Then and still.
Welcome to extreme spring cleaning…...getting the barn ready for event season after the long cold winter.
Then: Several years ago when we first began work on the 1890 barn the east end was giant piles of loose straw- I mean huge, barn size piles. Raccoons had called it home for decades with many paths throughout the loose messiness. After those piles were removed we took on the task of cleaning all of the horizontal beams and cross members throughout the barn- over 124 years worth of dust and little pieces of straw. How exactly did we do that- we rented a 32 foot bucket lift and I spent the better part of a week in the bucket with a regular size broom and an old school whisk broom. It was very time consuming, dirty, work which simply needed to be done. I will share countless stories of so many projects our friends assisted with- years of projects- yet this one was kind of a solo project for Steve and I- me in the bucket and he navigating it around the barn for me. I actually kept that very whisk broom and it remains in the barn, out of service as it is worn down to the level of non-usefulness. When it is laying next to a newer one it is a visual of the determination and effort put forth in the beginning of the massive barn overhaul.
Now: The massive amount of straw no longer remains yet it is a barn still, which means there is a constant collection of dust and cobwebs that need to be eradicated in a big way each spring and then maintained weekly throughout the summer and fall. So extreme spring cleaning each year is going along the entire perimeter of the 60 x 42 foot space on an extension ladder leaning on the 20 foot high horizontal beams and cleaning them all with, you guessed it- a whisk broom. Start at the top and work your way down they say, so this is the height I begin at each May. Fortunately that height doesn’t bother me to much and I am thankful I am still agile enough to complete a chore I don’t think anyone who isn’t invested in this place somehow would tolerate. No one could afford me to do this for them. Lol It is still an extremely dirty, dusty job especially when I knocked down a few mud dauber houses built over the winter – parts of them went down my pants and into my ears. I dress in a very tight long sleeve shirt, sweatpants which go well with agile, gloves, and of course my N95 mask. The weather here has been perfect for this task- in the 50s and raining. It would be brutal in the heat and if it’s raining I know I’m not missing out on completing an outside chore. I am older and move a bit slower than the first time this was done, yet it is very satisfying to have it complete for the year. Not really a cardio workout, but moving the ladder definitely utilizes a few muscles I don’t use on an average day being a social worker.
I am in hopes that the new whisk broom will never need to get to the shape of the first one- the hardest work has been done. Then was the beginning of this barn adventure. Now is the maintaining of the space which we pray is meaningful to each person who chooses to be here for their special event whether big or small. I continue to be thankful Steve and I can work together on a daily basis to complete most of the behind the scenes tasks which are required of us for this maintaining- it is rewarding when we see others enjoy it.