My in-laws live on a farm. They don't grow crops, but their property has everything else that makes a country home a farm. There's a big red barn full of cats, three horses who roam out in their fenced-in pasture, a pen for goats and chickens, and two dogs to keep watch over it all.
Besides my own home, the farm is probably the place where I've taken the most pictures. My husband and I have been together for almost nine years since we started dating back in high school, and I'm still not tired of photographing his parents' property. The animals are quirky and dynamic subjects. The sunsets over the surrounding farmers' fields are always spectacular.
And the barn is full of hidden little stories.
Even with a fresh coat of paint on the outer walls and a one-of-a-kind blue roof, the barn is aged and weathered from years of farm life. Sunbeams slip in through cracks in the wide wooden door and spill across the floor. Remnants of last year's hay bales are scattered across the ground and stacked on wooden pallets.
A simple basketball hoop hangs above a wall that was painted and smooth years ago. Bikes of varying sizes are gathered in the corner by the dogs' pen, once belonging to my husband and his siblings, now waiting to be ridden again by our nieces and nephews, and one day our own children. Even on a sunny day the corners of the barn's many rooms are dim and hazy with years-old dust. Cobwebs collect on the least touched pieces of the old barn's history, telling me, Here you'll find a story even older than your own.
Some of the farm cats have lived in the barn longer than I've known my husband. They know corners of the barn that I've never seen. They're learning to know me, too. The barn is their home. The uneven cement ground is their floor and the rafters full of bats and birds' nests hold the roof over their heads. Johnny, not quite a year old, was a cautious explorer on the first day he was allowed free reign over the barn after spending his first months confined to the safe haven of the kitten room.
On a mild day, the sunlight drifts in through the barn's many entrances. It traces every crack, every cobweb, and every stray bit of straw. It lines the edges of old farm equipment and wooden walls, lifting out textures to catch your eye and make you want to wipe away the dust. It makes shadows and highlights that make the textures of the old barn more than blemishes and signs of age. They show me that this barn has countless stories to tell.