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Barn Hunting Blunders

If I’ve given the impression thus far on this blog that I am a barn hunter extraordinaire whose barn hunting prowess is unmatched, please don’t be fooled.

Stacy’s creativity makes me look like a cooler barn hunter than I actually am. Photo by Stacy MacKenzie

 Truth be told, I kinda suck at barn hunting, or at least I’ve been feeling that way lately. It’s natural to encounter setbacks during any quest worth its salt, and barn hunting is certainly no exception. Discouragement comes easily to some, myself included, and I’ve been feeling a bit mediocre as a barn hunter lately, mostly because of my some of my many flaws as a human being.

I am clumsy, I am forgetful, and I am careless. Ask anyone who knows me at all well, and they will agree wholeheartedly with the above statements. Don’t ask  my sister though, because she’ll make me sound worse than I actually am. My forgetfulness causes no end of headaches in my life and in my barn hunting. I’m one of those people who will frantically search for my keys, only to realise several minutes later that they’ve been in the ignition the whole time, and that the Le Sabre is actually running. I’m also clumsy, with a chronic case of the dropsy (not the old-fashioned word for edema, nor the modern definition of a fish disease). I drop things constantly. The sound of small items clattering to the ground is my constant background noise. Maybe I should record myself for an hour or so with my audio recorder so I can create my own barn hunting soundtrack. Though perhaps not, because it would be riddled with expletives. I’m also careless in that I will set things down without thinking, thus leading to the forgetfulness of where I put it, and usually some clumsiness is thrown in there when I drop something else while trying to find the thing I misplaced in the first place.

Here’s a random photo of a cat on a barn. Have I mentioned that I’m a crazy cat lady?

 So, long story short, I am really thankful that Stacy hasn’t left me yet to seek tedious, unpaid employment elsewhere.There have been many occasions where she has told me a measurement, only to have me ask thirty seconds later what it was again, because I have already forgotten. The other day we were held up for some minutes while I frantically searched the Le Sabre for one of my drafting pencils (you may remember the importance of these from the post Barn Hunting for Beginners Part I. Notice the caveat of “guard these with your life.” My life should be forfeit). I never did find it, and had to make do with an inferior, standard mechanical pencil. There really is a difference.
I finally found the missing pencil, lying innocently and smugly in an obvious location.

Even more egregious was the other day when I headed out for a few hours of barn surveying. I picked up my sister, Janelle and her friend, Michelle along the way to accompany me. I thought they’d be excited to see me. Along the way, I somehow got temporarily lost despite having an R.M. map right beside me and despite having lived in this area my entire life. By the time we reached our first barn, daylight hours were already dwindling (it really is getting dark earlier these days). I soon discovered that my camera battery had died and that surprise! I had left my spare at home, in the charger. This is one of a folklorist’s worst nightmares (not quite as bad as recording a lengthy interview only to realise that the recording was erased, malfunctioned, or that you forgot to turn on the recorder altogether, but almost). An integral part of the barn survey is photographing the barns I find, so it was a really dumb mistake. I went ahead and spoke to the owner, took basic measurements and recorded it on the map anyway, but I have to go back to photograph it now, which is a huge waste of valuable time.

I probably drained my battery taking photos of these trumpeter swans and their duck slough-mates. But aren’t they beautiful?

 Then there are the many mistakes I make in my scaled drawings. These aren’t necessarily caused by my own character flaws, but rather by my poor understanding of mathematics and the tendency for barns to be a bit on the crooked side.

Stacy dubbed this the “Bermuda Room” after the Triangle. We got lost in there, math-wise.

And there is the archive, where I live once a week, and which is my own personal vortex of distraction. My archiving adventures will be chronicled in more detail in a future post, but you can be sure that you’ll be on the edge of your seat when the time comes.

Barn hunting is an endlessly exciting pursuit, and a rewarding one, but I am committed to honesty in my reports .Last week you learned about the dangers of barn hunting, and this week you’re learning about the potential setbacks that can be caused by a blundering barn hunter. But if this quest didn’t present a few challenges along the way, it would hardly be worth doing, would it? 

Home of the infamous “Bermuda Room,” this 101 year old barn is well-loved, and though I curse its crookedness, I love it too, just like I love all barns. After all, I am the Barn Hunter, blunders included.

One comment on “Barn Hunting Blunders

  1. Anonymous says:

    Awesome photo of you Kristen, definitely book jacket worthy!

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