Last Monday, March 6, Georgie Smith and family lost their iconic Whidbey Island barn in a devastating fire. The town of Coupeville lost an amazing historical landmark, and Georgie’s family is devastated as their livelihood and irreplaceable piece of heritage vanished into the blaze.
In the farming community, old barns are like family members. They all have their own unique grandeur, smell and incredible historical presence. They have witnessed and sheltered many generations working hard on the land, growing food and taking care of livestock. In most cases, they have watched families grow and shaped many lives.
In our Carnation Valley over the decades, there have been numerous dairy barns many of them still standing long after the price of milk has dropped, and dairy farmers have moved on. Luckily, many of the barns have been able to continue housing agricultural practices in other realms whether it is vegetable, sheep or horses with the farmland preservation tradition alive and strong. On our farm at Griffin Creek, we are blessed with our 114-year-old barn. It is a part of our everyday. Each entrance into it, whether it is the massive roof, the ground wooden sliding doors (always so hard to pry open), or the creaky side door that never fully shuts to let the barn cats come and go, allows us an opportunity into the past.
It allows us the solitude of life back in the day when this wooden sanctuary was built. That old life lingers in the midst of the chaotic frenzied world we now call 2017. There is a part of 1903 that seeps into our bones every time we set foot into this magnificent place and with it comes a sigh of relief and a smile, a place to call work, a place to call home.
As reported in the Whidbey News-Times on Tuesday March 7, “The Smith Barn was an integral part of Georgie Smith’s Willowood Farm. It has been in the Smith family for more than a century and was one of Ebey Prairie’s most recognizable and photographed landmarks. Smith, a fourth-generation farmer, was attending a meeting with other farmers Monday night at the Pacific Rim Institute for Environmental Stewardship.”
This is a tremendous loss, and as fellow farmers and farm supporters, please take this opportunity as the days are getting longer to cherish an old barn and all that it bestowed in its community. You can read more about the fire in the link below as well as show your support in donating to get them back on line:
Enjoy your box this week! – Wendy