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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What To Do About The Beloved Barn Quilt, I Mean Bat House


In giving folks directions to our farm, I always say "Look for the big black tobacco barn with a barn quilt."  Now it's a barely black barn and the barn quilt is starting to disintegrate :-(.  It used to be just me and Saint Tim discussing the situation.  Now everyone asks about it.

While it may seem rude to think of friends, family, and yes, complete strangers ragging on a quilt hanging on someone else's barn, it's actually more of a curiosity than a complaint.  The bottom of the quilt is 40' in the air.  Yes, what ARE we going to do?

We hired a tree service with a huge bucket truck to hang it in September of 2007.  It was a big job.  He'd have to come back out to take it down.  I'd have to re-paint a new quilt and that was a big job as well.  We'd have to coordinate all that with getting the barn re-painted, which is...another big job.  And then we have to hire Mr. Clifford to come back out to hang the new quilt.  And then the plot thickens.

The other morning, dark and early, the day we dyed Renny's wool, I was up at the barn dividing her fleece and setting out what amounts I wanted to dye.  Around 6:00 I noticed some swooping and fluttering out front and some weird chirping noises.  The bats!

We've hosted a (sadly) very small bat community since we've lived here.  At best count the most bats we've had is probably five.  For the last couple of years I've only regularly seen two I think.  I've assumed they lived in the barn, but I've never seen them or any signs.

The curiosity has been killing me and here they were, flying in after a busy night!  I quick stepped it out into the driveway to watch.  They swooped and rose and swooped and circled in front of me. Definitely more than two but they were so quick I couldn't keep track. Then one would whoosh and disappear.  More swooping and then whoosh, another gone.  Where were they going?


Up under the barn quilt!  No wonder they weren't using the bat house we'd hung on the side of the barn.  They were already installed in the barn quilt bat house out front.  Now I definitely don't want to take the quilt down and I'm leery of even painting the front of the barn.  I need to get up with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife to see if they can figure out what kind of bats we have and if they will migrate for the winter.  Until then, we're just going to stay shabby.

Of course, now I'm obsessed with seeing the bats come in and out.  I haven't made any more pre-dawn trips to the barn, but I know I will.  First I wanted to see them fly out!  I set myself up the other night with a concrete block chair on the utility trailer aka spaceship.  Camera at the ready.  And I waited.


While I waited, here's the back field before the hay was cut.  Complete with the all too familiar thunderheads building.


Graham and Daniel through the barn portal.  I took some pictures of Liddy and Blossom and Lila through the new shop windows portal, but they were pretty uninspiring.  


So I waited.  And the sun set.  Notice the difference in light between the first and last pictures?  And I waited some more, watching very carefully.  And then all the bats were flying around and I didn't see a single one come out.  The end.  


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