CRAWFORD: Has resisted century of changes
By DOUG CLOUGH
Farm News staff writer
SCHLESWIG – Quite a bit has changed since Leroy and Marlene Hight were married in 1968 and moved to their farm north of Schleswig.
That year, the Vietnam War was in progress, Rowen & Martin’s Laugh In debuted on NBC, and Richard Nixon was in the White House.
Despite the country’s cultural changes, their barn remains the same.
In 1976, the farm’s cob shed was dismantled. A long corn crib was razed in 1978, having served its purpose.
Gone is the original home that the Hights moved into in ’68. It was replaced with a cotemporary home in 1980, meant to meet the needs of the Hights and their three daughters.
“The summer kitchen is long gone as well,” said Marlene Hight. “It was a small building close to the house. For previous owners, it served as a place to make meals during the hot summer months.
“There wasn’t any sense in heating up the home during a hot and humid Iowa summers, especially before air conditioning came along.”
In the summer kitchen’s place is a machine shed. Its purpose more necessary in the 21st century. After all, homes have become air conditioned, but farm machinery still needs a protected environment.
hight said she enjoys the addition of an all-season gazebo, added in 2009. “It’s great to have a little getaway right on the farm,” she said. “It’s a good place to relax with a book.”
Everything that has been added over the years has its purpose for the Hight family. Yet the barn, no longer used, stays. Why?
“It’s simple, really,” she said. “It’s original to the farm. I get attached. I don’t see any reason to take it down.”
It’s easy to see that the barn, complete with an appended livestock shed jutting to the east, is the focal point of their acreage’s beauty and a testament to Iowa’s rural history.
The red barn, with its white trim, has been kept up with a 2007 paint job, and the original wood shingles are still in decent shape.
The barn, the Hights note, was used for both sheep and turkeys.
The barn was in its heyday when hay was stacked to the rafters, being transferred to the livestock via a rope and cable system.
Water troughs are still noticeable in the floor of the barn.
“A windmill pumped the water to a cistern,” Leroy Hight said, “from where it was gravity-fed to the troughs. It was state of the art for a small farmer.”
The barn is now used for storage mostly.
The Hights keep a number of items there, including a boat and Marlene’s father’s 1960 John Deere tractor.
Leroy, a real-estate appraiser and a director on the local rural electric cooperative; and Marlene, a church secretary and organist; have created the best of two worlds.
The Hights have a comfortable farm, both in home and appearance, complete with a piece of barn Americana.
Contact Doug Clough at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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