On the Road with The Six-Year-Old, Episode 4: Applied Vocabulary

Although this incident was prompted by a barn in Pennsylvania, I was too in awe of the original decrepit old barn to actually snap a photo of it in time for this post. This classic example of a decrepit old barn comes from -- where else? -- Ohio. (Photo: Shala Howell)

A decrepit old barn. (Photo: Shala Howell)

While passing through Pennsylvania on our recent road trip, Mommyo, pointing: “Now that’s a decrepit old barn.”

The Six-Year-Old, enlightened: “Oh! So that’s what decrepit means!”

Actually on our road trip, we saw quite a lot of decrepit old barns. Especially in Ohio, which clearly takes pride in the manner in which their decrepit old barns organically blend into the landscape.

After intense study of the decrepit old barn population between Chicago and Boston, I believe I can state with some authority that Ohio’s benign neglect of its decrepit old barns stands in stark contrast with the Amish areas of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s Amish country contains relatively few decrepit barns. So few, relatively speaking, that it makes me wonder if the Amish have an official policy on old barn maintenance. “Your decrepit old barn can have this many missing boards, but no more,” says the Ordnung of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. That sort of thing. (I know. Probably not. Most likely the lack of true decrepitude among the barn population in Pennsylvania has more to do with the fact that barn raisings are good fun.)

Ohio, meanwhile, follows the Organic Reclamation Policy. When the old barn’s done, build a new one next to it, and let time, gravity, vegetation, or the odd windstorm take the old barn down for you.

Take a look at a few pictures from our trip and you’ll see what I mean. Ohio has clearly cornered the market on decrepit old barns.

Pennsylvania

(Photo: Shala Howell)

(Photo: Shala Howell)

(Photo: Shala Howell)

(Photo: Shala Howell)

This one prompted a debate on the differences between the decrepit and merely ramshackle. (Photo: Shala Howell)

This one prompted a debate on the differences between decrepit and ramshackle. Which word would you use for it? (Photo: Shala Howell)

After intense debate, we decided that this one should be classified as "Merely in need of some minor repairs." (Photo: Shala Howell)

After intense debate, we decided that this one had merely fallen into a state of minor disrepair. (Photo: Shala Howell)

(Photo: Shala Howell)

This one’s really not that bad either, considering. (Photo: Shala Howell)

Ohio

(Photo: Shala Howell)

This seems to be standard practice in Ohio. When the old barn is too decrepit for use, build a new one next to it. (Photo: Shala Howell)

I just love the contrast between the neatly rolled bales of hay and the decrepit old barn in this one. (Photo: Shala Howell)

I just love the contrast between the neatly rolled bales of hay and the decrepit old barn in this one. (Photo: Shala Howell)

Another classic example of Ohio's Organic Reclamation Policy. When the old barn's done, build a new one next to it, and let time, gravity, vegetation, or the odd windstorm take the old one down for you. (Photo: Shala Howell)

Another classic example of Ohio’s Organic Reclamation Policy.  (Photo: Shala Howell)

At first I thought this was storm damage, but then I took a closer look at the two structures in the back, and realized this was Organic Reclamation in action. (Photo: Shala Howell)

At first I thought this was simply storm damage, but then I took a closer look at the two structures in the back, and realized this was actually Organic Reclamation in action. (Photo: Shala Howell)

This barn required a whole new category, as decrepit didn't seem to quite cover it. We went with devastated. (Photo: Shala Howell)

This barn required a whole new category, as decrepit didn’t seem to quite cover it. We went with devastated. (Photo: Shala Howell)

Indiana

Nice try, Indiana. But I just drove through Ohio. (Photo: Shala Howell)

Nice try, Indiana. But I just drove through Ohio. (Photo: Shala Howell)

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About Shala Howell

I write about wildly curious kids, rabbits who hunt dragons, and 1880s Boston. When I’m not scratching my head over pesky characters who refuse to do things how I want them done or dreaming of my next book (which will of course be much easier to write than the current one), I blog about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, muse about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.blog, or tweet about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Funny Stuff My Daughter Says, Linguistics, Out and About and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to On the Road with The Six-Year-Old, Episode 4: Applied Vocabulary

  1. Pingback: Applied Vocabulary, Episode 2: Camouflage | CATERPICKLES

  2. Pingback: What’s that green and red-striped bug? | CATERPICKLES

  3. Pingback: Springtime at Caterpickles | CATERPICKLES

  4. Pingback: Applied Vocabulary, Episode 3: “What is bliss?” | CATERPICKLES

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