Learning how buildings get put together has changed the way I see the world.
For example, the first time I entered the tobacco barn pictured here, I thought of a cathedral. How something so large and lofty (and, in some places, so indifferent to perpendicularity), could stand so long in a Kentucky meadow, was nothing short of miraculous.
After a year in construction school, I revisited the barn this weekend and saw it with fresh eyes.
Miraculous might still apply, but not in a vague angelic or magical way used to describe something otherwise inexplicable. After studying the geometry of stick-frame construction, after learning to calculate rafter length, after climbing ladders with circular saws and 2×4’s AND vowing never to take that risk again–I can explain the barn’s construction. This time, I saw the barn as a concrete monument to the farmers and builders who risked their lives scaling seven levels of hanging tobacco racks to make something so useful and beautiful.
If there is a miracle involved, it is not in the math of architectural geometry; it is in the courage of human ingenuity.
I could go on about this Trigg County tobacco barn all day, but no one captures it more elegantly than food-and-garden writer Judy Wright, who first led me to this barn and details its extraordinary beauty and usefulness at her blog, JudysChickens.org.
Don’t miss the video at the end of Judy’s post. And if you ask nicely, she might even give you directions to the barn.