Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Part of what I find exciting about traveling to other countries is seeing their ruins.

In England, Scotland, and Germany, I toured the oldest structures I could find.

Not that the U.S. doesn't have ruins. They're just a lot younger. In Connecticut we used to live next to America's first state prison, which was built in 1773. Old, for here!

We stopped using our silos to store feed. If they break - which they do - they're hard to fix. You have to get up inside them, usually when it's bitter cold, and it's physically tough. It's much easier to store feed on the ground in piles, if you have the room. The reason people built silos in the first place is because the feed is protected, the pressure ferments it well, and it was out of the way. However, the ease of piles outweighs the benefits of the silos on many farms.

You can see evidence of this across the countryside. Taking down a silo isn't simple. (See the video of us taking one of ours down here. It involved a sledgehammer, a cable, and a tractor.) If it's not being used on a working or non-working farm, people often leave it alone.

Many times, it begins to look like a ruin. The weeds creep up the sides and take over.

Once I started noticing old silos, I see them everywhere. They look different depending on when and how they were built - like of stone, cement, or blocks. Often they're flanked by a barn, but sometimes they stand alone where a farm used to be. There's even one right next to our mall.

I think they're beautiful. Obviously it's part of my upbringing, because I've always lived near one. But like I enjoy looking at tall buildings, I like seeing the perfect cylinders dot the skyline.

They mark where farms used to be, where farms are, and where farms try new things, and move on from them to something that's (hopefully) better.

Kris thinks it's better. He's never missed climbing up in a silo to fix it.

But someday, long from now, people might tour our country's silo ruins. That is, if the weeds don't get them first.

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