Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Book Passage/Charlotte's Web

From Charlotte's Web by E. B. White

The barn was very large. It was very old. It smelled of hay and it smelled of manure. It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows. It often had a sort of peaceful smell – as though nothing bad could happen ever again in the world. It smelled of grain and of harness dressing and of axle grease and of rubber boots and of new rope. And whenever the cat was given a fish-head to eat, the barn would smell of fish. But mostly it smelled of hay, for there was always hay in the great loft up overhead. And there was always hay being pitched down to the cows and the horses and the sheep.

The barn was pleasantly warm in winter when the animals spent most of their time indoors, and it was pleasantly cool in summer when the big doors stood wide open to the breeze. The barn had stalls on the main floor for the work horses, tie-ups on the main floor for the cows, a sheepfold down below for the sheep, a pigpen down below for Wilbur, and it was full of all sorts of things that you find in barns: ladders, grindstones, pitch forks, monkey wrenches, scythes, lawn mowers, snow shovels, ax handles, milk pails, water buckets, empty grain sacks, and rusty rat traps. It was the kind of barn that swallows like to build their nests in. It was the kind of barn that children liked to play in.

All these years later, our barn is much the same, which fills me with such joy.

Click to see the thermometer!

Cool and shady in the stall.

Here's a wrench. :<)

And the lawn mowers.

Not new rope, but baling twine, which Tom uses for everything!

The snow shovel, grain cans, and this year's fleece.

I don't know if this is axle grease, but the shelf is full of oily, greasy cans. :<)


  1. This reminds me so much of my uncle's barn. I just loved exporing that place!

  2. I love that with the barn


  3. This is my first comment although I have been reading/enjoying your blog for awhile now! I hope I am not overstepping the rules of blog etiquette, but might I inquire as to your camera? I do apologize for asking but please accept it as a compliment not only to your photographs which are always gorgeous, but to your photographic eye as well! Your latest pics have a jewel like quality that really shines!
    I love this blog- your's is one of the few who's entire archives I have read and have enjoyed every post. Thanks so much for sharing! -gretchen

  4. I love your farm! And how wonderful to be so much like one of my favorite story settings.

  5. I always wondered what was in those big buildings called barns. : )

  6. Joyce, I had an uncle, too, whose barn I loved. He was a dairy farmer, and loved those cows. At one point in his life, he decided to give it up, sold all the cows, and was so, so sad he bought new ones!
    Thanks, Bonnie!
    Gretchen, I am so very touched by your comment. I'm thrilled and delighted you read the past entries. Thank you. The camera is:
    Nikon D-40
    6.1 MP (mega pixels)
    Digital SLR

    Whatever any of that means! :<) I do love it, and actually have been planning a little blog entry on it.

    Becca, it is one of my favorites, too. I'm listening to it now for the nth time, and it is as fresh and heartwarming and beautifully written as the first time I heard it in the 6th grade.
    Eve, your comment made me laugh.

  7. I love that quote from the book and your barn photos! I used that very same quote for an art/visualization activity with my 2nd graders this spring. You can see three of their projects here:

  8. The barn in Charlotte's Web is one with which I've long been familiar. The photos of your barn, new to me, look equally comfortable and familiar. Wonderful photo essay, and great book passage to accompany it. Just wonderful!

  9. Oh, I don't dare share these pictures with Rod. He'd have us packed and moving in with you over the weekend!!

    Looks like your temps were just about the same as mine. Did you see our goofy weather forecast here this morning? See my post.


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