One of these things is not like the others

General Article

One of these things is not like the others

Back to falling snow and colder temperatures today. I had planned to meet a couple of friends at a city park this morning, but we’ve just cancelled, as the roads will be really bad.

On 25 January 2014, I spent an amazing day south of Calgary with friends Cathy and Terry. I had found an e-mail on my computer around 12:45 a.m., just as I was about to turn off my computer for the night. Did I want to go birding tomorrow and, if so, to meet at 8:00 a.m.? A full day of excitement and enjoyment left me tired out, but so happy. I had been missing being out and taking photos, feeling lethargic and extremely tired, so this invite was welcomed with open arms. The crazy weather soared to a balmy 11C, but a lot of the day was colder, with a strong wind! Along one of the roads, we came across these and other bright red granaries/sheds – I always love to see anything bright red in a snowy, wintry setting.

Can you believe that we saw 16 owls (oops, when I first posted this info under a previous photo, we thought we had seen 17, but after viewing all their photos and videos, my friends reckon that we "only" saw 16, ha. SIXTEEN! 8 Snowy Owls and 8 Great Horned Owls. The closest Snowy Owl was seen when it was early evening and the light had gone, and my photos are all blurry. The other owls were little more than a tiny speck in the far, far distance, but I still managed to get some kind of shot of some of them, using 48x zoom plus cropping. Perhaps I should add that maybe 15 of the owls that were seen would never have been seen by less experienced birders (and I include myself in that category!). My friends have brilliant eyes when it comes to spotting owls! Just left me shaking my head each time they found one! I’m not too bad at finding owls, but not at that distance!

An interesting link, with the information below, that answers the question: "WHY ARE BARNS USUALLY PAINTED RED?"

"If you’ve ever driven through a rural area, it’s likely that you’ve seen the red barns that speckle the farming landscape. There are several theories as to why barns are painted red.

Centuries ago, European farmers would seal the wood on their barns with an oil, often linseed oil — a tawny-colored oil derived from the seed of the flax plant. They would paint their barns with a linseed-oil mixture, often consisting of additions such as milk and lime. The combination produced a long-lasting paint that dried and hardened quickly. (Today, linseed oil is sold in most home-improvement stores as a wood sealant). Now, where does the red come from?

In historically accurate terms, "barn red" is not the bright, fire-engine red that we often see today, but more of a burnt-orange red. As to how the oil mixture became traditionally red, there are two predominant theories. One is that wealthy farmers added blood from a recent slaughter to the oil mixture. As the paint dried, it turned from a bright red to a darker, burnt red. The other is that farmers added ferrous oxide, otherwise known as rust, to the oil mixture. Rust was plentiful on farms and is a poison to many fungi, including mold and moss, which were known to grown on barns. These fungi would trap moisture in the wood, increasing decay.

Regardless of how the farmer tinted his paint, having a red barn became a fashionable thing. They were a sharp contrast to the traditional white farmhouse. As European settlers crossed over to America, they brought with them the tradition of red barns. In the mid to late 1800s, as paints began to be produced with chemical pigments, red paint was the most inexpensive to buy. Red was the color of favor until whitewash became cheaper, at which point white barns began to spring up. Today, the color of barns can vary, often depending on how the barns are used."

Posted by annkelliott on 2014-02-03 14:47:25

Tagged: , Alberta , Canada , SE of Calgary , seasons , winter , snow , shed , sheds , three , granary , granaries , colourful , eye-catching , rural , rural scene , winter scene , tree , Panasonic DMC-FZ200 , FZ200 , Lumix , point-and-shoot , annkelliott , Anne Elliott , Explore , explore2014February04 , interestingness#267 , Frank Lake area , outbuilding , #23ccfbt , #red