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Ruins, Yet Again

>> Tuesday, February 23, 2010

After driving about for quite some time, wandering different bits of the trail and getting a little bit lost, my husband and I finally found what we had set out to discover.  The Cayuga County Trail was once a railroad track that has now been converted into a trail.  It's hard to say precisely what these buildings would have been used for because there's a shocking amount of garbage that has been shoved in them over the years. Most of the larger rusting bits looked like farm equipment, so my best guess is these were used for storing and loading grain and other farm goods.

Regardless of their history, they are decidedly picturesque in fading February evening light.

It's hard to believe some of these are still standing at all.  I was afraid to sneeze for fear I'd blow them over.  I pity the poor squirrel or bat whose weight finally does in the one above.  It gave me a little more hope that my lovely old house with its slightly leaning basement wall has a long time before I need to panic about it.  And our barn, which is rapidly beginning to look like some of these, could stand for decades yet.  At least our barn still has 4 walls and a roof, although the angles at which said walls and roof meet up are becoming more peculiar with each passing year.

These wonderful old barns were hauntingly still and quiet while we snapped their pictures.  No creatures stirred, and for the first time all day the wind dwindled to nothing.  It was as though time was temporarily frozen.

I love the textures of the old wood as it slowly rots, and the remaining hints of the red paint that used to grace the boards.  I wonder why red is the universal color for barns?  It's sometimes amazing to me that neglect and decay can be beautiful.


Carolyn H February 23, 2010 at 10:48 AM  

I can't tell what all of your buildings are, but the really skinny building is shaped like a corn crib. At least its shape is like the old corn cribs around here in s. PA.

Carolyn H

Oldbird February 23, 2010 at 10:55 AM  

Nice pics, glad you found the spot. Regarding the "red barns" I have heard that for many many years ago farmers painted their barns with a mixture of linseed oil, lime and milk (casin?)to preserve the wood. Later some added blood from animals (who knows why) and then someone found out that adding iron oxide was a good idea. It seems that rust is toxic to some fungi and moss, so they came up with a burnt reddish color barn.

Ellen Rathbone February 23, 2010 at 11:18 AM  

My great-grandmother would've loved these buildings. She took to painting in her latter years and her favorite subject was collapsing barns. I have a couple of her small oil paintings of said barns - always in fall colors.

I especially like your shot(s) of the boarded up windows covered with vines.

Woodswoman Extraordinaire February 25, 2010 at 9:24 PM  

Great info, Carolyn and Oldbird. Thanks! And Ellen, it's very cool that you still have paintings done by your great-grandmother. Definitely something to cherish.

Paul February 27, 2010 at 12:32 PM  

I was told by a guide at Old Sturbridge Village that the red pigment (an iron oxide?) was relatively quite cheap and available as opposed to other pigments and was therefore the choice of our thrifty ancestors at the time then became traditional. may or may not be the case but it is a good story.

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