Wednesday

Alberts Barn Burn

This post is not for the faint of heart.  Or at least not for those who see a decrepit old barn and want to load all of it's wood in the trunk.

(Now that would be funny - someone trying to fit a whole barn in their trunk).

Alberts Farm Bliss-Ranch.com
Old Alberts Farm
My regular readers (like Andi from Delusions of Ingenuity who is very regular-at least this week), as opposed to those of my readers who are not regular - have seen me type of Albert before. 

He has chair backs made in his honor.....

Alberts Farm Bliss-Ranch.com

He has literally tons of stones incorporated into our home and yard from the rock pile we inherited where he stacked them in his pasture.  

Two stone fireplaces, two outdoor rock fire pits, rock driveway pillars, a rock bathroom vanity, patio pond landscaping and countless other landscaped areas where the rocks Albert picked from his field year after year have been put to good use.

Rock Vanity Bliss-Ranch.com
The wood trim throughout our house is made from a big old maple tree that was
cleared and sent to the saw mill.

Everywhere around here are remnants of Old Alberts farm.  Albert was a bachelor who lived in the same house from the day he was born and he cared for his only brother who was handicapped.

Never married nor had kids, he milked cows and plowed fields back when his farm was the only one on all the lake.

Albert drove a pickup truck till well in his 90's and he told Brawn one time if he sees that truck coming down the road he better move out of the way because he can't see so well anymore, only about 10 feet in front of him.

We bought 25 acres of Alberts land from him, a farmer bought the 80 acres of tillable land, and Albert kept his house and 10 acres around it along the lake shore.  When he got too old to care for himself - I think he was 98 - he went to the nursing home to finish his days.

Alberts Farm Bliss-Ranch.com
Barn Burning
When Albert died he only had distant family left, and they didn't want his house or barn.  His distant family, some of whom never even met Albert, decided to sell the acres that the house sat on, knowing someone would make the investment in a new home overlooking the lake and thought the land would sell faster without the old buildings.

Alberts Farm Bliss-Ranch.com
Our View, the original homestead is out of the picture to the left
The distant relatives arranged for a controlled burn by the fire department.  That means the fire department can use it for training, like a mock emergency, which made me feel better knowing the fire might at least help someone sometime along the way.

Alberts Farm Bliss-Ranch.com
 People gathered to watch the house burn.
Alberts Farm Bliss-Ranch.com
I was probably one of the few who found it hard to watch, and it still bothers me to look at the pictures.

Before the barn went up in flames, Brawn asked the distant relative if we could have a few old boards.  Brawn was told to take what he wanted.  We ended up with a metal cupola from the top of the barn, the old hayloft ladder, some boards and barn doors.

Old Barn Door Bliss-Ranch.com

You might recognize the old doors, one of them became a barn wood coffee table.

Barn Door Coffee Table Bliss-Ranch.com

The metal cupola from the barn is on our little shed.

Way too big for it, but you know..... every day when I stand at my kitchen sink I think of Albert because that cupola is within view. 

Alberts Farm Bliss-Ranch.com
It was spring, the trees were just starting to bud.

Alberts Farm Bliss-Ranch.com

The big apple tree on the right in the photo was covered in blossoms.

Alberts Farm Bliss-Ranch.com
Before the fire, the distant relatives had torn apart the interior walls in hopes Albert had hidden millions there.  He probably hid them in the barn.

Alberts Farm Bliss-Ranch.com
The apple tree still blossoms every spring, though the apples are really tart, almost too sour for Brawn who likes them that way. 

Alberts Farm Bliss-Ranch.com
 The guy in the gray sweatshirt is Brawn along with two of our boys in red.

Alberts Farm Bliss-Ranch.com
When Brawn and I were dating we used to fish for our dinner after work on nice summer days.  The California city girl learned to like fishing, the taste of pan fried sun fish, and the slower pace of country life.

We'd get word the fish were biting on a lake here or there.  Alberts farm was about 3 miles from town on a gravel road, and he had an old rickety dock on the lake.  Brawn went to the door and asked if we could fish from his dock.  He leaned out of the door and looked me over as I held my fishing pole and cooler and had only one condition, don't leave any mess behind.

