Barns from the Land of Enchantment

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Jerry R. Davis has performed a welcome service by studying the barns of New Mexico. With an admirable fascination with barns, he fortunately found a partner to research for him and travel with him. Although he photographed many barns and used Internet photographs of other barns, he has illustrated his book with his drawings, which make a charming product.

Davis tells about the different kinds of roof. Most in New Mexico are gable roofs, but some are gambrel roofs, which he explains clearly. The only roof that is unique is on a round barn at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs in Rio Arriba County.

Round barns used to be popularbecause they held more storage space and workers could move around in them easily. Modern efficiency and machines made them obsolete.

Besides roofs, Davis tells about siding. Some barns are stone, using material at hand; some are logs from nearby forests, and some are planks. He found unusual siding that he calls diagonal, with the boards at a 45 degree angle. They must have been difficult to place, but they turned out handsome. Some barns are adobe, but not as many as you would think, not as manyas there are adobe homes.

A new word is "terrones," like adobe bricks, but tougher, cut fromwet sod areas, stronger because of the included roots. Some barns have one or two lean-tos, and some have a structure that he had never seenelsewhere, which he calls a shade porch, perhaps for the animals to shelter under.

They remind me of my pole barn, but it of course is not attached to another barn. The shade porch is a lean-towithout side walls.

Davis explains about red barns: "There was a time when practically all barns were left unpainted or painted an oxblood red color. That was because rust, which was used to provide the pigmentation, was abundant and inexpensive.

Then another inexpensive paint came on the scene. It was white wash. Since white is associated with cleanliness and purity, dairy farmers all across the country painted their barns white."

If you like farms and barns and rustic structures, you will like this handsome book.

"Barns From the Land of Enchantment" by Jerry R. Davis will be available Dec. 4 from Artemesia Publishing in Tijeras. Watch for it on Amazon and in local book retail outlets.