A Barn Full of Memories

So the barn needs a roof. Well, the barn needs a lot of things. Costly things. But it REALLY needs a roof. Like last year already. Problem is, we have to decide whether we need the barn anymore. While it is a really neat part of the history of the farm, of late it has become just a place to store the things we never use anymore. It’s a favorite backdrop for photographs because it is weathered and soaked in character. But do we need it?

 

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The Moelker barn in 1922.

Lots of history in there. Memories of younger days with siblings and friends, making secret hideouts and running around on the beams playing tag like cats. And speaking of cats, we always tried to be the first to find the new batch of kittens hidden in the hayloft. “How many this time? What color are they?” Such fun! When we were young, there was a long rope that hung from the peak inside. The most excellent swing ever! We could launch off the beam on one side and swing all the way across to push off the wall on the other side. Or just let go at some strategic point and land in the hay. There were afternoons filled with games of cowboys and Indians, or just cowboys and cowboys. Hide and go seek. Count to 100, and then “Ready or not, here I come!” When I look today at our escapades as kids, I’m amazed we all lived through it!

And then there was that fragrant smell of freshly baled hay. I can almost smell it now, the way it saturated the air in the barn on a cool summer evening. No finer perfume than that! A lot of work went into the making of that fresh sweet Eau de Alfalfa. And it always seemed like haying days were the hottest, most humid, and just downright sticky! I guess the barn wasn’t always just fun and games.

But the barn needs a roof. And if we are going to keep it, some major structural repairs will have to happen too. Such a dilemma. A battle between the budget and the heart it seems. And not an easy call by any estimation. Over a hundred years of history in there. Echoes of giggling kids and mooing cows have given way to a silence only interrupted by the noise of tractors and traffic. The surroundings have changed over time. But the barn remains a link to our generations past. And therein lies the difficulty of the decision.

Have a fruitful week!

Tom Moelker

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The Moelker barn last summer dressed up in vines!

 

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25 thoughts on “A Barn Full of Memories

  1. Lots of memories of that Barn from growing up on Kenowa. I walked by that Barn everyday as a kid going to school to Riverbend and as a kid I was certain there were ghosts and other scary things in there. I am guessing it was those crazy barn cats playing tricks on me. I don’t envy your decision but my vote would be to keep it!

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  2. Well Tom, It looks like everyone would like to keep seeing the old barn around! I too think if you at all could keep it, please do. The old neighborhood has changed so much but when we come back at lease your place looks pretty much the way it use too! I know when the Blair house was taken down and replaced, it just really wasn’t the same. Best wishes to you and your family.
    Carol Blair

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  3. It would be sad to see it go. Put a jar out for collections toward restoring it. You never know until you try! It would be a great store, or used for part of your fall activities. That is ultimately your decision, so we’ll respect whichever way you go.

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  4. This reminds me of the show on TV called Barn Builders. These guys from West Virginia or thereabouts tear old barns down and through reuse, supply the beams for new log cabin buildings. Maybe a house or a guest house, even a place for the Boy Scouts. I love that show and appreciate what they do and the fact that they keep history alive with reuse. It shows respect for the hard work that went into those old buildings.
    If you ever decide not to get that new roof on or not use it for something there on your farm, please look these guys up.

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  5. Keep the barn & history, for kid’s know so little of the past. Fix it up , as money allows, & maybe you could make a shop out of it & sell things out of there.

    Beth

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  6. Please keep the barn! It’s so much a part of the orchard and our family’s history! Moelker Orchards wouldn’t be the same without it! I like the suggestions of finding a society that funds projects like these! –Sheri Moelker-Westfall (Gerrit Moelker’ grand daughter)

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  7. My kids and I always stop by the barn on our many visits to Moelkers! We love to visit the kittens and I always admire the beauty of the structure in all it’s aged glory! I even have photos of my kids in front of the barn (after receiving your gracious permission). I know it’s easy for me to say since I’m not footing the bill, but please look into the great suggestions by previous commenters! Moelker’s just wouldn’t be the same without the old barn!

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  8. I do agree, the barn should stay. I know this is easier said than done. I like the idea of some sort of volunteer barn renewal project. There again probably easier said then done in today’s world because of liability. Might want to look into setting up a GoFundMe page. If the barn came down, would you replace it with some other structure, or just leave it for more parking space?

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  9. There is money available to keep these old barns in shape from the Michigan historical or some organization like that. If you need more information i can get it for you. Byron Center once did a survey of all the barns left in their township and they had a gentleman who was part of the organization.
    Plus since my Great Great Grandfather purchased this property in 1854 and it was in the family until a least 1899 I have great interest in the barn.

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  10. There are so few families left that have a place that holds over a century of family ties. Your grandchildren can experience it someday soon. Keep it around if possible. Once gone, it’s not coming back.

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  11. Don’t take it down. Maybe have a barn raising type of community repair day. Invite local kids in to see the kitties. Could be a fun place to visit!

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