Many of the original buildings on the farmstead have been torn down and replaced. But, there are two metal sheds that are more than sixty years old and sit side by side on the north side of the farmyard.
In these photos taken in the early 1970s, the machine shed is shown in the left picture and the cattle shed is shown on the right. The corrugated metal siding and roof have been repainted from time to time on both buildings. Most recently that paint job was done by two guys who had southern accents, but local license plates on their pickups. In order to get their sales pitch started with a farmer, they burrowed pickups from helpful local friends. That way the conversations were easier to get started when they showed up unannounced on some farmyard. Turns out that they come up from Mississippi every summer to roam the countryside looking for metal outbuildings to paint. I guess they thought that the cooler temperatures up here made the work easier. They worked fast using a spray painting outfit and in general the job was okay. However, they never came back to check on how the paint held up.
These two shots are of the north wall of the west machine shed. You can just make out the industrial logo on the galvanized siding; it was sold at a discount because it had been stored outside for an extended period of time. That was a good deal for a frugal farmer. The wooden beams that were salvaged from the old horse barn were another cost-cutting aspect. The shed originally was used to keep tractors out of the weather. But now it provides a place to store “treasures” that are waiting to be sorted, recycled, or thrown away. Back in the day, the big doors allowed for getting a load of bales under cover fast if there was rain approaching.
The beams on the left are in the machine shed. Not all of the salvaged wood is in equally good shape and you can see that we have hornets in residence. The shot on the right is the inside of the east shed, which has been used for livestock, including both cattle and sheep. You can see the dirt floor and cement foundation and those big red boards are siding from the old horse barn that originally stood on this spot. So not just the structural timber, but also the siding got repurposed in this building. The missing board was a sample for someone who planned to use it for rustic paneling in a house, but that didn’t work out. Maybe it was because in addition to the original paint there were smears of cattle manure?
Both sheds were built in the late 1950s after the old horse barn had been disassembled for the construction components. The cement slab on the south side of the east cattle shed records the exact date (1957) and the names of four people: the hired man on the farm at that time, one of the contractor’s helpers, my younger brother Bob with his handprint, and me (but you can’t see my name because it’s mostly covered). I’m the only one who is still alive now. Ironically, the four of us were not the main builders. The boss contractor, my dad and my grandpa did the planning and supervised the work, but their names are not preserved for posterity on the concrete slab.
Here’s the way these two sheds look now. The wooden doors just got a coat of fresh paint this past summer, so they’re more bright white than the new snow. Both sheds preserve the bones of the old horse barn, but are also part of the changes that are planned for the farmyard over the next several years.