A Barn Full of Memories

One of my oldest adult relationships is with a barn. A red and white hip-roof building designed to hold cattle is a pretty good friend. I want to tell you about it this week.

I moved to our farm in 1996. It was Lloyd Noreen’s second farm and he needed a hired man to work and occupy this place. Lloyd passed some time ago but was a great man and friend.

One of the first things we started working on was repairing this barn. Lloyd had already lowered the barn but there was plenty of work yet to perform.

Charles and Johanna Lindquist purchased the land we live on in 1905. Sometime later, Charles worked at lumber camp near Grygla to earn the lumber to build the house in which we live and the subject of this column-the barn. I pulled this information from the Pennington County History book which was published by the Pennington County Historical Society in 1976.

Lloyd and I installed doors on the east end of the barn and cut small doors on the south side adjacent to the lonely concrete slab that must have been the base for a lean-to that is no longer here.

I spent the next two years hauling sugar beets to pay for a metal roof for the barn. If you don’t have a roof, you don’t have a barn. As soon as the roof leaks, the trusses will rot and soon everything will fall down. I even found a cupola to place on top of that nice, new roof.

Manure board is second only to a roof in the survival of a barn. Manure board is placed about four feet high around the inside perimeter of a barn to protect the sidewalls from corrosion caused by manure. A sawmill cut up old utility poles which I used for these walls. I later covered the board with old roof steel from a hay shed which had received hail damage.

Last winter, I replaced the front doors Lloyd and I built then covered the wood facade with steel as high as I dared. On colder days, I laminated the exposed trusses with treated wood and trimmed out the south, cattle entry doors. It was nice, quiet work.

Here’s the real point of this column. This barn and I are joined together in many ways. There’s the history of pioneers Charles and Johanna Linduist. Their son, Clifford, who took over the farm and later helped Lloyd Noreen gets his start in farming. Lloyd then helped me start farming and sold me this place. Lisa and I married and this became her home too. Something most people don’t know is that my dad worked for Charles Lindquist and would stable his horses is the same barn that I can see from our front window.

I think some people would say that I have spent more on repairing this barn than what it is worth. It seems to me that this barn has never really been finished. I mean, Charles built it, his son Clifford improved it, and Lloyd was working on it when I arrived. My dad probably cared for his horses in about the same spot as I care for the cattle. Everyone has left a mark on this barn through hard work and investment of time and money. It is a very real responsibility to maintain this monument to work and sacrifice of which I am this generation’s caretaker. It is a worthwhile task.

I have a load of gravel coming this morning. I think the area in front of the barn needs a little better slope to it to make it easier to drop-off cattle. Plus it will make the barn look nicer and last longer. Most importantly, it will help keep the barn nice for the next generation and for Charles, Clifford, Lloyd and my dad.

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