This is our barn. You've seen it before.
But I'm pretty sure you haven't seen the second floor of our barn. Today's the day.
The second floor of our barn is an adventurous place. It's one of our best kept secrets. It's the place my kids' friends ask to visit about 3 whole seconds after they get here. It's also a little risky.
Take, for example, our cousin Navalin who visited last summer from Panama. Navalin found a floor board that almost let him step right down to the first floor! It was like a secret trap door that said, "Now you're here, now you're not." Except it only let him fall so far before the floor caught him. Wasn't that a neat experience we gave our cousin?
Anyways, the best part of the second floor of our barn is the journey up. Because the only way up is by climbing this lovely, almost brand new rope:
This rope was purchased probably in the year 1947 or so. It's got a lot of life left!
The rope is hanging in an area that looks kind of like an elevator shaft. But this elevator only goes in one direction and it doesn't carry people. In all honesty, it's a hay shute. Where hay travels down, not up. But these details are trivial.
The important thing is this is also where we climb up to the second floor. Here is a picture of how it looks once you climb into the hay shute:
Contrary to what Marcel says, that board is of no help when you climb up the rope.
Here is a picture of my freakishly large hand:
I'm about to hoist myself up. This is a multi-step process, have you. The first step involves putting your boot onto a board that's about shoulder high. The height of this board pretty much guarantees you're going to be oriented horizontally when you first hoist yourself onto the rope. As you can see, I start with my left hand up.
Sidebar: I'm right handed but do lots of things like a leftie. For example, when crossing my arms across my chest I put my right arm on top of my left arm. And when clasping my hands behind my back, I grab my right hand with my left hand. These symptoms are apparent indicators that I should be a leftie. Or they just prove that I'm screwed up. Which we knew already. Moving on...
I'm currently hanging horizontally on a rope. Sometimes I swing back and forth and bang into the sides of the shute. That can either be fun or make me swear. It all depends on the day. Next I simply hoist myself up the rope, hand over hand, knot by knot, until I can swing my body over to the point where I can get a leg onto the second floor of the barn. It sounds harder than it is.
First things first, I glance thankfully at the rope that just held my weight and try not to think of the various contortions and shapes my body might make if the rope had snapped while I was hanging horizontally in the middle of a hay shute.
This is the rope I show gratitude to:
Shame on me for ending my previous sentence with a proposition. And shame on me for never dusting the second floor of my barn. Just look at those cobwebs! While looking, please let me know if you see any signs of fray. I haven't noticed any...this rope has a lot of life left!
For some reason, I've never really paid attention to the fact that the rope is tied to this ridiculously small board that someone nailed to that beam probably in 1947. I'll try not to think about that little fact again.
OK, prepare yourself for the true spoils. Look at this beauty:
It's absolutely breathtaking up here. Look how the light shines through the windows and shows off the reddish color of the gorgeous wood. And I love the ladders that are everywhere. They are useful when the barn is chock full of hay and straw.
I have to say, I really love the golden color of straw.
Look at the amazing woodwork that my ancestors and probably most of the neighborhood back then were capable of. And that ladder in the middle of the wall.
Sometimes I want to move in up here. Doesn't this door into the oat bin look inviting? I really love that hardware. People pay big bucks for hardware like that. I almost convince myself of turning this into my living quarters pretty much every time I'm up here. Until I step in raccoon poop. Then I think, "Eh, maybe not."
This rope is the newest infatuation of Ana's friends. They want to have a party up here and swing on that rope. Which would be fine if it weren't for those sneaky, cousin-catching, hidden trap doors. Ah, but that latticework. So pretty.
And these joints, they're just as achy as mine are! Just kidding. My joints don't ache.
One last look before we go:
I love this place. It's so pretty it melts away the drudgery of stacking hay on a hot sticky summer day.
Grab the rope, step onto that small rim of boards and let yourself down.
I really do love this unconventional life.