The Porter Ranch Barn
Barns remind us of our country’s rural past as the American spirit shines through dilapidated and weathered facades stirring our imaginations with visions of a different era; of an independent people forging their own way in a land of opportunity.
It was a glorious fall day when my family and I came upon this grand old barn in the Flathead Valley. Stately and proud it stood (in which is now a designated waterfowl area) as a testament to the past. It was huge – three stories tall, and begged for attention. It was living history waiting patiently in a field, to tell its tales of yesteryear.
Its red painted boards were faded, worn, and shot full of holes, but it remained strong.
As I took in its enormity and the surrounding valley views, I wondered what life had been like for the people who had built this amazingly huge and solid barn.
The barn answered with its imposing size, cupola roof, and manure filled stalls. The people thrived here in this land of plenty. They overcame any fears and forged a meaningful, prosperous life in the west.
At any rate, I do not know what happened to the people who farmed in this beautiful spot in the valley, but the strength and size of this old barn is evidence to their character.
As David has said, “It is a remnant of a bountiful past.”
This poem by Mary Dow Brine (1816 – 1913) says it well.
Oh! a jolly old place is Grandpa’s barn,
Where the doors stand open throughout the day,
And the cooing doves fly in and out,
And the air is sweet with the fragrant hay.
Where the grain live over the oaken floor,
And the hens are busily scratching around,
And the sunbeams flicker, and dance, and shine,
And the breeze flows through with a merry sound.
The swallows twitter and chirp all day,
With fluttering wings in the old brown eaves,
And robins sing in the trees which lean,
To brush the roof with their rustling leaves.
The timid mice in the corner glean,
A harvest sly from the scattered grain,
And the insects hum in the well – filled lots,
And build their nests on the window pain.
Oh! Dear old barn, where my childish days,
Where passed full oft, how I long to be,
Only a child again, to play,
Beneath thy roof with the old time glee.
Update – Since this article was first published, I have participated in Wiki Loves Monuments, 2013. My photograph of the Porter Ranch Barn is free for you to use under the Creative Commons Attribution – Share Alike License. You can see the photograph on Wikimedia Commons.