A Glimpse Into An 1880’s Farm

by Tammy Taylor

Recently I was taking advantage of the warmer weather and walked around the barn pasture enjoying the view.  I’ve written before about discovering some hints of the Home Life from the family that lived here before their home burned in the late 1950’s.  But today I’m enjoying the actual farming side of their history. Come stroll with me and see what made me smile:

I absolutely love our 1880’s barn and I love the detailing they used in barn construction back then.  I try to imagine the purpose for each of the rooms and cubbies that were built into the barn.  Whatever their reason, I simply love the look of the construction, the old weathered wood, the whispers of the past.

A GLIMPSE INTO AN 1880's FARM: Did you ever wonder what it was like on a farm in the 1880's? Come walk through our Homestead & hear the whispers of the past. #TaylorMadeHomestead 1880 barn

A GLIMPSE INTO AN 1880's FARM: Did you ever wonder what it was like on a farm in the 1880's? Come walk through our Homestead & hear the whispers of the past. #TaylorMadeHomestead


On the east side of the barn is an area that used to hold a manger and small pens.  We pulled the rusting tin and rotting wood to expose this area and now utilize it for a loafing shed for the cows.  We also tore down the crumbling pen around this area and set the old Bois d’Arc posts aside at the edge of this loafing area.  Our hope is to reuse these posts again in our own fence-building endeavors.  The old twisted posts whisper the past much like the barn itself does.  The fall leaves have tucked themselves into the posts in their flutter earthward.

A GLIMPSE INTO AN 1880's FARM: Did you ever wonder what it was like on a farm in the 1880's? Come walk through our Homestead & hear the whispers of the past. #TaylorMadeHomestead 1880s barn Loafing side

A GLIMPSE INTO AN 1880's FARM: Did you ever wonder what it was like on a farm in the 1880's? Come walk through our Homestead & hear the whispers of the past. #TaylorMadeHomestead

Bois d’Arc wood is beautiful when it ages.  The wood is hard as iron and makes excellent posts due to it’s rot-resistant nature.  Its twists and turns are beautiful to the eye as well.   This twisted branch arcs gracefully close to the ground.  Love it!  We’re blessed to have many very old Bois d’Arc trees here on the ranch.

A GLIMPSE INTO AN 1880's FARM: Did you ever wonder what it was like on a farm in the 1880's? Come walk through our Homestead & hear the whispers of the past. #TaylorMadeHomestead Bois Darc

It’s also interesting to stroll around a property that has been in production for so long and try to figure out what the operation might have looked like so many years ago.  Behind the area that is now our barn pond is a very old approximately 1930’s or 1940’s car body that had been hollowed out to use as a shelter for animals – perhaps goats?  We’ve left it where it is.  Since it’s tucked behind the pond it’s not an eye-sore and I love having a little piece of the old operation still evident along with the new.

A GLIMPSE INTO AN 1880's FARM: Did you ever wonder what it was like on a farm in the 1880's? Come walk through our Homestead & hear the whispers of the past. #TaylorMadeHomestead

This pen was apparently secured with a latch as evidenced by this old closure part found nearby on an old weathered board.  I wish I could have a glimpse into the past of this old working property, how fascinating!

A GLIMPSE INTO AN 1880's FARM: Did you ever wonder what it was like on a farm in the 1880's? Come walk through our Homestead & hear the whispers of the past. #TaylorMadeHomestead

At one time our entire property was probably fenced with this 1882 Elwood barbed wire.  Surprisingly enough we still see some of this on our interior cross fences.  It’s true what they say:  They just don’t make it like they used to!

A GLIMPSE INTO AN 1880's FARM: Did you ever wonder what it was like on a farm in the 1880's? Come walk through our Homestead & hear the whispers of the past. #TaylorMadeHomestead 1881 Elwood Barbed Wire

I love the old barn wood and the old barbed wire so much that I asked my husband to build a large mirror frame using the aged barn wood and I embellished it with this Elwood barbed wire.  It’s absolutely beautiful, but that’s a tale for another time…

~TMH~

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59 thoughts on “A Glimpse Into An 1880’s Farm

