... One time as Ken was attempting to replace the flooring in the upper story of the barn, he fell through the existing particle board and had the breath knocked out of him. That was our first experience with the local volunteer fire crew. Their response time is pretty amazing for people who are working on their own farms. Ken, fortunately, missed being impaled on any standing farm equipment below.
The barn stood empty for a while. Ken and Renee tried using it as a garage at one point, but the field mice made homes in their seat cushions, snacking on left over crumbs and stuffing from their seats to line their nests.
Over the years, we bought our first tractor and then our second and then we had our Mave sorting machine and our sprayer and harrow to house. So, the barn was a useful building again.
It began its third phase when Lisa, Ken and Renee's daughter, came to live in the farm's cottage while she was a student at the University of Oregon, working on her special education credential to become a teacher. She brought her rabbits with her from Washington, and she decided to raise horses, so it sheltered its first animals since we'd purchased it.
Both of her colts, Willa and Giselle, we born in the barn, and I remember helping out as the vet gave the newborn Willa a transfusion in the horse stall.
(I only had to stand outside and plug and unplug something electrical).
When Lisa married, she and Martin decided to raise exotic chickens and sell the eggs, so the chicks that arrived in the mail began their lives on the second floor of the barn under a warming light in an incubator. Griffin and Ronan were shown by their son, Liam, how to hold the chicks without crushing them.
Now, the tack room was full, the second floor held hay, as well as chicks, and the ground floor was still jammed with machinery and horses. We even have a room, at the north entrance, for small tools: blowers, power saws, rakes, limb cutters, and a hundred other items necessary to run a farm and repair machinery.
One harvest when we needed several pounds of clean nuts to send to the dryer immediately to complete an order for Thanksgiving, we sat in the shelter of the barn during a drizzling rain and sorted nuts by hand. The rain had made them filthy, as the vacuum had sucked up rocks and wet leaves and dirt clods along with the hazelnuts, so we were listening to 60's music and dipping metal strainers into a wheelbarrow of collected debris before washing what we had in water and then picking out by hand the nuts from the flotsam, sending the rejects into a huge pile.
I heard enough music and had enough time during this cleaning activity to plan a performance project for my ninth grade classes studying ROMEO AND JULIET. It entailed each group translating one act of the play into modern language and inserting 5 songs to fit the action and lip syncing those tunes. I could give them examples from my nut sorting time to demonstrate something appropriate for each act, such as "Going to the Chapel" when it was time for Romeo and Juliet to get married by the Friar.
Today, the pond that the previous owners had dug has been enlarged and redesigned so that the barn is no longer the lowest point on the property and the rain no longer floods it in the winter. It stands on what is now Ken and Renee's land although we jointly use it. The animals are gone, and the temporary stalls dismantled. The upper floor is cleared of hay, and the tack room is empty. The upstairs drying room had become a storage unit for Lisa's crates sent back from Zimbabwe. Only the tool room and the farm machinery are still used by us. In the winter an occasional deer family sleeps over.
When the sun sets over the forest and the light hits, the barn, it glows brick red, its reflection mirrored in the still pond.
From the hillside above, no one can see the cobwebs in the corners, the dirty windows, or the scratches on the cedar siding. no one knows that it originated on another farm, had a facelight twenty years ago, and has a varied history, Most of the time we take it for granted; it's just the barn.