This part of the US (Finger Lakes and southern tier NY) has some of he highest densities of barns anywhere. There was a lot of timber in the area to build barns. As railroads came through in the 1800s, this was the dairy capitol of the country. Barns were everywhere, being used to manage small herds, collect milk, and ship it west and east.
As I drive around, I see a lot of barns slowly decaying. As an owner of an old post and beam barn, I know first hand that they require a level of care to remain solid and useful.
While I was out to get the Sunday paper (yes, I am one of those people that still reads the Sunday NY Times), I took a few photos of barns in various states of decay.
The story is always the same . . .
First, the windows and doors fall into disrepair. Animals get in. They nest and chew. The elements also find their way in. Water is the ultimate enemy of all structures.
Without stain or paint, the siding weathers. The barn board dries out and cups. Nails start to pull, and the siding begins to loosen and fall away. More rain then can get into the barn, allowing flooring and corner posts to rot.
Once the roof is compromised, then the days of the barn are numbered. Once the roof is damaged, more water can get in, further accelerating the decline.
In time, some barns start to lean. Some just start to fall down in sections. In either case, there will be nothing left but a pile of lumber. In time, this will rot away, and the foundation may be all that is left.
It's a pity to see barns in decay. There is a lot of history in such structures. I'm glad I can keep my barn usable - even if I don't farm or raise livestock.