One Last Barn Painting

Buckeye Farm Beat

I swear this really is the last time I am going to paint this barn.

Published on: August 2, 2010

This is the last time I am ever going to paint this barn. Tim White August 1983

 This is the last time I am ever going to paint this %&*# barn. Tim White August 1989

 Next time we are hiring someone else to come paint this barn!  Tim White August 1995

 We are done. I am not going up on a ladder to paint the south side. Someone else can do that this time. Tim White August 2008.

 That’s it. Never again. Tim White August 2010

 I love our barn. It’s a big old history museum filled with great smells and built with timber the likes of which we will never see again. Every place I look I see craftsmanship. The beams are smooth and square. Whoever used the adz to form them was as skilled a woodworker as there has ever been.

Barn painters are half way done and fully baked.

We use the main livestock room downstairs now to split and store wood for the woodstove. It smells like lumber yard. It has harbored some hard labor. Kathy and I and all of our children have helped to carry the logs to the splitter and stack the cords for winter.

These old boards just soaked up the paint.

The upstairs is part tractor shed, part driving range, part winter storage for the lawn chairs and table, part catch all for furniture that may one day end up in the apartment of our offspring. There are steel gates from the days of lambing. Leftover drainage tile and pipes. Downstairs there is the alley way where we used to catch the lambs for worming. You can still see chalk marks on the stones from the markers we used to indicate which sheep had been wormed.

Kathy and Tizzy provide supervision.

We put a new roof on the barn around 2003. Steel prices where sky high, but the water was coming in and the structure would be lost without a tight cover.

Maintenance is a constant process.

So Saturday my youngest daughter Allie tells me she is going back to college on Tuesday and we better get the back side of the barn painted before she goes. The east side of the barn is never painted because the old oak planks are well weathered and have never been painted. No one sees that side anyway. The north side is above the bank so it’s not hard to get to with a small ladder. The west side faces the house. It has to look good. These last two sides were painted when we held a graduation party for Allie in 2008.

The remnants of 10 gallons of Lowe's finest barn and fence paint.

But the south side is another story. It is tall and it peels and blisters like a bad sunburn. To make things worse a few years ago I drove the new tractor up under the overhang without realizing the roll-over protection was just behind my head. By the time I heard the boards crunching it was too late. Finally we had those boards replaced this summer along with about a dozen others that were showing signs of severe rot and woodpecker damage.

All done for another 10 years when someone else can take a turn.

A few weeks ago I used a power washer to prepare the surface for painting but I still had in mind that someone else would bring their spray painter and do the job. However, Allie’s enthusiasm carried the day and we spent much of Saturday and Sunday spreading Lowe’s finest “White barn and fence paint” across the rough and scaly surface of the barn. I had to borrow our neighbor’s old wooden ladder that weighs 300 pounds and climb to the second highest rung to reach the top. I remember being able to roll the surface in the past, but this time the raw wood and tongue and grooves demanded personalized brushing.

It looks good now that it’s finished. I can still feel the ladder rungs on the bottoms of my feet and my arms are a little heavy from brushing. My wristwatch is speckled with white spots and there a still a couple of blotches on my forearms. But the barn looks good.

Never again.