Plus Side of 60: If cows could talk

The stately old barn on the Hatt Farm on Hot Springs Road has taken a few cruel hits in the recent wind storms. Many more boards are missing from its north end. How much longer will it be able to withstand the elements?

The bold, straight lines and silver gray weathered boards give it charm and traditional beauty. Artists are drawn to sketch and paint it. Tourists often stop to photograph the barn with its dazzling mountain backdrop. Couples have even posed there for their wedding pictures

I wondered how many years it had stood through flood, wind, rain and hot sun. Wes Johnson, an Agassiz native son and former mayor, informed me that he had helped build the barn in 1939 or 40 when, as a young man, he worked for Aitkens Brothers, a Chilliwack company. The McRae family owned the farm then. The barn style is called “hip roof” with a truss frame, hay loft and stanchions for dairy cattle. The trusses were hand winched in place by the work crew. Special features are the gable windows and high hay loft doors.

Old barns call up nostalgia for the days when they served as adventure sites for farm kids. Shouting “Geronimo” and jumping from the loft into the loosely stacked hay was great sport.

Cats with new batches of kittens, mooing cows munching contentedly, chickens scratching in the yard and the farm dog romping about completed the idyllic picture. Just recall the children’s books reminiscent of Old McDonald’s Farm and all the stories in which the animals talked and had distinct personalities.

Somehow the new state-of-the-art scientific milking palaces just don’t have the same rustic charm. There is no way you can jump into the tightly packed plastic wrapped bales of today.

Like prairie grain elevators, barns are becoming an endangered species. Get out your sketch pad or digital camera and hurry down Hot Springs Road to capture this piece of history for your memory bank.

Just Posted

HISTORY: A curious commmunity connection between Agassiz and Pelham, Ont.

History columnist Lindsay Foreman shares her most recent story about how small Canada really is

SUV on fire on Highway 1 between Abbotsford and Chilliwack

Emergency crews on scene and blocking the right lane

Widespread concerns spur UFV to halt international enrolment growth

New target hopes to limit international students to 20% of all enrolment to give time to ‘catch up’

Kent cuts ribbon on Hammersley Pump Station

The new pumps replace the 50-year-old drainage system from before

What can $4 million get you in real estate in Chilliwack vs. other places in B.C.?

A 78-acre property with a large house – or you could get a condo in Vancouver or an estate mansion in 100 Mile House

VIDEO: Harrison lights up for the holidays

The second annual Lights by the Lake kicked off Saturday, Nov. 23

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

Strong turnout of volunteers to search for missing senior

Ted Vanderveen disappeared in rural Maple Ridge on Nov. 28

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

SkyTrain strike to begin Tuesday with ‘full shutdown’, CUPE says

BCRTC president says job action is ‘completely unacceptable’ to use SkyTrain users ‘as leverage’

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

Owners of hotels on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside fight $1 expropriation in court

Vancouver City Council voted to expropriate the properties for $1 each in November

Most Read