Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Barn Raising

I'm a product of a urban (suburbia) up bringing. I remember how crowded it seemed when we lived up north in Niagara Falls and Wilmington. Houses seemed crammed together. In the Clear Lake area from the age of 9 through high school there were wide open areas. Lots of room for kids to investigate. If you went to the other side of Clear Lake into Galveston County the space was even larger. Somehow, I didn't always feel like I was living in a suburb of Houston. As a teenager my friends and I rode our horses where there is now houses, chemical plants, and shopping centers. We loved to ride to Galveston Bay, tie the horses and go swimming. By the time I was in Clear Creek High FFA I loved being down at the school farm. My closest friends were in school at Clear Creek, they always told me I wasn't stuck up like most of the Clear Lake High students. My friends were right. I went to Clear Lake, but if you want to take an Ag course you were at both high schools in our district. There were still gravel roads in the League City area.

I go home now and it is like being in a real city. I am always thankful I don't have to stay. I love the open spaces of where Lynn and James grew up in Angleton. The feel was like League City 30 years ago. Once again, though, I'm watching the urban sprawl move south towards Angleton, just as I watched it grow south towards the Clear Lake area and then engulf it. I'm so happy our business has allowed Larry and I to "return to the farm."

As a child I loved the drive from Wilmington, Delaware, to Geneva,Ohio to see my grandparents. It meant we drove through Amish Country in Pennsylvania. I loved the big barns. I wanted so badly to climb to the top floor. I've always loved the smell of a barn. Especially, if horses resided there. I've often thought about the age of those barns. The barn raising being a social affair for the community.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Our own barn raising and still a year later it is not quite complete. Our barn is 40'x80'. That's big to me. Now we are using the barn, it's small. There have been a host of considerations for a cattle barn vs. one to house horses. I think one of the most interesting things we had to consider was taking into account our hoof trimmer and his chute to trim one of the cows who has never been halter broke. Terry was amazed as I asked if what we were planning would work to get cattle in his chute. He had never been asked a question like that. I want everything set up right so we can care for the cattle in a fashion that is in their best interest of their health and welfare.

I'm excited about the wings which will go on the long side of the barn. It will provide more protection from the north wind in the winter for an animal who may be in the barn because they need attention to a health issue. The wings will allow me to have the show cattle out of the sun during the day so their coats will be healthier. It does mean fans will have to be mounted to during the summer. Consideration must be made for a tractor to be able to get into the pens to scrap the floor to remove manure. We also need the wings because we plan on having a yearly field day at the ranch. A chance to give back to the local agriculture community involved in beef cattle production especially the youth.

I hope you have learned a little more about my story and my love of my cattle, horses, and the rural life. I get to wake every morning to watch the heifers in the front pasture, in the distance the show cattle and horses sharing a pasture eating side by side on a round bale of hay when it's needed. And beyond them the bulls. Eating in the early morning sun. In the afternoon the bulls are lounging in the shade. I love the spring.

The scrapbook layout of the pictures I took of the barn was entered into 52 Sketches...52 Weeks for Week #14 Sketch. I guess making my own nuts(hex nuts) as an embellishment worked because I've found a lot of comments on the LO. To those who visit my blog because of the community at 52 Sketches...52 Weeks, I am very thankful to you for your wonderful support and love. To Julie, thank you for the wonderful work you do to make your site a wonderful community of supportive women.


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