News From the Farm | March 25, 2013

In 2002 I wrote to CSA members about Richard’s Barn, the 40-foot tall redwood barn that towers over other buildings at Full Belly. It was built almost 100 years ago and was originally used to store hay for the dairy cows that once lived here. The redwood on this barn is beautiful, the kind of redwood siding that sadly, may never be seen new again by anyone on this earth.

Here’s a paragraph from the 2002 essay:

“When we first moved here, the barn was chock full of a lifetime of accumulated tools, gadgets, knick knacks, fertilizers, pesticides, seeds, screws, bolts, supplies and mysteries. It all belonged to Richard, who grew up on this farm and came by fairly often to check up on us (and look in on his barn). Dru once said that Paul spent more time talking to Richard than to her. After a while, we got a lot of Richard’s belongings out of the barn and moved them down to Richard’s walnut orchard, but we still always call it ‘Richard’s Barn’.”

The barn is a home for barn owls, a place to hang bat houses, and a place to store building supplies, greenhouse supplies, irrigation tubing, recycling, kayaks, inner tubes, bins full of crops, and packing boxes.  It is often necessary to check on something in the back of the barn and this means we get to clamber over 4-high stacks of bins like a mountain climber.  Next comes the extrication process which requires lots of tricky maneuvers with the forklift, everyone’s favorite assignment.


For years, as we added on to our packing shed, constructed a machine shop, bought solar panels and built a new office, we kept watching the barn as it started to lean and crumple into odd angles.  We knew that it needed and deserved help. Each year we thought about what to do.  We consulted with expert builders and looked at our budget.  Finally, last year we started to accumulate the supplies that we would need.  This winter and spring, the momentous project is well underway, with big new supporting beams, a storage floor at midlevel, a new layer of siding inside, tar paper for water-proofing and new tin roofing.

All the activity around the barn has scared away this year’s crop of Barn Owls, but the facelift is worth it and hopefully they will come back next year. Buying and building new things may be a necessity on our farm, but saving Richard’s old barn so that it will be here for another 100 years, makes us proud and happy.

— Judith Redmond