Thursday, August 30, 2012

Welcome the Rooster and the Blue Barn

In recent weeks, there has been a rooster heralding the morning at about 5:15 a.m.  He lives within a mile radius from us yet his ruckus travels right up.  I don't mind this during the week - I am usually up anyway - but on the weekends I wish that he would sleep just a little later.

Even though I live in the country, our area is developed enough so that I have not heard a rooster crowing since grammar school.  Let's just say that there was a school project of hatching chicks and at the end of the school year, my brother and I begged to bring home Herman, Hectorine, and Clydine - obviously we initially thought they were all boys.  Herman was the grand crower.  Hectorine and Clydine gave us the most glorious fresh eggs - many with double yokes.  We absolutely adored our chicken pets and they had long and happy lives.

The new rooster lives at a farm that had been owned by the same family for generations.  When the last family member moved out to live in an assisted living facility, the farm was vacant until it was purchased by a group of enthusiastic individuals who have established a farm co-op.  The farm is once again looking spiff and is productive.  They have put up a greenhouse for foul weather growing and have painted the old barn blue.

Traditionally barns here are painted red or white.  Blue initially caused much consternation and conversation at the local coffee shop.  Now, despite this color, folks are glad that the farm is once again thriving.

The Blue Barn.
Mr. Rooster lives here.

There is an old story around town about "the McNiff boy" (not his real name) who in the 1950s shockingly went off to L.A. to manage a jazz club rather than continue the family tradition of farming.  The details of this agricultural betrayal are still regaled by locals in a tone of horror.   Even though this was 60 years ago and the McNiff boy is now in probability an elderly gentleman, the point of retelling the story is that the family farm eventually fell to rack and ruin.

There are farms here now that are going to bits because they are "in estate."  This term essentially is the seal of doom.  What it typically means is that those that once farmed have passed on and that the heirs cannot determine what to do or are fighting.  In the meantime, the farm and house become decrepit.

There are several once productive farms in town that are now in a sorry state.

This house looks so sad with the blank, curtainless eyes.
A family once grew and thrived here.

Although Walker Evans-ish, how awful.
Note the two pristine barns in the back.
I think the land is rented out.

A buckling barn.
One more winter and it could be down.

Where did the house go?
Consumed by poison sumac.

That sign by the door says, "No Trespassing".
If one looks in the windows, there are
old cobwebby teacups on a table.

Given all of this, do I really mind the rooster at 5:15 a.m.?  No, not at all.


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