I'm not sure exactly when my love affair with barns began, but there is likely a link in my roots as a kid who grew up in the industrial haze that once wafted over Detroit. While hardly someone who lived a deprived life, denied the chance to see rural landscapes, my childhood experiences in the country were nonetheless limited.
I have occasion to drive through farmlands in southern Michigan several times a week, and there is quite a variety of architectural styles in the barns I pass driving along the backroads of Monroe County. Quite a few follow the structural and aesthetic schemes of the barn near Ida in the above photograph.
One of my favorite types of barns is sort of an anti-style, the graying, weathered building that seems to possess just a few more years of useful working life. These barns typically have quite a few missing planks, and support a great deal of ancillary wildlife, like bats, owls, and mice.
I also secretly admire the folks who simply build a new barn next to the decaying timbers of a worn-out barn. The skeletal remains of dead barns stand as agricultural artifacts of a bygone era, and if I ever purchased a farm with such an edifice, I would leave it be, like a pastoral museum piece.
Part of the attraction I feel toward barns is due to the almost insolent countenance they present to the fiercest weather. If barns could speak, I suspect that they would sound like Charlton Heston or Clint Eastwood, scrunched up faces that would sneer at an oncoming storm: "Bring it on, windbag - even if you manage to blow me down, I'll be rebuilt in the same spot six weeks later."
Just don't ask me to paint a barn. The thought of covering 10,000 square feet or more of barn with a fresh coat of paint sounds like a job to contract out.