A Barn Re-Loved

        We’re  at it again, but this time we are renovating our 115 year old barn!  Instead of tearing it down, my husband read a book about old barns and decided she was solid as a rock and worth saving.  So just like we did on our old farmhouse, we had to start with the foundation.   But before the boring foundation stuff, how about some cute baby pig pictures?  

       All our piglets and momma are gone now. They all went to rescue farms or individual homes where they will have a good life.  Here’s one last picture of our pigs.  My favorite one we called Cowpig, and she went with her momma, Miss Piggy, and two other piglets to a rescue farm.  I miss them!

Okay . . . just one more.

      The pandemic didn’t slow down our plans or workers willing to come to our farm to start fixing up  the barn.  

      This redbud in the foreground makes her look all pretty, but she really did need some TLC.    Half of the foundation needed redone before we could start any work inside or add a workshop onto the back. Because her metal sides are flipped up you can just barely see the new foundation.  

A little skid steer tore out the dirt and stone floor so a new  concrete floor can be poured (below).

This is what the stone foundation looks like that still holds up the two main walls inside the barn.

Look closely and you’ll still see  where the concrete butts up against the original stone foundation on both sides.  

The next step was getting the concrete floor poured for the new workshop behind the barn.  

And then the old metal siding came off.  What we discovered  was that the barn was originally painted red.  If you look closely left of the ladder, towards the roofline you can really see the red.  She has faded a lot since originally built and this will be her second metal covering.  

Putting on these new white barn doors was the very first thing we did when we bought the farm.  My husband built them because the old door fell off. Sadly they were burnt in the fire pit last week because a new door is coming.  I think she was always pretty and I miss the old barn look.

Something to be Thankful for During the Pandemic

     When I was a little girl riding along in the car with my mother, she would frequently say something like, “Aren’t the tree leaves just beautiful right now?”  “Or, “thank you, Lord, for a beautiful sunny day.”  I would look over at her and realize I had not even noticed the leaves or the sunshine, let alone appreciated them or given thanks for them.  I’d look at the leaves and think, wow, she’s right.  

       My mother, however, had learned a simple secret  she practiced every day. Be thankful. 

        Even though I grew up with her great example,  I still forget that happiness and contentment start with thankfulness.   I still have to remember to slow down to see the beauty, my material blessings, or people  around me that give my life such meaning. 

    Recently, I heard someone say, “when you are going through a hard time,  find one thing you can be thankful for each day.  Just one.”  

       So here are some things I am thankful for during this cocooning coronavirus time: 

  • The kindness of people. Folks are remembering to  keep their distance, not shake hands, cleaning surfaces, and offering kind words like, “stay safe.”  Some companies are offering supplies and curb side pickup or early hours for the elderly.  We are still a kind nation.
  • We are becoming a more grateful nation.  We are appreciating our hospitals and care givers, the police keeping us safe, grocery workers restocking shelves, and the truck drivers transporting goods across our land to fill those shelves. Parents are appreciating the job teachers do more than ever.
  • We have time for family or to start a hobby!  We are sharing more meals around a table, playing board games (Mexican dominoes anyone?), laughing together, watching TV, and working or playing outside together.  Perhaps you are taking walks, reading more, starting a new hobby, and maybe even eating better.
  • We are learning to be prepared for emergencies. Maybe folks will stock up with supplies so the next time we have a local or national crisis we won’t have empty shelves at the grocery stores and everyone will have toilet paper!  If you feel you can’t afford to stock up, just buy a few extra can goods or a package of TP or tissue paper each week. Slowly overtime you will have a stock pile that will help you get through the next emergency. * Fresh baked bread, anyone?   The shelves at my grocery store have been pretty bare in the bread area, which has made me buy bagels or tortillas or bake bread! Nothing beats fresh bread out of the oven.  If you don’t know how to bake bread, now is a great time to try.
  • We live in the information age.   Our kids can learn online from home and some of us can do our jobs remotely. We can FaceTime, Skype, text, email, video conference, and even use our old fashioned phones to talk if we want to.  We are not alone or isolated.  When the Spanish flu hit in 1918, these weren’t options.  By 1920 only 35% of people had phones. We carry them around everywhere.

       As I sit at my desk  writing this post, I can see the empty barren fields that will soon be planted with soy beans or corn.  Right now they are filled with little purple flowers that don’t know they’re weeds

      These cute little flowers remind me that we can find beauty in the ugly, barren, dirt.  They speak the language of joy just like a real flower.  No one has told them they are weeds.   I am thankful for the beauty they bring me. 

       This time of cocooning may feel like the slow start of spring.  Some days are still cold and wet and all we see are weeds coming up.  We just want summer to come and the coronavirus to be over.  But if you look hard you can see  beauty, hope, kindness, and change. 

       What is one thing you are most thankful for in these trying  times?  Let me know in the comments.