Friday, December 18, 2009

On the Barn Roof

I could say that the wind put me up on the barn roof, but that would be misleading. I went up to fix some shingles damaged by the last wind storm. From the barn roof, I get a good view of some abandoned farm machinery. Just behind the tree is the frame of an old mobile home. It’s hard to see because of the tall wild rye. Behind that are two old hay balers. During the winter, birds like to use the balers as roosts. The brush pile in the upper left is concealing part of an old grain drill. The drill frame maintains a large open area that is a favorite of rabbits.

A large Hackberry tree grows at the corner of the barn. The tree hosts Hackberry and Eastern Snout butterfly larvae. Both of these butterfly species are commonly found in the area around the barn.

Here’s a good example of how far big trees can sway in the wind. The tree has definitely left its mark on this gutter. If a tree was doing this to the house, I would be more concerned.

The other side of the barn is overtopped by a split-trunk Eastern Red Cedar. There’s no damage on this side, but the tree drops a ton of needles into the gutter each year. The shade also makes an ideal growing area for lichens.

The lichens do very well on the shingles. I suspect they derive some nourishment from the organic compounds in the shingles. After a few years, the surface of the shingles becomes rough and pitted beneath the lichens. I suppose I ought to trim a few more branches from the cedar, so the sunlight will discourage the lichens from growing here.

This junk was left when an old outbuilding burned. The blaze occurred long before I moved here.

The view toward the garden and fields. You would think that on a day like this I would be out there working instead of playing on the barn roof.

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