Around our Ffarm: the Long Barn

Especially at the request of Kristeva from Howling Duck Ranch –

& rather apologetically because I don’t have anything particularly exciting to write about, today – here are some pictures of the Long Barn, where we’d originally intended to set up our Process Rooms.  So, whilst the initial idea was very appealing, the cost of renovation to the required standard is simply beyond us at present.  However all is not lost….one day, we hope to house our own little gelateria & cafe therein.  But that’s many years down the line, yet – we must learn to walk before breaking into a bit of a trot, after all!

The Long Barn.

The Long Barn.

As you can see the barn has two storeys – & on the upper floor, there’s a bit of a conundrum….an old horse-drawn wagon (minus wheels).  I say conundrum, as it’s a bit of a ship in a bottle: the upper floor is reached via an external set of old flagstone steps – through a standard stable-type door, wide enough for a horse but certainly not a cart!  I gather that at one time it’d probably have been hoisted up & from the rafters; but as they’re in a bit of a state these days because the roof really needs replacing, I’m glad it’s been taken down.  Incidentally the small extension to the front of the barn used to house the old bulk milk tank as this used to be a dairy farm – albeit for a modest herd of cows, not a herd of nutty goats!

 This picture shows the Long Barn, viewed from the west in the setting sun one evening.  The building in the foreground is part of our traditional pair of stone pigsties, which are works of down-to-earth art in their own right.  Meanwhile as we’re looking at it, the door to the left of the barn belongs to the lower third where there are two indoor pony stables (which for now will house our two Stud Male goats when they’re not working – which is most of the year, lucky things). 

From the black door to the red door on the right are the old cattle byres, where the farmer whose family originally tended the land here for several generations & whom himself was born here, used to milk his cows until the law became so restrictive & costly that he had to give up.  Indeed, in some of the old stalls there still hang the cows’ old rope halters, a poignant reminder of how things used to be here.  We currently use this part of the barn to store firewood – but have interim aspirations for more goat housing; & longer-term, for that gelateria…

Into the West, from the Long Barn

Into the West, from the Long Barn

 ….because with a view like this, I’m sure people would be tempted to linger awhile; so perhaps it’s just as well we couldn’t convert the Long Barn for working purposes after all – I’d have never get anything done for all that daydreaming out of the window!


About LittleFfarm Dairy

The LittleFfarm Dairy Team: Jo - Goat farmer & Gelatiere Artigianale, plus General Dogsbody; Tony - Airline Pilot & part-time Herd Manager, Product Taster, Accounts Secretary, Handyman etc!
This entry was posted in Dairy, Diary, Farming, History, Life, Locality, October 2008, Smallholding. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Around our Ffarm: the Long Barn

  1. casalba says:

    What a lovely place – and that view! (I’m also wondering not just how the wagon got up there, but why anyone would want it there?)

  2. LittleFfarm Dairy says:

    No idea –

    perhaps it was put there for storage in case later needed, but it never was – so why not store it outside…? Hmmm.

    What’s odd is that the upper floor appears to have been there for a long time; so we can’t quite fathom how or why the wagon was moved up there. In fact, if you look at the windows in the upper storey you can see that at one time the roof would have been even higher; for some reason several courses of slate were removed, right down to the tops of the windows therefore the rafters must also have been lowered.

    You can see there’s a tiny aperture in the middle of the barn’s upper storey; goodness knows what this was for, perhaps some sort of pulley system for hefting grain sacks? There’s also a small, square door in the north-facing wall (not in view but facing the woodland) which is so high up that again, we haven’t quite worked out what it was for – although I do intend to find out.

    So this old barn hides many fascinating secrets…& as time goes on, I look forward to revealing some more of them in the course of my research.

    Incidentally there used to be an old watermill here on the Ffarm too, for grinding the corn for bread & for animal feed. The goats have turned out to be perceptive archaeologists & have excavated some fascinating things from around the site, including an exquisitely fine hand-blown cobalt blue glass vase, dating to around 1750 – which was amazingly, unearthed in immaculate condition – not a chip, scratch or mark on it to indicate why it was discarded in the first place. I’ll post more about this in the next edition of ‘Around our Ffarm’ which I think will make a welcome alternative feature on our non-newsworthy days!

  3. Sylvia says:

    Lets have a photo of that blue glass vase Jo!

  4. Will do ASAP Sylvia –

    however I’ll save it for the ‘Around Our Ffarm’ post about the old mill, as I’ve got to get the photos sorted out, & would like to get a decent pic of it….but am rather busy at the moment!!

    Meanwhile watch this space….

  5. Hey, thanks for the photos and the description! What a wonderful place, mystery and all. It is one of the things I’m envious of your existence (and Stoney’s) that has such a long history to it. Canada being so much younger, and British Columbia even more so (and Bella Coola’s even more than that!), our history is much less well known and certainly much less living in the sense that even the old homesteads, such that they are, are mostly rotting into the earth as they were made of hand hewn logs. Those old stone cottages and such-like are wonderful! I can see why you would like to restore them. I think a gelaterie and cafe would be the perfect place to enjoy those views from!

  6. LittleFfarm Dairy says:

    They may look lovely –

    but beauty (as ever) comes with a price: that of basic maintenance, let alone restoration. It takes a lot of hard work year-on-year just to keep this particular building in reasonable ‘nick’. It desperately needs a new roof – if we don’t do something soon we’ll lose it. Water ingress is the real killer for ancient buildings such as these; & it’s a constant battle to repair overflowing gutterings & leaky sheets of tin.

    During January this year we had some terrible gales & part of the roof worked loose; it could’ve taken the electrical supply to the Middle & Lower Yards with it as typically, it happened right next to the suspended cable. It was horrendous to hear the wrenching of metal in the middle of the night, wondering what I’d wake up to, the next morning.

