Barn - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
It's the smell that hits you first. As you lug open the unwieldy, russet-painted door adorned with its tired hinges that creak like the moaning of cantankerous old men, a puff of the sweet, musty odor of last summer's straw presses from your first, slow breath into your nose. Then you detect the undertones: the stuffy musk of animal fur and the stank of old, dried-out dung and droppings, and maybe the sharp smell of old, oily metal and machinery. Soon after the smell, your eyes compensate for the dim pallor of light, and you begin to make out the shapes of dusty frames of wooden stalls and poles, and the heavy bosom of the loft that hangs from the ceiling just as its brown-bat companions cling to the rafters.
It was cold. Even colder when you stepped inside out of the sun, but warm nickers and soft whinnies invited you in. Their breath frosted over as the greeted you, their heads hanging over the wooden doors and ears perked forward. The dark bay gelding at the end pawed at the door impatiently, the first cracks of sunlight glimmering through the cracks in the old barn, shining on the white stripe down his nose and casting a halo around his wooly coat. The horses all eagerly watched as you lugged the beaten up bucket and grain scoop down the aisle, their anticipation growing as you come closer. Its easy to smell the warm summer months in the flakes of green hay as you feed, reminding you that this is all worth it and the days of frozen water buckets will soon be over.
The barn had been erected in the summer time. Everyone with two decent arms and legs was there to help. Last season half the grain had been lost to water leaks and no-one could bear to be eating half rations of bread for another winter and spring. It was twice as large as the old barn and built with better materials bought from the city. The foundations were concrete and frame thick cedar posts. They even shelled out for a nail gun to make things faster. The outside was painted like the ones in storybooks, red and white and the roof was high quality asphalt shingle. When it was all done we slaughtered a pig and roasted it over a fire, old man Henderson brought his guitar and the singing went on into the night.
The barn had seen better days. Twenty years of rain, sleet and baking summer sun had taken it's toll. The structure that once kept the weather off the summer hay and the sheltering animals was now more draughty than a railway platform. The roof that had been cedar shingle the same as the old farm house was worse than a gap-toothed sailor. Tiles were missing, rotten or sticking up at awkward angles. In places a stubborn patch of sun-bleached red paint clung to the wooden sides, but otherwise it was as brown as the rutted mud around it. Inside there was a ladder to the hay loft, but only a fool would climb it. Either the rungs would break or the loft would fail to bear your weight. A barn usually has that ammonia smell and the air swirls with dust, but all that was long gone; washed out and diluted.
Hailey had the brilliant idea to go and visit the barn which was just behind the row of sycamore trees. Wyatt was not entirely enthusiastic at first, but since he couldn't find any better place to go, agreed to proceed with Hailey's plan.
They were welcomed by an impressive number of bales of hay, some neatly stacked against the wooden front facade of the barn, some stacked seemlingly randomly in the adjoining yard. Hailey was trying to distinguish patterns in the way the stacks had been placed, but she couldn't find any. Wyatt didn't seem to be much concerned by the chaotic way in which the bales had been stacked all around the place and went straight into the barn. He started to take in the surroundings at once. Hay had also been stored inside the barn, but it was also covering the ground. The unused stalls were filled with many implements, buckets, pitchforks, shovels, curry combs.
Hailey stormed in and headed toward the ladder accessing the mezzanine floor of the barn. Wyatt was fast on the take, reacted immediately and stopped her in her tracks. He explained her that she couldn't do such a thing, a good explorer was also a wary one and not only they had to check if the ladder was safe to climb but they also had to check every corner of the ground floor area for any possible hidden traps. Hailey although impulsive was also smart enough to follow Wyatt's advice when she felt it could help her become a headier adventurer.
They kept checking the inside of the barn methodically, meticulously. They discovered feathers spread among the hay on the ground, a box of rusty nails, an old horse blanket with an earthy smell, tacks abandoned near the south-east corner. This is when they started to hear some rubbing and scratching against a post. They didn't even start when they heard the noise, they were too eager to have some action. They both turned around at the same time to see where this scraping noise was coming from and what was making it...
The barn stands as a monument to the building techniques of yesteryear. The foundations and walls are better than our new home, even with the weathering of countless winters. Sure, we need to take out a few planks, replace them with new, but a good lick of new paint and it will see another decade yet.
The barn moans under the howl of the October wind, tired of defying gravity for decades. The walls have given way to the rain and started the insidious process of rot. The once fine windows are mostly broken and covered with a plastic that has become brittle in the sunshine. There is no trace of varnish or stain, paint or a preserving hand. It is its own tombstone until it falls and returns to the earth, giving back the nutrients bestowed to those long ago felled trees.
Walls of rotting wooden planks, shafts of light stream through the jagged edged gaps, dust swirls and dances in the white beam of sunshine, mice scurry underfoot amidst the loose straw that covers the concrete floor. Wooden runged narrow ladder leads to the hayloft, bales of straw and hay piled onto one another, straw bales held tight by orange twine, hide 'n' seek amongst the bales, clothes covered in dusty hay and straw.