  1. Cheryl

    What a delight to visit with you today! I felt like I was walking along on your tour! What a lovely, dear place you have, and it is just so neat for you to be able to explore back into the past. Oh, how I long for those days of old! I am not a fan of the modern way of life….so rushed and impersonal. I am visiting from Nancy’s blog hop. God bless you and your family. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Me too Cheryl. It was a simpler time. A gentler time. Like you, I long for times like those. ~TMH~

      Reply
  2. Karen Del Tatto

    I loved this nostalgic tour through your beautiful barn and property. What a blessing to live where you do. So many echoes from the past, and now your family is adding to the story. I enjoyed this post so much!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Karen, I love your line “…now your family is adding to the story” I never really thought about it that way but it’s comforting. ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Margy

    Thanks for the tour through your ranch’s history. There are several ranches in our area that have been abandoned with everything in place. It is fun to explore around the old equipment, buildings and fields. Being new to the area we depend on friends to lead us there the first time, but many have become favourites. One spot has a old vehicle “dump” with many rusting hulks. But you have to be careful. One old building we entered was filled with nesting yellow jackets. Fortunately I made it out before they got angry. – Margy

    Reply
  4. Renee

    I love history, especially when it’s local and ESPECIALLY if it’s in your own back yard, lol. This is a great article. We are homestead wannabes. We live in the “city limits” and desperately want to get out on a small farm. This is a dream of ours anyway. I would love to find an old farm rich with history. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I still find remnants of past lives lived here from time to time Renee, it’s so exciting to me. ~TMH~

      Reply
  5. Pam

    Tammy, I so enjoyed visiting you as your neighbor at the #BacktotheBasics linkup. The pics of the barn remind me a great deal of the barn on the farm I grew up on. Barns are intriguing places with so many things to capture the imagination. Thanks for the great sharing. It brought to mind so many special memories of our barn and my dad who died 21 years ago.

    Reply
  6. Jamie @ Medium Sized Family

    I’m always fascinated by history like this. I insist on living in a home with some character. No subdivision house for me! Ours is a 1950s, so not nearly as old as your place. But we still hear stories about it from time to time that are so much fun to learn of!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      How cool Jamie. I know the house that was here burned down sometime in the late 50’s or early 60’s, but I’ve seen evidence of a much older homestead toward the back of the property. Oh how I wish I could glimpse into the past to see! ~TMH~

      Reply
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  8. Bonnie a.k.a. LadyBlogger

    Hi there, new reader! I have always wanted to own a farm and having a peek into this one was a treat. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      So glad you enjoyed it Bonnie – I like to listen to the whispers of the past here. It’s cool that it’s been here so long. ~TMR~

      Reply
  9. Nancy W

    Beautiful barn! Thank you so much for sharing on the HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you again this week! Nancy HomeAcre Hop

    Reply
  10. Jess

    Wow…pure beauty. I have a thing for old barns and you certainly do have a lovely one on your property. These are great pictures! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing this nice story and your fabulous pictures at *Mostly* Homemade Mondays. Hope to see you back tomorrow! Jess

    Reply
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  12. Amanda Watkins

    Beautiful old barn – and great photo including the reflection. That looks like some outstanding wood! Given the trees, I’m guessing you are in Texas? I just took my first trip there and returned a week ago. We visited the Hill Country, where my husband’s grandparents lived.. I fell in love! We love life in the woods of northern Minnesota.. but I was won over by the idea that ranch life could be for me, too. http://ourfunwithfive.blogspot.com/2013/03/texas-hill-country.html

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Amanda, we’re located in NE Texas in Wolfe City. These Bois D’Arc trees are absolutely beautiful to me and I’ll be publishing a post next week spotlighting these beautiful trees and the fascinating wood they posses. Watch for it! ~TMR~

      Reply
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  15. Lisa Lynn

    I’m featuring this post on The HomeAcre Hop! http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/02/the-homeacre-hop-7.html

    Reply
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  17. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

    Thanks Posh. I’m working on a future post featuring a tour of the barn with more photos and descriptions. Keep watch on the blog and you’ll get to see much more of this beautiful old barn! ~TMR~

    Reply
  18. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

    Lisa – I would have loved to have seen the museum you mention. I read about the barbed wire wars that were going on back then as well, pretty crazy competition. How cool that you visited the Elwood Mansion – Love it! ~TMR~

