Wither on Red #9124

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The Story

A freshly painted red barn with a white window is host to this poison oak plant coming up the side in this close up. When this retired dairy barn needed a fresh coat of red paint, they sprayed right over the poison oak which withered the middle and gave the image a title too. This hearty plant seems to be making its way back to life despite the shellacking of red paint. It has a firm root in between the foundation stone cracks and a good hold on the broad wood plank siding, so the painters likely didn’t want to handle it to pull it away. Interestingly, a cold October has turned the leaves to red and orange to match the siding.

The large red barn with white windows is from around 1900, likely replacing an older one lost to fire as there were no other barns on the property and the nearby farmhouse was much older than this “new” barn. It must have been a prosperous owner who called for a solid stone foundation of cut and shaped unmortared sandstone. That’s not often seen among more practical farmers but it will last forever. The rock was most likely quarried nearby. Also not often seen anymore are stonemasons who can do this kind of work. Built by skilled craftsmen and commissioned by someone who wanted things done right and made to last, this old red barn still sits foursquare and firm to this day.

Location: Near Ligonier, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Image and text © Andrew Dierks

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