15 years, two houses, and 4 of the 6 kids later, Brawn stopped in again to chat with Albert to see if he was interested in selling some land.  Albert said he remembered Brawn and that he used to fish with his dark haired girl from the old dock.  Albert asked Brawn if he still had me around, and then he answered Brawn's question about selling some land by saying, "you know, I think I just might".

Well Albert... we are still fishing on your side of the lake, and we don't leave any mess behind.  We also put your trees, your rocks and your land to good use.

After the buildings were burned I was sad, it was as if Albert never existed.  That is to anyone else maybe.... but he lives on to us. 

Albert, we have not forgotten you, we just added a half dozen more fishermen around your farm.





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42 comments :

  1. What a great story!!! This brings back a lot of memories for me. I grew up on a farm, and had an old red barn with wooden doors like that. That old barn suffered the same fate about 15 years ago, but the old farm house was somehow turned into a huge new home. Thanks for the story!!!!

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  2. wow- that makes me sad looking at the pics, too, but so cool that you got to keep parts of it!

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  3. Awww so sad to see all traces of someone's lifetime erased. Then again, he lives on in your memory and now those firefighters have a better skills for the exercise.

    Maybe you could carve his name into a tree on the property...

    xox

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  4. love that albert!! RIP. wow..what a story, what memories.

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  5. I loved reading your story. I'm so glad you were able to save a few things off the barn. Burning it seems crazy to me but what do I know. It would have been physically painful for me to watch too. I once went to a huge bonfire and they kept saying that they were burning 220 feet of old cedar fencing and I was like, what is wrong with you people do you know what I could do with all that wood? ;)

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  6. Now I can comment again! Yay!
    Albert would be proud that you're taking care of his place.

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  7. Albert was a great judge of character.

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  8. Anonymous4/03/2014

    That was painful and sad to read and see. We have a story like yours, but we saved the house, and attached barns...it will probably take the rest of our lives to fix all that needs fixing, but this farm needed someone to love it, and we do! I also remember the former owners, everyday, as I live and work here! Great story!

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  9. Beautiful, but you made me tear up! but I love the memories you have of him.

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  10. I wish there were more Alberts in this world still...so heart warming...Thank you for sharing him with us as well. Just think which of your children will want the table and cupola for their family homes when they're ready...hugs

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  11. I wish there were more Alberts in this world still...so heart warming...Thank you for sharing him with us as well. Just think which of your children will want the table and cupola for their family homes when they're ready...hugs

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  12. Albert sounds like a noble human being and a great judge of character. He trusted his legacy to people of heart. His story lives on in your family. Thanks for being such good caretakers.

    La Verne@hopeandsalvage

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  13. The Alberts of the world can all use this type of respect for their legacies. I applaud you guys.

    Next door to where I work they burned down an old farmhouse last summer to clear the way for a Ford dealership. It made me sad, regardless of the fact I never knew anyone that lived there...

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  14. What a sad and sweet story. Those fire photos are hard for me to look at it too and I don't have any emotional attachment to any of it. Wow! Is all I can say!!! I love how you've incorporated Albert and his memory around your home and property!

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  15. How bittersweet! So sad to see the building gone which was so much a part of the land! I am about heritage because the "land" has so many stories of what Albert's family did while living there.At least you , your family, & some of the town can continue to share memories.

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  16. okay, I'm about to cry here... so sad, but what wonderful memories you have. I feel the same as you about burning the barn. That would have been hard to watch in person. How awesome to have pieces around your property to remind you of him. I just love this post Bliss!

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  17. Shut up. You made me tear up and I hate that. I hate your guts.

    Love!

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  18. Oh...this made me cry. This was a lovely tribute to Albert...so sad about the barn, but I am glad you could save some special pieces. There are many more of us who know of Albert today...thank you for sharing, Bliss.

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  19. Anonymous4/03/2014

    This is so sad.... but it is a lovely tribute to Albert, his memory will live on......

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  20. The older I get, the more saddened I become with stories such as this. What a wonderful tribute to Albert. So glad you shared this, Bliss.

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  21. What a bittersweet story, it brought a very sad moment to me. I am so glad those relatives found NOTHING they don't deserve anything. How could you not respect something that had so much history and meaning?? Maybe that is the problem a bit today no one has respect for anything so simple. Cherish those doors and the boards as I know you will and always think of Albert andknowing him as I also know you will.

