Friday, April 18, 2014

            A great 'farm-to-park' story

The Set-up
Being involved in the subject of our old barns for so long now it's heartening to see the too-rare stories from across the country about some of them being saved and protected for future generations. A good source to keep up on all of that is through the National Barn Alliance website.

The picture above shows me and camera in front of a barn that boasts horizontal cedar siding, (not sure why but I'll find out), which was re-built in 1936 following a fire. 

While there is an increasing energy, awareness and motivation by American people and communities to try and save ag structures and places that reach back to our early farming days, it's just such a shame that so many are being lost along the way, with their old barn stories and the stories of the family lives revolving around them disappearing as well.

As a population we're not farmers anymore, we're consumers. And the farmers feeding us, thank you very much, are about 2% of our population base.

I saw a bumper sticker once that said, "Don't talk about farmers with your mouth full".

 The Story
Fortunately, there are some success stories to tell and they should be considered as gold nuggets along the way. 

Just such a story comes from Walworth County in southeastern Wisconsin not far from Milwaukee and Chicago where said County recently bought a farm of 179 acres or so to preserve as parkland. The aging owner wanted to make sure it was preserved so people could enjoy it forever.

That is very cool. And that is the barn I'm standing in front of above.

And do you want to know what the really amazing kicker is?

A river runs through it.

Oh yeah, gold.

Check out the bee hive at the top of the frame.

And the best part, for me anyway, is the fact that I get the pleasure of producing an outreach/profile video about it all for Walworth County, Wisconsin -- exxxcellent.

Here's a roadside pic of the barn as members of the Walworth County DPW went about working on the new parking lot this week -- lots of activity there right now.

And another shot, looking south, from a high spot in a field across the road which is also part of the farm. Gotta get them shots now -- planting starts soon. The river is down in the low spot on the other side of the barn, with amazing acres of woods on the other side
of it to the south.

The river behind the barn.

As Spring struggles to start, the production of the video begins and I'll keep you posted on that -- it's a heck of a story and the almost 200 acre parcel is stunning on so many levels. It's going to be a lot of fun to get this piece produced for them. I've rigged my old three-wheeler ATV (1985 Yamaha 200 shaft-drive with reverse) to carry tripod and camera so I can efficiently get around the property and five mile trail system that the owner of the past 50 years has developed.

He's quite a story, too, being a good Irishman who spent his life breeding high end race horses with countless trophies to show for it -- stay tuned for that.  

Back before Christmas I spent a lot of time creating an e-store on Spreadshirt, one of the print on demand T-shirt and clothing product sites. It's based on the American Barn Stories theme. I haven't done a great job of promoting it and haven't sold a danged thing as a result. If anyone wants to visit it, find it at Spreadshirt Shop  As of today I've had a whopping 301 visitors and no sales. Glad it doesn't cost anything to keep it out there.

I researched the whole idea before I jumped in and really didn't expect too much to come from it but wanted to take a shot and that's where it's at right now. It takes so much time to stay involved with it and stay current. Other names in that POD biz are Cafepress and Zazzle

The DVDs on the old barns shows on Amazon have been pretty idle, too. Here's a link to them through the website that connects to Amazon  Old barn DVDs on Amazon  Notice the discount when you buy all three! 

More otherwise

 I just love this pic of Art the Farmer haying with farmer neighbor Billy helping out. I'm looking forward to the days up on Art's farm this season and hope they won't be the last. This brutal Winter took its toll on him and while his tone coming out of the cold months is always down, this year it is especially dour -- will keep you all posted on him.
Alright then, that's about it for the news from this end -- all good -- more later, stay tuned and like always, thanks for clicking in!