Tuesday, July 5, 2011


There's a warm breeze blowing across the porch of our 100 year old Wisconsin farmhouse. I look across the dirt road at the barn slowly collapsing under the weight of old age. The boys (John and his brother Walt) talk about ways of helping it out of it's misery. 

At this point are you wondering if the barn is going to be an analogy for the country falling out of favor with our creditors by not raising the debt limit. The traditions of always paying our national debt being risked by political posturing?

And did you notice I mentioned Wisconsin? I could be planning on telling you about the dozens of signs all over town for a Democrat running for Congress. We are about an hour north of Madison. I could tell about our fantasy last winter of marching and waving our posters (but we're old and it was too cold out).

Or maybe this is a story about personal aging, of each year having your major supports buckling. Knee knobs and hip girders snapping, so that your whole structure collapses. Hmmm. This could lead to a story about medicare. 

Maybe it'll be a story about Jack Kevorkian and putting the dying out of their misery.

Or maybe, just maybe, it's about the barn. This time, instead of my political harping at the end, I thought I'd get it over at the beginning. 

I'm on vacation, after all. Time to shed normality and relax. Do something different. 

Different? Huh. Let's see, I brought along two large tubs of painting supplies. Oils, which I haven't touched (sounds like home). We brought Scrabble which we play on summer nights on the screened porch at home. We cook. We eat. We sleep. And, yes, we brought our pillows.

And of course, I brought my computer. Right now John is at the kitchen table designing a bathroom on his laptop for a client. Katie's in the dining room on her laptop doing her job as a nurse reviewer. Walt is in the living room refining the new blog he's setting up. I'm in a sunny room off the dining room. I don't know what this room would be called. And you know what I'm doing. 

Last night I helped Walt set up a blog that we'll use to try to sell 265 acres of land. We'll still have 172 acres with the farmhouse, a gorgeous lake, fields leased to a farmer and the falling down barn. This is the beautiful place John and his two brothers inherited from their father several years ago.

So, vacation? I'm the same. The things I do are pretty much the same. Although Saturday Katie and I went to a flea market, something I don't normally do. Along with all the treasures and junk we saw there were a couple goodies I'm bringing home. 

But mainly it is a visual vacation. What I see here is very different than what I see in the Detroit suburbs.  In the evening we sit at a round table in the yard (with a fly biting our ankles) as we watch a herd of deer in the corn field. From the top of the hill we can look out over the pristine lake. We've seen a bald eagle and wild turkeys. 

And from the porch we mourn the death of a lovely old barn.

To see Walt's new blog click here: http://wiscproperty.blogspot.com/


  1. I am so glad that you included the picture, because it conjured up a happy vacation memory. Henry, our daughter Faith and I would be tooling along a road Up North in Michigan when he would announce
    "Bucket of paint!" and she would respond
    "Box of nails!"
    They both adored dying and dead barns and houses and that was their way of signalling their delight to each other when either hove into view. They would have loved yours.
    Have fun!

  2. Hi Annis,
    I spent several years on road trips shooting barns (with my camera) out of the car window. I thought about, and even started, a book called, "Seventy Mile an Hour Barns". I do love old barns.

  3. How beautiful. Enjoy. I have quit taking art supplies on trips as I never get around to using them. Tell Walt to put a picture of the lake up, a great selling point.

  4. Hi Lynne,
    There is a small lake on the property that is for sale, but the bigger lake is on the property that we're keeping.

  5. No doubt about it. There is great beauty in this barn, and great truth and humor in your essay.


    ann amenta

  6. Ann,
    Wabi Sabi...the beauty of imperfection, perfectly describes old barns.
    Our barn seems to get shorter everyday. Eventually it will be a pile of old boards.


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