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Old Barns
February 27, 2017

(Red-winged blackbird)

Record high temperatures early in the week, followed by a couple rounds of thunderstorms on Friday and snow on Saturday.

The rain and warmth even brought the worms out on Friday.

Yes, sidewalks were covered with earthworms.

In February.

Nothing too exciting this week.

Karen visits the dentist and I have a an appointment with the eye doctor.

Being pre-glaucoma, I visit every 6 - 6 months to keep an eye on my eye pressure.

A new month starts this week, this means it is time to give bird feeders and water sources a good cleaning, and sanitizing.

Birds can spread sickness and disease around much as we do.

(The girls waiting for a handout from Karen.)

Contact with contaminated areas.

Contact with fecal matter and saliva from a previous visitor.

Like you and I was hands, it is important to keep surface areas clean for your feathered friends.

If you don't have time for a thorough and deep cleaning, a good spray with rubbing alcohol will do in a pinch.

and leaves no harmful residue behind.

Sometimes writing becomes a challenge, let me see how this one works.


I like old barns.

I enjoy driving rural roads and looking for old farms.

I will do this even on vacations.

Some farms and barns are well maintained.

Others have gone the other way.

Still, barns and farms are a part of history.

Pictured is the D.H. Day Farm.

At bit of history on this iconic farm.

Day grew hay and corn to feed his 400 hogs and prize herd of 200 Holsteins.

The farm is just south of Glen Haven and has a large white barn and several out-buildings that stand as a landmark of the agricultural heritage of this area.

The buildings were built in the 1880s and 1890s.

Old Barns.

Sprawling throughout the rural countryside are these iconic symbols.

They come in all shapes and sizes.

Despite their strong wooden frames and rich legacies, many of these structures are left empty and to the forces of nature.

The first barns were European style.

House and barn wrapped up into one large structure.

Eventually these unsanitary conditions changed with the English-Style of barns, from the 1600's through the early 1800's.

Barns were separate from the home.

Old barns had very few windows and a small stable was provided for the horses and maybe a milk cow, as most of the barn was used for threshing grains.

Wheat, oats and other grains were the crop of choice.

By the mid 1800's, the barn's function and structure began to change.

Barns were being built into hillsides to allow for a full basement.

Barns became larger.

More windows and doors were put in.

More livestock and livestock byproducts required farmers to and cupolas and other forms of ventilation.

Cattle instead of grain became the main crop, resulting in mega farms.

Pushing the little guy out.

Some of the old barns and farmhouses still remain, and in the same family.

You may notice a special sign that refers to and honors the "Century Farm".

There are a few around here, and I admire the care and values that are carried on from generation, to generation.

Especially when rural America is shrinking.

Still, many old farms sit in disrepair.

You may even have purchased a product made from reclaimed barn wood.

Mega farms continue to grow, not only removing a part of history, but also altering the landscape.

The once important hedgerow disappears.

Open fields and meadows become seas of wheat, corn, beans, and other money makers.

Removed is the habitat for nesting birds.

Necessary flowers and plants that feed out butterflies, hummingbirds, and various bees are no more.

Toxins fill the land and even injected into crops to kill off everything that might otherwise grow or munch on a plant.

Toxins that we ingest.

Old Barns.

Some working farms and even hobby farms remain and are well kept.

Next time you drive by one, notice the vegetable gardens and of course the flower gardens.

Still very much a part of the landscape.

This is where you come in.

Our pollinators need help.

Your help.

By designing or adding to you existing gardens, you can help attract specific pollinators.

A butterfly garden design with certain flowers and host plants.

Create a

Hummingbird Haven as well.

Various Species of bees are attracted as well, and certain plants are bee specific, while others are generalists.

A full one third of our food is attributed directly to pollinators

Keep the gardens real and lose the chemicals.

Like the disappearing of the Old Barn, our pollinators too need our help.

Okay, so I used the barn story to segue into a bit on nature.

However, I do like Old Barns.

When you are cruising the country roads, wherever you live, admire some of the old farms that remain.

It might even be a lone silo standing in a field.

One of our favorites is when we come across a well kept barn with a barn quilt painted in the side.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"Did I offer peace today?

Did I bring a smile to someone's face?

Did I say words of healing?

Did I let go of my anger and resentment?

Did I forgive?

Did I love?

These are the real questions.

I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow

now will bear many fruits,

here in this world and the life to come."

Henri Nouwen

From the word of Jesus.

"By their fruit you will recognize them.

Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes,

or figs from thistles?

Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit,

but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,

and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.

Every tree that does not bear good fruit

is cut down and thrown into the fire.

So then, by their fruit you will recognize them".

Matthew &:16-20

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb.

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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