Sunday, October 26, 2008

Autumn Barnyard, Skarf Mountain Farm

PHOTOGRAPHER'S DIARY: I'd like to think the barns did it by themselves, perhaps one night when nobody was watching. The next morning it was there like Cinderella's coach, the great doors of the barn swung wide and the hay wagon loaded with crisp, square bales - as if the farm were running once again. Of course, I know it isn't so, but I do believe the barns are watching. taking it all in, even as the glass shatters and the wood grows brittle and frail.

The main barn, shown here, is really three barns, or rather two or three additions to what looks like it might initially have been a hay barn. The original barn is to the left, up and mostly out of the picture. The next section stops just past the right hand great door. You can see how the roof is worn differently at the seam. The section to the right of the great doors appears to have been a tobacco barn at one time; hinged slats open to ventilate the drying tobacco leaves that would have hung inside. This end section has a lower story with access from the end.

At some point the farmer seems to have switched to livestock farming and had to struggle a bit to make the barn fit the new usage. The area to the right of the great doors and on the level below were then fitted with neck stalls made of wood. This also would have prevented operation of the ventilators. It was probably later when the area with the row of windows was added along side of the two first sections of barn in order to make a space wide enough for more livestock. This time metal neck stalls were used. The stalls all seem very small to have housed cows. Whatever they were, there might have been as many as 40.

The farmstead had its own blacksmith shop. Close examination of the chain and ring on the post show it is hand forged.


N.C. Walker said...

In the 1950's as children we used to spend a week or so at Skiff Mountain Farm. My mother and the owner's daughter were friends and we would meet and visit them at the farm. What I remember is that there were dairy cows, one or two bulls, and few quarter horses.

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