the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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young farmers save barns!

These old barns are good for more than reclaimed wood and weddings
By Lori Rotenberk, 3 Sep 2014 for Grist


Jeff Marshall rolls along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, counting barns on the horizon — 50 so far today, many of them disintegrating. Marshall heads the National Barn Alliance, a nonprofit that works with advocacy groups across the country. He’s speaking on the phone about how many barns have been lost in recent years, as farmers can no longer afford to maintain them, and federal and local funds for restoration dwindle.

According to the American Farmland Trust, we’ve lost 72 million acres of farmland since 1982, with the trend expected to hasten as farmers retire and die. How many barns there once were and how many remain isn’t really known.

But Marshall says a salvation of sorts is taking place. Continue reading

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barns: the heart of the farm

If you’re in the Tennessee area, a  barn open house and Q & A session will be held on March 2, 2013 at the Broadened Horizons Teaching Farm in Rockwood, TN. To contact farmer leaf with farm related questions or comments, e-mail The piece below was written by Farmer Leaf to accompany this session.  BARN #1

Above: A good example of truss construction. Interior painting brightens up the interior of the barn.

Nothing telegraphʼs a farmʼs status clearer than the condition of its barn. A good paint job on the exterior walls, combined with an intact, leak-proof roof, is usually a sign of overall farm prosperity. A well maintained barn also indicates how a farmer responds to meet the shelter needs of the farm livestock and the farm equipment. A well organized and efficiently run barn provides multiples services and benefits and helps a farmer maximize the potential for making a profit.

As in my pond construction work, I also hold some very strong ideas about what constitutes a good barn. The very first consideration is location. A poorly placed barn is an overall liability, not a seamless asset. I have advised clients to remove existing poor quality barn structures and use the salvaged lumber to rebuild away from wet springs and drainages, or to place the structure more conveniently (efficiently) in the center of the daily ongoing farm activity. It should be accessible in all types of weather, not cut off by flooded waterways, snow drifts or long distance. Continue reading