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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Red (10/01/09)

TITLE: Country Barn
By Esther Phillips


We moved to the new farm when I was twelve. The first thing our mother said to us was “whatever you kids do, don’t climb up on the big barn because it has holes in it and you will fall and hurt yourself.” Mom had a way of telling us things that we shouldn’t do. Things we never thought of, but as soon as she suggested them, they sounded like great fun.

My brothers and I went out to play. We put our heads together and decided what sounded like the most fun was to climb up the barn. We worked hard to climb it because Mom was right, it was full of holes. Just as all three of us were firmly planted on the peak of the roof, we heard Mom calling in the distance. Immediately, our dog started barking and giving us away. We were in deep trouble.

As time went on, our dad had two new barns built. One was really big like the one we climbed, but the other was much smaller. The smaller one was a Grade “A” Dairy barn. The big one was the typical red barn we see all over the country.

I just got back from the farm this summer and both barns are still in good condition just as they were built all those many years ago. My brother is the proud owner.

My sister lives in Wisconsin now and I paid a visit to her. One of the things I wanted to see was, of course, the barns that I had heard so much about in that state. We travelled the countryside in August; and yes, there were countless barns. They looked so impressive dressed in their red paint with a backdrop of green everywhere.

Are barns always red, I wondered? Well, I decided to take a trip into the mighty computer land to find out. Going back in history, we find that in the early 18th century, barns were not painted here in America. It was considered to be wasteful and showy. However, by the latter part of the century, the wood was no longer seasoned for preservation as it one was and painting became the artificial preservation.

Color caught on. Ready paint was not available so the farmer mixed it himself. They went through trial and error periods but finally hit upon a formula that worked. It was soon discovered that the red in the paint was warmer in the winter because it soaked up the sun’s rays.

Scripture brings a story about barns. Hear these words: “The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways.” Deuteronomy 28:7-9

Barns are still being built in the country. They provide shelter for animals and grain can be stored there. Besides all that, they are pleasant to the eye if you happen to be driving through the countryside. They are especially beautiful if they are painted red and stand on the premises of green countryside.

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Member Comments
Member Date
diana kay10/09/09
thank you for this interesting and varied story. I wonder if this is why houses in sweden tend to be painted red?
Jan Ackerson 10/10/09
I liked the way this began with a little story, and then morphed into a devotional.

The last paragraph seemed a bit "tacked on", or perhaps it would be better higher up in the piece.

Nicely written.
Philippa Geaney 10/10/09
I have always wondered about the Red Barn of America. I found my eye flowed easily across your words. I enjoyed them.
Virgil Youngblood 10/12/09
An enjoyable story to read. I wanted to know the outcome of "deep trouble" when Mom found you misbehaving. Good writing.