A Glimpse Into An 1880’s Farm

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Recently I was taking advantage of the warmer weather and walked around the barn pasture enjoying the view.  I’ve written before about discovering some hints of the Home Life from the family who lived here before their home burned in the late 1950’s.  But today I’m enjoying the actual farming side of their history. Come stroll with me and see what made me smile:

I absolutely love our 1880’s barn and I love the detailing they used in barn construction back then. I try to imagine the purpose for each of the rooms and cubbies that were built into the barn. Whatever their reason, I simply love the look of the construction, the old weathered wood, the whispers of the past.

Did you ever wonder what it was like on a farm in the 1880's? Come walk through our Homestead & hear the whispers of the past. #TexasHomesteader


On the east side of the barn is an area that used to hold a manger and small pens.  We pulled the rusting tin and rotting wood to expose this area and now utilize it for a loafing shed for the cows.

Did you ever wonder what it was like on a farm in the 1880's? Come walk through our Homestead & hear the whispers of the past. #TexasHomesteader

We also tore down the crumbling pen around this area and set the old Bois d’Arc posts aside at the edge of this loafing area. Our hope is to reuse these posts again in our own fence-building endeavors. The old twisted posts whisper the past much like the barn itself does. The fallen leaves have tucked themselves into the posts in their flutter earthward.

Old Bois d’Arc Posts

Bois d’Arc wood is beautiful when it ages. The wood is hard as iron and makes excellent posts due to it’s rot-resistant nature. Its twists and turns are beautiful to the eye as well. This twisted branch arcs gracefully close to the ground. Love it!  We’re blessed to have many very old Bois d’Arc trees here on the ranch.

Did you ever wonder what it was like on a farm in the 1880's? Come walk through our Homestead & hear the whispers of the past. #TexasHomesteader

We love these old posts so much that we decided to do something with them. When our daughter got married she used some Bois d’Arc wood in her wedding decorations.

RancherMan & I like to make our gifts with our own two hands. So of course it made sense to use this old aged wood for a very special, personal gift for her and our new son-in-law. This solar light feature was perfect for them! And even though the weathered post was decades old, it was still YELLOW when we cut it. Just. Wow.

Did you ever wonder what it was like on a farm in the 1880's? Come walk through our Homestead & hear the whispers of the past. #TexasHomesteader

Old Relics Left Behind

It’s also interesting to stroll around a property that has been in production for so long and try to figure out what the operation might have looked like so many years ago. Behind the area that is now one of our ponds is a very old approximately 1930’s or 1940’s car body that had been hollowed out to use as a shelter for animals – perhaps goats?

Did you ever wonder what it was like on a farm in the 1880's? Come walk through our Homestead & hear the whispers of the past. #TexasHomesteader

We’ve left it where it is. Since it’s tucked behind the pond it’s not an eye-sore. And I love having a little piece of the old operation still evident along with the new.

This pen was apparently secured with a latch as evidenced by this old closure part found nearby on an old weathered board. I wish I could have a glimpse into the actual setup of this old working property, how fascinating!

Did you ever wonder what it was like on a farm in the 1880's? Come walk through our Homestead & hear the whispers of the past. #TexasHomesteader

At one time our entire property was probably fenced with this 1882 Elwood barbed wire.  Surprisingly enough we still see some of this on our interior cross fences. It’s true what they say: They just don’t make it like they used to!

Did you ever wonder what it was like on a farm in the 1880's? Come walk through our Homestead & hear the whispers of the past. #TexasHomesteader

I love the old barn wood and the old barbed wire so much that I asked RancherMan to build a large mirror frame using the aged barn wood and I embellished it with this Elwood barbed wire. It’s absolutely beautiful. A sentimental piece of art from our own property in our home.

Did you ever wonder what it was like on a farm in the 1880's? Come walk through our Homestead & hear the whispers of the past. #TexasHomesteader

And of course we found all manner of glassware, canning jars, zinc lids and an old pitcher left by the previous inhabitants. I’ve gathered what I could find and repurposed them in our own home.

Vintage glassware, canning jars, pitcher left behind. Did you ever wonder what it was like on a farm in the 1880's? Come walk through our Homestead & hear the whispers of the past. #TexasHomesteader

I love that our lives are now integrated with those here before us.

~TxH~

Other Homesteading Posts

Love Our 1880’s Barn? See More!

See ALL Our Barn Posts

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59 thoughts on “A Glimpse Into An 1880’s Farm

  1. Cheryl

    What a delight to visit with you today! I felt like I was walking along on your tour! What a lovely, dear place you have, and it is just so neat for you to be able to explore back into the past. Oh, how I long for those days of old! I am not a fan of the modern way of life….so rushed and impersonal. I am visiting from Nancy’s blog hop. God bless you and your family. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Karen Del Tatto

    I loved this nostalgic tour through your beautiful barn and property. What a blessing to live where you do. So many echoes from the past, and now your family is adding to the story.

    I enjoyed this post so much!

    Reply
  3. Margy

    Thanks for the tour through your ranch’s history. There are several ranches in our area that have been abandoned with everything in place. It is fun to explore around the old equipment, buildings and fields. Being new to the area we depend on friends to lead us there the first time, but many have become favourites. One spot has a old vehicle “dump” with many rusting hulks. But you have to be careful. One old building we entered was filled with nesting yellow jackets. Fortunately I made it out before they got angry. – Margy

    Reply
  4. Renee

    I love history, especially when it’s local and ESPECIALLY if it’s in your own back yard, lol. This is a great article. We are homestead wannabes. We live in the “city limits” and desperately want to get out on a small farm. This is a dream of ours anyway. I would love to find an old farm rich with history. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  5. Pam

    Tammy, I so enjoyed visiting you as your neighbor at the #BacktotheBasics linkup. The pics of the barn remind me a great deal of the barn on the farm I grew up on. Barns are intriguing places with so many things to capture the imagination. Thanks for the great sharing. It brought to mind so many special memories of our barn and my dad who died 21 years ago.