    Cynthia

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  22. That's very sad, I can't imagine making the decision to burn a whole house and barn down, but relatives can be pretty despicable.
    At least old Albert and his farm are living on at your place, a place with a wonderful view and wonderful memories.

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  23. To the family that had no appreciation for good old Al, I hope that there was a zillion dollars in the old barn.
    To you, you are a good egg. I loved this story from Blissland.
    Here's to you, Albert!

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  24. That was one of the nicest blog posts I've read in a long time. I already like Albert. I'm so glad you have so many remembrances of a man with not many family attachments. I'll bet he is smiling. I too was sorry to see the pictures of the house burning.
    Sandra

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  25. Thanks. I'm crying. Well, more like, chest constricting... trying not to cry.
    And I can't see my key board.

    They don't make them like Albert anymore.

    Thankful for people like you, to remember and share.
    BIG FAT HUGS.

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  26. What a remarkable story, and a lovely tribute to Albert. I'm so glad that there are still those of us who respect and appreciate the past and those who lived it. Great post.
    Hugs,
    Patti

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  27. oh how sad to have his house burn. Even if it was for practise Im sure he would have loved this and that parts of his barn and home have been made into beautiful things.

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  28. Love this story and so happy that you have kept his memory alive. I would have loved to have that old barn ... what a treasure.
    Be Blessed,
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

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  29. I can see why it was hard for you to watch it all burn. Albert sounds like quite the charming guy, and I love that you honor him still with your memories and using the pieces oh his life in your home.

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  30. Great storytelling Bliss. It makes me sad. It also made a little bitterness well up in me - toward far away relatives that never even knew us. Ripping down the interior walls looking for treasure...hmmmm. At least you guys are caring for part of his land. It would be horrible sad to watch all that burn down.

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  31. Aww, this is heartbreaking and still sweet. Great tribute to Albert!

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  32. I am with Shannon. I can't see my keyboard. Oh my heart just hurt reading this about Albert's distant relatives! Where in the heck were they while Albert was alive??? I think it is so amazing you have parts of Albert's old property incorporated into your land. I love the fishing story too. You know I come across people's photos, etc, just tossed out. When I repurpose them, I feel a little like that person is still living on somehow (even if that person was a mean person). Not that Albert was mean, just quirky!

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  33. Getting ready for bed and now I am tearing up. What a story. A beautiful but sad one at that too. Thanks for sharing Bliss, it was very touching. XO

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  34. What a sweet (and sad) story! And I hate it when I get WAY behind on my blogs, only to find out I got mentioned in a post! Thanks Bliss! :)

    xoxo
    -andi

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  35. A beautiful tribute, Bliss. Albert will live on forever in your hearts!~~Angela

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  36. Tearing up over here. That was a very touching story about someone it sounds like you cared about a great deal, even if it was from a bit of a distance. The respect you and Brawn have had for Albert, his way of life and his memory are worth more than a thousand hidden bundles of money behind any wall. I'm so glad for you that you have many ways to keep his memory alive and you all were really creative about doing it. Maybe you could write more and donate it to your library or village historical society. I think you would be the perfect author for the task. Just sayin.

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  37. That absolutely breaks my heart to see old barns and farmhouse being destroyed. Greed triumphs over beauty once again. Idiots.

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  38. NNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

    That hurt me... physically.

    Beautiful tribute though, sweet friend.

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  39. So beyond sad....& tragic really....that had to have been SOME house & barn. Your story is so heartfelt & beautiful... made my eyes leak :') As I read along, I felt like I knew Albert; the emotions that welled up inside were familiar somehow...and then the thought came to me that we all must have had, or have, "an Albert" at some point along the way...somebody who made us feel like Albert made you feel. You have honored his humble life & all of his hard work in writing this and most likely more so than anyone ever has. You could put the shed on top of the cupola...and it would still be the perfect size. :')

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  40. I've often wondered about Albert's farm when I saw the pieces you put the words on. This is such a beautiful story, a lovely tribute to a man with only distant family. What a shame to burn the home and barns. It shows the special side to Albert that he remembered you and Brawn from all those years ago.
    Debbie :)

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