    Thankfully no severe damage was done & we managed a pretty good repair; however the rafters were rotten in places as the tin roof is long overdue replacement & is more like a lace doily; so it was hard going. It’s helped strengthen the rest of the roof but how long it’ll last is anyone’s guess; & of course we can’t afford to replace it….but it would be a tragedy to lose it. Tony wanted to pull it down earlier this year & repalce it with a modern building; needless to say, I wouldn’t let him.

    I suspect that old barn will still be here, long after we’re gone….

  7. Ah, the gales…Hence the thatch roofs of old eh!

    Tony, sorry, you’re not allowed to tear it down. One day, it will be a wonderful feature of your farm and a primary reason why folks come patronize your gelateria; to sit inside that beautifully restored building, replete with heritage farm implements hanging off the walls (or still stuck upstairs with no way out!), lovely wooden floors that creak when you walk across them to order your second cappuccino with a blob of bourbon vanilla gelato floating in it! Of that I’m sure.

  8. LittleFfarm Dairy says:

    Cor, sounds lovely….

    you’ve got me dreaming, now! In terms of old farm implements we’ve found several fascinating items since living here; & were also left one of the Ffarm’s original milk churns, plus an old horse-drawn plough & a root chopper. We’ve also got a couple of other churns (including an old railway station churn, quite a rarity these days) & an old cheese press – so we’re getting there! I dare say that one day, the old wagon will make a fantastic feature, too.

    Meanwhile I think I’ll employ you to do our PR…..!!

  9. ‘The Nutty Goat’ I think you’ve just named the PB gelato!

  10. dingbat says:

    I am waiting to see the vase picture, it sounds fascinating. We found an old clay bottle when we dug our pond out, and I thought that was exciting!

  11. Sylvia says:

    When you put up the picture of the vase, please give dimensions. Top and bottom diameters and height would be great. Also a picture of the bottom if you are feeling really adventurous!
    regards – Sylvia

  12. dingbat says:

    I think the cafe idea sounds great, do you have any more details? It could provide employment for local people, so you are bound to get a grant to do up the building.

    p.s. Is Tony flying yet?

  13. LittleFfarm Dairy says:

    Hi Dingbat –

    no details of the gelateria & cafe yet I’m afraid, when I mentioned it’s a long-term aspiration it is exactly that – veeeerrrry long-term (around 3-5 years away I reckon).

    However my aspiration is to provide employment for local people; & in addition to already having a part-time member of staff hope that soon I’ll be able to employ someone on a more permanent basis.

    I’d love to get a grant to undertake such a project; however so far we’ve had no luck where additional funding is concerned: although we’ve applied for grants it’s been a case of “wrong place, wrong time” – plus these things often come with so many strings attached it’s not worth the extra hassle. Ironically it also often seems to be the case that those of us who are really struggling find it nigh-on impossible to secure grant aid; whilst others who clearly have capital behind them, do come up trumps. Ah well (sigh) that’s the way the cookie crumbles I suppose…!

    It’s so exciting to find things like that old clay bottle. I have a degree in Ancient History & Classical Archaeology & I find any clues to the past – grand or modest – absolutely fascinating.

    I remember being stunned as a small child by an exquisite piece in the Tutankhamun exibition when it came to London – a small alabaster jar, utterly beautiful. And it was scouring the fields at home that I’d find little pieces of clay (smoking) pipe & even one day, the porcelain arm of a child’s doll, sticking out of the ground in supplication as if the whole toy was begging to be released from its subterranean prison.

    But what really inspired me was fieldwalking the site of a Roman tile kiln when I was about ten years old, & finding the base of an old mortar upon which was the thumbprint of its’ maker, embedded unwittingly for eternity in the wet clay. It gave me such a thrill, to think that the last person to touch that mortar – possibly casting it away once it was broken – had died almost two thousand years earlier; of the life that person had led; their family; their trials, tribulations & happy times; the aromatic herbs & spices that had been ground therein & the meals they’d complemented…..all those sights, sounds, scents & memories, gone forever but for a few echoes of the lost past…..utterly fascinating.

    So finding objects great & small – the worn, curled leather sole of a child’s boot, for example; the many otherwise chipped & worn glass jars & bottles that the old mill has revealed; a rusted old pail; an old cog from the millwheel; part of an old pram; scraps of toys beloved still, in the memory of the boy-pensioner who once played with them, or indeed, that beautiful blue vase – all these things give me an equal thrill as I put myself in the context of those who knew, worked & played with these things. But the vase did give me a certain sense of awe….I promise I WILL try & post a photo, as soon as I have time to do so.

    Sylvia – would love to comply with your detailed request as I appreciate your passion for pottery & glass; but apologies, there just aren’t enough hours in a day at the moment….! Incidentally I had the vase examined by an expert shortly after it was unearthed, he dated it for me & gave me some interesting insights – more of that for the Old Mill post, though.

    As for Tony & his flying…..? Thankfully, he starts his new job on Friday – wish him luck!

  14. Sylvia says:

    Hi Jo
    I appreciate your busy hours.
    I was interested in the glass thingy because I wondered if it was something similar to what was found on the land down there some years ago.
    Perhaps you have found the other half of a pair!!


  15. LittleFfarm Dairy says:

    Ah, that’s interesting! Who found it, what was it, where was it, & when?!

    Being a qualified archaeologist you can appreciate how fascinated I am, by the rich & complex tapestry of the Ffarm’s history. The couple from whom we bought the Ffarm never mentioned finding anything unusual; & when I showed the vase to the very farmer who sold the property to them (& was indeed himself born here, almost 70 years ago) he’d never seen it nor anything similar, before.

  16. noactive says:

    Around our Ffarm: the Long Barn .Thanks for nice post.I added to my twitter.

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