    Reply
  6. Jamie @ Medium Sized Family

    I’m always fascinated by history like this. I insist on living in a home with some character. No subdivision house for me! Ours is a 1950s, so not nearly as old as your place. But we still hear stories about it from time to time that are so much fun to learn of!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      How cool Jamie. I know the house that was here burned down sometime in the late 50’s or early 60’s, but I’ve seen evidence of a much older homestead toward the back of the property. Oh how I wish I could glimpse into the past to see! ~TMH~

      Reply
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  8. Jess

    Wow…pure beauty. I have a thing for old barns and you certainly do have a lovely one on your property. These are great pictures!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing this nice story and your fabulous pictures at *Mostly* Homemade Mondays. Hope to see you back tomorrow!

    Jess

    Reply
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  10. Amanda Watkins

    Beautiful old barn – and great photo including the reflection.
    That looks like some outstanding wood! Given the trees, I’m guessing you are in Texas?
    I just took my first trip there and returned a week ago. We visited the Hill Country, where my husband’s grandparents lived.. I fell in love! We love life in the woods of northern Minnesota.. but I was won over by the idea that ranch life could be for me, too.
    http://ourfunwithfive.blogspot.com/2013/03/texas-hill-country.html

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Amanda, we’re located in NE Texas in Wolfe City. These Bois D’Arc trees are absolutely beautiful to me and I’ll be publishing a post next week spotlighting these beautiful trees and the fascinating wood they posses. Watch for it! ~TMR~

      Reply
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  14. Texas Homesteader Post author

    Thanks Posh. I’m working on a future post featuring a tour of the barn with more photos and descriptions. Keep watch on the blog and you’ll get to see much more of this beautiful old barn! ~TMR~

    Reply
  15. Texas Homesteader Post author

    Lisa – I would have loved to have seen the museum you mention. I read about the barbed wire wars that were going on back then as well, pretty crazy competition. How cool that you visited the Elwood Mansion – Love it! ~TMR~

    Reply
  16. Lisa Lynn

    I loved taking a tour of your farm! A few years back I visited the Elwood Mansion in Dekalb, Illinois. It was the home built by the family that produced the barbed wire on your farm 🙂 How cool is that? They had a little museum with info about the barbed wire wars going on back then.

    Thanks for sharing this on The HomeAcre Hop! Here’s the link for the next hop 🙂
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/02/the-homeacre-hop-7.html

    Reply
  17. Texas Homesteader Post author

    Thanks Janis. I can’t wait to post about my mirror – I really do love it. And since it’s made of the old barn wood (complete with a couple of old square nails) and my 1880’s barbed wire, it’s very near & dear to my heart. ~TMR~

    Reply
  18. Tricia

    What a beautiful barn! The 1880’s, my goodness! How awesome!
    I’m terribly sorry for taking so long to visit, I’ve been so busy =0

    Thank you dearly for joining this week & hope you’ll come back real soon =)

    Reply
  19. jackie

    I love this! Especially since we have our own 1880s barn. Here’s ours! http://bornambitous-bornimaginative.blogspot.com/2012/12/barn-tour-free-of-charge.html

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      OMGosh Jackie – I love your barn! (And the two cuties in some of the pictures) The 1880’s must have been an awesome barn-building era, they’re all gorgeous. Thanks for sharing. ~TMR~

      Reply
  20. PK Kirkpatrick

    The bois d’arc tree has many common names including Osage orange, horse apple, hedge apple and more. This is the tree that native americans, especially the Osage Indians, preferred for their bows and arrows. This tree was described by French explorers as “bois d’arc” which means bow wood. Different parts of this tree are used as insect repellant, leather tannin, fence posts, wheel rims, tool handles, etc. The list goes on and on, but the old barns and fences built using this wood are so sturdy, practical and lovely. I really enjoy your postings and photos of your beautiful ranch.

    Reply
  21. Kay

    I can see why you love that barn of yours – and you’ve posted gorgeous shots of it.

    I’ve not heard of Bois d’Arc trees before in either California (where I grew up) or Washington (where I now live). I’d be interested in seeing the whole tree.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Kay – thanks for your kind words. I guess I’m going to have to go picture-shooting at these beautiful trees. They lose their leaves here in N Texas in the winter, but they are indeed beautiful trees and so very functional. I’ll definitely include pictures of the entire tree in a future post – keep watch for it! ~TMR~

      Reply
  22. Tanya

    i enjoyed me tour very much 🙂 i absolutely love that old car shelter, awesome! and funny about the bois d’arc. when we lived in missouri there was a little town nearby that was bois d’arc, pronounced bo-dark…i didn’t know it was actually wood!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Tanya – yes it’s pronounced bo-dark and the older wood on a Bois D’Arc tree is so amazingly beautiful. I find myself walking around taking random pictures of the older trees just for their beauty. (maybe I’ll post some of them in a future post) It’s very cool though that they’re so durable. Our old barn is placed on Bois D’Arc posts and when we had exterior renovations done to replace some of the rotting boards, the contractor was amazed that they could not nail to the posts, they had to drill them because about 1/4″ into the posts the wood was still yellow! LOVE IT! ~TMR~

      Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thanks! This old barn is the reason we decided THIS was the country property where we wanted to begin our new life. I absolutely love the barn with it’s age and detail. I posted a barn tour on our Texas Homesteader FB page several months ago. I’d like to bring that tour to our blog as well! ~TMR~

      Reply

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