News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Mike Lunsford

July 27, 2009

The Off Season: The life of and the life in a barn…

One of the things my wife and I most wanted when we moved to our place almost 30 years ago was the barn that sat behind the house. It wasn’t an old, old relic of the neighborly barn-raising and horse-and-buggy days, but it did have room for the roan mare my wife rode at the time and plenty of space for the tools I’d inherited from my grandfather. It also needed a lot of work.

We’ve always thought it a shame to see so many barns in our countryside with sagging roofs and rotting sides as they showed years of neglect and weather, so we vowed when we first came to this homestead that we’d always keep our barn dry and tight and upright.

I think we’ve kept that promise; it was promptly painted and properly roofed.

Rather than slap yet another coat of paint on the spots that needed it the most, I told my wife last fall that we would have to spend a little money in the spring and replace much of the wood siding on the barn’s north side. After nearly 50 years of facing Indiana’s snows, rains, winds and withering heat, many of the planks there had warped and rotted and no longer had the teeth to hold their nails.

So last week, with relatively few jobs lined up to tackle, I drove into town and bought enough new lumber and No. 6 nails to get the job done. I also called my buddy, Joe, to come and bring his saws, his knowledge, and his two young field hands, Josh and Torre, who also happen to be apprentice carpenters and budding mechanics, painters and stainers, trash haulers and roofers — whatever Joe decides they need to do at the time.

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