Cúpla Sister and I have gone on Iowa drive-abouts and barn tours. “Why barns?” you might ask. Barns built by our grandfather and great-grandfather were our first playgrounds. The hay loft was our forbidden cathedral of delights. Hay lofts probably should be on the forbidden list for preschoolers. Just ask my sister what is the fastest way down from a hay loft. After we moved from the four generation farm, my sister and I never found anything to quite match our early barn adventures (unless we count Ireland).
Restoring or maintaining an old barn is an act of love which requires commitment and finances. The Iowa Barn Foundation facilitates barn tours and provides funding and other support to barn owners who wish to preserve their barns. Once gone, nothing quite so wonderful will ever replace those post-and beam agricultural palaces.
Several years ago we attended a barn tour which was scheduled on the same day as an Iowa – Iowa State football game. We wondered why the barn owners, particularly those of the male persuasion, looked so unenthused until we realized they were missing the biggest game of the year to show us around the barns. Talk about great sacrifice.