This large red barn with silo on highway 73 and C has a beautiful architectural design with its angles and color, shown from front view.
Author's note: Last week I wrote about old farmhouses as art on landscape. This story is about the barns. Many barns belong with the farmhouses and were constructed as the main building on the farm. None of the barns I've seen are the same, but all have beautiful architecture.
No matter which direction I drive from Neillsville there are awesome, beautifully constructed barns. These structures with their farmhouses are what make up the main buildings on a farm.
If I'm traveling Highway 10, Highway H, C or K in Clark and Wood counties, I never tire of seeing the farms. It's the red barns that often capture my attention, if only for a few moments.
When I think of barns, I remember the huge barn on my grandparents' property. The barn with a round roof was painted bright red, like so many other barns on the landscape. I've never known why barns are mostly painted this color. Yet not all of them are. Some of the barns I've seen are painted green or white.
The lower section of my grandparents' barn housed the cows and livestock. The upper part had enough hay to bury me. It made a great hiding place. When people use the phrase, "a needle in a haystack," they may be comparing something to finding a needle in a hay mound inside a huge barn. It's just not possible.
All that straw was a playground for kids from Illinois. I didn't even care if I smelled like the barn. It was a pungent smell of the farm, and it was a great place to visit the farm dog, Tippy. He was a black and white dog that seemed happy to see us no matter when we came.
Every time I see barns it is a nostalgic reminder that farming is a way of life for many families in Wisconsin. I believe most people living in central Wisconsin know someone who has lived on a farm or owned a farm. They know working on a farm is a daily job, every day of the year. If there are cows that need milking, it has to be done twice a day.
And that's not all of it. There's spring planting to be done. If a farmer can get acres of fields planted with soybeans, alfalfa or corn, there might be a good fall harvest if a drought or rain doesn't destroy the crops.
It's almost a gamble and difficult to predict the growing season.
Don't think all my grandparents did was to grow some crops and milk cows every day. Grandpa worked various jobs in winter, and my grandmother was a nurses' aide. They had a small farm with 80 acres until they sold it in the 1970s.
When I see big barns erected proudly on a farm, I smile with pride. There's something great about being on a farm. And although not all barns are painted red, they are the ones I remember, even in old black and white postcards from the past.