Photography and Art

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Abandoned Farms

When you drive through the countryside as often as I do, you start to notice that things are not going well in farm country. It seems that marginal farms are being abandoned one by one and the land is reverting back to nature. Maybe Mom and Dad hung on as long as they could and the kids beat a hasty retreat to the city, leaving the farmhouse to rot and the land fallow. Maybe the family farm can no longer compete with large factory farms, especially when the land is rocky or the soil poor.

The closer you get to the Canadian shield just north of Toronto, the more you notice abandoned farmhouses, fences no longer being repaired and land reverting to forest. In the Canadian shield itself, farming was abandoned many years ago. If you look carefully, you can sometimes see old split rail fences running through the forest. The soil is glacier-swept and very thin.

In September, I joined a group of friends on a hiking trip in the Adirondacks and the drive south from the St. Lawrence bridge crossing into northern New York State was also littered with abandoned buildings and fallow fields.

It's all rather picturesque (witness the abandoned farm group on Flickr:, but rather sad just the same. I'd rather look at a prosperous farm with cows in the meadow and corn growing as high as an elephant's eye any day.

Here are some photos of abandoned buildings in upper New York:

This house has seen better days. It looks like a tree fell on the roof and administered the coup de grace.

Here's a road-side cabin of some sort. The architecture is interesting and the upper story window looks like it was replaced not so long ago. The structural integrity of the place shows the foolhardiness of building a flat roof in a snow zone.

This looks to be a classic 19th century homestead, probably originally on a prosperous farm judging by its size. The porch is nice. You can imagine roses growing up the trellises.

Here's a barn near the Adirondacks. At one point, it looks like it was painted a lovely shade of red. I'm not sure why it seems to have buckled so badly.

This is not really an abandoned farm building. In fact, the green metal roof is quite recent. I love this cabin because it combines the old with the new in an innovative way. Looking to enhance your cottage and add some living space? Why not buy an old trailer and graft it on to your cabin! Make sure you match the colour of the roof to the colour of the trailer. Aesthetics are so important.

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