Sunday, February 1, 2015
February 1, 2015; Curb Appeal
These days I find I watch almost as much "House and Garden TV" as I do ESPN, Root Sports, or even History Channel. In particular I tend towards the make over shows. In some couples are either shopping specially for a fixer-upper that is magically transformed into their dream home, or the evil real estate agent tries to lure them away from their beloved, but run-down home all the while the hapless but never the less good looking renovation expert is frantically remodeling in a effort to make them want to stay. In all cases, curb appeal and making a house "warm and inviting" are high on everyone's list.
Curb appeal..... Does it look "warm and inviting?" Whenever I hear those phrases my mind goes back to my grandparent's barn in Ohop Valley. On a cold, cloudy winter evening, as darkness begins to fall, what could be more warm and inviting than a dairy barn? The barn lights are on, Grandpa, the Old Man, my little sister, all are inside busy with evening chores. Years earlier it was just me and Grandpa in there working. Even from a distance you can hear the steady drone of the vacuum pump, the rattling of buckets, the static filled music coming from the barn radio.
Warm and inviting? Even on the coldest nights or frigid mornings, the heat from the cows greeted your face when you walked through the door. The hay mow above not only served as an all winter playground for us kids, but was a thick layer of insulation trapping the warmth coming from the cows. Of course it helped that you were working. Cleaning the gutter before and after milking, and of course milking the cows kept all of us busy enough the outside cold was seldom noticed.
There were the other chores as well. Feeding hay, bedding down the cows if they were to stay in all night, and feeding the calves. It could be well below freezing outside, but Grandpa would have his coat off, and the sleeves of his sweater rolled up while he mixed a bucket of powered calf milk. (A quick aside, any farm kid will tell you, one of the best games was to dip your fingers into a bag of powered calf milk, and let the calf suck it off your fingers. Then it was your turn. You dipped your slobbery fingers back into the bag and licked the tasty paste off your own fingers. You repeated that until Grandpa gave you that sideway glance telling you, "You've wasted enough powdered milk for one day.")
You want to talk curb appeal? You want to talk about warm and inviting? I would argue any real estate agent or renovation expert would be hard pressed to match, let alone top a barn full of dairy cows.
Just as I would argue their is nothing colder than the same barn standing forever more empty.