    Reply
  19. Lisa Lynn

    I loved taking a tour of your farm! A few years back I visited the Elwood Mansion in Dekalb, Illinois. It was the home built by the family that produced the barbed wire on your farm 🙂 How cool is that? They had a little museum with info about the barbed wire wars going on back then. Thanks for sharing this on The HomeAcre Hop! Here’s the link for the next hop 🙂 http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/02/the-homeacre-hop-7.html

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks Nancy. I swear I should have been born in the 1800’s, I’ve been fascinated with it all my life! ~TMR~

      Reply
  20. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

    Thanks Janis. I can’t wait to post about my mirror – I really do love it. And since it’s made of the old barn wood (complete with a couple of old square nails) and my 1880’s barbed wire, it’s very near & dear to my heart. ~TMR~

    Reply
  21. Tricia

    What a beautiful barn! The 1880’s, my goodness! How awesome! I’m terribly sorry for taking so long to visit, I’ve been so busy =0 Thank you dearly for joining this week & hope you’ll come back real soon =)

    Reply
  22. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

    Thanks RamblingRound. I’m hoping to do a post in the near future featuring the large mirror frame my husband made me from the barn wood – it’s beautiful! ~TMR~

    Reply
  23. jackie

    I love this! Especially since we have our own 1880s barn. Here’s ours! http://bornambitous-bornimaginative.blogspot.com/2012/12/barn-tour-free-of-charge.html

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      OMGosh Jackie – I love your barn! (And the two cuties in some of the pictures) The 1880’s must have been an awesome barn-building era, they’re all gorgeous. Thanks for sharing. ~TMR~

      Reply
  24. PK Kirkpatrick

    The bois d’arc tree has many common names including Osage orange, horse apple, hedge apple and more. This is the tree that native americans, especially the Osage Indians, preferred for their bows and arrows. This tree was described by French explorers as “bois d’arc” which means bow wood. Different parts of this tree are used as insect repellant, leather tannin, fence posts, wheel rims, tool handles, etc. The list goes on and on, but the old barns and fences built using this wood are so sturdy, practical and lovely. I really enjoy your postings and photos of your beautiful ranch.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks PK! I’ve heard of the other names such as Osage Orange, Horse Apple, Hedge apple, etc but I learned add’l information from your comment. Thanks for posting! ~TMR~

      Reply
  25. Kay

    I can see why you love that barn of yours – and you’ve posted gorgeous shots of it. I’ve not heard of Bois d’Arc trees before in either California (where I grew up) or Washington (where I now live). I’d be interested in seeing the whole tree.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Kay – thanks for your kind words. I guess I’m going to have to go picture-shooting at these beautiful trees. They lose their leaves here in N Texas in the winter, but they are indeed beautiful trees and so very functional. I’ll definitely include pictures of the entire tree in a future post – keep watch for it! ~TMR~

      Reply
  26. Tanya

    i enjoyed me tour very much 🙂 i absolutely love that old car shelter, awesome! and funny about the bois d’arc. when we lived in missouri there was a little town nearby that was bois d’arc, pronounced bo-dark…i didn’t know it was actually wood!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Tanya – yes it’s pronounced bo-dark and the older wood on a Bois D’Arc tree is so amazingly beautiful. I find myself walking around taking random pictures of the older trees just for their beauty. (maybe I’ll post some of them in a future post) It’s very cool though that they’re so durable. Our old barn is placed on Bois D’Arc posts and when we had exterior renovations done to replace some of the rotting boards, the contractor was amazed that they could not nail to the posts, they had to drill them because about 1/4″ into the posts the wood was still yellow! LOVE IT! ~TMR~

      Reply
  27. artmusedog and Carol

    Fantastic photography and wonderful post ~ loved the tour and can see why you love it ~ Carol of (A Creative Harbor) on blogger ^_^

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks! This old barn is the reason we decided THIS was the country property where we wanted to begin our new life. I absolutely love the barn with it’s age and detail. I posted a barn tour on our Taylor-Made Ranch FB page several months ago. I’d like to bring that tour to our blog as well! ~TMR~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thank you for your kinds words Tracey. The old barn is certainly near and dear to my heart… ~TMR~

      Reply

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