Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 02/01/2014

Photo taken on January 31, 2014

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4 Seasons - Winter 4 Seasons - Winter


E of Highway 22
poor light
N of Calgary
old barn
'dairy cow barn

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One of yesterday's treasures

One of yesterday's treasures
Yesterday, 31 January 2014, I was out all day on a fun and enjoyable birding trip north of the city, with superb birder, Phil. The weather forecast turned out to be far from accurate and we found ourselves driving the backroads with snow swirling over the roads and in some places, you couldn't see where the sky ended and the earth began. Everywhere and everything was white. Winter outside the city is so very different from facing icy roads and heavy traffic in the city, with roads edged in piles of dirty brown snow that has been cleared from the roads and just won't melt. Out in the countryside, winter has a pure, clean beauty, and we both loved the simplicity of this white landscape. Neither of us knew this area, east of Highway 22, though I may have been driven in some parts on a birding trip or two a few years ago. It's an area that is way beyond my driving comfort zone, so this was real treat for me. The cold, windy weather must have kept the birds taking shelter, though Phil did find a Great Horned Owl and, on the way back to the city, a Merlin. Lots of Ravens about and a few Sparrows and Pigeons, but no Snow Buntings or Horned Larks. I was just happy seeing the wintry countryside and a number of beautiful old barns. The shapes of these seem so different from barns that I see south of the city. Several white barns, too, not the usual red. The barn in my photo was a very long barn - you can only see one end of it here. It was such a beauty. Thanks so much for a great day, Phil - much appreciated!

An interesting link, with the information below, that answers the question: "WHY ARE BARNS USUALLY PAINTED RED?"

"If you've ever driven through a rural area, it's likely that you've seen the red barns that speckle the farming landscape. There are several theories as to why barns are painted red.

Centuries ago, European farmers would seal the wood on their barns with an oil, often linseed oil -- a tawny-colored oil derived from the seed of the flax plant. They would paint their barns with a linseed-oil mixture, often consisting of additions such as milk and lime. The combination produced a long-lasting paint that dried and hardened quickly. (Today, linseed oil is sold in most home-improvement stores as a wood sealant). Now, where does the red come from?

In historically accurate terms, "barn red" is not the bright, fire-engine red that we often see today, but more of a burnt-orange red. As to how the oil mixture became traditionally red, there are two predominant theories. One is that wealthy farmers added blood from a recent slaughter to the oil mixture. As the paint dried, it turned from a bright red to a darker, burnt red. The other is that farmers added ferrous oxide, otherwise known as rust, to the oil mixture. Rust was plentiful on farms and is a poison to many fungi, including mold and moss, which were known to grown on barns. These fungi would trap moisture in the wood, increasing decay.

Regardless of how the farmer tinted his paint, having a red barn became a fashionable thing. They were a sharp contrast to the traditional white farmhouse. As European settlers crossed over to America, they brought with them the tradition of red barns. In the mid to late 1800s, as paints began to be produced with chemical pigments, red paint was the most inexpensive to buy. Red was the color of favor until whitewash became cheaper, at which point white barns began to spring up.

Today, the color of barns can vary, often depending on how the barns are used."

"Dairymen, generally, realize the full importance of pure air to the herd, because they know the condition in which an unventilated stable is found on a cold morning. They know the air in such a barn is bad, and that the damp, frosty barn is an unhealthy place for the cattle. Early wooden cupolas were little more then decorations. By the early 1900's, the Jamesway cupola was an important element in cow health." I think the cupolas in my photo are either Jamesway cupolas, or very similar.

LeapFrog has particularly liked this photo

Cats 99
Cats 99
I cannot see enough of this beautiful barn!
5 years ago.
Very stark shot Anne ... almost a B&W view ... interesting info ... well taken and well presented too!!
5 years ago.

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