V8, a 1952 8n Ford tractor, a retired hammer mill, and a syrup cooking pan. Herman drove the tractor and the car into the barn. The memories. . . . Well, they just migrated there on their own.
N O T E S:
Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog. — J. D.