September 8th, 2002
Day 144

Start: Aurora, NY
Finish: Aurora, NY

Miles Today: 0
Miles to Date: 13122
Trooper Mileage: 182043

Oh, man, did I have fun today! I got to help Dave tear down an old barn with, if not exactly my bare hands, nothing more than the 2-foot crowbar I carry around in my truck.

Dave and Marie's houseDave and Marie's property consists of a great, lovely old house perched atop a hill surrounded by fields and forests threaded with trails that are a delight not only to us humans to meander about, but also their two dogs, who love to run about sniffing and marking their territory, and as well as their cat, who prowls about, ears cocked to every little sound in the thicket that might betray the location of a small rodent or some other sporting delicacy. The view from their yard looks over Cayuga Lake.

Cayuga Lake from Dave's yardThe property is attractive and well kept. But, like all old houses (and especially farms) is remains perpetually a work in progress. This is simply the nature of old places that the owners love. An old collapsing barn offered itself as a prime candidate for rural renewal.

Barn Before

Earlier in the visit I remarked, "Ya' know, I got a tool in the trooper that I bet we could use to take that old barn apart in the matter of a few hours". I'm not sure but I think this comment got Marie's attention, signaled in the manner in which a women's eyes light up when something which has been at the top of her agenda, if not at the top of her spouse's agenda, is suddenly given the advantage of unexpected external forces (being me, who just thought it would be an enjoyable exercise to tear something apart).

Barn AfterSo, Sunday morning, we set to it. Just Dave and I with simple hand tools and the power of our muscles. Maybe we just felt like we had to prove that at 50 one can still be formidable. We gleefully pulled, pried, hammered, pushed and hacked for about three hours, fending off the swarms of wasps that had built little mud wasp-condos inside the walls, and brushing off teaming hordes of ants who were raising their families between the planks. Marie contributed with her own physical labor, as well as keeping us well watered. The cat supervised.

With only a few incidents of unintended results (read walls falling over in the less than desired direction) we successfully reduced the structure to a few neatly stacked piles of lumber and a bucket of old rusty nails.

Oh, and one other thing - you may have heard the Jeff Foxworthy line, "you may be a redneck if ... you've ever mowed your lawn and found a car". Well, we tore down a barn a found a boat. I'm not sure what that means.