A Glimpse Into An 1880’s Farm

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Do you wonder what it was like on a farm back in the 1880’s? Come walk through our Homestead with me & hear the whispers of the past – the old 1880s barn, discarded housewares, animal pens, etc.

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

Strolling Around Our NE Texas Property

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. 

Our Old Texas 1880’s Barn

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 away the rusting tin and rotting wood to open up this area and now utilize it for a loafing area for the cows.

Old Bois d’Arc Posts

We also tore down the crumbling pen around this area of the barn 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.

Old Bois d'Arc wood posts are repurposed throughout the Homestead. #TexasHomesteader

The fallen leaves have tucked themselves into the posts in their flutter earthward.

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

Antique Barbed Wire

At one time our entire property was probably completely fenced with this 1882 Elwood barbed wire. 

Surprisingly enough we still see some of this Elwood barbed wire 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

Rustic Barn Wood

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 now displayed proudly 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

We’ve also fashioned other things with this old aged barn wood, including a bed Frame for our guest bedroom as well as a fun Photo Feature to hang on the wall in there.

Antique Bottles, Jars and Housewares

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 use the glass jars for all manner of storage. And I’ve even fashioned one of the old jars into a country flower vase.

It was easy, and it makes for a beautiful arrangement when I gather the wildflowers out of the pasture, add some pretty blooms from my yard and bring them inside.

I enjoy seeing evidence of past lives lived here on our homestead. This old canning jar they left behind was made into a pretty canning-jar vase. #TexasHomesteader

My mother loved this homemade vase so much I made one for her as well. She’s also able to display bright beautiful flowers in her home using her canning jar vase.

Using things left behind by the homesteaders that lived here oh so long ago makes me happy. I love that our lives are now integrated with those here before us.


Love Our 1880’s Barn? See More!

See ALL Our Barn Posts

Other Homesteading Posts

See All Our Homesteading Posts

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32 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. 🙂

  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!

  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

  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!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I still find remnants of past lives lived here from time to time Renee, it’s so exciting to me. ~TxH~

  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.

  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!

    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! ~TxH~

  7. Corinna Ashley

    I sure did enjoy this. Thanks for “taking me along with you.”

  8. Nancy W

    Beautiful barn! Thank you so much for sharing on the HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you again this week!

  9. tessa

    A wonderful read – I have barn envy! We shared this at homesteadlady FB page.

  10. 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!


  11. 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.

  12. Maureen

    Thanks for a delightful tour of farming history!

  13. posh

    I always wondered what those barns look like up close.

  14. Janis

    Beautiful post as always. Can’t wait to see the mirror!

    Janis in Vermont

  15. 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 =)

  16. Jamie at Prepared to Eat

    It’s beautiful. Thanks for the tour!

  17. RamblingRound

    That’s a great old barn, and I adore things made of barnwood.

  18. Nell

    Your ranch is a lovely old place!

  19. TexWisGirl

    great barn and great reflection shot!

  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.

  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.

    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! ~TxH~

  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!

    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! ~TxH~

  23. artmusedog and Carol

    Fantastic photography and wonderful post ~ loved the tour and can see why you love it ~

    Carol of (A Creative Harbor) on blogger ^_^

    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! ~TxH~

  24. Tracey

    Barns fascinate me. Ours is much, much newer than yours, and I appreciated the tour. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thank you for your kinds words Tracey. The old barn is certainly near and dear to my heart… ~TxH~


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