North Adams High School holds annual Homecoming ceremonies Six workers injured in power plant explosion Commissioners hold proclamation ceremony for 4-H Week Senior Profile: Shyanne Tucker Coach Young Classic is Saturday at NAHS Helen Kerr Anna L DeMint The garden that got us through the winter months Virginia L Fricker JV Devils top Northwest 51-34 Senior Profile: Caitlin Young North Adams moves to 7-5 with 16-point Homecoming win over Northwest Held to a higher standard Claudia J Purtee Shaylee E Prewitt Questions still linger in Stuart explosion Richard Holsinger J Ruth Madden Frank E Swayne Robert Bechdolt Sara D Hatfield Barbara Goodwin Jeffrey Frederick Grace E Myers Johnny A Sullender Sr. Senator Joe Uecker sworn-in for second term Wenstrup sworn in for third term in House Ronald L Chochard Patrick P Clift Samuel W Freeland Senior Profile: Casey Mullenix Lady Dragons win ugly, taking Classic consolation game over Manchester, 48-45 Greyhounds roll by West Union to take Classic consolation game, 82-58 History made as Ward takes oath of office Peter A Bennington Tangela R King McDonald’s Classic crowns 2016 champions MVP Arey leads Peebles to McDonald’s Classic title, Indians outlast North Adams 82-76 in double overtime thriller Lady Devils get Classic three-peat, make it 10 of 11, 14 titles for Coach Davis Senior Profile: Raegan Dick Teaching students the power of giving Kids at Children’s Home gifted with shopping spree Marion Liming Dorothy Huff John R Murphy Michael L McAninch Rita Rogers Edward L Combs Ronald W Staggs Mary H Grooms Gladys Wilson Donald Barnhill Monda Van Vorren Deborah Spires Senior Profile: Andre Wolke Indians pull away in second half, get past Manchester 71-58 in Classic semis On home floor, Lady Indians move to Classic title game North Adams handles West Union, Devils move to Classic finals with 68-53 victory Lady Devils roll into Classic championship Beth E Rowley Leatrice Lewis Senior Profile: Justin Aldridge Mary Helterbridle Wanda Huffman PES Performing Arts entertains at Hometown Christmas Adams County Manor sends holiday wishes Peebles Lions Club hosts Christmas breakfast Elusive Elf on a Shelf makes a return visit to PES Santas in blue spread Christmas cheer in a very special way Senior Profile: Aubrey McFarland WUHS holds Hall of Fame induction ceremonies WUHS Academic Team has undefeated season Serving those who served their country From Pearl Harbor to ‘America’s Got Talent’, 93-year-old WWII vet is still going strong Yester Years brings a touch of old to the new Merry Christmas to you all North Adams Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners Peebles High School hosts Homecoming ceremonies Children in need receive gifts at PES Adams County Manor holds annual Door Decorating Contest WUHS celebrates with numerous Christmas activities Halftime lead quickly vanishes, Dragons fall to Northwest 73-62 in Saturday night non-conference match up Tammy S Scott Oscar Hilterbrandt Neil R Swayne Beulah M Daniels McDonald’s Classic begins Dec. 27 Letters to Santa Senior Profile: Tyler Swearingen Leadership Adams donates to local outreach programs North Adams student/athletes are part of Holiday Sharing Event Senior Profile: Kylie Lucas West Union Elementary holds Academic Fair on Dec. 2 WUES holds annual Spelling Bee NAHS Art students help out the Humane Society Peebles Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners CTC FCCLA / Culinary Arts class holds Cancer Awareness Drive Amen receives Distinguished Service Award ‘Tis the season for family-past, present, and future MHS Computer Class aces MOS Exam

Remembering the beauty of the barn

I know I say this an awful lot but just in case anyone missed it I was raised on a farm in the 50’s and 60’s in southern Clermont County and have always been so glad that I was. The reason was that I enjoyed the farm life and all that came with it and from my earliest recollections and even today when I see a farm I almost always and immediately look for the barn. If you stop and take a little longer look, the barn is the biggest structure that a farmer has and by looking at his barn a lot can be derived about the man who owns it and how he approaches his way of farming. Barns can be built in many unique ways and I always have liked seeing one that is just a little different than the norm.

Webster Dictionary defines a barn as “a large farm building used for storing grain, hay, or straw or housing livestock.” Notice that it says a large farm building? Webster goes on to define a farm as “a tract of land, usually with a house, barn, silo etc., on which crops and livestock are raised for livelihood.” With these definitions in place I can now go back to the years in which I was raised and say that was what I saw as we drove the countryside. A house, barn and an assortment of other outbuildings that were in the close proximity of the barn only made a farm look even bigger and more prominent in stature. They appeared as the sentinels over that farm and the rest of the buildings.

Growing up I saw the barn as the place that adventures were created in. Of course a barn with a hay mow was the first place on my list. There were stables for horses or cattle and areas for hogs. Along with the hay mow there were usually grain bins that with the correct imagination, and not getting caught in them, were fun also. If part of the barn was tiered off to hang tobacco, there was a climbing area and the tobacco sticks made great swords, rifles, and other great items. A barn has a world enclosed in it and was the perfect place for a child to play and pretend, at least the one on Fruit Ridge was for me.

So it is no wonder that even today when I see a barn of good size and maybe a unique look to it that I do a little reminiscing and maybe even sigh that it would be great to revisit even if it were only for an hour, but just settle for a smile as I travel on down the road. What I recall was that most every barn in the past was kept in a condition that was A1. I know my dad saw to it that every three years all our building roofs were painted. He said that if rust begins on a roof it is impossible to keep that roof from rusting altogether.

He never painted the sides of the barn or his corn cribs, but did paint the outbuildings white. He saw that if siding was detreating that new siding was installed. Dad wasn’t a man for flash but he wanted his buildings to look good, but most of all, his investment protected. At that time these buildings all had a purpose. What didn’t seem out of the ordinary then was that all the landowners I saw did the very same thing.

Lately though I’ve noticed a change in the scenery. I see more and more barns falling into decline. More roofs are rusty and barn sides that were painted white or red have faded to a point where too much plain wood showsm causing the barn to look probably in poorer condition than it really is. I don’t claim to be an expert in the reason that this is happening, but it is. I’m certain there are many factors as to why but again I don’t have a conclusive answer. I do know that the way many farms look today are not the way they looked in the past.

I enjoyed going to our barn and playing in the hay or the grain, building things with the tobacco sticks or just watching the livestock as they looked back at me. It was a great time and a great place to be. I just hated to see that part of my life change. It must have been special because I can’t think of any negative thoughts, (not even the rotten egg fight my brother Ben and I got into and just how bad we smelled) about the barn.

With all that said and letting my nostalgia run a little wild, I return to the here and now. If the need and purpose for a barn or other buildings is gone, wouldn’t it make more sense to remove the structure? It would have to come off the tax bill and save the person money, and not let a structure that served its owner well just slowly fade away. That was just a thought and again not an educated answer. Being fond of old barns and memories might make for bad opinions but man they sure do make for warm memories of part of a good life.

Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. He may be reached at houser734@yahoo.com.

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The Good Old Days

Rick Houser

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2016 People's Defender