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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Happy 100th Birthday, Barn!

"We're worried about you guys.  You're so isolated out here.  Maybe you should move back to the city, where you would be more in touch with society.   Where you can see your friends more often.  We miss you guys!"

Can you hear and feel the love in that statement?  She broke my heart, and I wanted to cry, I was so touched.  But, I burst out laughing instead.  Not entirely appropriate, true, but Casey and I were very pleased with ourselves for having pulled off the Great Escape, as we called it: we had gathered our worldly belongings into two U-hauls, and pointed the tires back in time.  Away from Seattle, the Rat Race, the road rage, the horrid commutes, the Pressure Cooker.  We were already planning to live out our years here, and we were still young!  It was 1998.

This farmer's daughter never could feel that Seattle was her town.  Instead, I felt like the city was eating me alive.  After moving here, remembering my 18 years living in Seattle seemed like watching a movie of someone else's life.  I guess that means we did the right thing...

I think what ultimately shocked my friend the most, perhaps with a last-straw effect, was that we had chosen not to go ahead with the HD TV movement.  We turned the "Mind Suck Machine" off instead.   "But... but...  how can you live without TV?"  This blurted reaction became such a comically common question over time, and seemed so difficult for people to grapple with, that we eventually pretty much stopped telling people.  It was just too fatiguing, being looked at as if we'd fallen off our proverbial rockers with both of our two proverbial heads!  (At least, telling this truth here on the blog, I can't see the shocked look on your faces!)

We often said that we would rather watch paint peel than watch TV.  This statement is somewhat literal - treasuring the history here, the heritage, the astonishing strength of the homesteaders - is a mark of our rural life.  We think of the small village of outbuildings on our land as Portals to Another Time: the barn, the blacksmith shop, the WWII quonset hut, the two bunk houses where the harvest crews slept.  In the early 1900s, when our land was broken out and the farmstead built, it took dozens of workers to bring in the grain with horse-drawn equipment and implements.  The most accurate and beautiful depiction of a 1916 wheat harvest I've yet seen is the 1978 film Days of Heaven, starring Richard Gere - truly a jaw-droppingly stunning film.

Please enjoy the sublime patina of our 1914 barn (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BARN!), in these photos taken yesterday during a brief spate of what I call "Slow-Mo Snow" - flakes falling gently, silently and softly, like blessings from Heaven.  Slow-Mo Snow never lasts for long, and only happens here once or twice a winter, so when I saw the first goose-down feathers drifting earthward, I ran outside in my jammies!  (TMI?)

super barn doors
Portal Doors by Lorie Klahn

Alas, my iPhone did not capture the snowflakes quite as stunningly I had wished, but I like how the images turned out.  They were put through several apps, and I'm especially pleased with the enhanced contrast, which lends delicate strength to the twigginess of the trees, reverse-silhouetted against the barn and sky.  The barn's volume, presence and personality make it seem almost superhuman.  The trees seem to reach out to it, but - are they afraid to touch it?

One Hundred Years Standing
One Hundred Years Standing by Lorie Klahn

To finish the story, when we first moved to Bald Ridge, many of our Seattle friends enjoyed the serenity and fresh air here so much that we actually saw them more often than when we lived in The Pressure Cooker alongside them!  For most of them however, the visits have slacked off over the years, and we never see some of our Seattle friends at all.   But we love and miss them as much as ever, in fact more, and although facebook is an inadequate substitute, it is something... 


  1. Love your story and so thankful you share it here. You're living my dream... I feel most alive in nature, absent of the hustle bustle sounds and movement of city life. I'm 3rd generation San Clemente and it's still a small beach town although it's grown quite a bit over my 51 years of life. I can still get out and hike the hills and find some quiet moments not too far from home. But you are really removed... how refreshing! These barn images are so intriguing. They really support your story beautifully. I found myself just staring and studying them before responding here. You are sure gifted Lorie and placed right where you are meant to be. Although the Slow-Mo Snow didn't photograph, your gift for writing captured the image for me very well. Could almost feel it for myself. :) Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Paula, thanks for your wonderful words. We try, really try, to never take this for granted. But there is beauty everywhere ~ for all my criticisms, Seattle really is a beautiful city, a place to love - just not a place to love to live, for me. I'm thrilled that you like the images. I have the classic artist's self-doubt about my images - I'm always thinking, "wow, that's brilliant" immediately followed by "oh but everyone loves their own work, just as everyone thinks they're immensely sane and smart". It is very, very nice to receive compliments! You've made my day (week, month...)!

  2. You were pointed in the right direction! A U-Haul has never made such an honest journey...

    1. " honest journey..." Yes, I like that, very much. It gives a world to ponder on, for a statement of such brevity!

  3. The image "One Hundred Years Standing" has been replaced with one that is not pixelated! Some blogger photographer I am, posting a fuzzy image - yikes and sorry about that!

  4. So... you don't watch me on CNBC then? :: sob ::

    1. Patty, That is my one and only, and Big, regret!  I'm serious.  Watching my old roommate tell it like it is (or should be!) on CNBC, with so much class and style, is one of my greatest life privileges, and I'm so PROUD of you!  You are the perfect blend of a natural expert and a hard-won, well-deserved voice.  (I was there during the Hard Work, Hard Knocks stage!!!)  I trust you are keeping America set straight on all matters financial! 

      On another topic, how are YOUR gorgeous barn photos coming along? You should sell your annual calendar through a Print on Demand printer, along the lines of the model I'm working on setting up. I've researched resources, baby!  (Just trying to find a way to get one of your calendars next year!!!  How unabashed of me...)  Luv ya, Sweetie!


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